Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Everybody blames the Lutherans."

Here is a link to a poignant scene from a great (at least in my opinion) film.  The "embedding" feature is disabled, so you'll have to do the hard work of clicking on the link to see the YouTube video of the clip.

The movie is, of course, Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino (spoiler alert). 

The movie has some beautifully done Christological symbolism; deals with confession, absolution, and redemption (note the scene in front of the baptismal font as well as the ending which I won't spoil for you); and is a classic Clint Eastwood good vs. evil story.  And, atypical of modern movie-making, the persistent pastor is a good guy.

The language is gritty, so viewer discretion is advised.

It calls to mind my own baptism at age 18 with 7 Hmong people gathered around the font at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  For a while, we even had the Gospel read in both English and Hmong.

I thought of the line "Everybody blames the Lutherans" in our Book of Concord class last night, as we covered Apology 7 and 8, article 25:

"Now, if we would define the Church in this way, we would perhaps have fairer judges.  For there exist many excessive and wicked writings about the pope of Rome's power, for which no one has ever been charged.  We alone are blamed, because we proclaim Christ's graciousness, that by faith in Christ we obtain forgiveness of sins..." (Ap 7/8:25, McCain edition).

"Everybody blames the Lutherans" (Walt Kowalsky, Clint Eastwood interpretation).


Past Elder said...

If I remember right, the line happens when Clint's character and the Hmong girl are driving in the car and discussing the state of Hmong in the USA.

The movie struck me as rather like "The Shootist", a farewell. Unlike John Wayne though Clint is a producer and director and will continue that, but a farewell not just to acting but to the enduring persona through their roles, placing it in the context of service, rather than admiration for themselves.

Sort of like the ending to Seven Samurai, where the warrior, after victory, seeks no glory nor emulation but says it was for them (the people he helped).

Ted Badje said...

Uh, go ahead, make my millenium.

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I love this film, especially for the Christlike self-sacrifice of the Eastwood character. Plus all the little humorous moments, like when he says to the girl, "Get me another beer, dragon lady."