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Monday, February 6, 2006

Sometimes, You Just Don't Need to Defend Yourself.

Saturday night, I went to the movie theater to see "End of the Spear" with Emily, Jen Gash and Brian. "End of the Spear" is based on the violent history of the Waodani, an indigenous tribe found in the jungles of Ecuador. A group of Christian missionaries move to Ecuador in the mid-1950s to attempt to reverse the tribe's cycle of violence. Nate Saint, is one of the initial missionaries to establish contact with the tribe, only to be murdered in cold blood by Mincayani, a Waodani leader.

Nate Saint has a son named Steve Saint. Nate is about to depart for a risky and lengthy stay with the tribe, Steve asks his father if he will use his gun to shoot the Waodani if they attack. Nate replies that he won't---the Waodani have not reconciled their souls with God yet. Later in the film, Nate and the missionary team are attacked by the Waodani and when one missionary finally scrambles for his gun, he shoots it up in the air, not at any of the Waodani. All of the men on the mission were speared to death, however, doors were opened for future interaction with the Waodani.

I've carried this scene of the movie home with me. The sacrifice that Nate Saint and the other missionaries made mirrored the sacrifice that Christ made for every human being on this earth. Christ could have easily hopped down off the cross and sent out lightning bolts from his fingertips at all of his persecutors. But He didn't. He chose to die for us so that if we accept Him, we may experience everlasting life.

Later on in the movie, a grown-up Steve Saint, returns to Ecuador and the Waodani tribe to pay his respects at the burial of his Aunt Rachel, also a missionary. While he is there, he encounters Mincayani. Mincayani tells Steve that he in fact is the one that murdered his father and he has been tormented all these years by why Nate and the other missionaries didn't fight back. Waodani custom is that the eldest son is responsible for enacting vengeance on the person that killed his father. Mincayani gives Steve a spear and tells him to kill him. Although Steve is incredibly enraged, he drops the spear. Mincayani is forever changed and is finally able to understand true sacrificial love.

I have been reading the book of Daniel in the Bible during my quiet times in the evening. Last night I read chapter three, with "End of the Spear" on my mind. In chapter three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they would not bow down to the golden idol he had created. It is a story I heard at least a hundred times growing up, but God revealed a new truth in the passage to me:

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.'" Daniel 3:16

It instantly became clear to me that God is not always calling me to question, argue or debate with those who don't share my faith. I struggle with this, partially because I am confrontational by nature and quite frankly, I like to be right. Anyway, it was a reminder that just as Christ showed sacrificial love, I'm also called to the same.

All-in-all, the movie was pretty good and even funny, despite a few slow parts. But I left inspired and encouraged, albeit emotional. "End of the Spear" is definitely not a movie you want to see for entertainment or cinematic acclaim. But I promise that you will leave the theater uplifted and a renewed sense of Christ's sacrifice.

On a side note, be advised that the movie is somewhat controversial in the conservative-Christian community because the lead role of Nate/Steve Saint was played by openly homosexual, Chad Allen. Take that for what you will, but it is guaranteed to spark some interesting discussion amongst the ranks...


Blogger emilyb said...

I enjoyed seeing this movie with you, MAB. It was definitely thought-provoking. Would I have been willing to set foot in the Waodani territory? I would hope so, but sometimes I'm not sure. I get used to my "safe" Christian world.

The line I loved the most was, "No one took my father's life. He gave it." It's that simple. I try to make witnessing so hard sometimes...what should I say, how should I say it. I need to just "give my life". It sounds simple, but we all know it's a bit more complicated than that.

Thanks for the recap, MAB!

11:07 AM


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