Film Friday: Daddy’s Home

Brad Whitaker is stepdad to Dylan and Megan. He is trying hard to win their affection and respect when their biological father Dusty comes for a visit. With, as they say on all the best posters, hilarious consequences. Brad is an intelligent, sensitive kind of guy. Dusty, on the other hand, has muscles, a motorbike and a lot of bad attitude. In some ways I found this quite a disturbing film. At its heart it’s about one man being threatened by another. The more Brad tries to outdo the streetwise Dusty, the more he gets into trouble. When he offers to move Dusty’s bike… well… you can see trouble coming…

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Early on in the account of Jesus, we read that he selects a group of friends, men who will follow him and learn as they go. And we’re told from the get go that they started arguing about which one of them was the greatest. (Luke 9 v 46) Three years later, on the night when their leader and friend is telling them he is about to sacrifice himself for them, they are still arguing about which one of them is the greatest. (Luke 22 v 24) We men can feel terribly threatened by one another. This man can anyway. It’s so easy to look at others and feel that you are not the funniest, the strongest, the wisest, the most experienced etc. A while ago I struck a rock and had a puncture. I jacked up the car and attempted to change the tyre but then hit a problem so had to call the RAC. When the RAC man arrived he took one look at the car and said, ‘You’ve got your jack upside down.’ I immediately felt like Brad when he met Dusty. Changing tyres is not my forte. I’m just not a natural. That gene passed me by. And I can feel threatened when I meet men who can do it with their eyes shut.

I try to take comfort from Psalm 139 vv 13-14 . We are designed by God, wonderful and complex. I’m not supposed to be like other men. Like other people. I have to keep reminding myself of that. The Bible is quite hot on reminding us that we are designed by God. Not an accident. God made each of us unique and we are therefore not supposed to spend our time trying be like everyone else. (Jeremiah 1 vv 4-5) We each have different strengths and weaknesses, unique personalities and foibles. A while ago I came across a saying which heartened me. I may be the most impressive of fish, but if I judge myself by my ability to climb trees I’ll feel forever a failure. Likewise baboons who wish they could stay under water for long periods are never gonna manage it.

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