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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Amazing Grace - The Movie

I just viewed the movie trailer for the forthcoming film Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce. It's timed to come out February 23rd, 2007 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. (At least the English slave trade. 27 million it's estimated still languish in slavery of one sort or another, but this movie will still help them.)

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) led the twenty-year fight to end the British slave trade, a victory now regarded as He finally succeeded in March 1807 and continued to fight for abolition until, days before his death in 1833, he saw the institution of slavery abolished throughout the British colonies. Not limiting himself to just abolitionist work, he dedicated his life to what he called his "two great objects:" abolishing slavery in the British Empire and what he called "the reformation of manners [society]." To this end, he advocated for child labor laws, campaigned for education of the blind and deaf, and founded organizations as diverse as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the National Gallery (of Art). "Good causes," it has been said, "stuck to him like pins to a magnet." - Wilberforce biographer and Amazing Grace lead historical consultant, Kevin Belmonte

The movie hopes to also introduce The Amazing Change Campaign to end modern chattel slavery. Sunday February 18th is "Amazing Grace Sunday" Most churches using a lectionary based on the common lectionary will be celebrating our Lord's Transfiguration. By extending the reading to include all of Luke 9:28-43 they can include the text where immediately after that event our Lord descends the mount to free a child held in bondage to demonic spirits... How appropriate!

One little known fact: There are more slaves being traded and in bondage now than any time during the 400 years of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade the Wilberforce helped end non-violently.

One Concern: Will the movie adequately portray William Wilberforce's Christian motivations or downplay them? The bio of Wilberforce never mentions that he lived and died a zealous Christian after an "evangelical" conversion experience!

Are the promoters of the film hoping to downplay this fact to give the movie broader appeal (the lead character starred in the "Fantastic 4" and is recognizable to millions of youth)? Do they hope that Christian interest can be maintained by having the song Amazing Grace play in the background?

I did notice a link to the World Evangelical Alliance Amazing Grace Church Resources page for this movie.

At least their marketing is better than the Nativity Scene! They are also linking a movie to CONCRETE ACTION!

Here's the Official Movie Site: