Sunday, August 28, 2011

Courageous, Book for the Movie

Movie and a Novelization of Movie
Randy Alcorn recently wrote the novelization, Courageous, to go along with the movie by the same name. The first third of the book introduced me to police action and the characters including:
  • Nathan and Karla Hayes and children who move to Albany, GA, Nathan's home town, so Nathan can join the police force and be near William Barrett, a man who mentored him when a father had not been there for him.
  • David Thomson who has a daughter by a woman he never married, but in the meanwhile becomes Nathan's police partner. 
  • Adam and Victoria Mitchell who have high drama in their family including the fear of losing their teen son to other influences.
  • Tom Lyman, now in a retirement center and in a wheel chair, Adam's older godly mentor. 
  • Brad Bronson, a character in Randy Alcorn's other police novels, as well as a mention of Ollie, lead character in Alcorn's novels. (Brad has moved to Georgia from Oregon.)
  • Shane Fuller, partner of Adam.
  • Javy who writes an inspiring letter thanking his father.
  • "TJ was the son of no man and the father of a gang of men."
I am not giving away the plot to the book and spoiling it for you because the movie will be coming out in a month and I haven't seen that movie. I wonder what is in the book that will not be in the movie. I know Alcorn is a dog lover and dogs are in the book. I wonder if dogs will be in the movie. Alcorn has been a long-time defender of right to life and that comes out in the novel. I wonder if that is in the movie.

Alcorn milks this plot for a lot of Christian themes: God's leading, prayer, sanctity of human life, forgiveness, redemption, hospitality, responsibility of parents and even Charles Spurgeon, favorite preacher of Alcorn, only to mention a few themes. Some will call this a preachy novel. However, everyone is not converted in the novel, and we have an ETERNAL PRESPECTIVES (name of Alcorn's ministry) ending to look forward to, not an earthly Hollywood ending in the book and probably not in the movie that I have yet to see. Adam dreams about one day in heaven dancing with that deceased daughter. One reviewer didn't think that was necessary, but I think this heavenly dream is very Randy Alcorn who is also known for such books as Heaven.

You have to consider some questions. Why can't Christians wonder about eternity? Must novels only entertain? Why can't they instruct? Pilgrim's Progress does. Realistically Alcorn says at the end:
To most people, none of this--not what these men were doing now, nor what He [Christ] did two thousand years ago--made sense.
From the outside, grace and truth, honor and courage, seldom do.
After the first fourteen chapters to page 111 when I had essentially figured out the above characters, I couldn't put the book down until I had read all 362 pages. Then I knew why I had to get all of that early background for the last two-thirds of the book.

Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick wrote and produced the movie as they also did other films including "Fireproof". The Resolution for Men and The Resolution for Women are spin-off books from this film, like The Love Dare, was a spin off book from "Fireproof". The promos for their movie "Courageous" are all about fathers, absent fathers, and the need to resolve to better parent.I am not sure how thorough The Resolution books are to bring back adequate parenting. Haven't read them. Surely we will need more material.
All in all Courageous is a refreshing read! I both teared and smiled throughout the book.

Recently I taught a seminary class on counseling children. Some of the excellent books from Nouthetic counselors I used for that class may round out our parenting task.

• Lou Priolo's The Heart of Anger deals with 25 ways fathers can provoke their children to anger.

• Tedd Tripp's Sheperding a Child's Heart lays out the biblical admonition for parents.

• Paul David Tripp, brother of Tedd, has written on teens: Age of Opportunity.

• Jay Younts book, Everyday Talk, and Get Wisdom! by his wife Ruth Younts, will give parents clues for relating.

Give Them Grace, by mother and daughter Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, provides much wisdom. It's not about raising good kids, but about helping kids see that Christ's mercy is what we all, even parents need.

The Faithful Parent, by Nouthetic counselors Martha Peace and Stuart Scott, also covers single parenting, divorced parents sharing the children, blended families, when one parent is gone a lot, when parents are unequally yoked, and problem grandparents. 

With statistics that our youth are leaving the church, fathers,  mothers and the church need to take note. Thanks to Randy Alcorn and movie makers Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick for giving impetus to us to bring up the next generation in the fear of the Lord.

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