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February 26, 2009

The Dude Abides . . . and Other News

'The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers,' a Schiavo doc, & Phil Vischer's new venture

News and notes from here and there . . .

Our friend Cathleen Falsani, religion writer for the Chicago Sun Times and author of this terrific cover story on Bono for CT, just happens to be a big fan of the Coen Brothers too. And that just happens to be the topic of her next book, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, due from Zondervan this fall -- right about the same time the next movie from the Coens, A Serious Man, hits theaters (due Oct. 2).

Falsani, also the author of Sin Boldly and The God Factor, gives an early glimpse at the cover (at left) on her blog, also called The Dude Abides.

A Zondervan press release says the book "will look at the filmmakers' presentation of serious existential and theological questions using the dark, intelligent humor and epic storytelling that have been their trademarks in more than a
dozen films during the past 25 years. . . . Falsani will investigate the theological, mythological, moral, ethical, religious and philosophical content and what their overarching message -- their "Gospel" -- might be."

I've already been in touch with Cathleen about an interview to discuss her book and the Coen movies, so stay tuned . . .

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A new documentary, The Terri Schiavo Story, promises to reveal "previously unexplored facts of the case . . . through in-depth interviews with participants on both sides of the issue. Hosted by author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada, who became personally involved in the case in 2005, The Terri Schiavo Story sheds new light on the controversial decision that led to the death of a 41-year-old disabled woman."

Read more about the film or purchase it on DVD at the official site, and watch the trailer here:

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VeggieTales founder, creative genius, and all-around good guy Phil Vischer has launched an online children's TV network called JellyTelly. The free network, which streams programming 24/7, is aimed at kids ages 5-11.

In an introductory video to parents on the website, after noting how many hours kids spend in front of the TV -- especially the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon -- Vischer says, "Is it any wonder that our kids are growing up knowing more about Hannah Montana than about the Apostle Paul? Or that they're more emotionally engaged in the outcome of American Idol than in the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the work of the church around the world?

"JellyTelly is a way to bring the Bible to life for kids on a daily basis, to show them the work of the church around the world and the role they can play in it, to teach their faith and what it looks like to live it."

If anyone can get through to children through the means of visual media and new technologies, it's Phil Vischer. May God bless this latest endeavor.

Related Tags: Cathleen Falsani, Coen Brothers, JellyTelly, Phil Vischer, Terri Schiavo