Friday, July 5, 2013

Matt Patrick: The Gospel According to Hoosiers

Here's a strong illustration of grace from the movie Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman:
"...Things are going downhill, and according to the Hickory community, it’s all due to Coach Dale’s unconventional coaching methods (e.g. playing with only 4 players in an awesome scene).  Eventually, a town meeting is demanded by the angry Hickory community in order to decide, once and for all, whether Coach Dale is to remain the coach of Hickory High.
With a very court room kind of aura, the scene begins with Coach Dale spilling his heart out—confessing that he coached the team in an honest and diligent manner.  When the gentleman officiating the meeting opens the floor for comments concerning Coach Dale, Mrs. Law herself, Ms. Fleener, volunteers to speak.  I still remember the first time I saw the film, I cringed watching her walk up to the podium, anticipating the hammer of Myra Fleener to finish him off, to kick him while he’s good and vulnerable.
The moment is here. Everyone is expecting the hammer, BUT (Ephesians 2:4) as she arrives to the podium, Ms. Fleener opens a piece of paper (with tears in her eyes) and reads with a shaky voice:
“I think, in order to be fair… I think it would be a big mistake to let Coach Dale go.Give him a chance.”
This is the last thing you expect from Ms. Fleener, who hasn’t shown an ounce of sympathy for Coach Dale the entire film. Fleener is the ultimate t-crosser and i-dotter, yet, she vouches for the hothead coach—therefore being an agent of grace. “Giv[ing] him a chance” for Fleener translates as, “I know he doesn’t deserve it…I know he has a past, but give him a break.”  This is huge.  The lawgiver of the narrative proves to be the agent of compassion.
Mrs. Fleener, like all lawgivers (i.e. everyone) has the potential to squash its subject with our ample demands and expectations.  Lawgivers stalk their subject, or at least that’s what Fleener did to Coach Dale. One might expect, at any moment of the film, for Coach Dale to cry out:
Think of how wonderful it would be to settle down and live a comfortable life and not think about somebody chasing you down all the time.–Flannery O’Connor
That’s it. Grace means the chase is over. Throwing her hands up in submission, Ms. Fleener stopped chasing Coach Dale. Grace is the end of chasing."

No comments:

Post a Comment