November 14, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Last night I watched Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom. Beside the fact the writers wrote current political and moral discussion into a historical event, the questions it raised were good. How do people of different faiths get along? What is the essence of the Kingdom of God? How far should integrity go?

That last question has been on my mind. In the movie, Orlando Bloom's character has the opportunity to assume leadership of the Jerusalem army and become its king. All he has to do is allow the current leaders to execute the man currently in line to take over. Bloom's character refuses because it would make him no better than the man that would be executed.

Because of Balian's decision, thousands die, and Jerusalem is captured. Bloom could have taken leadership and avoided a war. Even the most virtuous of characters in the film encouraged him to "seek the greater good." But Balian stood his ground, and sought to protect the poor and defenseless. (This is another good point the movie makes about the role of the Church to care for the hurting and needy.)

I wonder how many Christians and ministers would and have sacrificed their integrity on the altar of "the greater good." On one hand, Balian was able to lead the people with greater integrity. But on the other hand, thousands of lives could have been saved. I think the movie does an excellent job of pointing out that even when the decisions come with immense cost, it is better to live with integrity. I don't know that I would have made the same decision. I don't know.

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