Short Stuff

Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s Sherwood Pictures released its third feature film, Fireproof, to 839 theatre screens in the U.S. at the end of September. The film, which stars Kirk Cameron (best known for his role in Growing Pains), boasts a 1,200-person cast and crew of volunteers. Communities are using the film as a tool to support local firefighters, police, and other first responders’ groups with divorce rates of up to 90 percent. In response to demand for the fictitious book featured in the movie, the Kendrick brothers wrote The Love Dare, now available on amazon.com—Lovell-Fairchild Communications

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Trinity Western University students from academic disciplines ranging from computer science to music collaborated over the course of a year to create a computer-based video game. Label: Rise of Band, a turn-based strategy game, allows players to assume the persona of an independent music label battling the Parasol Music Group corporation. The game can be purchased online at labelriseofband.com or at the TWU bookstore. —B.C. Christian News

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Nailin’ It to the Church, a documentary produced by filmmaker Murray Stiller of Vancouver examines the myths, missions, and motivations behind The Wittenburg Door, a religious satire magazine. The film premieres at the Dallas Film Festival in early November. —www.nailinittothechurch.com

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Ray Boltz, a Christian pop singer best known for the 1980s hit “Thank You,” came out of the closet Sept. 12 in a feature article published in The Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian publication. The 55-year-old artist has separated from his wife and is now living “a normal gay life.” —ChristianityToday.com

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American greeting card giant Hallmark drew criticism from conservative Christian groups over its decision to introduce gay marriage cards, a year after introducing cards to support “coming out.” Both supporters and detractors of the decision hail the significance of Hallmark’s image as “all-American.” —Christian Century

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Focus on the Family received the facetiously named “Whore of Babylon” award from Warren Smith of World Newspaper Publishing, Charlotte, N.C. This is the second time in three years the Christian organization has earned Smith’s dubious honour of sending the earliest Christmas advertisement – on Oct. 2. —EP News

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Sarah Bergen from MB Biblical Seminary took top honours in the Mennonite Historical Essay Contest, sponsored by Mennonite Church USA, for her paper on “Re-Interpreting Mennonite Identity in Mid-20th Century America: A Conversation about Mutual Aid.” First-place finishers receive cash prizes and a one-year subscription to Mennonite Quarterly Review. Excerpts from Bergen’s essay will appear in Mennonite Historical Bulletin, Jan. 2009. —Mennonite Church USA release

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Leading psychiatrist Himanshu Tyagi warns that Facebook and MySpace may be harmful to young people. Having “no experience of a world without online societies [they may] put less value on their real world identities and can therefore be at risk in their real lives, perhaps more vulnerable to impulsive behaviour or even suicide.” —BBC News

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The new English Standard Version Study Bible made available Oct. 15, provides the equivalent of a 20-volume resource library under one cover, with more than 200 full-colour maps and 20,000 notes. Fifty articles on topics such as the authority of the Bible and reading the Bible for application are complemented by more than 80,000 cross-references and a concordance. www.esvstudybible.org

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After consulting security experts and Islamic scholars, publisher Random House halted production on The Jewel of Medina, a novel tracing the life of one of Muhammad’s wives, citing concerns for the safety of those involved in sale and distribution of the novel. Salman Rushdie, the subject of a worldwide fatwa after publication of his novel, The Satanic Verses, called the move “censorship by fear.” Author Sherry Jones said her goal was to expose the feminist underpinnings of Islam’s founder. Beaufort Books since took on the project with a release date of Oct. 15. —Christian Century, Maclean’s

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