The Gospel According to
Marge Gunderson
by Lori Heine

My very favorite movie cop, of all time, is Marge Gunderson in Fargo. Ponderously pregnant, waddling through the snow, pausing for a ladylike upchuck when she finds the dead guy, she is not your typical movie cop. Yet she’s probably more like most real cops than Dirty Harry or Wyatt Earp. She is Everywoman, or Everyperson. She does her best every day to uphold decency.

“And for what?” she chides the murderer at the end of the movie, probing his twisted psyche for an answer to why he committed his crimes. “For a little bit o’ money? There’s more to life than a little money, ya know.”

The reason this scene is so moving isn’t that Marge won’t do absolutely anything for money and the bad guy will. It is the goodness that seems to shine through this simple, small-town public servant as she tries to understand evil. She can’t, and she decides not to try. “And it’s a beautiful day,” she sighs, as the police cruiser bearing the killer to jail rolls through what looks – to probably everybody else – like a wasteland of snow.

It doesn’t really matter why bad people do bad things; what’s far more interesting is why good people are good. In them, we catch a faint glimmer of God’s light. If we show that light forth, we bring to those around us not a little bit of money, but a little bit of God. In a brighter, bolder and more consistent way, those around Jesus saw that light in Him. “The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Some Bible translations have, “the darkness did not grasp it.” Either way, it works when understanding the scene in Marge’s police cruiser. Darkness may not grasp the light, but it can’t overcome it, either.

This is also why we, in the LGBT community, must not succumb to anger, bitterness, fear or despair in dealing with our adversaries. If those of us, particularly, who are people of faith shine forth the love and patience that is in us – the fruit of the Spirit – none of the unjust accusations, none of the outright lies, none of the attempts to scapegoat or demonize us can prove successful. Like Marge Gunderson, we can look at evil, shake our heads and say, “But it’s a beautiful day.” Even as we slog through what sometimes seems a cold wasteland.

By upholding decency every day, as we simply go about living our lives (not the “lifestyle” our slanderers claim we have, but our real lives), we shine forth the good that is in us. We are Everywoman and Everyman. We shine forth a little of the light of God. And the darkness will not overcome it.


© 2012 Lori Heine

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