I rarely talk here about films, but recently I made an exception to tell you about "No. 4 Street of Our Lady." That was because it was being shown at an area film festival and it was about the same subject as my new book, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust.
I want to make another exception today to tell you about "As We Forgive," a documentary film by Laura Waters Hinson. This is a powerful and at times disturbing 53-minute film about the effort to create forgiveness and reconciliation after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
It's the sort of film that faith communities -- especially Christian churches -- should show their members because of what it says about the failures of the church in Rwanda and the lessons to be learned from that.
The link I've given you for the film offers you a chance to buy the DVD there.
What I found so compelling about the film -- besides its personal stories of murdered family members and forgiveness of the murderers -- was the stark truth spoken by Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana, president of Prison Fellowship Rwanda, an organization that has inspired more than 32,000 prisoners to confess their genocidal crimes and seek forgiveness from surviving family members of the people they killed.
Yes, he spoke of the benefit of forgiveness: "When they forgive they get release. . .then they can think right."
But he also spoke truth about what the church did and didn't do: "The reality and the truth remains that the church has failed -- not only during the genocide. . .but the church failed in the events that led to the genocide. And during the time of the genocide the church failed miserably."
It was the sort of admission that then-President Bill Clinton couldn't quite bring himself to offer in his 1998 apology for not acting quickly enough to stop the killing -- an apology that seemed to me and many others as important but passive and not quite heartfelt.
At any rate, I think "As We Forgive" is well worth your time as an exploration of what forgiveness really means.
(The photo here today is from http://kabiza.com/images/rwanda%20genocide1.jpg.)
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WHAT DID THE 'GOD IS DEAD' MOVEMENT MEAN?The recent death of the person who wrote the "Is God Dead" cover piece for Time magazine back in the 1960s has raised the question of what the death of God movement really meant. A pretty good analysis of that question is found in this piece from the British newspaper, The Guardian. I thought the movement in the 1960s started some good and useful conversations -- certainly more interesting than most of the conversations started by the so-called New Atheists.