Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Pure Flix just finished production on God’s Not Dead 2: He’s Surely Alive. This film is the follow-up to the immensely-successful God’s Not Dead which grossed over $60 million last year at the box office. The sequel features a star-studded cast that includes Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Robin Givens (Head of The Class), Fred Thompson (Law & Order), Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela), Pat Boone and Ray Wise (Robocop). Returning cast members include Pure Flix Founder producer/actor David A.R. White (who played Rev. Dave in the original), Trisha LaFache (Amy Ryan), Benjamin Onyango (Reverend Jude), Paul Kwo (Martin Yip), and the Christian rock band Newsboys (Michael Tait, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein, and Jody Davis).

The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters for Easter 2016. The plot takes audiences back to Hope Springs, Arkansas, the setting of the first film. This time its high school teacher Grace Wesley (Hart) who is forced to stand up for her faith. It happens when a student (Orrantia) asks Grace a question about Jesus during a lesson she’s teaching abut Reverend Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Before you can say “Separation of church and state,” she finds herself fighting in an employment with the school’s principal (Givens) who aligns herself with a zealous civil liberties group represented by a theophobic attorney.

I’m foreseeing stridency when a when a farcical tone targeting PC overreach might be more effective. We’ll see.

Timely. The issue of atheist aggression against religious expression in anything close to the public square is certainly ripped from the headlines. Just yesterday  (7/7), the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty argued in defense “Big Mountain Jesus,” a World War II statue in Montana honoring soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the Alps of Italy.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will determine whether the popular memorial can remain atop a Montana ski slope where it has stood without controversy for more than 60 years. The monument was installed in 1954 by the Knights of Columbus who worked with veterans from the Army’s Tenth Mountain Division to commemorate their fallen comrades.  The statue’s fate is now in question after an atheist group from Wisconsin sued the government for its removal. 

Dynamic Jesus. The Dynamic Catholic Institute has announced the hardcover release of Rediscover Jesus. The book, written by DCI Founder Matthew Kelly aims to inspire readers to encounter Jesus in an entirely new way.  It’s the sequel to Kelly’s 2010 Rediscover Catholicism which sold seven million copies.

Describing the book, Kelly says “If there is one person we should each get to know in a deeply personal way, it is Jesus…We are constantly grappling with life’s toughest questions: Who am I? What am I here for? What matters most? What matters least? Jesus is the amazing friend who is going to help us answer those questions,” he added.

You can pre-order a copy of Rediscover Jesus on Amazon.com. Readers who pre-order the book by August 16, 2015, have the opportunity to enter to win one of several prizes, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy (with Kelly and those going on the Dynamic Catholic Pilgrimage to Rome this November). Anyone who pre-orders the book will have access to an exclusive webinar with Kelly, during which he will talk about his writing process, why he decided to write Rediscover Jesus, and why he thinks it’s the most important book he has ever written.

For more information about Rediscover Jesus or to pre-order a copy of the book, you can visit DynamicCatholic.com/RediscoverJesus.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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