Wednesday, January 18, 2006
End of the Spear
In yesterday’s comments Bonnie asked a question about genres other than suspense—are they plot- or character-driven? Bonnie, I’d say most genres are plot-driven. Literary-type novels tend to be more character-driven. Women’s fiction can tend to be more character-driven, although mine had probably almost equal plot to character. In general, if the genre has strong conventions (that is, aspects to the story that are expected to be included), it will tend to be plot-driven. Suspense, science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery—these are all genres with strong conventions. Although even in these it depends on the author. An inventive author can take any genre and turn it into a more literary or character-driven story.
Today I want to encourage all of you to go see the movie End of the Spear, which releases this weekend. This is the incredible and true story of martyred missionaries in Ecuador, and their kin who went right back into the tribe to live among them and tell them about God. Steve Saint was five years old when his father and other missionaries were killed by members of the violent Waodani tribe. At age eight he went to live with his aunt (his father’s sister) among this same tribe. Now, fifty years later, this story of redemption is being told on the big screen.
Steve Saint was a guest on today’s “At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny” show. (This is a show I appeared on a little over a year ago along with Bill Myers, James Scott Bell and Terri Blackstock, as part of our Zondervan book tour.) Steve appeared with Mincayani, one of the members of the Waodani tribe who killed his father. At the time Steve’s father was murdered, the oldest member of the tribe was only 32, due to their extreme violence. All they knew was hate and killing. Then, because of the missionary work, many members of this tribe came to follow God. Steve and Mincayani (through interpreting by Steve) told how the tribe at first did not want to participate in making this movie, but decided to do it when they heard how violent America is. Steve told them about gangs in our country, and all the murders, and tragedies such as Columbine. To paraphrase Mincayani: “After meeting God, we stopped killing each other. Now we want to send our message to America that they, too, can stop hating and killing each other if they come to know God.”
It’s a wonderful thing to see how Hollywood has opened up to films with a Christian message. Not that Hollywood at large cares about spreading Christianity. But they do care about making money, so as long as Christian-based films bring in the dough, they’ll keep making them. This film is opening in about 1200 theatres across the country. If it comes to your town, please support it with your dollars, especially on opening weekend, when numbers really count. It’s a story that will touch and amaze you. It’s a missionary story come full circle, from Americans taking the God-message to violent Ecuador, to Ecuador bringing the God-message back to violent America.