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In the opening scene from the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War, a banner at a ceremony honoring Texas congressman Charlie Wilson reads, “Charlie did it!”  The banner and ceremony are to honor Mr. Wilson for his covert dealings in Afghanistan during the early 80s and to celebrate the winning of this secret war. Due to Mr. Wilson’s efforts, the Afghan rebels were able to defend their country from Soviet invasion.

It took some time, but war-torn Afghanistan was finally freed from the Soviet occupation and left to rebuild its culture and country. The economy was in ruins. Half of the country’s population was under 14 years of age – half the population. Charlie, after having successfully lobbied congress – he was on two major foreign policy and covert-ops committees – to covertly help the plight of the Afghan people while the war waged on, wanted to keep helping Afghanistan after the Soviets left. He saw the need to help them rebuild from the ashes. However the U.S. stopped helping after the war was won.

Amidst his push for more aid, one congressman even told Charlie, “No one gives a sh*t about a school in Pakistan.” To which Charlie replied, “Afghanistan,” and he realized that more help was not coming. The ball had been dropped. The buck had been passed. The U.S. and all its resources had moved on. “Charlie did it!” seemed so shallow and meaningless, because he knew the job wasn’t finished. In fact, we currently live in the consequences of that unfinished job. The movie ends with this quote from Mr. Wilson:

These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we f*cked up the endgame.

Sadly, this reminds me of the Church. We were in a war at one time. Hundreds of us, thousands of us, died daily. Then something happened that was glorious and changed the world: the greatest leader of the known world became a Christian. Constantine converted to Christianity. With his conversion, the followers of the Way were no longer sought after and murdered. We were liberated from the tyranny of the enemy! The Church, God’s House, Who had been scattered and hunted, could now come together and rebuild without fear of persecution. We were free, and we had so much potential.

And then we forgot the endgame. Instead of concerning ourselves with God’s Body, we concerned ourselves with our own power and status. Instead of nurturing God’s Family, we saw to it that our enemies tasted our revenge. Instead of preparing His Bride, we prostituted ourselves to the world system and created our own system, with the exact same characteristics as the world system, within it. Instead of building God’s House, we built little houses, and even big houses, for ourselves. We did this all in His name, for His glory! But what transpired was our own name and glory. And for the last two thousand years, God’s Kingdom on the earth has been divided and its citizens at war with each other.

The Church, by and large, became a religious system, an institutional church system. And within that system today, we propagate winning a war to only fail in the endgame. For one example, we treat saving souls much the same way as the U.S. government treated helping defend Afghanistan from the Soviet Union. Even more so, because the ICS doesn’t do this covertly. We wage war on Satan and his world to free our brethren from his evil clutches. We set the captives free, and we move on. But just like the Afghan people, whose economy and state of being were ravished from the war, so are the tender souls of our now liberated brethren. But the ICS typically does one of two things: it will either move on to free more, or it will stick around long enough to train more soldiers to go out and fight this same war. “Win more souls for Christ!” is our battle cry. In Western Christianity, we’ve turned the church into a special ops unit specializing in winning souls. Evangelism is the war we want to win, and we give all our efforts and resources to winning it.

But with what is God left? New Christians! New Christians who are able to do what? Win more souls for Christ! Is that why God created in the first place, to win more souls for Christ? It seems we’ve forgotten the blessed endgame. It seems we’ve forgotten that God is after more than just soul-winning soldiers. It seems we’ve forgotten why God even created us in the beginning. He’s after imagers who will rule with His authority. He’s after His expression and dominion. He’s after a people who will choose Him and be His representatives on the earth. He’s after His House, His Family, His Bride, and His Body. That Beloved City is the endgame! That beautiful New Jerusalem built with the gold, pearl, and precious stones of the saints, fitted together to make God’s dwelling place is our “Yes, and amen!”

Unlike that congressman from the movie, we can still “give a sh*t” about God’s House. We can refocus our efforts from not just winning a war but to also tending to the endgame. The endgame is the endgame, after all. Without it, what’s the war for? More war? In the heavenly realities, the war is won, the battle is over, and our victory is secured. Ours is to walk that out here in this realm. Let us stand and be about our Father’s business: building His House. So that, in the end, we can truly celebrate how “Jesus did it!” 


To address the practical housekeeping aspects of this Jesus-sighting review, Charlie Wilson’s War is rated R for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use. Frankly, we didn’t realize that until right before the movie started, and we almost didn’t watch it after we discovered it. But, we tried it anyway. The opening scene is where the nudity happens, and there are several f-bombs, but they are not constant throughout the movie. We can’t handle movies with constant swearing. We can handle strong language, but every other word gets tiresome and boring. So, a little nudity in the beginning, strong language smattered throughout (not constant, every other word), some images of war, drinking, and some drug use are the practical, “parents guide” facts one might want to know. If you want to know more about the movie, you can check it out at IMDb.

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