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Friday Ramblings

William Wilberforce

In February of 2007 a film titled Amazing Grace will hit theatres, though only in limited release (and I’d be surprised if it makes it to Canada at all). The movie deals with the life of “the world’s greatest reformer,” William Wilberforce.

Ioan Gruffudd plays Wilberforce, who, as a Member of Parliament, navigated the world of 18th Century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire. Albert Finney plays John Newton, a confidante of Wilberforce who inspires him to pursue a life of service to humanity. Benedict Cumberbatch is William Pitt the Younger, England’s youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encourages his friend Wilberforce to take up the fight to outlaw slavery and supports him in his struggles in Parliament.

Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21, and on his way to a successful political career, Wilberforce, over the course of two decades, took on the English establishment and persuaded those in power to end the inhumane trade of slavery.

Not limiting himself to just abolitionist work, he dedicated his life to what he called his “two great objects:” abolishing slavery in the British Empire and what he called “the reformation of manners [society].” To this end, he advocated for child labor laws, campaigned for education of the blind and deaf, and founded organizations as diverse as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the National Gallery (of Art). “Good causes,” it has been said, “stuck to him like pins to a magnet.”

It is not often that we see the life of a great Christian man potrayed in film. Because of the film Wilberforce will be the subject of several upcoming biographies. John Piper’s short Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce will be available in January. I assume this is the same text that was published as a chapter in The Roots of Endurance. This was, in turn, based on Piper’s biographical address at the 2002 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. You can read or listen to the speech here. In February Zondervan will be publishing Kevin Belmonte’s William Wilberforce: A Hero For Humanity. Also in February, Harper San Francisco is releasing Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. Regal Books will bring us Real Christianity: A Nation Was Blind Until One Man Made Them See, Bob Beltz’s modern paraphrase of Wilberforce’s original book about the authentic expression of the Christian faith.

You can visit the official site for the film at amazinggracemovie.com. While a trailer is not yet available, there are a couple of move clips on the site along with plenty of other interesting information.

William Wilberforce

Marriage

For some reason, an article Al Mohler wrote a month ago came through my RSS reader this morning. In this article Mohler asked if marriage is going out of style. He quoted David Popenoe, a professor of sociology at Rutger’s University and co-director of the National Marriage Project who said something that is entirely true, but entirely politically incorrect: “The bottom line is that a heavily married society is a whole lot better off than one that’s not.” He went on to show something we already know: fewer people are getting married and those who do are getting married later. “The median age at first marriage went from 20 for females and 23 for males in 1960 to about 26 and 27, respectively, in 2005, the Marriage Project says.”

I find it interesting that the decline in marriage coincides with increasing demands to allow homosexuals to “marry,” something that is impossible according to the definition of marriage given to us by the one who created marriage. Here in Canada our Conservative government just made a very half-hearted attempt at preserving the real definition of marriage. They failed. At this point Canada has accepted homosexual marriage and it will never change. I wonder if the acceptance of gay marriage is a cause or an effect of the overall decline in marriage. Do people somehow realize that the whole concept of marriage is being cheapened by allowing homosexuals access to it, thus making the decline in marriage an effect of homosexual unions? Or are people so apathetic about marriage today that they no longer care who marries and how the definition of marriage is changed? Maybe we see both cause and effect at the same time.

Lesson Learned

There is a lesson I learned from the homeschooling topics I posted recently. And no, I don’t intend to bring up the topic again anytime soon! When I write something that ends up being controversial, I something have a large number of people visit the site who are unfamiliar with me. In this case, and if the site statistics are to be believed, several thousand people came by my site in the past few days who had likely never heard of me before. They know nothing of me and, for all they know, I could be anything from pinko liberal commie to a Bible-quoting Mormon. This made me realize how valuable it is to first establish credibility with people who read blogs. Of course establishing credibility can be a long process. It is done only with time. Thus I think there was a different reaction to these articles (and others I’ve posted recently that turned out to stir controversy) from people who have read my site for a year or two as compared to people who have read nothing except for those controversial articles. This is something I’ve filed away in my head to think about later.

Concert

Switchfoot is coming to Toronto in February and I just bought my tickets. This is why I don’t got to concerts very often. $26.50 doesn’t sound like a bad price for a concert ticket. But then Ticketmaster gets involved:

General Admission Tickets $26.50 x 2
Total Building Facility Charge $1.25 x 2
Total Convenience Charge $8.50 x 2
Order Processing Charge $3.50

Total Charges $76.00

Now I just need to find someone to go with. Buying concert tickets is like booking a plane ticket. For my next trip to California the charges look like this:

Flight - Returning airfare 339.99
Navcan and Surcharges 14.98
Canada Airport Improvement Fee 15.00
U.S.A Transportation Tax 33.20
Canada Security Charge 7.94
U.S Passenger Facility Charge 5.15
Canada Goods and Services Tax 36.59
September 11 Security Fee 2.86
U.S.A. Immigration User Fee 8.01

Total Airfare 695.71

Gotta love it…