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Oct29WedIn the new movie Fury, Brad Pitt must hold an important position against the might of Nazi Germany. October 29, 2014 by Ken Ramstead
In Quentin Tarantino's Second World War epic Inglourious Basterds, Brad Pitt had only a trusty bowie knife to use against the Nazis. With Fury, he has a tank, and a big tank at that.
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“Why We Gonna Run Now?”
In the new movie currently in theatres, Pitt portrays Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier, the commander of an American M4A3E8 Sherman tank he has christened Fury. It's a good name. “I started this war killing Germans in Africa,” Collier tells his new assistant driver. “Now, I'm killing Germans in Germany.”
It is April 1945. In the European Theatre, the Germans are everywhere in retreat. As the Allies make their final push, the advancing and ever-victorious troops know the end is near, but there is still a lot of hard fighting ahead.
“The dying's not done,” Collier says. “The killing's not done. It will end soon. But before it does, a lot more people are gonna die.”
And they do in Fury, in a variety of ways. Moviewatchers should note that the body count is excessive. Soldiers are decapitated by tank shells, tankers are burned alive and the language used is often profane.
But Collier is determined that his crew of four will not be among the dead. “I promised my crew a long time ago I'd keep them alive,” he says.
But that promise will soon be put to the ultimate test as Collier's Sherman tank and her five-man crew are sent on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.
Outnumbered and outgunned, Collier and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. During this mission, the tank is hit and immobilized, and the embattled crew realize that they are right in the path of a German counterattack.
“We're five against 300,” one of the crewmen says to Collier.
“We never run before,” retorts the battle-hardened Army sergeant. “Why we gonna run now?”
As the Sherman and the crew face their ultimate test, they know two things: war never ends quietly and each man is only as strong as the man beside him.
We may never have to face the kind of life-and-death situation that Sergeant Collier and his tank crew found themselves in, but a shooting war doesn't have to be raging around us to test our mettle.
As Christians, we are all waging a war, a war against a sinful darkness that presses in all around us.
Do we look the other way when an injustice is being done? Are we complicit in malicious gossip? Do we stand up for what we believe in as opposed to what's politically correct?
We may not be manning a tank against the enemy but the front line can be as close as the water cooler. Do we cut and run when things get messy or do we stand up for what is right?
The Bible's Book of Proverbs enjoins us to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all those who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
It may not be the easy or the popular thing to do, but it has to be done, even if the going proves to be more difficult than we had foreseen.
The easy thing for Collier and his crew to do would have been to cut and run. But they realized that the easy thing would not have necessarily been the right thing. And for us in the here and now, that also holds true.
We may not have a Sherman tank for protection, but we do have something just as bulletproof: the promise of a God who loves us. As the Apostle Peter put it: “Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't worry or be afraid of their threats” (1 Peter 3:14 NLT).
(Photo: Courtesy © 2014 CTMG, Inc./Giles Keyte)