Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

My wife won some free tickets to see the movie "Charlie Wilson's War". Unfortunately we sat a bit too far towards the back, where the theatre got a tad hot, and I was quite uncomfortable - and sleepy. However, Tom Hanks played his roll well - a drinking, womanising, low morals, mover and shaker American congressman - the usual.

Charlie was a bit of a hero - in the way he gave short shrift to the fundamentalist 'Christian' who could no longer have his nativity scene in a public place... "... take it to the Baptist church a mile down the street - 'everybody lives!')

*** Note: Everyone laughs at the Yanks, because they think they are so, so wrong, and humanitarianism ideals are so, so, right). Post-modern mindset people naively think: "we can do it, if only more people, were without 'Christian' or other God-morals and god-values"].

Charlie Wilson managed to "win the war", by utilising his contacts, and his sharp political manoeuvring. A true story according to the intro. I fell asleep a couple of times - the start was a bit slow. But I think this is how it went (could have a detail or two wrong - sorry but):

Now, Charlie needfully socialised with the Moslem nations, Pakistan, Egypt and so on - and even Israel lent a hand. Funny socialising occasions! They chipped in billions to get the Communist Russians out of Afghanistan. They purchased and supplied these extra-fancy bazooka type anti-aircraft guns, so that the poor Afghan people, could drop the destuctive, horrifyingly good Russian helicopters out of the sky. They did it. And the Russians lost a real battle to invade, for the first time in a long while. (And it stopped that domino effect, for other nations... etc.)

The emotional, moving, part was when Charlie - the US congressman - agreed to sit down in the dirt and really feel the plight and pain, of the maimed kids, innocent victims of war.
The Russians, you see, were just carelessly slaughtering women, kids and men, from the safety of their unreachable sky transport. The innocent victims picked up bombs and were maimed. Sad. Very sad. Anyway, Charlie fixed it.

The Russians retreated. Communism (... now in decline, ) being defeated here, ... precipitated the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall! Ah Charlie!)

And the reason Charlie bothered to help the Afghanistan people?
Because he was asked to sit with the suffering ones? He was moved.
So were we. It appeals to our poor view of our own will, ... that we could somehow do it right, if we had the chance..
Yes, in it all, the 'dumb' Americans were managed to be portrayed as such.
Then came the twist.

The Afghans wanted money for a new school!
"No, was the reply - Why? - coz no one give a toss about them!"
Irony. Blame back on the dumb USA - again! (Always a good scapegoat for all other nations!)

Amidst all this was the yarn - wise advice of a Zen Master - a spiritual man: "We'll see".
The yarn:
A boy was bought a horse? Good hey? Reply: "We'll see".
He fell off and was paralysed? Bad hey? Reply: "We'll see".
War broke out in Vietnam and he did not have to go? Good hey? Reply: "We'll see".

As with the yarn, so with the politics and hopes in humanity for the Charlie Wilson's of the world to do more good...
Reply: "We'll see".

Now, for the few conclusions, I am drawing..
You see... one bloke left the movie thinking ... that was good, but...
Now we've got a bloody religious war (in Afghanistan).
Underlying message ... if only it was all left to sensible, left, liberal minded people, we could fix it.
Underlying message of movie ...shallow. Politics can fix some things, But mostly it comes down to "We'll see".
No conclusion. No hope. No destiny. Just more of the same. Up. Down. Defeat. Triumph. Politics - good. Politics - not so good. And one big "We'll see".

I say 'no'. I say, 'there is a cross'. There is a theodicy. There is a Sovereign hand. History, in itself is not our hope. Christ is. And he is. And he will. And he has. And he does. Reconciliation. That is the plan, the outworking of the cross. Redemption is the action, working up our futile answers. And "We'll see" is a futile conclusion - if that is all there is.

Not - "we'll see", but our God reigns, from the place of deepest suffering, to the place of greatest triumph. Christ is Risen.
It is his war! And he is Victor. And we are the objects of his grace. All races. Wow!

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