Stranger Than Fiction & God's Authorial Intent

Watched Stranger Than Fiction (2006) last night. It was a pretty cool movie with some humorous lines and an intriguing story line. Will Ferrell plays the main character and he does a great job in a role that is somewhat more serious and more demanding than most of the usual characters he plays.

In the movie Ferrell plays an IRS agent who one day begins hearing a book narrators voice in his mind and quickly discovers that the voice is not only narrating his life, but that it has announced his imminent death. Ferrell then sets forth on a mission to defend his sanity and discover who is writing the story of his life so that he may persuade them not to kill him.

There is one scene in the movie which I think could be used as a sermon illustration (it is about 4 minutes long and occurs in chapter 22 of the film). In the scene Ferrell is asking a off the wall literary professor (played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman) what he should do about his death in the book. Having read the completed outline Hoffman tells Ferrell that all death is unavoidable, and that Ferrell's character must die because his death makes the book the author's poetic masterpiece. To which Ferrell replies, "You're asking me to knowingly face my death?" And the answer is yes.

Ferrell's question is about embracing suffering and pain for the greater good of the story. It is a question about leaning into the purpose of the author. And isn't that our call as followers of Jesus and as characters in the story that God is writing? God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives, and even though we don't always like or agree with it, at times God writes pain, suffering or even death into our character's storyline. Sometimes it takes an odd professor type to help us step back, remove ourselves as the all important hero, and see the glory of the greater story.

Stranger Than Fiction was a good film. I would rate it 3 out of 5 stars. (rated: PG-13)
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