I watched a Christian movie last night. It’s called Amazing Love, and it dates to 2012. Sean Astin stars in it. You probably know him from such movies as The Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings, and Fifty First Dates. Patty Duke also had a role at the beginning of the movie, and I was interested to learn that she is Sean Astin’s mother. Moreover, I learned that Astin’s step-father, John Astin, played the father in the Addams Family series. But John Astin was not in the movie that I watched last night.
In Amazing Love, Sean Astin plays a youth minister named Stuart. He and his wife Beth (played by Erin Bethea, whom I know from the Christian movie Fireproof) go on a camping trip with some kids. One of the girls on the trip, Ashley, is stuck-up, but she is also suffering because of her parent’s divorce. She does not get along with another girl, Carrie, who believes that Ashley thinks she’s too good for the group. Even though Carrie is told that she as a Christian needs to love Ashley, Carrie simply does not want to do so.
On the last day of the camping trip, Stuart tells the kids the biblical story of Hosea, with some poetic license added in. Hosea was a prophet to Northern Israel, and he criticized Israel’s worship of pagan gods instead of the God of Israel. He was commanded by God to marry a prostitute, Gomer, for that would symbolize how God felt: God was married to Northern Israel and loved her, yet she committed adultery with other gods. In the course of the story, Gomer leaves her husband to be with a rich man, who gives her beautiful jewelry. One night, the rich man wants to sleep with her, but she is not in the mood, so the rich man throws her out. She is then auctioned off, and Hosea lovingly buys her back.
Stuart likens Hosea’s buying Gomer back to Christ paying the price for our sins and buying us back. When some of the kids are baffled that Hosea had such love for Gomer, notwithstanding her unfaithfulness, Stuart replies that all of us fall short of that kind of love, and yet Jesus inside of us can help us to love people unconditionally. At the end of the movie, Ashley and Carrie are getting along, and the other kids are reading their Bibles!
I liked this movie for a variety of reasons. Sean Astin did a good job portraying an accepting youth pastor, one who valued what all of the kids had to say and included them in the group’s discussions. The movie also addressed the issue of unconditional love: how can we love those whom we don’t want to love? According to the movie, Jesus inside of us is what enables us to do so. I’ll try to keep that in mind. There are some people, though, whom I don’t want in my life, so the closest I can come to love in that case is to wish them well and to live my own life, as they live theirs!
I did some reading about Sean Astin’s religion. See here, where he talks about his own faith journey, as well as his mother’s struggle with Catholicism. In this article, he discusses Christian films. I should also note that, although he has been in evangelical movies, he leans toward the Democratic Party politically. He supported John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008, and he was campaign manager for Democrat Dan Adler, who ran for Congress in 2011.