Last weekend I finally had the chance to see the much-acclaimed film, Of Gods and Men. The film tells the story of the Trappist monks from the monastery at Tibhirine, Algeria (they were kidnapped and murdered in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War).

Oddly enough, there’s only a bare minimum of graphic violence in the film. That’s because the film isn’t primarily about the war in Algeria.

Nor is it really a film about religion, per se.

Instead, it’s the story about the way the priests and brothers at the monastery made the decision to stay, though there were plenty of reasons for them to leave (and, given that all of them were French nationals, they had a much safer place to go). It was, to put it mildly, an extraordinarily difficult decision.

What, in the end, drove them to stay? A conviction that they were exactly where they were supposed to be, a loyalty to their neighbors in the village, and a commitment to honor that conviction and that loyalty, despite the possible cost. These guys weren’t seeking martyrdom. They simply wished to be faithful—and if martyrdom came, it came.

The film should be out on DVD soon, and it’s well worth the time spent viewing it.

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