Absent – Justin Hunt Documentary

On a whim the other day, I pulled up www.metallica.com just to see what’s going on at my old stomping grounds. I noticed a post in the discussion forum about James being in a new documentary called “Absent.” After following some links and digging around, I found the following trailer:

Big deal, right? James is just in another movie and Steve is getting excited because it’s something about Metallica–right?

Wrong. I’m excited–no, speechless–to come across this. I’ve got to tell this story…follow along for a minute, I promise it’s not too boring…

I recently revived an old desire to read the book Wild at Heart with the purchase of the hardcopy version of it. I’ve had an audio copy of the book for years now and I’ve never made it all the way through; I get tired of hearing someone else’s voice talk on and on and on! I figured now is a really good time to knock out this reading if I think it might have any value to me (with all this fatherhood stuff happening and me trying to learn God’s word a little better…you know, minor details!). Long story short, I just finished reading the book and felt that the message it delivers is so important that I volunteered to host a “small group” for guys at my house this fall through our church (yes, saying “wowzers” would be appropriate here). If you’re a guy (or even a girl–this book will help you better understand the other side of the equation!) and are either a Christian yourself or are at least open-minded enough to hear the Christian side of the story, reading this book should be in your near future–more on this later when I eventually post a review of the book itself.

The book’s author, John Eldredge, has made a name for himself in the category of Christian masculinity; you know, defining what a man should be and how he should be as set forth by God. As dry as that sounds, let me stop you from writing him (and me) off as another religious nut that needs to be buried with the squirrel’s winter stockpile. This guy explains how God’s word is supposed to define a man’s life in simple, easy to understand, non-“churchy” (trust me on that one), guidance mostly through contrasting what God says (via the Bible) with what the modern world has tried (and mostly succeeded) to shape men into in an effort to be more palatable to society. But above all the world’s devious efforts to screw men up, a key central component of a guy’s life and whether or not he starts out on the right foot is his father.

Absent, a documentary…

Now enter “Absent“: a documentary that’s supposed to make the case of how important a father is to not only men, but to the world. More specifically, the documentary seems like it will focus on the absence of a father in a child’s life (boys and girls) and how that can really screw things up. The info that is available about the documentary doesn’t hint at it being a “Christian movie.” In fact, I highly doubt it is. The fella in the opening seconds of the trailer (with the little tiny patch of goatee hair) is John Eldredge. It looks like the film’s creator, Justin Hunt, got wind of John being a veritable expert on the role of a father in our lives and wanted to get his input for the film–good move, in my opinion.

Didn’t I say something about Metallica?

Now enter James Hetfield, the lead singer for Metallica: the band I more or less worshiped as a teen (ok, ok…also into my 20’s…so what?!?!). Over the past few years, my rabid desire for anything and everything “Metallica” has ebbed to simply listening to and liking their music. What were hourly (maybe even half-hourly) visits to the Metallica Fan Club online discussion forums and news outlets have pretty much disappeared from my life–like I said, I’ve dialed it back to a “sane” fan level of the band! So when I got the urge to dial up Metallica’s website the other day just to see what’s going on in their world (I’ll be honest, I was secretly hoping that they’re done gallivanting around the globe and had returned to the US to start on their next album–wishful thinking, I know), the last I expected to see was that James had been recruited to some documentary…especially one that could have any significant meaning to me!

Last, but darn certainly not least: God

Now let’s have God enter this story: I mentioned the small group that I’m slated to host this fall, and I hinted at me trying to becoming a better person through Christianity (suggesting that I’m still new to that whole thing). I have to admit that while I fully endorse John Eldredge’s message in his book and I want all guy’s to hear it and embrace it, I feel like I’m one of the last people who needs to be leading a group of guys to learn about God’s word!!! Nervous doesn’t quite sum it up; maybe afraid would be a better word! My crossroads was simple: let my fear overcome me and not get the word out to other guys, or be motivated by the messages God was pretty much hitting me upside the head with! (I chose the later)

Here’s a documentary that crosses too paths of two 180 degrees different guys from two entirely different interests in my life. Some of you might call it coincidence. I call it a sign.

So long story short, I’m looking forward to catching this film if/when it comes my way (these Indie films are so hard to like given the monumental effort needed to get them to show anywhere near your city–compared to some airheaded “summer blockbuster” that plays in every single theater across the country). I’m even more looking forward to hosting this small group and seeing what comes of it. My nervousness is gone and I’m not so much afraid as I am anxious to see what unfolds…

Stay tuned.

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