Saturday, June 28, 2008

A great movie to see...

I love to watch old movies with my older children. All kinds of older movies, from Gone with the Wind to the Rocky movies. I think of it as a sort of cultural education. It works even better when we all read the book first.

Several years ago Wesley and I read The Hiding Place. The book was terrific, but we had never seen the 1975 movie until last night. I was shocked and delighted to see a scene where Corrie TenBoom was leading and teaching a beautiful group of children, some of whom obviously had Down Syndrome. I must have forgotten this part of the book!

A little later on in the movie, Corrie was being questioned by a Nazi officer about her "work." He is digging for information on her role in hiding Jews. He didn't want to hear about her watchmaking so she responded by saying, "Oh, then you're referring to my work with retarded children?"

Here is the exchange recorded in the book:

"Your other activities, Miss ten Boom. What would you like to tell me about them?"

"Other activities? Oh, you mean- you want to know about my church for mentally retarded people!" and I plunged into an eager account of my efforts at preaching to the feeble-minded.

The lieutenant's eyebrows rose higher and higher. "What a waste of time and energy!" he exploded at last. "If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!"

I stared into the man's intelligent blue-gray eyes: true National-Socialist philosophy I thought, tulip bed or no. And then to my astonishment I heard my own voice saying boldy, "May I tell you the truth, Lieutentant Rahms?"

"This hearing, Miss ten Boom, is predicated on the assumpition that you will do me that honor."

"The truth , Sir," I said, swallowing, "is that God's viewpoint is sometimes different from ours- so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things."I knew it was madness to talk this way to a Nazi officer. But he said nothing so I plunged ahead. "In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or- a lieutenant."

Indeed. She articulates her view more fully in this quote: Many years ago I worked in Haarlem [in the Netherlands] among mentally retarded people. I had several Bible study clubs with them it was great work. You and I need the Holy Spirit to understand eternal truths. The foolishness of God is the greatest wisdom. We cannot understand it with worldly wisdom. . . . The mentally retarded people had very little wisdom of the wise. But the Holy Spirit gave them a great deal of the foolishness of God, which they accepted much more easily and without doubts. They also understood it. Then I saw the truth of the Word that we must become like children, so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. I could never tell them too much of God's love. . . their faces was radiant.

How sad and ironic that the Netherlands, a country with a rich Christian heritage and Corrie's homeland, should be the first to legally embrace euthanasia.


Al said...

I just dug this movie out to see it again myself. I 1st discovered Corrie while in college as a special ed major. This part from the book absolutely touched my heart. What a beautiful way to put it. Sadly way too many people feel the same way the Nazi officer did. 1 of them just put a comment on my blog calling these kids freaks. I wasn't at home so I did a web search to find this quote to use to reaspond & came across your blog. Mille grazie for having posted it.