Speaking of redemption…
Today I have a little bonus from our trip that is completely inline with the message of both the Creation Museum and the Ark, but so so so very much different.
One of the nights in our VRBO we watched Father Stu on Netflix.
If you are not familiar with the movie, it came out in the spring of this year and stars Mark Wahlberg as Father Stuart and Mel Gibson as his dad, Bill Long.
Based on a true story, I checked an article comparing Father Stu’s actual life with the movie and found that for the most part and the important parts, they movie was very closely aligned with the facts.
Right off the bat, I want you to know the movie earned its R rating for language. It is filled with it and with alcohol abuse along with a lot of anger at God and the church from his family as well as Stuart.
From a rough home life and a life lived with anger and aggression, the movie tells the story of how God pursued this young man. In the movie a motorcycle accident after drinking heavily brings about a kind of “come to Jesus” moment for him.
In real life, the accident was simply something that happened on the way home from work, but it was the turning point for him to answer the call from God to be a priest.
He took quite a few years to become a priest and in the later stages he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder with no cure and one where his muscles began deteriorating.
In the movie and in real life, this became the thing that brought reconciliation with his father and it was his father who cared for him as his body began to fail.
The thing that touched me the most, is the truth of the Gospel.
Father Stu accepted what was happening to him, after struggling with the hard questions of why, after turning his life around and answering the call, that God would allow this to happen.
In his rough way of talking, his testimony was raw and honest as he shared that the illness was the thing that finally broke away his pride. He saw how God used the disease to bring him to a greater understanding of suffering and of God’s mercy to us.
I loved that he didn’t become a cookie cutter Christian priest.
He never fit the mold.
I think of Peter.
I think of how he probably never lost his ability to put his foot in his mouth or get things out of order, but he was changed. Transformed. And with Christ working through him, he was still Peter but able to reach those who could relate to him.
He was converted from a fanatical persecutor of Christians to a fanatical proclaimer of Christ. His personality and intensity didn’t change. He still spoke in his educated way, but with a new purpose.
And so Father Stu explained the Cross and Christ and forgiveness and joy and peace that passes understanding like a rough street kid.
If you can handle the language, the movie is definitely worth watching. But is not, at least look up the story of Father Stu and learn a little about his heart change.
It builds faith to hear the testimonies of others.
Hope this built yours today <3