To guide your summer getaway book selections, try this formula: E=FB²
I’m Not Ashamed, a new film about Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Joy Scott (Masey McLain), takes an honest look at the life of a normal American teen who died while affirming her faith. Rachel was 17 at her death on April 20, 1999, but believers of all ages will relate to her stumbling between faith and fitting in. Her eventual decision to get serious for Christ, however, will inspire generations to come.
Drawn from firsthand accounts and Rachel’s diary entries, I’m Not Ashamed gives us a heroine with flaws like our own. Rachel writes that she wants to be a “light to the world,” but she can’t get past a crush on Alex (Cameron McKendry), a popular non-Christian boy. Her desire for peer approval, intensified after her parents’ divorce, lands Rachel in compromising situations—like alcohol-fueled pool parties. At times, her environment impacts her more than she impacts it. “I didn’t know you were a Christian,” Alex at one point tells her.
The film (rated PG-13 for teenage drinking, smoking, some disturbing violent content, and suggestive situations) also lightly probes the motives of shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, but director Brian Baugh wisely avoids political commentary on gun and video game cultures. This story belongs to Rachel, but it doesn’t bypass her spiritual valleys. Neither does it glorify her moment in the shadow of death: One Tuesday morning, Rachel went to school, where a hate-filled classmate pressed a 9 mm pistol against her head. She confessed faith in God, and she was gone.
Yet in her last year of mortal life, Rachel’s recommitment to Christ was already leaving a lasting influence in Columbine’s hallways. Friends whose parents were divorcing and social outcasts targeted by bullies found in Rachel the beacon of light she had prayed to become. Her life, portrayed in this film, invigorates all of us flawed believers to live boldly for Jesus in our Columbines.