The Blues Brothers’ Brand of Catholicism

by Bill Brenner on June 11, 2014

The Blues Brothers is one of my all-time favorite comedies. What’s not to love about over-the-top police chases, white supremacists being pushed over a bridge by an oncoming car and levitating nuns?

My kids finally reached an age to see the film, and they loved every minute of it. Being good Catholic school boys, they especially loved watching two guys get into all manner of trouble to raise money to save a Catholic orphanage.

Mood video:

As a converted Catholic, I’ve read the Biblical passages about Jesus befriending slimy tax collectors and thieves. People often miss the point that He came down to save people like that and that all dirtbags have a shot at redemption.

Given my earlier history of bad behavior and the struggles I still have in being a good person, it’s a faith I cling to hard, hoping that I ultimately earn my blessings.

When things are hard, it’s easy for people to get discouraged and lose faith. What I love about The Blues Brothers is that Jake and Elwood Blues are constantly getting shit hurled at them. The cops are after them, the Illinois Nazis want to kill them and Jake’s ex keeps trying to blow them to bits. But they’re undeterred, plodding along, putting their band back together and playing a concert to raise the tax money to save the orphanage they grew up in.

They misbehave in every possible way, but their hearts stay in the right place.

They go back to prison, but they accomplish their “mission from God.”

The movie symbolizes something special for me: faith that stands up to everything. I doubt that’s how¬†John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd planned it. The movie is ultimately a celebration of Chicago and the blues.

But it’s what I got from it, and it makes me happy.

The Blues Brothers

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