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What Frost/Nixon Teaches us About the Church


My wife and I did the dinner and movie thing tonight. While many might consider this the typical date formula, tonight was far from typical for us. We saw the movie Frost/Nixon and found ourselves very moved by the experience. Here are a few thoughts that I imagine you history snobs have already processed but I’m just beginning to think about when it comes to what the characters of this drama represent to us as the Church.

01. The intelligent guy. This is the guy who had done the research and yet had to watch the interview happen but without the influence to sit in the chair and ask the questions he knows should be asked. For most of us there is a chair that we think we should be sitting in. There is a role, a title, a position that we feel better suited for than the person that occupies it. Will we constantly wonder why we’re not in charge or will we live as a gift to the person who sits in the seat?

02. The charismatic TV talent. This is the person that gets to sit in the chair that everyone wants to sit in but nobody respects that they are occupying it. In the movie you watch this character try to rely on raw talent rather than the preparation required to sit in that seat. He comes into his own as he slowly begins to understand the chair he is sitting. Is influence the position one holds or the ability of the person in the position?

03. The powerful President. This represents the kind of leader who is able to admit mistakes enough to appear self aware but unable to look the people in the eye that they have wronged and say, “I’m sorry.” This person might blame the economy when they themselves have made poor financial decisions while the economy has been bad. This person finds the loophole to cover the majority of what is broken in the moment but “smart” enough to acknowledge a small piece they could’ve done a little bit better so as to not look like they haven’t owned anything. What does repentance look like when you’re the leader in charge?

04. The team of people celebrating over the shame and breaking of Nixon. Have you ever noticed that Jesus never wandered His way back to the High Priest or to Pilot after the resurection to say “I told you so”? Our pursuit of justice is meant to lead to deeper humility rather than higher levels of self-righteousness. Redemption is the idea that there is healing for the abused and hope for the abuser in a way that gives both people the gift of mission as they take a new path with their lives. Who are you silently rooting to fail?

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05. The director Ron Howard. May we be reminded of the power of an old story told well. I think you can draw your own conclusion to this one. How are you developing your gift to tell the old stories of scripture, whether it be through spoken word, written word or art, in a way that draws people into the tension and beauty of the narrative?

How would you answer these questions?

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