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Courageous vs. Desperate Housewives

            For Christmas our sons gave us the DVD of the first season of Desperate Housewives (or was it just for my wife?).  Last week my wife and I went to see the movie Courageous, and, although I was deeply moved by the film, I think that Desperate Housewives also has something important for Christians to consider. 

            Courageous is the fourth movie by the Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen, and Sherwood Pictures.  It is the first that I have seen, and I highly recommend it.  The film is the story of four police officers who struggle to be men of integrity.  The actors are effective, and there is humor and action to keep a serious movie entertaining.  The heart of the movie, however, is a challenge to fathers to man up and take responsibility for their lives and in particular their families.  It explicitly proclaims the gospel.  Some might complain that it is preachy, but it is no more so than the 1947 Oscar-winning film A Gentleman’s Agreement that exposed anti-Semitism in America.  I believe that even a non-Christian father would be challenged to reexamine his priorities in life.

            On the other hand, Desperate Housewives is clever, often wickedly so.  It satirizes a traditional view of the woman’s role in American society. Wives are unanimously unhappy, and married mothers are either unfulfilled or become dehumanized robots.  In part, this is surely the cultural elite’s typical family and marriage bashing, but I think that it deserves a closer look.  The TV series does raise an issue that Courageous doesn’t deal with.  What should the role of wives and mothers be in contemporary America?

            Interestingly enough both Desperate Housewives and Courageous have two similarities.  First, they portray a kind of 1950’s suburban white collar family with a single male breadwinner and a stay-at-home wife.  It’s just that in Desperate Housewives the results are disastrous.  Now, I come from that kind of family and readily admit that it was wonderful for me to have a mom waiting for me when I returned home from school, a father who faithfully provided for us, and countless happy memories of meals and activities shared together as a family.  At the same time, it often can be difficult for a mother who has dedicated herself completely to her children to find a purpose in life when they are grown up and gone away. 

            The second similarity is that strangely enough neither Courageous nor Desperate Housewives is up to date.  In how many modern American homes are there a breadwinning father and a stay-at-home mom?  For good or ill, the modern economy and modern consumption almost demand two wage earners.

            What I’d like to see now is a Christian film that helps us to picture godly wives and mothers.  Courageous does not show us what the positive role of a Christian wife is.  The women seem just to wait around for their husbands to be the kind of men they are supposed to be.  I’d also like to see how that godliness plays out for a working mother, and, to answer Desperate Housewives, a portrayal of how feminine godliness brings contentment and fulfillment.

            Having said all this, I repeat that I heartily recommend Courageous.  It is a challenge to us men to practice godliness as fathers and husbands.  Watch it.  Pray and search the Scriptures with your wife, and discuss how you both can fulfill the high calling to be a Christian spouse and parent.

One thought on “Courageous vs. Desperate Housewives

  1. hi bill,

    We haven’t seen either film which you write about but I understand what you are saying and agree wholeheartedly. One of the things that has bothered me about the Republican candidates has been that they seem to want to go back to the ’50’s and aren’t in the real globilization that we live in daily. Scary! The challenges are many and one of the biggest is the breakdown of our American family but no one seems to be talking about it except to condemn homosexuality and abortion with no solutions.

    Thanks for the thoughts. We’ll look for “Courageous”. Wonder of wonders, we went to see “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ because of Terry’s love of John LeCarre’s spy novels but it didn’t come up to the previous DVD that we have of Alec Guiness.

    Keep the blogs coming!


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