Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Machine Gun Preacher

I knew I was listening to something unusual when I heard my drive-to-work buddies The Broads speak favorably of someone who had "got saved" in a church in Pennsylvania. They were talking about the movie The Machine Gun Preacher, based on the book Another Man's War. It's the true story of a rough and tumble man whose life was turned around when he accepted the challenge to visit east Africa with a church construction team. That short-term trip turned into a life mission as author Sam Childers determined to build an orphanage and help rescue children in the south Sudan and northern Uganda. The movie tells the result of that decision.

I saw the movie this afternoon. The theater was almost empty, but I'm glad I went. The film probably won't win Oscars at next year's Academy Awards, but for me it was a gripping story that raised some uncomfortable questions. According to the movie and the author's own claims, he has killed soldiers in The Lord's Resistance Army to rescue children and stop others from being killed. To what extent does a Christian use violence to stop violence? How often does one kill to stop killing? Is the author correct when he says, "If your child is abducted by a brutal rapist and murderer and I bring her safely home, does it matter what I did to rescue your child?"

The words "evangelical" and "missionary" don't usually get good press in the American media, and it's easy to overlook activists like Sam Childers who really try to make a difference. I'm glad they made a movie of his life, and kudos to the Broads for promoting his movie.


aemish said...

Hey, daring rescue mission, ten thumbs up. It's the "pre-emptive" gray areas that require further scrutiny.

Cyril Lucar said...

I will definitely see this. When I was in Uganda several years ago I was with a young man who is a competitive marksman who competes nationally. The head of Uganda's military offered him a job killing LRA soldiers as a sniper. He didn't take it, but he thought hard about it. It's hard not to be sympathetic when it comes to battling the LRA.

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