If initial predictions are correct, this weekend could prove to be one of the highest grossing movie weekends in recent memory. The second installment of the Stephenie Meyer vampire series, New Moon, hits theaters today, as well as TriStar Pictures newest animated film, Planet 51. These two films alone would probably be enough to contend for a record weekend, but a third film, The Blind Side, has been steadily fighting its way through the New Moon hype and may prove to be a contender in its own right. If nothing else, The Blind Side provides an outlet for moviegoers to show their support for the underdog; to prove that feel-good sports movies still have a strong appeal, even in the midst of vampire and alien hysteria.
The Blind Side is based on a book of the same name, written by veteran author, Michael Lewis. The story revolves around Michael Oher, current starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and the lead character of an improbable real-life "rags-to-riches" story. The film is really only the icing on the cake for Oher and his adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. When Sean and Leigh Anne took a homeless giant of a boy into their home in 2002, they could scarcely have imagined the chain of events that would unfold over the next seven years. The undying devotion and love that the Tuohy family poured out on Michael literally gave him a new life—both physically and spiritually.
In his book, Lewis describes why the position of left tackle on the offensive line is such a valuable asset to the team: the left tackle is responsible for protecting "the blind side" of the quarterback. With most NFL quarterbacks being right-handed, the left tackle is the thrower's most important piece of protection. He is quite literally the "eyes" in the back of the quarterback's helmet.
In writing books on finance and then baseball (Moneyball), Lewis researched undervalued assets and profiled the people who saw their real value. The undervalued assets in baseball a decade ago were disciplined batters who worked pitchers for lots of walks. In The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (Norton, 2006), Lewis described how left tackles who protected quarterbacks came to be highly valued, and how Oher, a nearly abandoned teenager, came to have great value in the eyes of one family and dozens of college football coaches. Lewis' book title had a double meaning, referring to blindness in both football and society. 
One of the points that is strongly made in the film is the Christian faith of the Touhy family. Although the family is very comfortable financially, Oher credits becoming a Christian as the most valuable thing that he has received as a member of the Tuohy family. "Oher, who came to Christ in high school, feels actions trump words when it comes to living as a Christian. A quiet guy to begin with, he is more comfortable showing the love of God by being a caring and loving person than by talking about his faith."  And one of the early influences on Michael Oher's life as a Christian was one of the first books he was required to read as a new student at the mostly all-white Briarcrest Christian high school in Memphis—The Pilgrim's Progress.
There is a sense where Michael Oher's journey to Christianity is not unlike Christian's journey to the Celestial City in John Bunyan's famous allegory. In fact, that's the point of Pilgrim's Progress; we all have a treacherous path to tread—filled with trials and triumphs, failures and successes—that brings us to the Cross of Christ. Every Christian has a "Slough of Despond," a "Worldly Wiseman," and a "Vanity Fair" to contend with on their journey to the City. This is what makes Pilgrim's Progress such a timeless book, and one that evidently spoke so intimately to Michael Oher. When Christian leaves his home, his wife, and his children in the beginning of the story to search for eternal life, he is obeying the call of Christ in Luke 14:26 to forsake everything he knows in order to gain that which awaits him. Although Michael had the unique opportunity of forsaking a life of homelessness for a life of comfort with a loving family, he still had to take that step of faith into the unknown; leaving what he knew for an uncertain future.
It has been said that The Pilgrim's Progress is the second most read book in the world, behind the Bible. I suspect that this statistic, if correct, is probably a bit out of date. I have no problem believing that many copies of Pilgrim's Progress have been sold over the years, but like most Bibles, remain tucked away on bookshelves, serving as a decoration rather than an education. This is unfortunate. For those homes that have copies of The Pilgrim's Progress (not to mention the Bible), why not make it a point to take it down this weekend, blow the dust off and actually read it. It helped to change Michael Oher's life, maybe it will change yours.
And for those homes that are lacking a copy of this classic work, click on the following link and order a copy or two to fix that problem. The version that we have for sale is a deluxe edition that contains The Pilgrim's Progress and eight more of John Bunyan's works, each of which is a classic on its own. And because our office manager was able to get these from the publisher at a good price, we want to give you a good price. For the next week (until the Monday after Thanksgiving), the Reformation Bookstore will knock 40% off the retail price of this 900-page collection of Bunyan's writings. Stock up for Christmas, birthday, and wedding presents. Every Christian home should contain at least one copy of The Pilgrim's Progress. Then, while you're waiting for your book to arrive, go and see The Blind Side. Let Hollywood know that in addition to having good taste in what you read, you also support good, uplifting entertainment!
 Amy Henry, "Family Man," WORLD Magazine (November 21, 2009), 37.