Amen

Question: What does it mean to be faithful to Christ?

I recently watched a movie called Amen. The movie traces the story of two men in WWII Germany who are fighting for the lives of those who are being killed in the German death camps. One is a Protestant who works within the the S.S. and the other is a Catholic priest who is the assistant to the bishop of Germany.

In his passionate attempts to bring the power of the Vatican to end the extermination of Jews, Father Ricardo, pleads to a Vatican official: “If all of the Christans in Europe would convert to Judaism, just until the persecution is over, then the Nazi’s would not be able to kill any more Jews.” Of course, this young priest’s idea is rejected out of hand and he takes it upon himself to do what he can to bring attention to the plight of the persecuted. In an attempt to remain a faithful witness to Christ the priest attaches a star of David to his cassock and boards a train full of Italian Jews bound for the camps.

Pete Rollins cites this story in his book How (Not) to Speak of God. He summarizes the question of faithfulness this way which, even if you can’t accept his suggestion, is an important and thought provoking exercise:

For most Christians, the question, ‘would you die for your beliefs?’ is the most radical one that can be asked–to which the faithful will answer with a defiant ‘Yes’. But Amen. asks a more radical question … would you be prepared to give up your religious tradition in order to affirm that tradition?

And so this priest gives up his Christianity precisely in order to retain his Christianity. – pp. 63-64

Being faithful to Christ means building our foundation upon him rather than our ideas of him. Remaining faithful to Christ requires a criticism of self that enables us to see our idols, remove them from their places of prominence, and re-submit ourselves to Christ.

(There is so much more to the film than the pieces I shared here although it may seem that I shared the entire plot. I encourage you to check it out.)

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