Best Picture nominee Jojo Rabbit, directed by New Zealand’s Taika Waititi, is bookended by two anachronisms: German-language versions of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and David Bowie’s “Heroes.” These breaks in the historical tone help remove the viewer from the momentous cultural and political events of World War II. Waititi instead invites us into the life and mind of our protagonist: ten-year-old Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (played by Roman Griffin Davis), who is riding out the end of the war with his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), and his imaginary friend and idol, Adolph Hitler (Taika Waititi).
In the sacrament of baptism, which we recall at Easter, each of us received both a new identity as a child of God and a vocation to live a life transformed by our encounter with the Lord. We received these gifts not only for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of others.
I love a good conversion story. From Augustine’s Confessions to Jennifer Fulwiler’s Something Other than God, I am drawn to the stories of those who have been transformed by the Truth found in Christ. Since I don’t fit the standard definition of a “convert,” I used to read these beautiful stories of conversion for the simple yet profound way they inspired me to appreciate my own faith and see it with a new perspective. But then I became a parent. I began a journey that changed my outlook on conversion and challenged me to see it as an absolutely essential element of faith for any Christian.