Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Marshall

November 5th, 2017

…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Our pledge of allegiance doesn’t command us to pick and choose liberty and justice for those of a certain race or religion. It clearly states “for all.” just as we’re supposed to love one another. Sadly neither has happened throughout history. Marshall is a movie about a great American that stood in the gap for such justice.

Set in the 1940’s, Marshall follows pioneering Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in his earlier years as a lawyer for the NAACP. A married white socialite in Greenwich, Connecticut, accuses Sterling K. Brown of rape and attempted murder. Out of fear of losing her marriage, and status in the community, she was willing to destroy another human being.

It’s fair to say Chadwick Boseman is becoming one of the best actors of his generation. Chadwick Boseman is suave in his portrayal as the future Supreme Court Justice. He reminds me of a young Sydney Poitier with his quiet confidence and his cool style. Boseman has taken on film versions of such icons as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in GET ON UP, so he likely jumped at the chance to play the revered figure, Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Boseman has true movie star screen presence, and portrays the young Mr. Marshall with a self-assured swagger that accompanies a brilliant legal mind – a mind that refused to be ignored during a time it was desperately needed. The film does portray Marshall honestly as a smoke, drinker and hints at carousing. The common flaws of a great man.

Josh Gad plays opposite of Boseman as a young Jewish attorney, Sam Friedman. Slowly a friendship develops between the two men and they soon find that they have more in common that they first thought. Neither is an accepted member of the community; one because of his religion and one because of his race.

This film is a historical heavyweight with a very good screenplay. The touches of comedy bring a welcome balance to its tension-filled courtroom and difficult subject matter. I appreciate that Marshall takes its subjects seriously, but doesn’t take on a dreary tone doing it. The scenes in the courtroom are intense and keep you interested in the action. As the case develops, these scenes get more and more engaging.

In 1967 when Lyndon Johnson appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court it wasn’t his race that made Marshall’s appointment unique. It was the whole level of experience in the kind of law he practiced for people like Sterling K. Brown. Marshall believed the goal is justice and the law must work for all for justice to be realized.

Overall the movie is both gripping and inspiring. The entire cast is excellent, and I was emotionally invested the whole time. Marshall will move viewers both to tears and anger from start to finish, and I highly suggest you go see it. Vow to follow your moral compass even when it’s hard.

Entrusting Justice to God

February 26th, 2014

Never pay back evil for evil… never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. Romans 12:17, Romans 12:19

Bitterness and a hard heart builds a lonely house. Space enough for one person with a life full of misery. But God’s healing can get us out of the house of spite and toward spacious ways of grace.

Maybe you’re going through a deep mess, and wonder can He really help. This history of abuse? This raw anger? This seething disgust I feel? Can God heal this hurt in my heart?

Joseph asked these questions. He never forgot his ten brothers giving him the heave-ho. They walked away and never came back! So, when he saw them in the breadline, he snapped at them. He accused them of treachery and threw them in jail.

Isn’t it good to know that Joseph was human? The guy was so good. He endured slavery, succeeded in a foreign land, mastered a new language, and resisted seductions. He was the model prisoner and the perfect counselor to the king. We almost expect him to see his brothers and declare, “Father, forgive them”. But he didn’t. He didn’t because forgiving jerks is the hardest trick in the bag.

Sometimes it’s not easy. How do we reconcile deep pain with God’s command to forgive? Isn’t some retribution in order? Of course, and God cares about justice and execute it on behalf of truth and fairness.

Judah, who had trapped Joseph, had three sons. He arranged for the eldest to marry a girl named Tamar. But the son died. Judah arranged for his second son to marry Tamar. The son didn’t manage the situation well and died. Judah assumed Tamar was jinxed. Afraid that his third son would meet the same fate, Judah put the matter on hold.

Later Tamar heard that Judah was coming to town. Apparently she decided to get creative, disguised herself as a prostitute and made him an offer. Judah took the bait. He exchanged his necklace and walking stick for sex, unaware that he was conceiving a child with his daughter-in-law.

Judah was caught in his own sin. Things had come full circle. Judah, who had trapped Joseph, was trapped. Judah, who had helped humiliate Joseph, was humiliated. God gave Judah his just punishment, and Joseph didn’t have to lift a finger or swing a fist.

God can discipline your abusive boss, soften your angry parent or bring your ex to their senses. God never gives up. Long after we’ve moved on, God is still there, probing the conscience, stirring conviction, always orchestrating redemption.

Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice, it just leaves it to God. Forgiveness vacillates with fits and starts, good days and bad. Anger intermingled with love. Irregular mercy. Step forward and fall back. But it’s okay. As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It’s when you no longer try that bitterness sets in.

Stay the course. You’ll spend less time in the lonely house and more in the grace house.

 

Justice

January 5th, 2014

The way of the just is uprightness. Isaiah 26:7

It wasn’t America’s finest hour. The year was 1938, but it could be 2014, with our country stuck in the economic despair following the Great Depression. Putting food on the table is on our minds, and people with decent jobs are among the lucky ones. Violent crime in on the increase and justice seems to be in short supply. To make matters even more ominous, North Korea is threatening to involve the nation in war again, much like the doom of WWII.

Yet into the depressing environment, two men gave America Superman. A red, white and blue crime fighting hero who struck the chords of patriotism and ignited something in our hearts when we needed it most. From that time through today, DC Comics’ Superman has reigned supreme as our most beloved superheroes.

His motto: “Truth, justice and the American way.” It’s the justice that we saw Superman pursue most actively as he turned over to police a cat burglar escaping with jewelry, halted mobsters running away in a boat with their loot after a shootout, and thwarted the evil Lex Luthor’s plot to annihilate California.

With crime and poverty rampant today, we’re still in need of a hero to bring justice. Without Superman in sight it falls on us to bring justice to our world. God says His way is uprightness, and He is counting on us to do our part.

As Christians we’re charged to do justice and walk humbly with God. God made it so simple for us. It’s certainly not hard to find people who need help. Defend the defenseless; help the oppressed; speak up for the weak! It’s our job.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.