It was six years ago that I learned about Shusako Endo’s masterpiece Silence, a story about the persecution of Christian converts in Japan in the early 17th c., the journey of two priests who travel to bring an apostate colleague back to faith, and the question of where God is in the midst of suffering.
Three years later, God started opening doors, at times in complex and mysterious ways, to be involved with the telling of this important story. After hammering out terms of the investment, my business partner at Cave Pictures, Dale Brown, eventually represented the largest minority position of funding for the film.
Our own journey with Silence began.
Even aside from the film itself there have been opportunities where we’ve been blessed to be part of. The Clapham Group served as Mako Fujimura’s agent for the publication of his new book entitled Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering, inspired by Endo’s novel and reflecting on his own journey as a Japanese Christian artist.
We also worked with Mako, Wheaton College and other donors to curate an exhibit, “Stepping Into Silence”, that has travelled to cities across the US which tells the story of Silence through modern art and ancient period artifacts including both paper and bronze “fumi-e”, images of Christ and/or the Virgin Mary used to force Japanese Christians to apostatize and renounce their faith.
Additionally, we’ve had the privilege of partnering with Picador, the publisher of Silence, to curate a collection of reflections on the book written by more than 40 influencers, professors, musicians and cultural leaders. It is a powerful tribute to the reach that this story has had across generations, cultures and ideologies.
This journey has also been personal for us. As I reflected in my most recent essay, the associate pastor who first introduced me to the film six years ago, Nace Lanier, has been walking through his own journey of silence this year. His eldest son, Josiah, passed away from a brain tumor a few months ago. Josiah’s name now appears in the credits of Silence, a reminder that Endo’s work can be very personal.
Please join us in our journey as Martin Scorsese’s remarkable film rolls out across the country in theaters this Friday. My hope is that, in the words of one of our reflection contributors, the film will be a “testimony of love” that draws viewers into deeper reflection on their own faith journey.
–Mark Rodgers, Principal, The Clapham Group