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Pitch Perfect 2: a movie review

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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The fictional Barden University Bellas, an-all female a capella singing group, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, and Alexis Knapp, perform in a competition scene in the new Universal Pictures movie, Pitch Perfect 2 (Credit: Universal Pictures)

Pitch Perfect 2 is the sequel to 2012’s Pitch Perfect. While it lacks the originality of the first and often goes for more low hanging fruit when it comes to the comedy, it is still an enjoyable movie, though the PG-13 rating is deserved. The film picks up three years after the first iteration with the Barden Bellas now the toast of the a cappella world after winning the national championship three years in a row. However, their popularity ends rather abruptly as a wardrobe malfunction while performing in front of the president gets them banned from the circuit. Their only recourse is to win the world championships. Such a victory is a long shot though, as no American team has ever won before on account of the fact that, as John Michael Higgins’ character so eloquently states, “the whole world hates us.”

Their quest for redemption is made more difficult by their inability to get on the same page musically. Their shows begin to lack substance as they attempt to copy the glitz and glamour of the German national team, Das Sound Machine, instead of remaining true to what brought them success in the first place. It is not until they get back to their roots that they discover the unity and uniqueness that they will need in order to have a chance at victory.
    
The quest for redemption is something that we have all been through to some degree. The desire for our past mistakes not to define our future has been humanity’s story from the Garden of Eden. What history tells us is that as long as that quest is powered by our own efforts, it is doomed to fail.

Fortunately, God sent his son to restore what we never could. Jesus came to set us free from the burdens of sin and give us hope for our present and future. He has not removed our past mistakes but simply made it so that those mistakes no longer have to define us.

However, not everyone is living in the power of that freedom and mercy. For some, the reason is that they have not come to a personal, saving relationship with Christ. There is no salvation apart from him and it is that relationship that enables us to receive the grace that God longs to give.

For others, they may have come to know Christ as Lord but are not living in the power of his forgiveness. When you were saved, you were welcomed into a fully restored relationship with God. There are very likely areas of your life where sin is still a problem. But that sin will never again separate you from your loving heavenly Father. That means that if you are a Christian but still feel like the burdens of your past are keeping you from embracing the future that God has for you, the reason is not that you haven’t been forgiven but that you haven’t acknowledged and accepted that forgiveness.

Pike Wisner once preached about the difference between guilt and conviction. He said that guilt is from the devil and meant to make you dwell on your mistakes while leaving you to wallow in the misery of regret. However, conviction is from the Holy Spirit. It is meant to make you aware of your mistakes while leading you to learn from them and move closer to the image of God in which you were created. Now, which of those things sounds more like our God?

So the next time you are reminded of ways that you have stumbled, embrace the freedom and mercy of God’s forgiveness. Allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to help you grow more and more into the person he created you to be. Humanity’s quest for redemption was completed on a cross 2,000 years ago. Have you embraced that victory yet today?