“How do we embrace the toil of freedom?” That is the question that friend, screenwriter and producer Okorie Johnson sets out to answer in his forthcoming film, “Canopy.” As an introspective look at how one particular African American struggles to pursue his dreams in his own context (Atlanta, Georgia), the film lifts up one unique strand of a very rich tapestry of contemporary African American experience.
Freedom bought at a high price- in this case, through the long, hard struggle of civil rights activists and the suffering of their ancestors who once sang about hope and a future while in shackles- carries great responsibility. For at least one segment of today’s generation of African Americans, the question thus becomes, “How do we honor the legacy of that hard-fought struggle for freedom?” Okorie’s answer seems to be this: that we let nothing, including our own shortcomings, stand in the way of our dreams.
Are there implications here for how we might understand the nature of Christian freedom, too? I think so. Centuries ago many in the early church gave their lives as witness to their faith, and today we see similar acts of courageous martyrdom by followers of Christ all around the world in places of repression. What does it mean, then, to live into freedom and embrace freedom’s responsibilities and toil when this kind of martyrdom marks our story?
In the spirit of black history month, and with a view to furthering the work of other passionate, creative tellers of life-giving stories, I commend “Canopy” to you. You can find a teaser for the film here:
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “The Heresy of Masculine Christianity: A Response to John Piper.”