last night i watched the movie “frailty”t. it  is making me seriously rethink my very texan view on the death penalty. tree hugger that people see me to be, i’ve found it hard to get all worked up over the death penalty in recent years.  while it is not soemthing i herald as great i’m not so disgusted by it that i hang my head in shame. i mean, come on, i live in texas.

i have a friend who was all worked up over tookie williams in california. he wanted me to get worked up about it too. and all i could think to say was that it would take something more than tookie to get me hollering.

i may have found it. for anyone who says hollywood is useless please know that hollywood has me thinking in a way the news hasn’t been able to on this issue.

the concept of the movie is slow in unfolding. it takes you down a path that you are clear you understand. your typical psychological thriller. or so i thought.

the gist of the movie is that this kid’s dad wakes him and his brother up in the middle of the night and  tells them that God has come to him and that they must kill demons. he starts bringing people to the house, laying hands on them so that he can “see” that they are demons and then killing them. the oldest kid is upset by this and tries to stop him. but the little brother says he sees the demons as well.

God tells the father to kill his son becuase he is a demon but he doesn’t, instead he puts him in the cellar so that he can “see” God too. weeks later he sees and is let out. the next person his dad brings home he saves by killing his dad.

bear with me a moment longer.

so this story is being told by an adult that was one of the children – you think it is the oldest son but turns out to be the youngest one who then kills the person who he is telling the story to. the twist is that those people he kills and that his father killed are really “evil”, in that they’ve done horrible things.

so the turn at the end is that he is doing God’s work and that is why he is never caught.

it disturbed me on different levels. firstly just that it was spooky. the way it was told, the way it unfolded, the voices, the way it was shot. add to that the idea of thinking that you know what happened and then it turns out that you don’t.  on top of that the almost smug ending that it is indeed God’s work to kill those who do bad things.

i’ve done bad things.

i’m assuming whoever is reading this has done bad things. and while i could argue severity – so could anybody. there is always someone who has done something worse than you. so where do we draw the line?

and while  i am not a religious person i am a spiritual person…and this depiction of a God that sends out “demon killers” to do his bidding in the middle of the night…that is such a small manifestation of God in my world. my God doesn’t seek vengance through people. if there is vengance to be done i believe she’ll unleash it herself, but mostly i know a God capable of grace.

i’m babbling…overwhelmingly this movie has me thinking about what it means to take the life of a person for killing someone..taking a life in a somewhat arbitrary way given that some people do the same acts and get different punishments.

i haven’t jumped to the other side of the fence yet…but i’m looking at the pastures on the other side and wondering if i would be better suited there. of course then i’d be like so many people that i chide for straddling…one foot on one side for abortion and another foot someplace else for the death penalty.

it is easy to shake my head and say it doesn’t matter to me because i don’t have to decide. but by not making a decision i make a decision – it just ins’t a very well informed one.

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