You gotta have faith – HOT faith!
That’s the message I walked away with after seeing the movie War Room produced by the Kendrick Brothers yesterday afternoon.
I have a little confession to make here. After seeing (and loving) the Kendrick Brothers’ other films (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, and yes, even the quirky Flywheel) I was a bit reluctant to go to this movie.
Well, I wasn’t reluctant, but I was reluctant to take my sons. I had dropped my 18 year old off at college Sunday (for the first time – yes, I’m still a bit emotional) and my 16 year old had to lifeguard so it was just my youngest three (14, 12, and almost 6), and I wondered how they’d react to such an intense movie.
They’d LOVED Courageous which was full of action and drama. Fireproof had some really funny parts, and Facing the Giants – well that’s every young boys’ dream, but War Room was different. War Room didn’t promise the action. The trailers didn’t show humor. The plot seemed quite mature for kids.
The other Sherwood Baptist/Kendrick Brothers productions, had terrific storylines in which God played a part.
In War Room,
God IS the storyline.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but very quickly discovered that my reluctance was wrong. I brought my boys with a lukewarm hope that they’d tolerate it and would someday, when their own marriages hung in the balance, remember some important point from the movie.
I should have trusted more. I should have had faith in the Lord and His ability to use the Kendrick Brothers and others involved to advance His kingdom, for I do truly believe these people are delivering messages inspired by the Holy Spirit.
War Room Movie:
Relevance to Catholicism & a Lukewarm Faith
As a Bible reading, Jesus Loving Catholic, I am often concerned that the valuable uplifting of Christianity will be mixed with the harmful insult to Catholicism, but there was none of that in War Room. In fact, whether the creators of War Room realized it or not, they implemented one of the most treasured tenants of Catholicism: the knowledge that lukewarm faith is abhorrent.
Elizabeth Jordan (played by Priscilla Shirer, familiar to some as the author of the Fireproof based book, The Resolution for Women) is the struggling mom, wife, and part-time real estate agent. She is living a lukewarm life: giving a bit to her child, a bit to her husband, a bit to her faith, a bit to her job, a bit to herself, a bit to pretty much everything, and those bits get her a whole lot of disappointment.
Early into the movie, Miss Clara (the passionate spiritual leader and one of my children’s favorite characters as portrayed by Karen Abercrombie) does an outstanding job of pointing out Elizabeth’s lukewarm faith and, in a kind hearted yet pointed way, tells Elizabeth her lukewarm faith is not enough.
As a Catholic, the scenes involving lukewarm faith in War Room were reminders of the Book of Revelation while also echoing Jesus’ words to Fatima on the ninth day of the Novena of Divine Mercy:
Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM,* and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.
I couldn’t help but watch those scenes and feel the Lord was telling all His children that the time to band together is now, to put minor differences aside, that since none of us has seen the face of God, none of us knows Him completely, we should learn from one another.
For me, the movie spoke about more than the vitally important marriage between two people; it spoke of a joining of the faithful who would consciously, purposely choose to put God first in every aspect.
War Room Movie:
A Marriage At Risk
If Elizabeth has been lukewarm in her faith, father, husband, and top pharmaceutical sales rep, Tony Jordan (played by T.C. Stallings who displays a dramatic shift in character from his thug appearance in Courageous) is anything but. He’s not lukewarm; he’s pushing ice cold. At one point, Tony even checks out a woman in church, showing just how far this husband of 16 years has fallen. Tony is willing to risk his family, his career, his life as he knows it for nothing other than himself.
And why wouldn’t he risk life as he knows it?
Life as he knows it isn’t great, because he really doesn’t know his life at all. Married for 16 years, Tony assumes he knows all about his wife and daughter, but in reality, he hasn’t been invested in family in a long time. They have all become prisoners just doing time in their own home.
My husband suddenly abandoned my five boys and me after 14 years of marriage, and I found my thoughts traveling back four years when I had the realization that my husband hadn’t actually left me because he didn’t even know me. I’ve forgotten the conversation we had at the time of this enlightenment, but I remember the realization clearly. He had said something so bizarre that I realized he had no idea who I was. Tony misunderstood his wife just as I, and many other abandoned spouses, have been misunderstood.
Seeing this through the War Room validated my experience and made me question again,
what if people took the time to really learn about their spouses before choosing to divorce?
I wondered how many couples just don’t bother or haughtily assume to know all there is to know about the person sharing the same bank account, roof, bed, children.
Tony Jordan wanted to have an affair, but he wasn’t cheating on his wife. He didn’t even know her. He was cheating himself. He was cheating himself of time spent with an amazing woman, time spent with a child who loved him, time spent with a God who could show him these things and more.
War Room Movie:
Bringing Gurgles of Laughter & Solemn Reminders
I was wary of bringing my boys to this film, but once again, I should have had faith. The Kendrick Brothers deliver no dry lecture-y type of film. Instead, they find that nearly impossible balance of humor and seriousness that we must possess in real life. In addition to delighting my boys with cameos by Courageous actors, the Kendrick Brothers deliver real humor often through the film’s two youngest actresses Danielle Jordan (Alena Pitts) and Jennifer (Jadin Alexis Harris).
My three children agreed that they would have had the same expressions if I had been eating potato chips in my closet like that (Can’t say more in order to not give too much away – See the movie!) and the twist of the smelly feet was beyond delightful for three (generally stinky) boys!
Perhaps the only thing that delighted my children more than smelly feet jokes, the girls’ funny lines and the facial expressions perfectly delivered was the double dutch skills. The display gave my boys a whole new respect for jump rope. Even I was amazed at what can be done with a rope and a well-conditioned, well-trained, focused body and mind.
Here again, I am thinking of TC Stallings’ performance which was amazing. I know God creates no physically perfect human being, but T.C. Stallings, with his rippling muscles, might be the closest thing to one.
What inspires me more is knowing this man has a heart for Jesus. I’ve heard (although I haven’t been able to verify it) that he takes his marriage vows so seriously that he will not accept roles in which he has to kiss another woman. THAT ladies, is a man worth waiting for. Accept no seconds. Wait patiently for the man God creates for you!)
<Climbing off my soapbox!>
Danielle Jordan didn’t have just funny lines and fun times though. What impressed me most about Alena Pitts’ acting ability is the subtlty of her facial expressions. When Danielle was upset by her parents’ fighting or her father’s callousness, she used no words but wrote the message on our hearts with her expression.
When her “father” praised her, the glow she got was real. When she checked off the top of her prayer list, her happiness was real. What was more apparent on her little face was SECURITY in her parents’ love for her and for each other. As a single mom I knew my boys used to have that same expression, but along the way they’d lost it.
Whether adults recover fully from their divorces or not,children of divorce have been robbed of the unfettered happiness that comes from being secure in a parents’ love. Alena Pitts expressed that security so well, and she didn’t even need words.
War Room Movie:
The Message of Joy
While happiness and security are so nice to have, the message that no one is responsible for your happiness came through loud and clear. Short term happiness comes from many sources and experiences, but long term happiness is something called Joy and it is something we make for ourselves when we accept Christ into our lives and make Him our sole focus.
Joy allowed Elizabeth to move beyond the pain she felt and to reach out for her husband. Joy is what allowed her family to heal. Joy is what brought them, despite the pain, to Love again.
No one is responsible for your Joy, but you.
War Room Movie:
What I Didn’t Like
Well, no movie is perfect, and those who don’t believe in God or don’t understand the power of Love and forgiveness and the Holy Spirit will find plenty to dislike about the film, but I am writing from the perspective of a believer who knows anything is possible with God so I’ll leave those reviews to others.
Even still, there were things I wasn’t thrilled with in the movie. The basketball scene was dizzying for me. I didn’t like the camera work there. It seemed as though they were trying to be too fancy and it just made it difficult to follow, but maybe that’s my advancing age showing too. 🙂
I also thought the nightmare was a bit weird. I understand what the producers were trying to do. I’ve thought about a better way to do it and haven’t come up with anything so I’m not sure why I feel qualified to criticize but I wasn’t thrilled with that part.
Finally and most importantly, I wish Tony hadn’t gotten sick. I was glad for Elizabeth that God answered her prayers so quickly, but as a woman who prayed those same prayers over and over again, I know life doesn’t always work that way.
I wish Tony had made the choice to wait before beginning his affair. I wish he had displayed just a bit of a second thought. I wish he had decided to give it another day or two to think about things before doing the unthinkable. This part of the movie disappointed me because, while I know God can do anything, it took away human responsibility and free will. I believe that if more people put a bit more time between themselves and the rush of passion, fewer affairs would happen, fewer excuses and accusations would be made, fewer families would be broken, more people would know true Love.
War Room Movie:
This Review Is Long Enough – Time to Wrap It Up!
I no longer have any reluctance about recommending War Room to anyone of any age. All Christian audiences will find it worthy. I hope however that the message lasts beyond the walk to the car.
The movie does not just deliver a good show. It warns us of having a lukewarm faith, explains where true Joy comes from and who is responsible for each person’s happiness, and it gives us an assignment: go out and deliver the Gospel, to begin with one, but to not be content with reaching just one, to be greedy with souls for Christ and patient with their conversion.
Lord, bring me another.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on War Room, whether you’ve been inspired to create your own War Room, and how you did it. Let me know changes you’ve noticed in yourself and others.
Thanks so much for sticking with me on the VERY long post and, as always, for sharing, commenting, and following Single Mom Smiling!
And if you’re looking for family friendly, faith-based movies you can watch any time, check out PureFlix, a Christian alternative to what mainstream media shoots into our homes. Purchasing PureFlix through SingleMomSmiling also pays me a small commission. 🙂