Everything here represents my own opinion and not the opinion of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection or the United Methodist Church.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Amazing Grace

This morning I had the opportunity to screen the upcoming movie Amazing Grace along with other church leaders from the Kansas City area. Amazing Grace will be released on February 23, 2007. The movie tells the story of William Wilberforce who was a leader of the effort in the 19th century to end the slave trade in the British Empire. I found the film to be a quality portrayal of figure in history standing up for justice against great opposition.

Before the movie we heard historical background on the story that was about to be portrayed. I did not grasp the entire history when hearing it read, but this history helped give greater meaning to the movie while I was watching. After the screening, a representative from the production team spoke about the intent and hope for the movie - that it would be a catalyst for action. We had the opportunity to pick up an "Amazing Grace Leader Kit" at the end of the screening. This contained promotional literature for the movie, study guides, and ways to get involved. From that literature:

Five Amazing Ways to Join the Movement of Grace
  1. Sing Amazing Grace on February 18.
  2. Sign the petition to end modern day slavery.
  3. Ask your friends and family to pray for "A Movement of Grace."
  4. Use Amazing Grace for outreach.
  5. Buy a block of tickets on opening weekend.
At first, I reacted negatively to this packet and encouragement to action. I felt that it was a thinly veiled marketing tactic. However, one of my friends on staff at Resurrection gave a different perspective which I appreciate and helped me to think about the issue in a different light. My friend asserted that the use of media was an effective way to proclaim the gospel in ways that would never be possible from a congregation. An example that was given - the reformation of the meat packing plants in the United States in the early 1900's was catalyzed by the book, The Jungle, in ways that would not have happened without the writing of the book. I take this as a valid point. The movie will certainly reach an audience that may not be reached by any particular congregation.

What do you think?