Todd Suttles Movie Sighting: The Second Chance

Recently, I re-watched a small Christian movie called The Second Chance (2006), directed by Steve Taylor and starring Michael W. Smith as a yuppie music pastor who spends some time serving in an inner-city church. Naturally, the film uses Smith’s musical talents for more than one set piece. Guess who I spotted in the choir on a couple of them? Todd Suttles, now singing baritone/bass for the Gaither Vocal Band. Here’s my favorite number, “Follow Me.” Michael’s character has wandered into a church choir practice, and the lady director enthusiastically encourages him to sit down and play something with them. You can see Todd in the orange shirt on the far right. He has a step-out around 2:10.

You might be wondering if the movie itself is any good, and the answer is that parts of it are very good, but it’s a mixed bag. Michael W. does a surprisingly good acting job, and the black pastor he works with is even more impressive. The writers are clearly very familiar with inner city church ministry in Nashville and fill the story with memorable small moments and characters. A subplot involving a pregnant prostitute is particularly sad and powerful. My main problem with the film is its excessive wallowing in white guilt. Granted, it could have been even worse, and it tries to present an equal array of black and white antagonists (including a corrupt black city official and a cruel black gangster). It also acknowledges that the black pastor is prideful and cynical, and he needs to give Michael W.’s wide-eyed character a fair chance. But in my opinion, it doesn’t come down hard enough on some of his spewing, and the closing scene has him getting choked up at a Malcolm X quote. Yes, both pastors are presented as having lessons to learn, but it seems like in the end, the white guy has learned more.

Then again, it seemed pretty mild compared to what I found when I looked up the actor who plays the black pastor, Jeff Obafemi Carr. The guy is a total nutcase. He’s a black liberation activist with his own cult down in Nashville that, if I have this right, combines Pentecostalism with African tribal paganism with Freemasonry. Nope, not making this up. But hey, he can act. Soooo, ANYway. Enjoy the music!

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2 thoughts on “Todd Suttles Movie Sighting: The Second Chance

  1. Saved Girl

    Ah yes, I still remember the first (and only) time I watched that movie. It definitely did not make me eager to re-watch it. Your criticisms are very valid, plus I had a few of my own. Didn’t they have the pastor swearing at some points in it? That was never addressed, and pastors should be above that sort of behavior. Also, at the end, they are promoting civil disobedience by sitting on top of the church. If your government is not causing you to sin, submit to it. For some reason, the black community seems to feel themselves above that admonition and the law. I felt as though the movie condoned that attitude.

    1. I’m not universally anti-swearing, but the way the pastor was shown doing it (including in public) implied he simply couldn’t control himself. That’s obviously not acceptable pastorly behavior. But, in fairness, his wife is also shown taming his tongue. The sitting on the roof, I thought was actually humorous. And recall in fairness that it’s actually the old white pastor who initiates it, while the black congregation was prepared to accept the demolition. I think there could be a place for civil disobedience. Is it merited when the government is coming to knock down a building you over? Probably not. Besides, my first thought was what’s the point? They’re just going to climb on the roof and make them come down!

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