I'd been wanting to see Precious for a long time but hadn't had the chance to get to the theater. When Dea and Darius said they had a copy, we were thrilled to finally get to see the critically acclaimed film.
I'm just going to tell you right now that, despite my new "connections" with NBC - or not - we do not get movies before they are released to the public on DVD. Just as we were starting the film, we questioned the source of the DVD. It was a bootleg copy the boys had gotten from, "a homeboy".
We'll be buying two when in comes out just to make up for our waywardness. Maybe I'll do a giveaway. Just keepin' it real.
Since we've now seen both Precious and The Blind Side, it's hard not to compare the two movies based on characters from incredibly similar neighborhoods.
The Blind Side, nominated for 2 Oscars, tells the beautiful story of Michael Oher, a big kid with huge potential but no opportunities. Raised in the inner-city of Memphis, his past is eluded to but never really uncovered. He's got a crack-addicted momma who loves her boy but can't care for him. Through some pretty great turns in his favor, he is lifted out of his 'hood and transplanted onto the other side of the tracks and into the home of the Touhey's. They are wealthy, connected on all fronts, and set their affections decidedly on Michael, helping to unearth his amazing propensity for football, love of family, and integration into their white-washed world. It's a great movie that makes you want to stand up and cheer - a success story in the most exaggerated sense of the word. A rescue. Eventually, the economically and educationally impoverished Oher graduates from the southern Christian private school he's attending with the Touhey children, goes on to play football at Ole Miss, and is eventually drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. The Touhey's now faithfully attend each game via private plane.
Precious, nominated for 4 Oscars, is a different story all-together. From the welfare subsidized housing projects of Harlem, Precious eeks out an existance despite her abusive mother, illiteracy, and the two children she has borne at the hands of her father. He also, in the process of raping her, has infected her with HIV. Precious is sent to an alternative school where a instructor, who is neither wealthy or connected, teaches her not only to read but to find her voice by journaling. It is the story of a rescue of a different sort but a rescue all the same.
As we watched The Blind Side, we could name people we knew just like the the Touhey's. The feisty, strong, influential, and affluent types who's safety net is so huge, they live without fear of failure or even the dissapproval of peers. In the book, their net is Christ. In the movie, it seems to be something far less magnificant.
And as we watched Precious, we got big ol' pits in our stomachs. We could name people we knew just like her, just like her momma, just like her daddy, just like her friends, just like her granny, and just like the boys on the corner. We knew her teacher, and her principal. We'd seen firsthand the sharp change in demeanor by the momma when the one holding the purse-strings of welfare was watching. These kids live in our neighborhood, come to Mercy Street, and play basketball with our boys.
Part of us wishes we could get them all out like Michael Oher. Scatter them across the country into the homes of wealthy, resourced types, put them in great schools, and expose them to opportunities beyond their wildest dreams. How much of a difference could we make if we could just remove them from the influences that scream at them from all sides. If we could separate them from their envrironment, could we have a slew of Michael Oher's on our hands?
Or, what if the Touhey's of the city, and the Michael Ohers for that matter, came down, volunteered. I mean really volunteered. Gave their lives away for the cause of the broken. What if they came into these kids world all the time and shouted a different kind of message. To all the Precious-es of West Dallas - what if they heard hope, deliverance, justice, and
"YOU ARE YOUR NAME! YOU ARE KNOWN AND BELOVED BY THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE! HE KNOWS YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE AND, EVEN WHEN IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE IT, HE HOLDS YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND!
YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!
YOU ARE BELOVED!
YOU ARE GOD'S WORKMANSHIP!
YOU ARE A NEW CREATION!
YOU ARE MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST!
YOU ARE A HOLY PARTAKER IN A HEAVENLY CALLING!
YOU ARE PART OF THE TRUE VINE!
YOU ARE CHOSEN OF GOD, HOLY AND DEARLY LOVED!
YOU ARE AN ALIEN TO THIS WORLD!
YOU ARE A SON OF GOD, ONE IN CHRIST JESUS!
YOU ARE A JOINT HEIR WITH CHRIST, SHARING HIS INHERITANCE!
YOU ARE A MEMBER OF A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD!
YOU ARE CHRIST'S FRIEND!
YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY!
YOU ARE PRECIOUS!"
We might not get ourselves a bunch of professional football players, but instead, the Lord might change a city.