Saturday, April 3, 2010

Country Justice (1997) Review

Country Justice (1997) celebrated manhood, the familial unit/responsibility to family, love and emotional bond as well as a coming of age learning process and the rebellion, growth and tried and true attitude and traditional methods that go along with it (if it aint broke don't fix it).

Watching this film early this afternoon, I saw the characters stretching to meet new needs and demands due to certain mistakes and tragic circumstances as a result of ignorance. It reminded me of something I read this week about wars, peace and abiding by the law on at An Even Dozen, Opposed to Boyfriend's Military Position and Can War Be Justified? The last two questions and answers on "An Even Dozen" said it like this:

Q: I disagree the Office Hours column "Can War Be Justified?" Jesus Christ calls his followers to be peacemakers. If we truly want peace, why should we take up arms?
A: Jesus did say we should be peacemakers, but Paul said rulers are appointed by God to bear the sword in order to execute the wrath of God on wrongdoers. If the Bible is true, both teachings are true. We must reconcile them, not choose between them. Remember, too, that there is no political solution to the problem of sin. Not even a justified war could end all wars — but not even refusing to fight could bring a lasting peace.

Q: I was intrigued by the column about war, but it left the biggest question unanswered. Isn't the soldier's place to follow orders — to "render unto Caesar"?
A: Alas, you've quoted only half of what Jesus said. He didn't say "Render unto Caesar," period; he said "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21). The Bible is full of instances of right and proper disobedience to unjust commands. For example, the Hebrew midwives refused Pharaoh's command to kill all male Hebrew infants, and God rewarded them (Exodus 1). The Three Worthies refused King Nebuchadnezzar's command to worship an idol, and God saved them (Daniel 3). When the Apostles were told by the Sanhedrin to stop preaching about Jesus, they said "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). God is above all earthly authorities, and must be obeyed no matter what.

The reason Country Justice reminded me of those words on Boundless is that "Grandpa" Clayton Hayes enlisted several friends and their families to help him illegally transport his grandson around the state, even trying to leave the state, in order to protect little Mathew from being put into the custody of his biological dad, "Ray," who raped Clayton's teen-aged granddaughter, Emma Baker. Ray only really learned he had a child when Clayton attempted to adopt the baby so that Mathew could receive the health coverage he needed to live.

Through the way they cooperated and worked together for the child, we witness years of hard work paying off, not because Clayton worked in the coal mines 40-50 years but because he developed and maintained good relationships while doing it. His character was built in the process and he became a "rock," as Emma often referred to him. In fact, the film starts with her talking about him and ends with her talking about him as well. She started with, "His strength is what my mama ran away from. His strength is what kept me alive." She ended speaking about how a man as genuine and strong as he is surely worth holding onto.

This struck me, on one hand, because of the beauty from the love shown throughout and on another hand, because it has now become an even rarer thing to find such kinds of men (not that they can't be but that they aren't). Christian music artist Sho Baraka has just come out with an album, Lions & Liars, with a song titled, "Revolutionary Died." Here's a clip where he speaks of what I just stated.

See, apart from God, it is impossible to be the leader of a man that any man can potentially be. Even in Country Justice, the sign outside of their church claimed, "What's missing in the ch rch?" The answer would be "u," which would be read to mean you. Also, in one scene, Reverend Collins went to Clayton's house to deliver an envelope of cash. Clayton wanted to refuse but the pastor said something like, "I didn't do it for you, you old sinner. It's for the baby." This is important because it acknowledges that there's a difference between being good and being godly.

The pastor of the church did a lot to help with the efforts to assist baby Mathew being kept safe. The congregation was truly unified. Do you know one like it??

Lastly, to tackle the perspective of maternity, this young lady was fighting for her son's well-being to keep him from his dad, the man who took a "perfect"ness that he perceived in her and robbed her of innocence. At first, Emma did not even want to give Mathew legally to her grandfather, who she loved and respected, because it'd mean that he'd no longer legally be hers so there's no way she'd let his father take him (still, it wasn't her who took the child away on the run. She woke up and they were just gone. Her fighting for him was simply in the court room). When she realized she had no other way, as a mother, she chose to sign the adoption papers. She'd still be his mom and take care of him but the health care plan that her grandfather had been "paying into for 43 years" would be able to provide for her son who had severe asthma.

This was what her attorney/lawyer spoke about to the judge in the custody hearing between her and the child's father that resulted from Ray petitioning for custody when he refused to sign the adoption papers over to Grandpa. He had rights "to the child" but had no business pursuing sole custody but since Emma didn't pursue rape charges for fear of talking about it for months in court, he was able to do that instead of possibly being behind bars. (My only issue with this movie is in this, that they often followed what felt right as opposed to what was right but it was always because of a teenager so it is to be expected to some degree which is why it can be considered a coming-of-age movie.) How many young ladies today have the opportunity to show their maternal instincts in this way?? They are told to have sex and to abort. They are told it is their body and their choice on whether to bring a life into the world or terminate it. Even in the film, her grandfather said something about having the child being her choice but I'd hope he meant raising not birthing. Either way, it is horrible, the way motherhood is treated these days. Speaking of health care, who's been praying that this agenda to help increase the bloodshed on this country through child abortion be ceased??

I saw another movie this week where a man came back for his child after serving ten years and two months behind bars for the rape charges the mother did charge against him. So, this man was put away but when he came out, still had rights "to the child" and thus, used those rights to get to the mother and try to kill her, all the while brainwashing her friends and their son. I don't recall the name of it but I see a running theme here on legal justice, parental custody rights and protecting yourself and your child as best you can (and a restraining order isn't good enough but it's something L0L).

We just left women's history month but it will soon be mother's day and soon after, father's day. Let's celebrate that through enlightenment, which means awareness and understanding. If you haven't already, notice the sub-header for this blog, "Life enlightenment in Christ" and always be enlightened.

Psalm 119:105 (King James Bible)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.


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