This past week, my wife and I went to the movies and we watched “The Butler.” The movie has a long list of very accomplished actors. The main characters were played by Forest Whitaker (whom I am sure will get the Oscar for his role in this film) and Oprah Winfrey. The story is based on the life of longtime White House butler, Eugene Allen, who served under eight U.S. presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
The film is about family more than it is about anything else. It is about the struggles of parents raising children who don’t always see things the same way parents do. It is about growing old together, still in love with one another. It is about sacrifice, loss, pain, injustice, hurt, and remembering the good, the bad, and the ugly of life and still having the fortitude to raise your head up high. Yes, it is about an African American family. Yes, it is also about the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers, and the unjust treatment of African Americans in this country. But above all of these things, it is about a family who loves each other and struggles with each other and the demands of this life, internally and externally. It is a remarkable film and I encourage everyone to watch it.
The only negative about the film (at least for me) was the casting of each of the presidents. To me, they did not bear a resemblance to reality; perhaps this was done intentionally not to draw attention from the main character of the Butler. But I still wish they had done a better job at this. Go and watch this film, learn about a time in American history most of us have only heard about and be encouraged as human beings, as families, and as people of God.
Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech
during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963.
Alongside the watching of this film, I would like to bring your attention to another event worthy of remembrance. No, I am not being political, I have no intention or inclination to be political in any of my blogs. However, to ignore this film and the event we celebrate this week would be a grievous and ignorant error on our part.
This week, on August 28, the 50th year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was remembered and celebrated by many. The speech was delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and it called and still calls all Americans to live up to those words of the Constitution of these United States that declare that “All men are created equal.” Clearly, this speech of Dr. King was an anointed and prophetic speech that will be remembered forever. Listening to talk shows this week I learned that Martin Luther King, Jr. only intended to speak for about 10 minutes on justice and equality, but when the Holy Spirit took hold of him, the preacher of God’s word took over and the “I Have a Dream” speech came forth. Something that we all can aspire to.
I suspect that many today have never ever taken the time to listen to the entire speech which is only just over 17 minutes long. I know for certain that we have all heard portions of the speech but how about taking the time to listen to Dr. King deliver the speech again for our own generation. If you google it, you will find the speech very easily, on the Internet, as it was delivered in 1963.
I pray we may all learn to treat each other always with love, worth, and respect as our God has called us to, independent of color, or nationality, or accent, or religion, or anything else; and just simply as fellow human beings sharing this wonderful nation we call the United States of America and this amazing world in which we all live.