Faith in Film, Stranger Than Fiction


“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” — 1 Corinthians 13:12

I like the verse above. Some might not, but I've always taken comfort in it. There are a lot of things in this world that I don't understand. There's a lot of things that happen that don't make sense to me. But when I see this verse, I realize that's OK. That's part of the plan. That's the way it's supposed to be.

You see, I'm not in control of my own story, let alone that of someone else. Sure, I love to plan and program my day. In fact, I drive my wife crazy when we're going to see her family. I want to know what we're doing, and at what time we're doing it, every day of the trip. I like to regiment my day at work that way, setting little goals for myself in 30, 60, 90 or 120 minute blocks. I like to take lunch at noon straight up. I like to take breaks in certain blocks and go visit my team.

I like routine. I like schedule. I crave structure. It's how God made me. But I also understand the old saying, "Men Plan, God Laughs." In the end, the control and structure I think I have is, to some extent, an illusion. Sure, I can plan my day, but as the Proverbs tell us, I don't control my steps. When you can understand that and accept that, it's easier to roll with the punches of life.

Not completely easy, as my wife will attest when she sees my face as I get the answer I don't know to my schedule queries. But it makes it easier to get past the big things — the hurts and stumbling blocks that could otherwise derail us.

That, in a nutshell, is what "Stranger Than Fiction" is about. Harold Crick has his days ordered and thinks he controls his path. He soon realizes he doesn't. That creates a struggle for a time, but it's something he comes to accept. And he finds peace in that.

Writer Zach Helm wanted to explore that idea with this movie. He said, “There's something very poetic about the understanding of one's place in the universe, but it's far more dramatic when such understanding occurs only days before that life ends.”

There is something dramatic in this story, and something beautiful. And I hope that's something you all got in watching this unique and quirky little film.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this film work for you? Why or why not?
2. We all settle into routines and schedules, and in this culture we can become slaves to our routines. Sometimes these routines can keep us from making the most of our lives, like it did for Harold. In what ways are you a slave to your routine?
3. It can be hard when we come to realize we don’t have control in our life. Harold goes on a long journey to try and regain control of his life, realizing he can’t. That he’s part of a bigger story. We, too, are part of a bigger story. How does that impact your thinking about your life?

4. What role does Free Will play in our lives? Why is it important?

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