Saturday, February 03, 2007

[THO] Malcolm X

Reading James Cone yesterday I kept running into references to Malcolm X. I had bought this film at a yard sale in the summer but due to its length I've put off trying to watch it. That is until yesterday, I wanted some context and what I got was a brilliant movie. Malcolm X is Black Theology worked out in the life of a very charismatic man. At one powerful moment in the film a police officer makes the comment about Malcolm's charisma, "that is too much power for one man to have." I wonder if the same would have been said of Moses by the Pharoah's warriors!

This is a raw movie, you really get the sense that the fight for liberty is so all consuming that it blinds one to other injustice. Watch how Malcolm treats women and sympathetic white folk. Spike Lee really captures the whole of the man, warts and all. What is really profound is that Malcolm, like Romero, has a series of messy conversions. These are true horizon expansions. His message continually reflects the evolution of his heart as he becomes more and more aware of how big the struggle for freedom really is.

I was chatting with my neighbour about the film and was saddened because he seemed to not be interested in hearing about the life of a Moslem. My comment was that this man, Malcolm X, was doing theology. As I reflect on that, it is never comfortable when we do theology. Especially when we realize how much we are personally implicated in the systems of injustice. If you haven't seen this movie, it is worth watching. Brother Malcolm was a truly great man of God, let his life speak to you about your own committment to justice.


nakedpastor said...

I read a biography of Malcolm X and watched Spike Lee's movie around the same time. I was impressed by the last chapter of his life, after he'd taken the pilgrimage to Mecca. Something significant happened there, it seems. So much so that it radically changed his philosophy and potentially his strategy. Which might have got him killed.

One of Freedom said...

If Spike Lee's portrayal got that part right then there is little doubt that his transformation in the Middle East is a big reason for his assassination. Sharon and I just finished watching Romero, her first time my fourth. It was striking how Romero's transformation is so full of wrestling and Malcolm X seems to be more linear, like he opens horizons permanently and moves forward. I think Romero was a bit more realistic in this sense, at least it was more relatable.