Jacob’s Story: Broken People Make Great Starts (Sunday’s Sermon Today)

The sun is just starting to come up over the hills in the distance, and he can see the figure of the angel walking away into the mist of the early morning dew. Lying battered and bloody, Jacob lays beside the river, exhausted. He’s wrestled an angel of God all night, and survived, but what’s the cost? What does it mean for his future? How did he get here?

To understand the story of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel, we must look at Jacob’s story before.

We know that while they were still in the womb, that Jacob and his brother, Esau, struggled against each other, causing unpleasantness for their mother Rebekah (Gen. 25:22) to the point that she prayed to God and asked, “Why would God make this so hard for me?” And God’s response is that the younger would be stronger than his brother, and the elder would serve the younger.

We know that in the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, something must’ve happened to upset the apple cart, the natural order of how birthright and favor look: why else would a second son be the one included? [Abraham was his father's first son; Isaac was Abraham's first... legitimate... son.] Apparently, God knew from before they were born– working against the natural order, the expectations of what was valuable, both in what God would choose and in knowing it in advance!

We know that Jacob was… a mama’s boy. While Esau was out doing the necessary things that a tribe needed, hunting, fishing, gathering, etc., Jacob stayed at home where he gained his mother’s favor. Now, we’ll get to real favoritism next week with Joseph, but note this: Isaac picks Esau and Rebekah chooses Jacob as her favorite– this is bound to cause problems, is it not?

So we arrive at our first crucial point for Jacob and Esau, when they’re teenagers. We know that Esau came in hunting, that he has the animals he’s killed but that they’re not ready to eat (Gen. 25:27-34). In a flash, he trades over a bowl of Jacob’s bean soup for his birthright, for whatever it would be that Esau would receive from Isaac as the firstborn. Esau wants the immediate, what feels good, the payoff– Jacob is already looking at the big picture.

Fastforward to Isaac’s old age, when Isaac calls Esau in, tells him to prepare a well-hunted meal, and that he will give him his blessing (Gen. 27:1-29). A blessing to Isaac’s family that was part-will and testament, part-prophetic. To them, the words of Isaac would be more than well-wishing or a toast at a banquet; these were the words that the people of Isaac’s family would believe were life-giving, determining the success of his children.

But Rebekah, remember, she who chooses Jacob first, whether it’s because of the time she has spent with him or because of the word she received from God or both- she interferes and steers Jacob into a plot that involves disguises and deceit. Jacob steals his brother’s birthright, deceives his father, and moves from deal broker/swindler into liar/cheat territory. Sure, it’s a slippery slope, but it’s one that Jacob slides down pushed by his own mother! Norman Bates he’s not, but this is the same type of critical family dysfunction that’s been going on since Adam blamed Eve and Cain killed Abel over some butter beans.

Of course, the fall out is almost immediate. Jacob is blessed; Esau gets the scraps. Rebekah has won; Isaac is dying anyway. But Jacob must run because Esau promises to kill him once they are done mourning his father. Again, Rebekah intervenes, sending Jacob away to her brother’s home “until Esau’s anger cools and he forgets what you have done to him” (Gen 27:41-45). Seriously? Not only does Rebekah naively (?) think that this will somehow be swept under the carpet but she practices that wonderful super power of manipulators everywhere: she pretends like she isn’t the one to cause all of this!

Off goes Jacob to ‘visit’ with his uncle. He heads back toward where Abraham would’ve come from, back where everyone from Abraham’s family stayed except for Abraham and Sarah who had been called out by God. It says that he arrived at a holy place and lay down to sleep, resting his head on a stone (Gen. 28:10-18). It’s the dream of the stairway to heaven made so famous by Led Zeppelin (I joke, I joke). But too often, I’ve skipped to the dream or vision and missed the setting.

Jacob puts his head on a stone. It doesn’t even say that he takes a stone as a pillow. Either way, it can’t have been comfortable- and it certainly wasn’t the kind of trip that you could find on Travelocity. No, it seems that Jacob was sent away in such haste that he didn’t pack, that he didn’t have the normal tent and bedroll that his people would’ve taken to travel, and when he arrives at this holy place, he collapses against the altar there.

The journey has been exhausting, the euphoria of the blessing has worn off. Jacob is alone, frightened, probably ashamed, and frankly, wondering why a game of dress up has ended with his running from the scene of the crime. And yet, while he sleeps, God speaks.

The LORD of Abraham and Isaac speaks and says, “I will give to you and your descendants this land on which you are lying. They will be as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth. They will extend their territory in all directions, and through you and your descendants I will bless ALL nations” (emphasis mine).

This isn’t too tricky, right? Other than skipping the firstborn, God is saying the same thing he told Abraham.

But the LORD continues, “Remember, I will be with you and protect you wherever you go, and i will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done everything I promised you” (Gen. 28:15).

Now, that’s terrifying to Jacob. Not that he’d have a vision. Not that the LORD would speak. But that the LORD would speak here when he and his people believed that so much of what they knew about the gods of their day was locational. And the LORD shows up … here. Wherever here is. After all that Jacob has done. Like the LORD was really with him.

So, when Jacob wakes up, he makes a vow: “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

Still, the deal broker, isn’t he? Still working the system to wind up in his favor. He makes his obedience and his worship conditional, like so many of us do, ‘if God, you will do this, then I will do that.’ He’s still trying to give a dollar and get back ten, still trying to figure out how to make the best of the situation like he’s the one calling the shots. But apparently, he’s been paying enough attention to the family story, to the way he’s been raised, to know he should give God a tenth of what he has. It’s ingrained, learned behavior, but that doesn’t mean he actually gets it yet.

Short version of the next fourteen years: Jacob gets to his uncle’s house, works for seven years to marry the pretty daughter and gets the ugly one instead, works another seven years to marry the one he actually loves, outsmarts his uncle to take a bigger portion of the cattle herd than he would’ve gotten, and slips away in the middle of the night, knowing that his uncle wouldn’t have let him leave.

But for the first time in his life, we see Jacob initiate prayer with the LORD (Genesis 32:1-21). Now, he does devise a plan for how to make things more palatable for Esau, to try to grease the wheels of forgiveness, but he also puts it all before the LORD: “God of my grandfather Abraham and God of my father Isaac, hear me! You told me, LORD, to go back to my land… and you would make everything go well for me. I am not worth all the kindness and faithfulness that you have shown me, your servant… Save me, I pray, from my brother Esau. I am afraid–afraid that he is coming to attack and destroy us all… Remember that you promised to make everything go well for me and to give me more descendants than anyone could count, as many as the grains of sand along the seashore” (Gen. 32:9-12).

In response, the LORD appears… or at least sends an angel in the form of a man to Jacob. And they wrestle (Gen. 32:24-32). Now, of course, every time I’ve thought about this story, I’ve thought of something principled, something… somewhat gentle. Like my boys wrestling, or even something like Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling. Something with rules.

But the longer I look at this story, and the longer I consider what it looks like in my own life, the more I think this is more like MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). The more I think it is devoid of nice, or mercy, or … rules. I think that Jacob and this man did everything they could from the setting of the sun to the rising of the sun the next morning to defeat, beat down, control, manipulate their adversary. I think this was the microcosm of what Jacob’s whole life had been about- trying to figure out who he was in the world by whatever means necessary, whether it was fair or not.

In the end, it says that the man could not beat Jacob, so he cheated. Or at least, it seems like he cheated. But if there are no rules…? The man did what he needed to do to give himself an advantage, and caused Jacob’s hip to be thrown out of joint (Gen. 32:25).

And Jacob still will not let him go. Jacob, exhausted, beaten, bloodied, sore, alone, and terrified will still not give up.

Whenever I preach on Jacob, I’m teased about how my name is synonymous with a cheater and a deceiver and a coward. But somehow, Israel, he who has wrestled with God and men and not been overcome, that sounds pretty good! Because Jacob was relentless in his pursuit of the blessing, single-minded in his desire to be made right with the LORD. He took everything that his family, his personality, his enemies, his situation, and the LORD threw at him, and shouted into the abyss:

“YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”

So, Jacob, born second and meant for a life of leftovers, rose to the top spot, became a friend of God, became the third notary in the trinity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and … walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

How many of you have ever broken a bone? Have arthritis or tendonitis?

There are not many, if any, moments where you can forget that. You might have times where you feel better, but the ache doesn’t ever really go away. Kind of like a hip joint that has been put out of place, may be put back into place… but it will still ache.

I know that when it rains, the leg that I broke playing soccer aches. I know that when I am stressed, my jaw grinds at night, and locks in the morning. And I remember.

But what does Jacob remember? Jacob remembers that he was in a dogfight for his life, physically and spiritually, and that he was rewarded because he did not give up. He was ultimately blessed by the LORD because he held on.

Jacob didn’t build an ark. He didn’t name all of the animals in the garden. He didn’t move his family from his ancestral homeland out of honor for God.

Jacob didn’t give up. He held on. He believed in the promise.

Jacob was broken in spirit by life’s tricks and turns, but he held on.

Jacob was broken physically by wrestling with God, but he held on.

Jacob could have given up, tapped out, cursed God, abandoned his faith, fled in the opposite direction, but he held on.

Jacob was broken but he let God put him back together. Jacob let God form him as he’d promised first to Rachel, and later to Jacob. But the breaking had to happen first, the melting down of the pride of the deal maker and the cheater and the deceiver. Jacob’s personality wasn’t lost but the place he put his trust had to change.

When I think of that reshaping, that refining fire of God on and in us, I think of the parable of the potter’s house that God tells Jeremiah (Jer. 18:1-4). The LORD tells Jeremiah to go to a potter’s house, where clay is made and formed. Jeremiah sees the potter working at the wheel, but the pot becomes misshapen, and he has to reheat it and reshape it. And the result is good.

This image of clay gets revisited by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”

We are fragile, made up of flesh and soul, and we break. Sometimes we are misshapen by our sins, and our choice; sometimes we are misshapen by the sins of Adam and Eve played out through our bodies and the world, of original sin; sometimes, we receive the bloodied lips and bruises from the free will misused by others. We have the scars from our wrestling matches with others, with ourselves, with God.

But if we will just hold on, if we will not give up, if we will remember that the LORD who promised to be forever with Abraham and Jacob, who promised us much through the death and resurrection of Jesus, then we will overcome. We will receive the inheritance of God’s promise, whether in this life or the next.

We are the reminder to those who are broken, to those who have not yet been broken, that the world is not the way it will forever be. That we believe in a world with no suffering and no pain and no war and no sickness and no evil. We believe in a world where the power of the risen Christ is the only light we will need.

Sometimes, some days, when I struggle to see that in my petty problems, I remember:

-the people who sit through hours of chemotherapy and believe that God sits with them.

-the people who have been divorced or lost a spouse who believes that God hasn’t written the end of their story yet.

-the people who have taken the abuse they’ve received, the pain they’ve endured at the hands of others, the tears they’ve shed, and turned them into ministries and caring for those who would suffer the same fate.

-the times when God showed up in the midst of my darkness and said, “just hold on, I’ve got this, you are not alone.”

This is not trite or simple or easy. This hurts sometimes. But it is the truth of our reality, the here and the not yet colliding, that we believe, and we hope, and we pray for that day when God will make all things new.

We may walk with a limp, we may need the help of others to help us get up, but we will celebrate with the body of the risen Christ, once broken and left bloodied itself, that we have been adopted by the great God of the universe, and we can shout into the abyss of our doubts, our fears, our frustrations, our enemies, our anxieties, our inner demons, with the assurance of God:

“YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”

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Gotham 1.2: What’s A Family? (TV Review)

In the second episode, “Selina Kyle,” we watched the episode’s titular character (Camren Bicondova) end up on a busload of kidnapped street children aimed at a brutal, edible ending. But between our cat burglar’s skills and James Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) detective skills, we figure this one isn’t bound to end badly (not even counting those of us who have a grasp on who becomes who). [It does however highlight the impressive skills and startling eyes of Bicondova.] Instead, it moves us toward who some of the notables will be, like Gordon, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), and, somewhat surprisingly, Detective Bullock (Denal Logue).

The overarching storyline involves the Dollmaker’s henchmen (Lili Taylor, Frank Whaley) stealing kids that no one, except for Gordon and the headline-grabbing mayor (Richard Kind) care about. It’s okay, not great. But there’s the side story of Oswald Cobblepot’s (Robin Lord Taylor) murdering a spoiled rich kid and kidnapping another, while Detectives Montoya and Allen (Victoria Cartagena and Andrew Stewart-Jones) track down Cobblepot’s mother (Carol Kane); and the other, where Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) pulls Gordon in as a mentor/counselor to the still-grieving little Wayne.

Whatever the opening episode did, the second one tried to build on… but it wasn’t great. Sure, we know that Gordon and Wayne are PTSD-riddled souls; we know that Gordon is struggling with the ‘assassination’ of Cobblepot and how he’s perceived by Bullock, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and his own tortured impression of himself. But the string tying them together is a question of family: Who cares about orphaned street kids, an orphaned rich kid with anger issues, and a singular ‘good guy’ cop in the midst of corruption? The answer appears to be “each other.”

Gotham’s secondary episode wouldn’t have been enough to hook me, but the deepening darkness (gouged eyes, cannibalism, a brutal beating and a brutal broken-beer-bottle-artery-severing) mean that this might have more Christopher Nolan to it than the Tim Burton-themed premiere implied. That in itself is enough to make me tune in next week, to see where the new family dynamic of Gordon, Bullock, Wayne… and Kyle, will take us, and what it will show us about the shadows in the city and in the souls of those who live there.

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Jason Mott’s The Wonder Of All Things (Book Review)

Jason Mott, the author of The Returned (known as Resurrection on ABC), returns with his second novel, The Wonder of All Things. The story of a small town, it lasers in on Ava and Wash, a young woman and her best friend, who survive a deadly accident one day, in large part because Ava has the power to heal. A story of love, suicide, grace, manipulation, and sacrifice, it’s paranormal and miraculous, but set on the grim backdrop of human nature.

Mott weaves together the story of Ava and Wash, with flashbacks to Ava’s memories of her dead mother, and Wash’s own experience of his deadbeat father. They’re nuanced teenagers, struggling with what it means to be friends and to ‘like’ each other, while balancing the expectations of their parents, who are still exploring what it means to be good parents. All of this is pretty mundane, right? But that’s part of the Mott story: how the spectacular invades the mundane.

Ava’s gift attracts attention: people want her to heal this or that family member, regardless of what the cost is to this brave, compassionate young woman. Nicknamed “The Miracle Child,” she’s labeled with near-Messianic expectations that drag her, and her sheriff father, Macon, into the midst of a public debate over what’s expected, required, or morally responsible for a young woman with these gifts. The scientific world wants to run experiments on her to see how it impacts her, and what they might control to be able to use in other situations! And it’s further complicated by that potential-filled and humanly flawed institution, the church.

Pastor Elijah Brown blows into town, the influential leader of a wildly successful church, with just as much of an agenda as any of these other well-meaning/not-so-well-meaning adults: he wants to show off what Ava can do. From my perspective, it’s here that the waters get muddied (because what happens ultimately is what I expected from the first third): Brown has what I would call a heartfelt belief in Jesus, but he’s allowed it to be twisted in his own heart until he’s justified in manipulating and controlling others because of it. It’s the best of church… and the worst of church, all rolled into one person.

In the end, you won’t need a degree in miracles to understand what goes on here, but it will ask you to question what you believe about relationships, the impact of our past mistakes, the power of faith (and miracles), and our desire to understand everything. Mott’s book asks us to look at all this, and in my mind leaves us with the question of faith and doubt: do we need to understand everything for it to be true? 4 out of 5 stars

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Andy McDermott’s Valhalla Prophecy: Thwarting Doomsday

The latest cinematic thrill ride from Andy McDermott delivers a globe-trotting, flashback-filled adventure that finds International Heritage Agency boss Nina Wilde and her ex-military Brit husband Eddie Chase tackling a legendary doomsday of Viking proportions. Filled with Norse mythology, The Valhalla Prophecy pits the couple against shadowy government operatives, some aimed at gaining a powerful, centuries old contagion and others who would do anything, sacrifice anyone, to stop them.

While McDermott charts out the historic and the scientific in a way that’s both thorough and educational, his writing seems to accelerate to breakneck speeds when the story hits an action scene. Read in a day, Valhalla Prophecy is entertaining, but it’s stop-doomsday-no-matter-what with historical allusions is been there, done that. But… the flashbacks to Chase’s past, and the tension that the old stories cause, create a decidedly intriguing insight to what it looks like for fleshed-out characters to be willing to sacrifice everything to save the world, with their spouse at their side.

Fans of James Rollins, Robert Ludlum, and Steve Berry will dig the historical bent that McDermott takes; the flow of the story, and its several icy locations, had me thinking Cliffhanger with Jason Statham swapped out for Sly Stallone, or a mashup of a Jason Bourne movie with Indiana Jones (or National Treasure). Seriously, this could be coming soon to a theater near you, with the kind of script meant for the screen, plastering interpersonal relationships on the page, juxtaposed over snow speeder chases, gunfights, and a car chase through a tight, European city.

Ultimately, it’s because we come to care about McDermott’s protagonists that we turn page after page; sure, the explosive storyline is great, but his depiction of men and women, how they think, how they communicate, and how they grow, is worth the read. I’m a fan now, and I’ll need to go back and read through the earlier chapters of the series. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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One-On-One With Red Band Society/The Good Lie’s Margaret Nagle (Movie/TV Interview)

The Good Lie, showing in theaters this Friday, tells the story of a group of Sudanese young men who find safe haven in the United States through a humanitarian mission and meet their employment caseworker, Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon). Before long, Davis is forced to get involved in more than their employment, and the men’s stirring story of faith and survival changes their community forever. Today, I sat down with the screenwriter, Margaret Nagle, who also writes and produces FOX’s Red Band Society, the story of sick teenagers in a hospital ward.

I asked Nagle how the two stories compare, and given her strong teenage subjects in both, if she had teens herself. “Yes, I do!” Nagle responded with a grin. “Being a mom is central to my life. I know how they talk and think- but these Sudanese young men were so different, because they’d been stripped of everything down to the essentials. The same is true of sick kids.”

Nagle warmed quickly to the way that these children-turned-men were bared souls, in the way that other characters she’d written were as well. “For Warm Springs [an HBO movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's battle with polio], I realized that these were about situations when you can’t have things that you thought you needed or wanted, and you have to move forward. [The Good Lie] is something I’d been working on for eleven years, marveling at how these kids had grown up with nothing, like Lord of the Flies in reverse, no parents or grandparents, like Castaway, on their own. But they were so civilized, so beautiful at heart, and their faith gave them what they needed, as they formed a structure of brotherhood.”

The parents of these young men had taught them stories from the Bible at an early age, and they stuck to it even after they were orphaned. The only possession they carried over miles and miles of the Sahara was sometimes their Bible! And now, for fifteen million dollars, the story of these twenty thousand children is being told thanks to Nagle’s script and the work of others, like producer Molly Smith.

The script was being sampled but they couldn’t find the check, the money to make it work, until a copy landed on Smith’s desk. Smith’s father had adopted a Lost Boy through their church in Tennessee, and paid for his education- he now works in the family business. When Smith read “the story of my brother,” she knew the movie had to be made. So, even though she had yet to meet a Lost Boy, Nagle had told their story, thanks to hours of interviews and research.

“I’m a storyteller,” Nagle says. “Instead of being the life rights of one boy, we’ve used the film to start The Good Lie Fund, asking everyone who sees the movie to give a dollar or two that goes directly into an educational fund, as we also raise money for humanitarian aid for the thousands stuck in the Sudan because of 9/11.”

I asked Nagle how she came to settle on Witherspoon as the person to play Davis. She told me that she had originally thought of Kathy Bates, who she’d worked with on Warm Springs, but that a Paramount executive had suggested she think of Witherspoon. “The movie is really about the kids, and Reese signed on without even reading through to her part after just a few pages! I had named the [aid worker] Carrie because it fit Reese. But we’ve used the publicity to screen it for Rick Warren, Glen Beck, because we know that churches really supported the boys. We wanted to make a movie that acknowledged that, too.”

We’re wrapping up and I ask Nagle what comes next. Currently, she’s writing a play about the day that JFK asked Eleanor Roosevelt to support his campaign, and the conversation they had; her musical is coming out in the spring about the first country-western female band in Texas, remarkable because they were all inmates, playing for their lives.

And then it happens, the best nugget you can only hope for. Nagle tells me that when she was a child, her older brother was in an extended coma, and that when he emerged, he could tell her all about what people had said around him. Red Band Society fans already know how important that is to the narrator of the show, a young man in a coma, named Charlie.

“I named him after my brother,” Nagle says, and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this storyteller helps us understand bared souls, because she bares her own.

 

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The Blacklist Season 2 Premiere

After binge watching all of season 1 over the last two weeks, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the second season. The first half of the episode seemed to drag on… And then it happened: I realized that I was being lulled into complacency so that the Blacklist could pile drive me with the breathtaking events that leave us hanging for next week.

A few thoughts in review:
The task force is in flux… But that’s because the main components are hurting. Agent Keen is doubting herself, thanks to her broken relationship with Tom. (Thankfully, a new haircut and claiming her name seem to make a difference.) Several other agents are doubting their ability to fulfill their duties based on injury, fear, etc. Red is still trying to figure out who Berlin is, and why he wants to cause Red so much grief. But ultimately, they come together because of each other– this is family, chosen, and by blood (but in a bloodshed kind of way.)

Peter Stormare is a bad, bad man. But we knew that already. But here on The Blacklist , he’s a relentless killer who isn’t afraid to amputate himself to get to Red. And it’s been implied that Red sent his daughter back to him in prison piece by piece, and now he wants to use Red’s wife (Mary-Louise Parker) the same way. This is a man who sees his soul and his body as disposable to accomplish the mission.

Whatever we thought we knew about Red and Keen, this second season is bound to ratchet things up, because life just got a lot complicated. Red isn’t chasing other criminals, he’s the target, the hunted. And nothing that we’ve seen from our two protagonists implies that they’ll ever run. It’s time for a fight.

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The Equalizer: Be Who You’re Supposed To Be (Movie Review)

A quiet man, Bob McCall (Denzel Washington) goes about his job at the Home Depot-like warehouse store, but at night he ends up walking the streets of Boston to his favorite all-night diner. There, he interacts with Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young girl pimped out by a vicious Russian pimp (David Munier, Justified). When Teri is viciously beaten, McCall goes into thorough, violent action, and the rest of the film is the fallout from his angel-of-death-like retribution. This is Washington at his finest: kindhearted toward the innocent and distributing quick, brutal justice to those who would do them harm.

Based on Michael Sloan’s character from the 1980s television show, Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) shows us both sides of the conflict, with Washington facing off against a Russian kingpin’s number one troubleshooter, Teddy (Martin Csokas). Teddy doles out death and beatings savagely and sinisterly, and the escalation paints a clear picture of different kinds of violence, even if they end up with the same results. Teddy’s sociopathic behavior runs counter to McCall’s desire not to do violence, but it’s clear that when the time comes, he’ll be who he’s supposed to be.

That’s the central theme running through this thriller: people are pushed into roles that life forces on them, whether it’s the guy working the floor who longs to be a security guard or the young girl who never wanted to be a prostitute. It’s trickier with McCall: we find out tragedy caused him to give up the way of the gun, but when the innocents are in harms way? He’s the only one who can make things right in a world full of monsters and corruption.

McCall is like a Clint Eastwood character: above the law, more effective than the law, driven by a sense of an eye for an eye. It’s entertaining and terrifying at times, and shows off the kind of pairing we’d expect from Washington and Fuqua. Vigilantism isn’t encouraged, but in a movie, we tend to long to see the wrong punished. Thanks to McCall and “Home Depot,” that’s covered.

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