Leo Hohmann provides a comparative analysis of life during the time of ‘The Patriot’ and our world in 2023 and the valuable lessons the monumental movie still provides today.
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. –John 14:17
I intended to take a much-needed Christmas respite between December 25 and January 2. I got my week off, all right, but it was not exactly within those parameters and nothing like I expected.
On December 21, I encountered headaches and fevers, which morphed into a stomach bug that had me down for the count. One sleepless night turned into three and then four.
But while my body suffered, I found my spirit quickened. God had my attention like maybe He hadn’t had in a while. Sometimes, in the fog of war, and we are in a war, you start to lose perspective and can get temporarily disoriented. That was me.
So I needed that time, shivering under the covers, alone. The hours seemed like days, the days passed like weeks. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas.
Then, on the second day after Christmas, the fevers broke. A cloud lifted. It seemed as if God was saying: “Wake up from your slumber son. Wipe the grit and grime from your eyes, remove the dross, and get ready to see some things with a fresh outlook and renewed clarity.”
So I arose from my sick bed at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27, and did something I hadn’t done in days. I ate something. I toasted a slice of sour-dough bread, buttered it, and devoured it. I made a pot of coffee and thanked Him for the small jolt of life I felt returning to my body and soul.
Later that day we sat down to watch a familiar movie, The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson in the role of a fictional character named Benjamin Martin, who finds himself drawn into the American Revolutionary War.
It’s always been a favorite and I’ve seen it many times. But this time I would see the story unfold through an entirely new lens. There’s more to it, I found, than just a patriot hero, a keen military strategy and an intriguing history lesson.
The movie actually contains many of the essential elements of spiritual warfare, useful for us living on the earth today, heading into the year of our Lord, 2023, which promises to be another year of volatility and disruptive events.
While the movie received mostly high praise at its release back in 2000, if you Google “The Patriot” you will find some spurious things have been written in recent years by mainstream critics taking pot shots at Robert Rodat’s dramatic presentation of a story about revolutionary colonists who rebelled against the British Throne. His story centers on the life of one Benjamin Martin, a fictional character based loosely on the real-life character of Brigadier General Francis Marion, an American Revolutionary War officer, planter and politician also known in history as the Swamp Fox.
Rodat’s critics say his script presents an overly simplified view of the period, some going as far as to say it should not be shown to American school children — (of course not as it might instill values such as national pride, bravery, and courage under fire).
They totally miss the point.
Every good story is simplified so as to cut through the noise and allow those listening to hear the single most salient lesson being taught. If told well, the lesson from a good story can ring for generations. That’s why I think Rodat knocked it out of the park with this film, solidifying its lofty place in the American historical film genre, where it captures the psyche of the early American agrarian settlers who lived and worked far from the population centers in New York, Boston or Philadelphia. They formed militias to protect themselves from government mobs and faced a moment in history similar to what we are living in now where they were forced to make a decision: Do they confront the obvious evil that had come out of the shadows and into broad daylight, had even come for their children, or do they bow and offer up their posterity to this illegitimate thing claiming authority, claiming ownership, over their lives?