I don’t know if this movie, Amazing Grace, just hasn’t received much press (or maybe I just don’t watch enough TV) but I hadn’t heard anything about it until my wife ordered it from Netflix. However, this is a movie I would recommend to everyone.
William Wilberforce was a young man in 1770’s in England, raised in an aristocratic family, and elected to the House of Commons. His best friend was William Pitt, who at 24 was the youngest prime minister Great Britain has still ever had. At some point early in the decade, Wilberforce had an experience where he felt born again in Christianity. He pondered whether to give up politics and join the ministry, feeling that he had to chose between “praising the Lord” and serving his fellow man. Pitt and Wilberforce’s pastor, John Newton (author of the hymn Amazing Grace and former slave trader) both encouraged him to remain in politics and do both: praise the Lord and serve humanity.
Wilberforce wasted away the rest of his life, fighting through significant health problems, dedicating his life to abolition of the slave trade, improving education, helping provide for the poor, essentially all those liberal, progressive things that Christians ought to be engaged it. He failed multiple times and at points gave up, but always was brought back to what he felt he needed to do to better the situation of all God’s children.
Watch the movie. Read the story of the inspiring life of a fellow idealist.