On this MLK Day with its emphasis on human relations, the best I can offer is to encourage everyone to see the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino. A warning: the language is strong and the racial slurs are frequent. The language however is not gratuitous. It fits with the bigoted character Eastwood plays, a man of stubborn pain who despises the Asians who have “taken over” his neighborhood. Yet the movie is a story of grace at work and the gospel is present in the outcome.
Another delight of the movie is the way the priest is portrayed. In so many movies and TV programs today ministers are shown as ineffective, out-of-touch, or unsavory characters. The young priest in Gran Torino grows in his role, but is honest, persistent and real, and the faith he offers makes a difference.
The movie is a poignant glimpse that in a harsh world there is hope in the power of love.