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35214768413_527f1c5776_bMadeleine L’Engle’s beloved book, “A Wrinkle in Time,” was filled with Christian themes and references. The main character, Meg, is strengthened by Bible verses as she journeys through a variety of dimensions in an effort to find her missing father. Meg’s brother, Charles, asks another character to read to him from Genesis, and Jesus is mentioned as fighting against evil. All of these elements, however, were cut from the movie adaptation of the book.

Screenwriter Jennifer Lee reportedly removed all of the Christian references from the film in an effort to be “inclusive.” Lee emphasized that the Disney adaptation celebrated inclusiveness and diversity and claimed that Christian references would detract from that goal. “In a sad way, some of the other elements are more important right now and bigger–sort of this fight of light against darkness,” Lee said. “It’s a universal thing and timeless and seems to be a battle that has to keep being had.”

The decision to cut the Christian content has left some reviewers feeling that the context that is crucial for the emotional impact of the climax was lost. Others felt that the Christian themes had been replaced with “lots of New Age content.” A Movieguide review said that the movie included “an emphasis on being one with the universe and the energy people create with positive or negative thoughts…At one point, one character mentions every spiritual, religious and historical icon, but seems to exclude Jesus Christ, as if Christianity was the one thing they didn’t want to include. In the book, however, Jesus was the iconic figure.”

One of the film’s producers, however, felt that elements of Christianity had been retained. They had just been made more subtle. “I think the movie has many faith elements in it. It’s truly a journey of a girl who, without seeing and having real evidence of her father, makes a bargain to travel throughout the universe to find him,” said producer Jim Whitaker. “I think that’s a really powerful metaphor and statement that’s worth considering about the nature of faith. How you have faith, without being able to have ‘real’ evidence, is kind of the key, and challenge, of life.”

When it came to adapting the book to the big screen, Lee said, “What I looked at, one of the reasons Madeleine L’Engle’s [book] … had that strong Christian element to it wasn’t just because she was Christian, but because she was frustrated with things that needed to be said to her in the world and she wasn’t finding a way to say it and she wanted to stay true to her faith…And I respect that and I understand those feelings of things you want to say in the world that need to be said that are out there. In a good way, I think there are a lot of elements of what she wrote that we have progressed as a society and we can move onto the other elements.”

Some people, however, argue that Lee’s claim flies in the face of what L’Engle herself wrote in her journals. “If I’ve ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, this is it,” L’Engle wrote. “[A Wrinkle in Time] is my psalm of praise to life, my stand for life against death.”

Given L’Engle’s own words and the unfavorable reviews earned by Disney’s adaptation, some claim that Lee’s decision to remove Christianity from the film was a mistake. Others claim that the film’s struggles were due to the inherent difficulty of translating L’Engle’s wildly imaginative book to the screen. Viewers, however, will have to decide for themselves what they think of Disney’s adaptation of L’Engle’s beloved book.

I Can Only ImagineMercyMe’s hit song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ has inspired millions of hearts all over the world since its release in 1999. Incredibly, the song was written in mere minutes by MercyMe lead singer, Bart Millard. Now the popular song is coming to the big screen with viewers getting a close look at the true story behind the song.

Stop and grab some tissues.

Although he found faith at a young age, life wasn’t easy for Bart. He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father.

“I lived with my father, who was abusive, and it wasn’t until he came out with cancer my freshman year of high school that his life turned around,” Millard said. “He kind of fell in love with Christ and he went from the monster of the guy to the guy I wanted to be like when I grew up.”

Millard lived with his mother at first. But, after his mother decided to move out of town with her third husband, Millard and his older brother moved in with their dad when Millard was in third grade.
At first, spankings were only a few pops on the bottom. But punishment became longer and more intense. As a boy, Millard endured three or four beatings a week. Millard, only 8 or 9 at the time was terrified.

One particular abusive episode stood out to him. His father ambushed him and grabbed the boy with one arm, wailing away with the other with a growing rage he had never seen before.
“He beat me like a dog on a leash,” Millard said. “When I made eye contact with him, I thought: He’s going to kill me.”

After that, Bart missed two days of school – it hurt too much for him to put on clothes.

Millard often felt like his dad was taking out anger and frustration that had nothing to do with his children’s behavior. But something happened that Bart could have never forecasted.

His father had a complete transformation of heart as a result of accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Bart’s father often fell asleep reading the Bible, no longer deriding his son’s involvement in church, even shocking his son one night by asking him, ‘Can I pray for you?’ This sent Bart’s faith into overdrive.

‘If the Gospel could change that guy,’ Millard figured, “the Gospel could change anybody.”
Millard and his father became friends, chatting for two hours each night as the teen administered a treatment through his dad’s IV. They talked about what would happen after he died, who Millard should or shouldn’t be dating, among other things.

Eventually the physical scars faded and Bart found peace with his father shortly before he died.
It was faith that saved their family, Bart said.

It was his father’s death that launched Millard’s musical success. ‘I Can Only Imagine’ was a song Bart wrote about his father dying.

When his father passed in 1991, Bart got mad at God.

“I finally got the dad I wanted, and he left.”

At the gravesite, Bart’s grandmother, a woman of faith said, ‘I can only imagine what Bub’s seeing now.’

The phrase really resonated with him so much so that he became obsessed with the phrase, writing it everywhere he could until he finally put words to songwriting paper. And the rest was history.
The film stars award-winning actor Dennis Quaid (‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ ‘The Rookie,’ ‘Soul Surfer’) as Bart’s father; Oscar winner Cloris Leachman as Bart’s grandmother (“The Iron Giant”); platinum-selling country music legend Trace Adkins as Bart’s manager and will introduce Broadway’s J. Michael Finley (‘Les Miserables’) as Bart’s father.

Quaid explained that the movie highlights the power of a changed heart. “It’s very uplifting, about how can really have a complete change in one’s heart and how much you can move the earth with that,” he said.

Members of MercyMe are also thrilled about the release of the upcoming faith-based film. Bart shared that this project has been in the making for years.

“I was first approached over five years ago. No turning back now,” Bart said.

“I Can Only Imagine” is in theaters March 16th.



God’s Word has transformative power.

As the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament begins this week, the coach of the number one seed, the University of Virginia, says biblical principles have played a major role in getting them to this point.

They are headed to the NCAA as the number one seed for the third time in the last five years under UVA Cavaliers men’s head basketball coach, Tony Bennett. He shared that faith plays a major role in how he coaches:

“My faith – that defines me. That’s what gives me my meaning and purpose and how I try to treat people with my life,” Bennett said. “I make so many mistakes. The fact that I know I’m forgiven is probably the greatest joy that I have, but that is significant. That is the bedrock of my life and therefore the foundation of why I coach and how I coach, how I try to treat people and my perspective on the whole thing.”

According to CBN News, Bennett uses five biblically-based pillars to teach his players lessons that will be of help to them both on and off the basketball court. They are life lessons and are very specific to basketball in ways you wouldn’t think, Bennett said.

These include humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness.

“I really am thankful that we have a program that is building things of value that are basketball-oriented but life-oriented and family-oriented and career-oriented,” he continued.

Another big factor that has played a role in their success? They are taught character before anything else, Roger Cheeks, the athletic director at Regent University told CBN News.

“If you are willing to work with athletes and enhance their character, then wins will come,” Cheeks said.

Cheeks also shared that Bennett is using his platform to share a message about the about the body of Christ.

“It is interesting being a Christina and understanding the body of Christ. Everybody on the team may not have the same level of experience, but when you put them together something happens,” he said. “No matter what the sport is, the mindset will be to honor the weakest player, more than the strongest player.”

He believes Bennett teaches the biblical message of honor in addition to the five biblical principles previously listed.

“[Honor] is what gives Tony a great motivational platform for his players. He treats each player as if they are the number one player,” Cheeks said. “The Bible tells us we celebrate the weakest in the body rather than the strongest in the body.”

The Cavaliers beat the North Carolina Tarheels, 71-63, in the ACC championship and will be challenging the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. However, team is not resting on its successes alone.

“Everybody’s capable in this tournament. That’s just how it is,” Bennett told the Washington Post. “To get a one seed is, I guess, a reward for a heck of a regular season and then postseason games in the conference tournament, but then you get your seeding, and then it starts over.”

The UVA Cavaliers will play their first March Madness game on Sunday against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Joybeharpic“The View” host Joy Behar finally apologized for equating faith with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis. Behar’s offensive remarks were made weeks ago on an episode of “The View” when she mocked Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. Behar ridiculed Pence for saying that he talks to Jesus. This turn of phrase is common among Christians, but Behar used it as a source of mockery. “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” Behar said “That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

Christians across the nation were outraged. The Media Research Center launched a campaign to hold Behar accountable for spreading “anti-Christian bigotry,” and offended believers took to social media in droves. Over 30,000 people also called ABC in response to Behar’s comments, and more than 6,000 people began putting pressure on the show’s advertisers.  Behar and “The View,” however, refused to apologize claiming that the remarks were just jokes.

Christians, however, did not find the “joke” funny. Media Research Center President Brent Bozell wrote an open letter calling for an apology and said, “I am sure the advertisers of ‘The View’ will be just as appalled as I am about the anti-Christian remarks made on the show.”

Vice President Pence spoke out against the episode as well. “To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong,” Pence said. “It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.” When the subject came up during an interview with Fox News, Pence stated that the remarks were an insult to Christians everywhere. “To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong,” said Pence. “And it’s an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith.”

Shareholders shared Pence and Bozell’s opinions. In a meeting with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the Behar’s remarks. “What do you say to the tens of millions of Christians, and President Trump supporters, that your networks have so blatantly offended and ascribed hateful labels?” shareholder Justin Danhof asked Iger directly. “Specifically, do you think, like Mrs. Hostin and Mrs. Behar, that the Christian faith is akin to a dangerous mental illness?”

With the pressure mounting, Behar finally offered a public apology on “The View.” She had apologized to Pence over a private phone call, but the Vice President continued to push for an apology to all Christians. On Tuesday, March 12, 2018, Behar said, “I think Vice President Pence is right. I was raised to respect everyone’s religious faith. I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said.”

Some Christians feel her apology was too little, too late, but others feel that it is best to forgive and forget. Which opinion will come to dominate is still unclear.