i got to see an early screening of the movie “amazing grace” a couple weeks ago. the movie releases on feb 23, the exact 200-year anniversary of parliament passing william wilberforce’s bill to abolish slavery in england. the movie tells the 30-year struggle wilberforce went through, and shows the spiritual/faith issues that factored in for him (including the very cool role of john newton, the writer of the hymn amazing grace). it really is a good movie. a tiny bit slow at points — but very worth seeing. and it’s completely clean, so great for families or for youth ministry. really, it would be so cool to take a youth ministry small group to the movie, then go out afterward to talk about it.
youth specialties is publishing a book in our invert line, written by zach hunter, that’s connected with the movie (and released a couple days ago), called “be the change“. zach is a 15 year-old abolitionist. when he was 12, he learned about the quantity of slaves in the world today (twice the number as when wilberforce was alive and slavery was legal and normative in both england and the u.s.), and he decided to do something about it. zach, as a 12 year-old, started a campaign called “loose change to loosen chains” — basically an education and fundraising effort at his school. in the years since, that campaign has gained foothold all over the country, and has now become part of the overall umbrella of the “amazing change” campaign. and zach, who spoke in front of 500,000 last year alone, is the teen spokesman for the amazing change campaign. i’m really stoked about this book, and hope lots of teenagers will read it and see that god can use them now — not just when they’re adults — to make a difference in the world.
here’s the back cover copy of the book:
Most people think the average teenager isn’t capable of much beyond hanging with their friends and wasting time. But Zach Hunter isn’t your average teenager. And he’s hoping to show you that you’re not either.
Zach has been trying to end slavery around the globe. Most people (maybe even you) think that slavery has been over for a long time. But sadly, there are more people bound in slavery now than at any of the times we read about in our history books. Now Zach is working to end slavery and free the men, women, and children who are being held against their will. He’s even found some friends in the fight, including Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Leeland Mooring of Leeland.
Just look around the world and on the news and you’ll find that there are plenty of things wrong with our planet—homelessness, hunger, global warming, AIDS…the list goes on and on. And we usually look at these problems and decide they’re too big for us to do anything about. But Zach is proving that one person can make a difference. And in his book, he’ll reveal the elements needed to make amazing changes in your world. In the end, he hopes you’ll find the thing you’re passionate about—and start making changes!
here’s the student section on the amazing change site.
and here’s zach’s myspace for the initiative he started (loose change to loosen chains)