[If you’re new to this blog, we’d love it if you subscribed to our RSS feed or email updates to the right. Should you decide to in the future, unsubscribing is easy, too. If you like it and share via Twitter or Facebook that’d be the bomb! Saying the bomb is already out, isn’t it?]
Wow! What a great movie. For those that don’t know, I see almost all movies that come out with the exception of horror movies. (I’ve just never liked them.) So, for a movie to get my attention and keep it the way this one did is very impressive. I couldn’t help but think of Christian theological, social justice issues while watching, so I wanted to get a few of those ideas down. I also wanted to get down one current affair opinion down.
First of all, I was reminded at just how impressive it was for that generation to embrace a Christian religion that was largely identified by those who were oppressing them. However, they were able to look past the fallen state of those professing Christianity and see the truth of Christ. There is one scene where one of the maids is holding a hand fan at church depicting a Caucasian Jesus image. Even though it’s likely that the Jesus of history had little of the European look that has been popularized, it’s still remarkable to know African Americans were clinging to a figure who was overwhelmingly marketed as having the same features as those who were belittling them.
Secondly, God’s love is on full display within the relationship between the white children and black maids who are essentially raising them. The maids could look at these children with resentment but they instead treat them as individuals with the care that a shepherd would have for a sheep.
My final note regarding The Help is not meant to be taken as the Christian opinion. It’s just mine. There is a scene when one of the maids says to the author that they, the African Americans, don’t need the help (ironic) of the white people. I want to talk about this in two ways. One is whether we should see this as a good statement and the other is to ask how whites and blacks should react in our current times to this message.
Firstly, I think the reality is that we all need each other’s help, sometimes. So, I don’t like to carry the idea that I, as a white male, need to help non-whites, or they won’t be able to help themselves. Too often, this is the attitude of white social activists who feel a pull to rescue non-whites from their misfortune. Shelby Steele, an African American author, calls this White Guilt. He relates this White Guilt to that of a moral vacuum. Rather than being motivated by what’s right, whites are too often motivated by guilt. The goal is to prove your not racist rather that acting out in compassion. I think the truly compassionate way to live is out of a willingness to help and be helped by all others out of humbleness and godly motivation.
In the end, in this movie, even though there were understandable trust issues between the maids and the author, they were overcome by honest communion with one another. In the end, it wasn’t only the black maids who were helped by the white author but she was also helped by them. So, it wasn’t only the maids who were the help in terms of menial tasks but they were helpful in the author’s journey in becoming more fully human.
P.S. For information on participating in our dialogue group, click on the “Become A Participant” tab and tell us if you’d like to join us in person or via the web. We’d love to be in community with you!