Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts on "The Blind Side"

I saw The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock (Academy Award winner for best actress in this film), for the first time tonight. Before you tell me that I'm a little behind the times... let me remind you that a doll like me gets pretty busy. (Also... whenever I go to the movie theater, I always sit behind someone taller than me. You try being 0' 10 3/4" and then you'll understand...)

In the movie, a white family adopts an African American young man who grew up in the projects in Memphis, Tennessee. They help Michael improve his grades and learn to play football, eventually getting him a football scholarship to a college (with some plot twists along the way).

I was very impressed with the movie. I could talk about how it painted Christians in a relatively good light, or about what a good actress Sandra Bullock is, but honestly, the thing I'm left with as an audience member was what a beautiful movie it was. My only concern is that movie-goers across America watched the movie, maybe even cried or felt moved, but did nothing about it.

I tutor African-American high school students in the projects in my city. I've seen firsthand that the life that Michael Oher led was not an exception, except for one thing. He was adopted and had a chance to make it in the world. These kids I tutor are working on their college applications... but that's because an organization from my church is offering tutoring, help with physical needs, and people who care about the children enough to believe in them.

For every Michael Oher, there are countless children who won't get that chance. They'll drop out of high school and do drugs just like their parents. They'll be bounced from foster home to foster home. They'll get pregnant at 16 (some already are), and, as one of my friends put it, they'll see more before they turn six than I'll see in my lifetime. At the same time, they may never leave their neighborhood.

In the meantime, we sit in our cushy American homes and help by tutoring once a week, if that. We worry more about our own safety, our own comfort, and our own schedule than we do about the lives of these children... we spend money on a movie ticket to see one of their success stories that could have gone to buy one of them a meal. It seems kind of inconsistent, don't you think?

Perhaps God isn't calling you to work with kids in the inner city projects. Obviously, that's not where He has placed everyone. But I can tell you one thing: God didn't call you to be comfortable. He called you to be a comforter of the brokenhearted... and I think there's a big difference.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mountains, Much-Afraid, and M&M's

Hello, everyone... it's me, Erin Joy.

I know I've been absent for a while... but I've been told occasionally that a doll like me is very much missed, so I thought I'd start posting again. :)

I just got back from a wonderful tour with the Women's Concert Choir. We spent most of it in the Virginias and Carolinas, enjoying fellowship, music, sight seeing... and LOTS of chocolate! Our "signature" candy is the M&M... you'd be surprised at how many of those a doll like me can eat. (Maybe that's where I got that extra cotton...)

One of the things I've appreciated most about WCC is the spiritual focus the group has. In addition to prayer time each week with a small group, we have weekly devotions. This semester, we've been going through the book Hinds' Feet on High Places. On tour, parts of Hinds' Feet were able to come to life as we looked out over the mountains of North Carolina from the famous Chimney Rock.

God used Hinds' Feet, Chimney Rock, and a host of other experiences over the past few weeks to cause me to realize a very important lesson. Once again, He asked me to surrender. I've had a list of "worst case scenarios" that could happen, and had subconsciously decided that if God asked me to do one of these things I would be very unwilling. God started showing me this lack of surrender before we left on tour, and then it all began to culminate at Chimney Rock.

As I looked out over the gorgeous mountains, I realized anew how majestic and huge my God is. When you compare God to a tiny doll like me... I'm pretty small. I know He is loving and good... but He deserves to be followed because He is God, not just because He has my best interests at heart.

The chapter from Hinds' Feet we had just read echoed this same lesson. In the chapter, the Shepherd asked Much-Afraid what she would do if everything appeared that He had deceived her. "My Lord," she said, "if you can deceive me, you may. It can make no difference. I must love you as long as I continue to exist. I cannot live without loving you."

God's majesty and character drove me that day to a new kind of surrender: a surrender not based on what God might call me to do, but a surrender based on who God is. Because, like Much-Afraid, I had to realize that no matter what He asks, it makes no difference. I must love Him and follow Him, because that's what He deserves.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy