innocuous grace

As I anticipate watching an advance screening (tonight) of the Wilberforce movie - Amazing Grace - I thought this might be an opportune time to share my first and last efforts in song-writing. It goes like this:

Innocuous Grace, how dull the sound
that saved a nice guy like me.

nice chatting


[later ... rather than writing a new post, I have written a little 'review' of Amazing Grace and embedded it within the 'comments' on this post]


Rhett said…
A nice production shine... some beatboxing... I'm hearing it!
Wayne said…
Hi Paul

The malady described in "your" song infects many Christians - it's a deep seated apathy towards grace. I get this disease myself from time to time. Apart from dwelling on our heinous sins 24/7 and slipping into depression(!) what do you think is the remedy?
Paul Windsor said…
A couple of ideas spring to mind, Wayne

(a) stand next to Jesus
The line from John Newton in the movie comes to mind: "I am a great sinner. Christ is a great saviour."
So rather than just squashing ourselves, maybe if we hang out near Jesus we might gain a truer perspective on who we are ... and the wonder of grace as well?

(b) start the gospel before Genesis 3
Genesis 1 & 2 takes time over describing God's original design. It was good, some of it very good. The very worst of sin and evil stains something that was originally designed to be good. Maybe grace is restoring something as well as redeeming something?

what say ye?
Paul Windsor said…
Last night Amazing Grace (the movie) exceeded my lofty expectations. It has impacted me deeply ... can I take the time to tell you why?

(i) It is a true story and a truly great story. I've been captivated by it for years. It is about how one person can change the world - or, more accurately and attractively, how a close-knit team of people can change the world. The storyline jumps around a lot (sometimes you can only tell where you are by how old the characters look!) and so I'd read something like Clifford Hill's The Wilberforce Connection before you go and see it. Know the story a bit before you watch the movie.

(ii) The casting of some of the characters is brilliant. The director declared his intentions when he went after the likes of Albert Finney (as John Newton) and Michael Gambon. They bring a gravitas and an eloquence to the movie in which I just revelled. The scenes where Newton and Wilberforce share the screen will remain among my all-time favourites. And singing that hymn will never be the same again after meeting John Newton in this movie.

(iii) At times the dialogue is a bit cheesy and clich-ed ... but on the whole I loved the wit and the depth of insight in the script.

(iv) The NZ critics will probably pan it out of their endemic hostility to all things Christian ... but I loved the real way in which the movie is infused with the transforming gospel of Jesus without reaching for a soapbox. Here is salt-light, grace-truth in exquisitely balanced see-saw tension. Just how mission needs to be...

(v) At Carey I coordinate a required course that is the capstone of our BAppTheol. The Thematic Integrative Seminar. We pick a general theme each year. Students select a specific topic and complete a piece of integrative research on it. This year? Quite deliberately, it is Contemporary Slaveries. And 30 students have found specific topics to pursue ... SLAVERY IS ALIVE AND KICKING. And God is up in his heaven desperately seeking Wilberforces to change the world once again.

Go on. Be in. Give up your small ambitions. Here is a cause for an emerging generation with character and talent to burn and who, like Wilberforce, are able to work within a diverse team where the total is far greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Now I have to wait six weeks before the movie is released and I can see it again - UGH?!
Lisa said…
*Cheers* We showed a clip in church the other day of a 15 year old teen who after finding out that slavery still exisited got off his behind and went and did something. Purely inspiring. Really shows you once again that children and young people often grasp kingdom principles in a much fuller way then we do.
Matt said…
...I'm rarely lost but always found,
in the best company.

T'was me that taught my heart to rise,
above my fellow man.
How precious did my face appear,
the day that I began.

Through many dangers toils and snares,
I have overcome.
T'was I that brought me safe thus far,
and I who'll lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
in family and with stuff.
His portion is sufficient for me,
so long as I have enough!

When I've been here for many years,
bright shinning as I am,
there'll still be time to sing my praise,
like when I first began.
Paul Windsor said…
Oh dear, Matt - you have now silenced my song-writing career forever with your lyrical wizardry. You seem to have a real flair for ego-centric lyrics :)

And Lisa I did have a good look around that website - it is a remarkable story ... and not the first teenager to surprise with their dedication and courage for Jesus' sake.
dale said…
preach it Paul!


I was blessed with seeing it in 'advance' also... SOOO Good!!!

Dave Wells said…
Interesting topic for your integrative assignments this year Paul. I went to a lecture at the meuseam on international refugee day and I actually wonder whether the refugee situation in the world today is a fairly accurate parallel to the slavery issue which Wilburforce and his friends faced. I wrote about the connections at my blog 'Bare Theology' ( so I won't repeat them here.

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