It seems like I can’t turn around without seeing something about the movie “Fireproof.” I have heard from so many people that, “You just have to see this movie – it is so good.” Before you go out and check your local listings, know that Fireproof is not going to be at the theater anytime soon, and I’m not really sure if it ever was.
From what I can gather from the posters I have seen advertising various showings at local churches, the title has a double meaning. Apparently the main character is a fireman, but the movie is really about how to protect your marriage (thus making it, fireproof). Usually when someone tells me how great this movie is and tells me to rush out to see it with my wife as soon as possible, I just smile and say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of it.” I try to hide my utter lack of excitement.
The reason for my tepid reaction starts with the male star, Kirk Cameron. I loved him in “Growing Pains,” but I feel like his career has taken a turn for the strange. He has become the face of Evangelical Christian media, resurrecting (excuse the pun) his career with the movie “Left Behind.”
I’m sorry, but I have a strong distrust of anything vaguely attached to anything that is vaguely attached to “Left Behind.” I find the theology of Tim LaHaye so abhorrent that, unless Cameron condemns the books as perverting the Biblical narrative in such a way that is exploitative and dangerous, anything he does is tainted to me.
So, I have avoided “Fireproof.” I have realized though, that I need to see this movie. As a pastor in a church where couple might go and see it on their own, I have to be able to respond in an informed manner. Just hiding my head in the sand will not make this movie go away.
Plus, to avoid it completely is to fall into the classic liberal trap of hypocrisy. I claim to have an open table, and an open mind. I want to be able to learn from differences and not demonize people that simply disagree with me. I want to walk humbly with God, which means that I have to allow that sometimes I might not be fully right, and Tim LaHaye might not be fully wrong.
So instead of calling “Left Behind” the most dangerous theo-babble that has been spewed in the last half century (because it could quite literally lead to nuclear war and environmental devastation); I should instead engage those that claim “Left Behind,” with earnest discussion and try to learn from them.
Our divergent ways to understand and interpret Scripture might leave us with little common ground, but hopefully we can confirm “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; [or liberal or conservative] for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, bracket added by me).
I should not hide from “Fireproof.” There might very well be some good points to it. I doubt I will agree with all of it, but maybe it will make me think for a moment. Maybe it will remind me, just once, to be kinder to my wife. Maybe it will help me enter into a conversation with someone. Maybe it will open up a relationship that wasn’t there before, and that is reason enough to see it.