A Perfect God vs. Imperfect Nation

Story telling in film is difficult – not only because it takes enormous resources to produce, but also because when you are finished, everyone responds differently. Some people adore “the baby”. Others despise it … and some don’t even take the time to watch it. Being a passionate but contemplative man, I sometimes spend too much time mulling over negative responses despite the fact that they may be the extreme minority.

I was recently told that ‘Reparando’ is an Anti-Amercian film. Granted, this opinion is the minority in responses that we have received. But I feel the need to respond to it. Because … I love my country and ultimately …  the film isn’t Anti-American, it’s Pro-Redemption.

Although I worship a perfect God and savior, I live in an imperfect nation.

I have never intended for this film to be of interest solely to an American Christian sub-culture. But in the contrary, I wanted this story to speak of God’s redemption in the midst (and in spite) of human political and philosophical motives. Reparando communicates the fact that:

“the US destabilized Guatemala through CIA operations and that there is a connection to the CIA and the United Fruit Company. In the wake of this destabilization, the Guatemalan government responded  disproportionately to the internal threat causing the country to fall into a 36 year civil war.”

Documented history details the US government’s covert exacerbation of the conflict. If I wanted to make an anti-American film, I would have sensationalized the issue. But I wasn’t making an anti-American film. US involvement in the Guatemalan conflict isn’t a political statement. It is documented history.

‘Reparando’ was born out of the adoption of my sons. I saw injustice and had to respond. For three years, I have given every ounce of my free time and resources to telling this story because I care. As Guatemalans, My children have a history and heritage that is both beautiful and ugly. I want them to know the truth.

I have traveled much of the world and appreciate the freedom that we have in the US … to live, love, learn, communicate, worship and pursue happiness. I also appreciate the lives of soldiers who have died to give us our freedom. I love my country and still well up with tears when I hear the national anthem. But I cannot weave my worship of God so tightly with my country that I deceive myself into believing our nation is perfect. We have a long history of imperfections to match our achievements and we can learn from both. We are a nation built on the beautiful foundation that all men are created equal. With this in mind, I can boldly claim that just as I am not perfect, neither are the leaders of my country. We all make mistakes. And unless we honestly embrace our imperfection, we will never realize the need for a savior.

The theme of the film is “victims connecting to the pain of their past in order to help the next generation”. As a story teller, I believe this concept applies to the United States as well. The truth is that both countries were (and are) intricately involved in the issues in Guatemala. Both countries have made mistakes. In spite of these mistakes, Jesus redeems. Shorty is a victim of a war which involves my country. He could have been destroyed. He could have even been repaired and then focused on himself. He could harbor anger in his heart towards my country. But he didn’t. Despite being a war victim, he lives as Jesus to the community in which he is placed and he embraces me as his brother in Christ so that together we can make a difference. Together, we can help repair the next generation. In the midst of imperfection, hope is rising.