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Lessons from an Unlikely Source

Posted by on August 4, 2008

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and a criminal… and a basket case… a princess… and an athlete. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

the Breakfast Club


This weekend, my bride and I decided to watch a couple of older movies. We started with an absolute classic -Breakfast Club. Sure, it might not rank up there with Ben Hur or Casblanca, but for any child of the eighties, this movie ranks right up there with Sixteen Candles or Ghostbusters.

As we watched it, I began to realize that there were some deep reasons why I truly love this movie.

This unlikely group experiences true community. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t having Bible study over coffee at St. Arbuck’s or anything, but they still experienced deep community. They sat together and honestly shared their hurts, their fears, and their frustrations. They opened up to one another and ran the risk of being mocked, ridiculed, or rejected. But for that one Saturday morning, they took off their masks and got real with one another.

They said tough things to one another. On more than one occasion when one of the characters stepped out of line, one of the others would step up and speak truth. Sometimes the truth was spoken lovingly, other times it was spoken harshly, but sometimes the truth needs to be spoken boldly. This group didn’t sit around and blow sunshine up one another’s skirts – they challenged each other.

They saw the potential in one another. One of my favorite scenes is toward the end of the movie. Claire (the preppy little princess) sees the potential for beauty in Allison (the basket case). She takes her aside, brushes her hair out of her face, helps her put on a little make-up… and voila, the beauty of Ally Sheedy is revealed.

Who would have thought that John Hughes film from 1985 would inspire me in such a manner? Who would have thought that it had the potential to remind me of what we have been created for?

See, I believe we have been created to live in community. We have been created to live life without the masks we so carefully construct instead of being being brutally transparent and open with one another. Sometimes that openness requires brutal honesty in return. We must be willing to call one another out on the lies that we sometimes choose to conveniently accept as truths. And we must be willing to look beyond the surface to see the potential in others and then do all that we can to bring that potential to the surface.

Who would have thought that John Hughes would remind me of the kingdom of God as it is supposed to be?

5 Responses to Lessons from an Unlikely Source

  1. janice

    Good stuff. Enjoyed it after my Beth Moore study this morning. Funny how God puts things together.

  2. Heather

    One of my favorite movies too! Have you seen that new JCPenneys commercials that copies scenes from the film? Kind of cute… “Don’t you forget about me”

  3. Paul

    You said in 428 words (yes, I ran word count) what it took me three posts to say on this subject. Amen! As we’ve discussed, The Breakfast Club is one of my favorite movies, too, though I’ve never been able to articulate why. You took the words right out of my fingers. :) Great post!

  4. Adam Ellis

    Good thoughts here man. Do you watch the USA Network show “Psych”? They did a recent episode that was sort of an homage to the Breakfast Club. It a funny show anyway. I think you’d enjoy it. You can watch the episode here:

  5. audra

    great post. i may come at it from a different perspective in my professional work, but you’re right on. if there is one thing that being a therapist has taught me), it is compassion and acceptance….

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