I am currently reading the Amazing Grace biography of Wilberforce by Eric Metaxas. It is quite good. I held off reading it for some time since I had read several other biographies on Wilberforce in past years.
But I liked the movie so much that I decided to read Metaxas' book, and it is very good.
When I was in South Africa a few weeks ago, this movie/book played into our time together in a special way. We had spent all of Thursday morning looking at a "biblical theology of leadership" in the framework of Creation - Fall - Redemption - Consumation. We spent time looking at power and authority, their corruption and their reclamation through Christ. We spent time looking at the counter-cultural, no-so-with-you approach to leadership of Jesus. We considered images and metaphors of servant leadership.
It was a very moving time for the group and I really appreciated how this multi-cultural, post-apartheid group of leaders wrestled with these ideas. Then, in the evening, the group watched the movie - Amazing Grace. And it hit me again . . .
Wilberforce was one of God's counter-cultural, servant leaders who led as a servant, shepherd, steward and sufferer. He walked in the way of Christ and he imitated Christ much as Paul did. The words that Paul said in Colossians 1:24-25, about himself, were also true of Wilberforce.
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant . . .
It was a powerful evening, as we watched a movie about a Christian politician, whose vocation was the elimination of slavery and the reformation of manners/morality in England. It was a God-moment as this movie showed the life work (and suffering) of a choice servant of God.
I'd also like to recommend that you either watch or revisit Amistad, which is one of the most powerful movies of leadership and passion and justice that I have ever seen. It is the story about the slaveship Amistad and the slave uprising and the legal battle for their lives. Anthony Hopkins plays President John Adams, now retired, who is enlisted to argue the case before the Supreme Court. Even though the ten minute scene near the end of the movie, is not fully historically accurate, it is VERY POWERFUL and well worth watching.
There are great performances by all the actors and Cinque, the African leader, is extraordinary in the leadership role he portrays. Plus, there is one of the most powerful examples of the power of the biblical story to impact people!!!