Any man who wants to be a good father to his offspring, regardless of any reli-

gious affiliation or whether or not he’s a Christian, will do well by seeing Courageous.

The underlying message is the familiar “narrow minded” thinking of accepting Jesus

Christ as personal savior, which some critics may immediately denigrate. However,

there’s no denigrating the true message of the film promoting the stark reality that

fatherless homes are some of the most troubled in our land today and that fathers who

willfully neglect their children will pay the consequences.

Unlike their previous faith based offerings(Facing the Giants, Fireproof), Sher-

wood Baptist films and Alex Kendrick launches Courageous on an unapologetically in-

tense action scene with a palpability that  immediately draws you in. I won’t spoil it here.

It involves one of our five main characters.

Set, as usual, in Sherwood’s home of Albany, Georgia, Courageous rightly chroni-

cles the struggles of four police officers and one civilian worker whose lives intersect

while trying to keep their families together. There’s Adam Mitchell(played by the direc-

tor) who while being  dedicated to protecting the public, forgets special family occasions

and neglects his teenage son, his friend and partner Shane Fuller, trying to keep a

relationship with his son after a divorce, Nathan Hayes, the new professional on the force

dealing with his daughter’s desire to date boys, rookie David Thompson hiding a personal

secret from sometime back and Javier Martinez serving as a metaphor symbolizing the

jobless.

Unexpected personal tragedy hit’s Adam and his family in such an unimaginable

way, that he knows it’s time for a major change. “I don’t want to be just a good enough

father”, he tells Shane during a get together at his house. So instead of letting the devil

have his way and being bitter against God, the heartbreak  inspires him to compose a sa-

cred resolution, a pledge to be the very best spiritual leader/ father he needs to be. He

gives copies to the others and, at the strong suggestion of  Nathan’s wife, an official cere-

mony is enacted for all of them to commit to and sign this pledge.

Unfortunately, Albany is not a perfect town with perfect people. In addition to our

protagonists’ personal woes, they still must catch the bad guys. This includes a particular-

ly nasty gang of thugs whose sole purpose in life is to steal cars, peddle drugs, initiate

new members by gang beatings and doing anything else that’s against the law. They give

our heroes the proverbial run for their money.

Fortunately, this does not deter their efforts to improve themselves fatherly and

Kendrick wisely assures us that it’s usually a bumpy road on the way there. It’s certainly

not easy for anyone. He knows relationships cannot be mended or resolved within the

length of a two hour movie. His dialogue (co-written with brother Stephen), does not

serve as a perfect blueprint on how to be a good dad. Nor does it try to portray our prin-

ciple players as perfect men who are always blessed by the Lord. Indeed, real life more

often than not requires more time to handle personal issues than what is shown in Cou-

rageous.

What the film does offer is the motivation that all fathers need to evaluate or in

some cases, re-evaluate their ideas about just what a father truly is, how important he is

as a leader and consequently how his decisions to step up to the plate effects society as

a whole. Most, if not, all dads should be able to identify with one of the five examples

this movie puts forth – and learn from it too.