Thoughts on Invictus: Part 3

Recently my wife Kay and I watched Invictus, the new film from Clint Eastwood starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The movie tells the story of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President, and his vision of using the Springboks (South Africa’s rugby team that had functioned as a symbol of apartheid and oppression to the country’s blacks) as a vehicle to unify the severely racially-fractured country in its quest to win the World Cup in 1995. The story itself is historically accurate.  But rather than be a dry description of those happenings nearly fifteen years ago, it brings to life those events in quite an amazing way.  Although some details are added to the story, as is often the case in Hollywood, the story the film tells is nothing short of gripping.

News reporter Alexandra Zavis who was in South Africa during these events writes:

Of all the improbable images I carry in my head from covering those first heady days of South Africa’s new democracy for the Associated Press, this one stands out. The film "Invictus," directed by Clint Eastwood and based on a book by journalist John Carlin called "Playing the Enemy," captures this extraordinary moment when history really was made on a sports field.

LA Times, December 15,2009

As you may know, I love film. In fact I have taught classes in seminary on Theology and Film on several occasions. The power of film is the power of the story to incarnate truth. And Invictus does just that.

Recently I have been studying deeply issues of forgiveness, abuse, injustice reconciliation, and the person of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. As I sat in the darkened theater and watched the images and heard the dialogue I was overwhelmed as these themes wove themselves together as the story unfolded. In a very real sense Invictus became a lens that focused these themes together in sharp relief.  As we walked out of the theatre I turned to Kay and said “I sense the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit are all over that film!”

Coming Up: In my next post I’ll unpack the dynamic truths I’ve been learning as I’ve studied the issues of forgiveness, abuse and injustice.

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January 29, 2010. Tags: , . Food For Thought.

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