Posts Tagged ‘England’

Amazing Grace – DVD

January 7, 2009

I received the DVD “Amazing Grace” as my requested Christmas present. I just love this movie because it has so many high quality elements.

It is the true story of a man called William Wilberforce a godly christian who spent his entire life as a member of parliament campaigning tirelessly to abolish the slave trade of African people practiced by British businessman and landowners.

The story is truly inspiring as it describes the passion, perseverance, ingenuity and charisma of a man who suffered constant opposition, ill health and disappointment throughout his life, until he finally fulfilled his vision to abolish the slave trade in Britain via an act of Parliament.

Today many people are fairly cynical about politicians and anything to do with politics.  This is why this movie is such a stark contrast since it shows how a man with godly motives, having little concern for his own well being, truly used his power, wealth, wit and charisma to achieve freedom for this oppressed group.  He also initiated many other social reforms  for the making of a better world.

The film  may at least offer some  hope that perhaps one day other individuals of the same calibre may rise up to do the same –  by using their power and influence to change the world for the better without being totally corrupted by the political process itself.    As the bible says in  Matthew 19:26b  “with God all things are possible”

The film also features the presence of the preacher John Newton, the former chief slave trader who eventually repented of these sins.  As a result he wrote the famous hymn “Amazing Grace”.  Hence the title of the film .  The reason he wrote this song was to express the wondrous mercy love and forgiveness that he received from God through Jesus,  for his past sins in the mistreatment of African slaves.   This became an overwhelming and moving spiritual and emotional revelation for his life.

I also love the musical score of the film with it’s full orchestral themes and nuances to create the whole mood and drama of the events.  This makes the film worth seeing as well.

I am also fairly partial to movies set in the old seventeenth eighteenth century settings in England.  I’m  always quite fascinated by english history.  Perhaps because it always conjures up the old english novels I used to devour as a child which succeeded in spurring my imagination to be able to be transported to other worlds.

Every person or christian who has any interest or concern for social justice or the making of a better world must see this movie.

The following are the lyrics to the hymn Amazing Grace which you may choose to meditate on:-

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!

Through  many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)


Bosses and Trade Unions Unite in Peace

April 1, 2008

North & South DVD Review Starring Daniela Denby-Ashe,  Richard Armitage,  Sinead Cusack  and Leslie Manville.  3 Stars

I watched an interesting DVD over the past week called “North & South”. This was formerly a 4 part TV series produced by the BBC. I’m not sure if it is available in the USA.

The story is about a woman called Margaret who is the daughter of an English Pastor. She comes from a fairly middle class traditional upbringing. Suddenly her whole family is uprooted to a more dire part of England in the town of Milton. Milton is the home of working class people who labour in a cotton mill. This occurs during the midst of the industrial revolution.

I found this drama interesting in that it explored in more detail, the relationship between the workers of the mill and their “master” or owner of the mill. At the beginning of the story it depicts the relationship as one of great animosity and distrust, even to the point of violence. This results in an attempt to form a trade union. It is led by one of the more outspoken workers in order to create a united force to barrack for fair wages.

When Margaret’s family appear on the scene, they form relationships with both opposing parties ie the workers and the factory owner. Margaret’s father for instance, begins to tutor John Thornton – the factory owner, in subjects of interest. In so doing, Margaret and her father gradually become acquainted with both sides of the worker/boss relationship.

It was interesting for me, since it helped me to see & even empathize a little more with the business operations from the view of the owner of the factory and see the challenges they face. For instance, the fact that they hold a great deal of responsibility for the livelihoods of so many of their employees, as well as the enormous risks and difficult decisions they must face.  Also it made me realize that if a company does not turn out the same amount of income each year it can become much more difficult  to keep paying workers the same or higher wages or keep the same number of workers employed. 

Even so, it is only through the influence and intervention of this strong woman Margaret, who promotes greater compassion , civil dialogue and personal interest between each of these factions that an atmosphere of peace and co-operation is eventually achieved.

I’m not sure if this story is actually true, however the film maker does try to show how understanding, compassion and a genuine interest in the other party, in the workplace, can possibly be resolved through mediators who try to promote peace instead of hatred and violence.

The film may show an idealistic situation, but I believe there are elements that viewers can indeed learn from and even perhaps apply in everyday life – like trying to see things from another perspective and exercise forgiveness and compassion.

Highly recommended viewing for those who are interested in achieving greater social justice through peaceful and humane means

By Adelle Arwen
Gospel Singer Songwriter & Recording Artist