A MORAL MOVIE WORTH YOUR TIME
I said then that I didn't think I'd get a chance to see the film for some weeks. But a hole in my schedule opened up and I saw "Amazing Grace" the other evening with folks from my church.
So: Is it worth seeing?
In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. And given the advance publicity about the evanglical nature of the movie, I was both surprised and pleased with how that aspect of Wilberforce's inspiring life was played.
Wilberforce was not shown as a raving religious fanatic. Rather, he was portrayed as a deeply thoughtful man wrestling with the problems of his day and with how to be an authentic Christian disciple while being active in politics.
Apparently there's an effort by some folks in the pro-life movement to use this movie as a rallying point. I think that's a misuse of it. Rather, the William Wilberforce story should be taken on its own terms. Yes, it should inspire us to confront the moral issues of our day -- and many people, including me, would put abortion on that list. But "Amazing Grace" is not a pro-life movie in disguise.
The movie shows that however morally obtuse the slave traders were, their defenders in parliament on occasion raised some legitimate questions about how ending the trade all at once might affect the livelihood of various people and the economy of various port cities. I'm in no way saying they had good reason to defend the repugnant slave trade, which in my view was an insult to God. Rather, I'm suggesting that no moral question is ever without some complicating factors. And the movie showed that pretty well.
So have you seen "Amazing Grace"? And, if so, what did you think?
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My column tomorrow will focus on why this Lenten season for Christians should not be about giving up, say, desserts, but, rather on why there is suffering and evil in the world and what can be done about it.)