My husband and I loved the film 42, about the heroic ball player Jackie Robinson who broke the baseball color line in 1947.
We loved it.
Jackie had the guts to not fight back, in the film’s language; guts which the real Jackie Robinson would tell you stemmed from his Christian convictions. It was refreshing to see a husband and wife team being just that, a team. Who wouldn’t love Harrison Ford playing crotchety but tenderhearted team executive Branch Rickey?
Of course, a film documenting segregation in the 1940s isn’t without its difficult moments. As we watched the film, we could hardly believe “people were like that” in 1947. Whites terrorizing blacks. The double standards. The racial slurs. The deep-seated, brooding hatred. 42 can’t be brushed off as “just a movie”. The story is a depiction of real life.
America the beautiful can actually be rather ugly.
Walking out of the theater in a post-cinema haze, I started thinking about America today; 66 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line of America’s favorite pastime.
What happenings will we look back on in 60+ years and hardly believe “people were like that”?Maybe our grandchildren, watching movies about 2013, will stare in disbelief at how awfully we treated the disenfranchised in our country.
Maybe they’ll wonder why we still have racial tension, even after such national movements like Civil Rights.
Maybe they’ll be shocked to watch depictions of our politicians incapable of joint decision making.
Maybe they’ll shake their heads at how carelessly we treated our natural resources.
Maybe they will be horrified we considered abortion to be a legitimate form of birth control?
Maybe they won’t believe how prevalent acts of terrorism were around the world. (I pray they won’t shocked we had so few.)
Such a list could easily contain more than 42 items.
Frankly, it’s easy to make despairing comments about the world at large. It’s easy.
But what about you?
What are you doing now that, in 66 years, people may look back and think “how could you have been like that”? Even more to the point what are you doing now that, in 66 years, you’ll look back and think “how could I have been like that”?
More than 42 items would likely be on my list. What about yours? By the grace of God, may we all begin to see far less of our own sin and far more of Christ’s likeness.