Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beyond History

The fascinating thing about events today—and even those that happened within the past century or so—is that we have all sorts of ways to preserve and present history beyond simply words on a page. We can assemble interviews, contemporary footage and reactions, and in some cases even footage of the events themselves. This is why documentaries are sometimes the most fascinating of films. They tell not just stories, but they present us with things that have really happened and had an impact on our world. (The sooner history education devotes most of its energy and resources to using more documentaries and fewer textbooks the better!)
One of the more inspiring documentaries of the past decade, that did not receive much attention outside of faith circles, was “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” In the case of a lot of people it has taken the place of the highly influential book that chronicles the same events. Both reports deserve attention, but in today’s world the documentary has a bit more impact. Here we get to see some of the people who were connected to the events and hear them tell their own story. We get to see the reaction of the world in those days, (because it was an international news event, not just some fringe Christian issue) and we get to see footage of the actual players in some of the events leading up to the tragedy.

Most amazing of all, the documentary brings the story up to present day, where we discover that the sacrifices made were not in vain. Lives were changed and whole peoples were rescued from a reality that was driven by revenge, death, and fear.

"People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted." -- Nate Saint

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