The other night I sat down to watch the remake of the 1984 movie Footloose. The premise behind this movie starts with a group of underage kids partying, dancing, and drinking. Sadly from this party several of the kids are heading home after and hit a semi-truck head on. All of the kids in the car are killed; the driver was the son of the town’s pastor. Following this tragic event the pastor, among other adults in the town, have a town meeting in order to make some new laws. These new rules would make drinking, swearing, loud music, and of course dancing illegal with in the town’s limits. Fast forward three years later and enter a new kid moving to town to live with his uncle following the death of his mother. He starts to get to know the other kids and learn about the new laws, however he has also learned that this has not stopped the kids from still dancing and doing what teenagers do, rebelling. The new kid in town starts to befriend the pastor’s daughter who is having a bit of a crisis in her life following her brother’s death. Normally she would be viewed as simple having a time of rebellion. However later on we find out she simply wants her father’s attention, to have a real conversation with him. You see the Pastor shut down following his son’s death and believes that if he controls everything, such as making dancing illegal, nothing else bad will happen. When the pastor discovers that his daughter is behaving in ways that are considered “immoral”, even after all the new laws in place, it rocks his world. His daughter screams at him to listen to her. She is still grieving for her brother and wants nothing more than to connect with her father in order to heal from her brother’s death.
Click here for the movie trailer.
As I was watching this movie I was thinking about what I had read in Dr. Larry Crabb’s book Connecting. Dr. Crabb wrote his book to help guide people back to connecting with God and others in order for healing process to truly start. While I am watching this movie two things that relate the movie and book together struck me. Dr. Crabb listed four metaphors on how people connect or lack of connecting with God. One of those metaphors was the “Wall Whitewasher”. These types of people are described as minimize risk takers and they will protect themselves at all costs. Wall whitewashers want safety and are willing to live a life that restricts them from connecting with others to keep that safety. In the end, however they lure themselves into a false sense of secure. People who are wall whitewashers strongly dislike uncertainly and have a hard time trusting God, especially during times of trail. This prevents wall whitewashers from truly connecting with God and trusting that He is in control and understanding that human attempts to control everything will prove futile. The pastor in the movie is a prime example of a wall whitewasher. Instead of going to God for comfort and healing for the death of his son and trusting God to keep his daughter save, he chose to try and control everything and everyone. The pastor shut down because he could not handle the death of his son. This in turn drove him farther and farther from his wife, daughter, and God. This also led his daughter to behavior in ways that were crying out for connection with her father. In the end of the movie the new kid, who ends up falling for the pastor’s daughter, pleads with the town to allow a school dance. The town’s mayor rejects his request. So the boy uses a mill outside the town’s limit to host the dance. He again pleads with the pastor to allow him to take his daughter to the dance. The pastor decides to think it over and after having an intense and finally a real conversation with his daughter, his heart begins to soften. He decided to let his daughter go to the dance, but in the end he begins to truly connect with her daughter. More importantly the pastor decides to trust again that God is in control and no matter how hard he tries to control things he cannot control anything. At the end during a church service the pastor tells the people of the town that the dance will be held. And instead of trying to stop it they should pray that God protects them. In the end a family starts to see and connect with each other and God again to finally start healing.