All posts from “August 2010”

« July 2010 | Home | September 2010 »

August 31, 2010

Rapper Spoofs Prosperity Gospel. Sort Of.

Rhymefest, co-writer of Kanye's 'Jesus Walks,' opines on megachurch, Osteen, and more

rhymefest.jpg
"You know who I love?" rapper Rhymefest asks in a recent interview with Rapzilla, a Christian rap/hip-hop ezine. "What’s that guy with the curly hair? What is his name? A white guy. He has a huge church. He’s on TV all the time. He talks about health and wellness . . ."

Rapzilla helps him out: "Joel Osteen?"

Rhymefest: "Yo! I LOVE that dude! I watch him as much as I can. He comes across as just a beautiful person and not only because he’s a handsome guy with a beautiful family, but because he’s so tender with his flock, you know? And he doesn’t preach, he teaches."

Interesting comments, considering that just moments before, in the same interview, Rhymefest had said that he thought preachers of the prosperity gospel -- and Osteen is often considered one of them -- is "fleecing all communities. In fact, what did Jesus say when he went to the church? He said 'How dare you use my Father’s house as a market!' To me, that is a direct correlation with what Jesus’ thoughts would have been on prosperity preaching. It’s an issue. It’s fleecing the people. It’s idol worship. It’s anti-the-Christ in my opinion."

Rhymefest, who says he grew up in a Christian home but now considers himself a Muslim, co-wrote the Kanye West mega-hit "Jesus Walks." Rhymefest makes perhaps his strongest statement on the prosperity gospel with his song and video, "Prosperity." Check out the video below and judge for yourself. (Caution: There are a couple of bad words, and a couple shots that linger on cleavage.)

August 27, 2010

Owl City Soars with the 'Owls of Ga'Hoole'

Adam Young's new song, 'To the Sky,' to play prominently in upcoming fantasy film

adam%20young.JPG
Owl City -- aka Adam Young -- was almost literally an overnight sensation in 2009, with his debut album, Ocean Eyes, going platinum and its lead single, "Fireflies," going triple platinum. It's not a stretch to say that in almost no time, his career took off and soared -- apt metaphors for the appearance of Young's first new song in a year.

"To the Sky" will serve as the theme song to the upcoming Zack Snyder animated film, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, opening Sept. 24. The song will be featured prominently in the film, play over the closing credits, and be released as the soundtrack's first single.

"It is such an incredible honor to be part of this film," says Young. "As a fan of both the children’s book series growing up, and Zack Snyder’s work as a director, having my music included is pretty surreal. I’ve been waiting for someone to make a movie like this for some time now. I’m endlessly grateful to be involved.”

The song's bridge hints at Young's Christian faith:

There's a realm above the trees Where the lost are finally found
So touch your feathers to the breeze
And leave the ground

Young is currently working on Owl City's next album, due in early 2011. He recently recovered from a painful bout with kidney stones, which forced him to miss some concerts. He has apparently had a full recovery.

August 26, 2010

My Christmas Wish List Begins . . .

Springsteen announces monster 'Darkness' package, lots of previously unheard songs

Dear Santa, I've been a good boy this year. Please deliver me the promised land . . .

Bruce Springsteen - "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'" Sneak Peek from Columbia Records on Vimeo.

August 24, 2010

Why We Love Atticus Finch

On the 50th anniversary of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' we celebrate a true American hero

atticus.jpg
The 50th anniversary this year of the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird has many of us remembering the Oscar-winning film and Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch—voted the greatest American hero of 20th century film by the American Film Institute. One key scene shows why this character has become enshrined as an iconic hero and a model of courage: Atticus, alone, facing down an angry, drunken lynch mob late at night with nothing but a newspaper.

Yet when you view Atticus Finch in light of many of our culture’s heroes, something doesn’t add up. Our society reveres success and power. Our heroes prevail in court cases, survive the island, win the big games. Christians seem just as determined to see our view recognized as correct, our argument heard, our sense of entitlement satisfied. Even the heroes of Christian culture seem to be winners these days.

So it’s remarkable that a half century after the publication of Harper Lee’s novel, we still celebrate this small-town lawyer who works out of a meager office and spends his time helping people who can’t afford his services. By today’s standards, Atticus Finch is no winner. We learn at the beginning of the novel that his last two criminal clients were hanged, and —spoiler alert!—his attempt to defend the innocent Tom Robinson (an African-American man falsely accused of rape) doesn’t work out well either.

atticus2.jpg
Sometimes when watching that landmark would-be lynching scene in the movie, I forget that in the book, Atticus’s daughter Scout tells us that her father’s hands were shaking. Plain fear was shooting out of his eyes when she approached him in front of the mob. How could we forget that he allows the bad guy, Bob Ewell, to spit in his face and curse him in public—he simply wipes his face and walks away.

Certainly, onlookers may have made assumptions about Atticus’ ability to handle himself. In the courtroom, he steadily draws out the truth without raising his voice, always treating Tom’s despicable accusers with respect they certainly did not deserve. He tips his hat in kindness to the old lady, Mrs. Dubose, who curses and taunts his children day after day. Known as the “best shot in Maycomb County,” he refuses to pick up a gun to protect himself. He takes on a court case that sets him at odds with his community and places his children’s well-being in jeopardy, but tells his daughter that no matter how bad things get she should always remember that these people are their neighbors. His actions aren’t expedient, clearly aren’t in his best interests, and on top of it all—Atticus does not win. Not the day, the argument, the fight, or even the court case.

So why are we so drawn to this character as a hero?

I believe it’s because his courage is so grounded in faith. When Scout asks him why he must defend Tom Robinson, he simply responds, “I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t defend that man.” Atticus grasps something that I often forget in my own life—that my daily choices have an eternal impact. This is why Atticus can place himself between the mob and an innocent man—teaching us that courage isn’t the absence of fear but the absence of self. It is where he draws the inner resolve to walk away from Bob Ewell’s assault. It is why he understands the importance of maintaining a connection to his neighbors—even when their views are despicable.

Atticus teaches us that courage has nothing to do with winning. “I wanted you to see what real courage is,” he tells his children. “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

Such heroism is evidence of something divine running through the DNA of humanity. A God-given courage that recognizes our actions might impact eternity more significantly than they ever will in the here and now—that we may lose the argument, the day, even the trial—but we have still advanced the kingdom. This kind of courage isn’t about winning, but making the decision to do what is right—no matter the cost.

book%20cover.jpg

***

Matt Litton, author of The Mockingbird Parables (Tyndale), lives in Cincinnati with his wife Kristy and their four children.

August 24, 2010

Go See the BarlowGirl Concert. Or Else . . .

Army soldiers claim they were punished for skipping a concert by the Christian chick rockers

BG_0034_PR_2.jpg

Saying he didn't want to "be preached at," U.S. Army Private Anthony Smith told the Associated Press that he and other soldiers opted not to attend a Christian rock concert on their Virginia base in May -- and that they were punished by a staff sergeant as a result.

When Smith and about 100 other skipped the show -- featuring Christian chick rock band BarlowGirl -- they were "locked down" in their barracks, he said. "It seemed very much like a punishment." Smith says they were forced to clean their barracks while others attended the show.

Smith and about others filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity office at Fort Eustis, a base in Newport News, Virginia. The Army is investigating; at the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn't impose religious views on soldiers.

"If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said.

The concert was reportedly part of the "Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts" at Fort Eustis, a project undertaken by Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers. While the series was billed as encompassing a wide variety of faith perspectives, so far only evangelical Christian acts have been booked. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Chris Rodda said, “’[S]piritual fitness’ is just the military’s new term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity. And this concert series is no different.”

As for BarlowGirl -- a trio of sisters from Elgin, Illinois -- they say they knew nothing of the "politics" surrounding the event. "Wow there's a lot of press in regards to our show for the troops. We loved playing that show & knew nothing about them being forced to come," Alyssa Barlow wrote on her Twitter page. Lauren Barlow tweeted, "We knew nothing at all about soldiers being forced to go to our show."

August 24, 2010

James Cameron Backs Out of Debate

'Avatar' director wanted a "shoot-out" with climate change dissenters . . . then didn't show

cameron.jpg

Ann McElhinney of NotEvilJustWrong.com reports this week that James Cameron, director of Avatar and Titanic, backed out of a planned debate with those who disagree with his views on climate change.

In March, Cameron had said of those who are skeptical about global warming, “I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.”

McElhinney responded immediately: "James Cameron I accept your offer, I’ll even drive myself to your gigantic gated Malibu double mansion to shoot it out."

Turns out she didn't have to drive to Malibu, but a debate was planned for the recent AREDay conference in Colorado. In the end, Cameron was a no-show, prompting McElhinney to write: "Does he genuinely believe in man made climate change? . . . Or is it just a pose? The man who called for an open and public debate at 'high noon' suddenly doesn't want his policies open to serious scrutiny.

"I was looking forward to debating with the film maker. . . . But that is not going to happen because somewhere along the way James Cameron, a great film maker, has moved from King of the World to being King of the Hypocrites."

Ouch.

August 19, 2010

Yes, Bob Dylan Can Paint

The troubador, who has painted for decades, opens a new exhibit in Denmark

Check out the painting below, by a man most of us only know as a legendary singer/songwriter. But take the guitar and pick away and give the guy a brush and a canvas, and yes, he can create even more magic. This is one of many new paintings and drawings to be on exhibit at Denmark's Statens Museum for Kunst September 4-January 30. "It was an honor to be asked and a thrilling challenge," Dylan said in a statement about the collection, called "Brazil Series," which he created exclusively for the museum. "I chose Brazil as a subject because I have been there many times and I like the atmosphere." Check out 13 samples of Dylan's artwork in this Rolling Stone gallery.

dylan%20art.jpg

August 19, 2010

Bring Your Family to Fight Night!

Seriously. Phil Joel (formerly of Newsboys) and Focus on the Family team up for event

ffn.JPG
Billing it as "a concert event for the whole family raising awareness and bringing excitement about doing family the way God intended it to be done -- with Him at the center!", Phil Joel (formerly of Newsboys) and Focus on the Family are scheduling a series of events called Family Fight Night this fall.

Comedian Bob Smiley will emcee, and Focus president Jim Daly will give a videotaped presentation. The first event is Sept. 24 in Franklin, TN; click here for more dates or to book an event at your church.

The announcement comes just as Joel -- who still has the best hair in Christian rock history -- readies to release his second album for children, deliberateKids.2. Here's a brief video of Phil and wife Heather talking about the new project:

August 19, 2010

The Dude Replaces the Duke

Jeff Bridges to reprise John Wayne's role in Coen Brothers' update of 'True Grit'

wayne%20bridges.jpg
Rooster Cogburn is about to get an overhaul. John Wayne played the iconic character in the 1969 film True Grit, for which he won his only Oscar. Now Jeff Bridges is stepping into those shoes in a Coen Brothers remake, coming to theaters on Christmas Day. The Dude channels the Duke, whaddaya think of that?

Here's the first full image from the new film -- Bridges as Cogburn, and 14-year-old Haile Steinfeld as Mattie Ross:

true%20grit.jpg

August 18, 2010

'Avatar: Special Edition' Coming to Theaters

Eight minutes added to epic, re-releasing August 27 in limited engagement

Whether you loved it, hated it, or thought it the most satanic film of all time, James Cameron's epic film Avatar, the highest grossing movie of all time, is comin' back at ya.

With more than eight minutes of never-before-seen footage, the expanded version -- brilliantly titled Avatar: Special Edition -- will release to a limited number of 3D theaters on August 27. A press release from 20th Century Fox notes that the number of digital 3D screens has "exploded" since the film originally released last December, and this re-release will give more fans an opportunity to see it in that extra dimension.

Here's a 15-second video promo for the re-release:


Official Avatar Movie

August 14, 2010

Always Winter and Never Christmas?

Not if Operation Narnia and Samaritan's Purse can help it . . .

operation%20narnia.JPG
As Walden Media and Fox gear up for the holiday release of the third Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, they're announcing a new initiative with an ambitious goal -- to partner with Samaritan's Purse to deliver more than 8 million boxes of toys and supplies to impoverished children all over the world.
logo-operation-ccsp.JPG
Operation Narnia is a partnership with the Samaritan's Purse program, Operation Christmas Child, to bring the joy of Christmas to needy kids in more than 130 countries. The shoe boxes are typically filled with things like toys, stuffed animals, school supplies, hard candy, and hygiene items. These boxes are then delivered to local collection centers around the country and shipped in time for the Christmas season. It's a great program -- and an easy way to make a kid's day.

Learn more about Operation Narnia from "Lucy" here:

August 13, 2010

Religion! Politics! Sex! Murder! Mayhem!

New review site -- books, movies, music, more -- brings lively discussions to the dinner table

D%26L%20mug.jpg
Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief David Neff is a movie buff; he watches several films per week just while working out on his elliptical each morning, and often drops by my office to suggest a gem I either haven't seen or haven't even heard of. He also reads a LOT.

David's wife, LaVonne, is a book editor and, like David, a voracious reader who also likes to talk about what she's been reading (or watching or listening to). Put them both together and, well, you've got a lot of opinions about all sorts of things . . . which sounds like it'd make for a pretty good blog.

And it does. David and LaVonne have recently launched The Neff Review, which has one of the funnest subtitles in the blogosphere: "of books and films on religion, politics, murder, and other congenial topics for polite dinner-table conversation." If you enjoy that description, then head on over to their site and enjoy the conversation, and jump into the discussions as well. May the mayhem ensue.

August 13, 2010

'Letters to God' on DVD

Inspirational film explores faith of a boy dying of cancer, and how he helped a hurting postman

ltg%20cover.jpg
Letters to God, based on the true story of Tyler Doughtie, a boy who died of cancer in 2005, released to DVD this week and is available here.

August 12, 2010

The Day Metallica Came to Church

Author says God speaks through all kinds of pop culture -- including head banging heavy metal

metallica.jpg

John Van Sloten, whom some call "Canada's pop-culture pastor," once preached a sermon about Metallica and the band's spiritual connection, never believing anyone outside of his congregation -- Calgary's New Hope Church -- would notice. But word spread, it made international news, and even the heavy-metal band heard about it. That led to a series of sermons on pop culture, covering films like Spider-Man and Grand Torino, bands like Coldplay and Green Day, artists like Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Van Sloten says God is speaking everywhere, through everything.

"The reason I preached on all these topics is because I believe they belong to God," he says. "And when things belong to God, they matter and have something to say."

It's an intriguing but controversial idea, this notion of God speaking through everything. Really? Everything? Through The Hangover? Through gossip rags and celebrity tabloids? Through Lady Gaga? The very idea drove almost half of Van Sloten's members away. But he says of those who remained, they "no longer watch a film just for entertainment; now they constantly find themselves asking, 'What are you saying here, God?' When you acknowledge that God is speaking everywhere, you're forced to engage in seeing and listening more discerningly, and to ask the right questions."

Well, yeah. Sorta. I'm all for discernment and asking the right questions, but sometimes God simply isn't behind it. Sometimes the question isn't, "What are you saying here, God?", but "What are you saying here, Musician/Filmmaker/Artist/Whatever?" It's good to ask what a piece of art or slice of pop culture might be saying, and indeed, we often can find God behind something "secular" -- truth, beauty, and goodness are all manifestations of his glory, whether the humans behind those things are believers or not. But some things are totally devoid of truth, beauty, goodness, and more, and I'm just not convinced that God speaks through those things at all. Maybe he can speak through a donkey, but I don't think he speaks through crap.

(I'm also a bit troubled by New Hope Church's website. The homepage background consists of the cover art for Van Sloten's book, and about half of the promoted content on the homepage is linking to pieces that promote the book. I'm all for self-promotion, but taking up half of your church's homepage for it? Gulp. FWIW, the publisher, Faith Alive, does have a "proper" promotional website for the book as well.)

The previous parenthetical aside, what do you think of the premise of this book? Does God really speak to us through everything?

August 12, 2010

Immigration: And Justice for All . . .

Upcoming film fest to highlight films about immigration, social justice

justice%20films.JPG
The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) will hold its first Justice Film Festival Sept. 8-10 at the National Conference in Chicago. The festival theme is immigration, which CCDA Founder Dr. John M. Perkins says is “the most critical human rights issue of our day.” Featured films expose the stories of human struggle, providing a window into the worlds of perpetrators and those affected by injustice, transforming the way we view the people behind the issues. A facilitated discussion will follow each showing.

The lineup includes such films as The Visitor, God Grew Tired of Us, Return to El Salvador, and more. Click here for more information.

August 6, 2010

Katy Perry: 'I'm Still a Christian'

Revealing (ahem!) cover story in 'Rolling Stone' sheds more light on pop star's religious beliefs

katy%20perry.jpg
Eight years ago, I interviewed Katy Hudson for a cover story for our sister publication Campus Life, our now defunct magazine for teenagers. The story, titled "The New Girls of Christian Music," also featured Stacie Orrico, Rachael Lampa, Paige Lewis, and Joy Williams, all of whom went on to enjoy more successful careers in Christian music than Hudson. But today, all four could well be featured in a story titled, "Where Are They Now?"

Not so for Katy Hudson, who has since gone on to change her name to Katy Perry, becoming one of the biggest female pop stars in the world. I could hardly imagine, talking to the then 17-year-old Hudson, that she'd someday be an international music idol, in a sense. But even back then, she seemed to be seeking craving attention in unique ways. After a concert at a local church, she met people at her merch table with the words "I'm Katy" written on her forehead with a black Sharpie. She had also put a black star around a big zit on her chin (today, ironically, she's a pitchwoman for Proactiv acne treatment), and she'd blackened out a tooth.

hudson%20cd.jpg
At the time (that's her one and only Christian CD cover, at left), I wrote, "Katy Hudson's motto might well be, 'What you see is what you get.' And with Katy, you never know what you'll see. Or get." I described her as "a regular teen, trying to figure out faith and life and everything in between." And she told me, "I just want to be real. I'll never wear a mask."

She's not wearing much of anything in the brand-new cover story of Rolling Stone, an article titled, "Sex, God & Katy Perry." (Caution: The cover photo and several inside photos are quite steamy.) And she's not holding much back as she tells her story of growing up in a Christian home, of her brief dalliance with Christian music, her longing to be a pop star, her relationship with fiance Russell Brand, and her present-day beliefs.

RS writes that "one would think her religious past is behind her, but [Perry] still considers herself a Christian." She tells the magazine, “God is very much still a part of my life. But the way the details are told in the Bible—that’s very fuzzy for me. And I want to throw up when I saw that. But that’s the truth. . . . I still believe that Jesus is the son of God. But I also believe in extraterrestrials, and that there are people sent from God to be messengers, and all sorts of crazy stuff.

"I look up into the sky and I’m just mindf---ed — all those stars and planets, the neverendingness of the universe. I just can’t believe that we’re the only polluting population. Every time I look up, I know that I’m nothing and there’s something way beyond me. I don’t think it’s as simple as heaven and hell.”

Fascinating but also confused observations from a young woman (she's now 25) who is still trying to figure things out, having come out of a childhood in a Christian home where both parents considered themselves pastors and where speaking in tongues was commonplace. "My mom and dad practice ‘tongues and interpretation’ together—my dad speaks in tongues, and my mom interprets it,” Perry told RS. “That’s their gift.” The three children, including Katy, spoke in tongues as well. “Speaking in tongues is as normal to me as ‘Pass the salt. A lot of religions use meditation or chanting as a subliminal prayer language, and speaking in tongues isn’t that different—it’s a secret, direct language to God. If I felt intuitively that I had to pray for some situation, but I didn’t rationally understand it, I just let my spirit pray for it.”

Perry said that after her Christian label shut down and that it was clear that "my gospel career was going nowhere," she started writing love songs and pursuing a pop career -- not rejecting her faith in the process, but not exactly fully letting it define her, either. "Letting go was a process,” she said. “Meeting gay people, or Jewish people, and realizing that they were fine was a big part of it. Once I stopped being chaperoned, and realized I had a choice in life, I was like, ‘Wow, there are a lot of choices.’ I began to become a sponge for all that I had missed—the music, the movies. I was as curious as the cat. But I’m not dead yet.”

August 5, 2010

Hints of C. S. Lewis in 'Despicable Me'?

You bet: When Gru gets the girls, he gets the moon too

despicable.jpg

My good friend Frank Smith of Charlottesville, Virginia, is a big fan of Despicable Me. (Me too, by the way.) Frank has seen it three times now, and after his most recent viewing, he came away with a pretty cool observation, comparing one of the film's main story developments with a passage from C. S. Lewis. Here's what Frank wrote in a recent e-mail (spoiler alert):

I'm always moved to tears at the end. And you know, there's something pretty good in there. When Gru gives back the moon to save the girls, ostensibly he gives up his lifetime dream -- for something much better, of course, but still it's a loss. Pearl of great price stuff. But that scene at the end where he and the girls ride the platform to the roof and stand looking at the moon in the sky, silhouetted against it, enjoying it . . . I realized that he ended up getting the moon too, in the right way -- untarnished, unstained by violence or greed, to enjoy forever. Like Annie Oakley in the musical, he "has the moon at night" to share with his beautiful girls. It brought to mind CSL's dictum (from a 1942 essay titled "First and Second Things"): "Every preference of a small good to a great, or a partial good to a total good, almost always ends with the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made. Apparently the world is made that way. If Esau really got his pottage in return for his birthright, then Esau was a lucky exception. You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first."

Despicable and delightful, all rolled up into one.

August 5, 2010

Second 'Dawn Treader' Mini-Trailer Appears

There's lots of Lucy, but where oh where is Eustace Scrubb?

A new mini-trailer (a little over a minute long, about half the length of a "normal" trailer) for the upcoming Voyage of the Dawn Treader film appears on the new DVD for Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It looks fine, but it's SO "Lucy-centric" (she's the only human we see for more than half of the trailer) and totally lacking in Eustace Scrubb, arguably the most important character in this particular story. Still, I have high hopes for this one after Prince Caspian was such a letdown. See the new trailer below (and read more details here), and see the original full-length trailer here.

August 3, 2010

Finding Faith in the 'Holy Wars'

Filmmaker moves from fear and frustration to faith in making religious documentary

xholywars.jpg

Holy Wars, a compelling documentary now showing in Los Angeles and opening in New York this week, explores the spiritual journeys of a couple of religious fundamentalists -- one a Christian, one a Muslim -- and their views on the war on terror, global religion, and the end of the world.

I've seen the film and found it fascinating, especially an unexpected twist near the middle of the film where both main characters face a defining moment in their respective journeys. It's riveting to watch how their faith affects their actions throughout the rest of the film, but that's all I'll say for now. When the film becomes more available (either showing in wider theatrical release or coming to DVD), CT will post a full review.

But what's also fascinating is the journey behind those journeys -- for writer/director Stephen Marshall, an award-winning filmmaker who simply couldn't find a buyer or distributor for his movie. Some wrote it off as too "Christian," when it absolutely wasn't. Others shunned it for other reasons. But when it caught some good buzz at June's AFI/Silverdocs festival, others began to take note. Now that it's screening for the International Documentary Association's DocuWeeks, it might even end up getting some Oscar buzz.

Marshall wrote an interesting commentary for The Huffington Post the other day, chronicling his behind-the-scenes journey. He notes how he "conceived a film driven by fear and ended up with one grounded in faith. And, as the wise men like to say, it has made all the difference."

He concludes, "I wrote at the start that this became a film about faith, and that certainly is true for the two characters, Khalid Kelly and Aaron Taylor, whom I followed for four years. But it was also about my faith. I am always a little weary of describing my 'religious' beliefs. I have traveled all over this planet and seen so many forms of evidence for what I call God, an all-seeing force who helps shape the narratives of our lives so that we can learn and evolve as immortal souls. But no experience has been more challenging to this belief in a "God" than the making of this film. . . . I don't know what to call that thing that moves through us and makes us all characters in a wonderfully (or dare I say perfectly) crafted three-act drama, but I don't believe it's random. And I know it wasn't all to do with me -- because that is what I call 'God.'"

Watch the trailer here:

Holy Wars (Trailer) from ®evolutiontheory on Vimeo.

August 2, 2010

'To Save a Life' Releases to DVD

Popular with youth pastors, the home version includes lots of bonus materials

Packshot_043396354456_68934A34.jpg

To Save a Life, the little-youth-group-movie-that-could, made a bit of a splash in theaters last winter, earning $3.7 million (on a $500,000 budget) in an 11-week theatrical run.

It got mostly poor reviews from critics, but youth pastors appreciated its story (it was written by a youth pastor, after all) and multiple (too many, IMHO) messages directed at teens -- of caring for others, school violence, abstinence, guilt, cutting, grief, and more. And now that it's available on Blu-Ray and DVD, it'll likely be shown in many churches to youth groups, helping teens to grapple with various issues. Various curriculae and study guides are even available at website for leaders -- just in time for National To Save a Life Week in December, where leaders are encourage to screen the film for their students.

Bonus materials on the home version include a filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, a behind-the-scenes feature, and a couple of music videos.

August 2, 2010

'USA Today' Notes Church Movie Trend

Story focuses on Sherwood Baptist ('Fireproof') and other congregations making films

There's no breaking news in this recent story from USA Today, but it's good to see the popular newspaper covering this trend.

Best quote in the story comes from Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which made the films Facing the Giants and Fireproof, and is now in post-production on their next film, Courageous, coming to theaters sometime in 2011.

"Remember, John Wayne only died in two movies," Catt told USA Today. "Movies are an escape. They offer hope. And Sherwood is stepping up to claim that the only hope that matters is Christian."

Stay tuned for more CT coverage of Courageous and Sherwood's moviemaking in the months ahead.

shopping