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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a movie star rebuilds New Orleans, an Emmy dress gets auctioned for charity, and an author donates to a research center. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments. […]

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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a movie star prepares to break her long silence for a good cause, a “Choir” goes to Royal Albert Hall, and a rock star tribute benefits War Torn Countries. Here […]

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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a charitable rocker gets a town named after him, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” gives back, and John Lennon sends some posthumous advice. Here are this week’s most inspirational […]

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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week celebrities a rapper got swabbed, some “Real Housewives” showed they have heart, and a talk show legend made some big donations (posthumously). Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture […]

This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week celebrities Tweeted to save lives, Superman stopped a foreclosure, and a TV funnyman battled a serious case. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments. Stars Twitter to Save […]

Zoe Ferraris: What’s Islam About?

posted by Idol Chatter

By Zoe Ferraris, author of the new novel “City of Veils” I sometimes think Islam is all about the rules. When I lived in Saudi Arabia, I discovered that there are rules for everything. How to tuck your feet when […]

This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a musician considers a run for Haitian President, a self-help superstar mends broken spirits, and a “Little House on the Prairie” alum works to PROTECT children. Here are this week’s […]

The Do Something Awards and More of This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a “Glee” star honors celebs who get out and Do Something, a movie star gets a big honor from the TV Academy, and a famous chef goes meatless on Mondays. […]

Betty White’s Upcoming Calendar and More of This Week’s Inspiring Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week a Hollywood heavy-hitter continues to give up glamour for giving, a “Survivor” raises AIDS awareness through soccer, and everyone’s favorite octagenarian sells beefcake for pets. Here are this week’s most […]

‘Cheating’ Celebs and More of This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas This week Hollywood hot shots cheat for charity, celebs offer walk-on roles for cold hard cash, and two city slicker farmers help out their local community artisans. Here are this week’s most […]

A Bald Beauty Wins Miss Delaware Pageant and More of This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Idol Chatter

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture PassionistasThis week Matt Damon offered to take one in the kisser for a good cause, Miss (Bald) America took the crown, and Sir Paul McCartney went viral for charity. Here are this week’s […]

Heavenly Music: Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle?

posted by Idol Chatter

A divine musical union could be in the works for 2010 if wild and edgy pop singer <a href="http://www.ladygaga.com/badromance/defaultdb.aspx" target="_blank" >ady Gagacollaborates with classic and homespun Susan Boyle. The Sun quotes Lady Gaga admiring the “Britain’s Got Talent” star: “I love […]

New Year Quotes from Oprah and More

posted by Idol Chatter

To welcome another year, another decade, read New Year quotes from famous (and some not-so-famous) people to inspire you in 2010.   Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that […]

Funny Lolcats Review ‘Twilight: New Moon’

posted by Idol Chatter

  Q: What happens when you cross Lolcats with “Twilight”? A: You get a hilarious series of cat photos that reviews an entire 2-hour movie in 200 words or less. The blogger of Microsuede has combined two of the internet’s most […]

The 10 Commandments in ‘Star Trek’

posted by Idol Chatter

Gene Roddenberry’s vision of “Star Trek” was a future dominated by science and human ingenuity, without religion to mess things up. Even so, we have found 10 examples of how the Ten Commandments have found their way into the popular sci-fi franchise.

Rita Wilson: Why I Love My Greek Orthodox Faith

posted by Idol Chatter

In a video interview with Sally Quinn, producer of “On Faith” at The Washington Post, actress and producer Rita Wilson (one half of a Hollywood celebrity super couple with Tom Hanks) shares why she loves the Greek Orthodox faith (“I love […]

Jermaine Jackson: ‘Michael Is a Gift from Allah’

posted by Idol Chatter

In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer of the “Today Show,” Jermaine Jackson speaks candidly about his relationship with Michael and how he viewed Michael’s role on earth. Expressing his wish that he had passed away instead of Michael, Jermaine […]

Kevin of ‘Jonas Brothers’ Is Engaged

posted by Idol Chatter

Looks like the oldest JoBro is ready to give up his purity ring. People.com reports that Kevin, 21, proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Danielle Deleasa, 22, on Wednesday with a custom-designed engagement ring. The two lovebirds met while […]

Michael Jackson’s Death: Does Fame Trump Faith?

posted by Idol Chatter

Question: What do Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II have in common? Answer: They were the most recent famous public figures whose bodies were chosen for public viewing after their deaths. Before Michael Jackson, another famous figure whose body was public viewing was Pope […]

Dolly Parton: ‘Michael Always Had the Heart of an Angel’

posted by Idol Chatter

TVGuide.com discovered a wonderful video of Dolly Parton giving a heartfelt tribute to her close friend, Michael Jackson, a “true musical genius and fantastic performer and a really sweet, sweet soul.” She also reveals her belief that Michael is rejoicing […]

Prayer for Michael Jackson

posted by Idol Chatter

The legacy of Michael Jackson continues as the memory of his passing still remains fresh in our minds. Say a prayer for him and for the Jacksons as they grieve and mourn the death of a son, a brother, and […]

New Year’s Resolutions for Celebrities

posted by Idol Chatter

If you could give advice to Britney Spears to correct her mistakes in 2009, what would it be? How about Madonna, Robert Pattinson of “Twilight” fame, and, yes, even Sarah Palin? Idol Chatter blogger Esther Kustanowitz offers suggested resolutions to […]

‘Slumdog Millionaire': Madness in Mumbai

posted by Idol Chatter

By Craig Detweiler Reprinted with permission from ConversantLife.com. “Slumdog Millionaire” may be the best film of the year. It juxtaposes the hopes embodied in the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with the depressing squalor of slums. Director […]

Director Scott Derrickson of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ on His Theology of Environmentalism

posted by Idol Chatter

By Rebecca Cusey It is no small task taking a movie considered one of the greatest of all times and remaking it. Director Scott Derrickson took on the job of updating 1951’s classic Sci-fi The Day the Earth Stood Still […]

A Virtual Christmas Hunt!

posted by Idol Chatter

Get into the Christmas spirit by participating in Beliefnet’s Virtual Christmas Hunt. Find and click on each of 10 Christmas icons hidden throughout our site. Once you do, you’re eligible for a drawing to win a spectacular basket containing delicious […]

Watch Trailer: ‘The Tale of Despereaux’

posted by Idol Chatter

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Dor, a terrible accident left the king broken-hearted, the princess pining and the townsfolk despondent. All hope was lost, sunlight disappeared and the land became dreary gray. Until Despereaux Tilling was born… […]

Enter to Win: Books on Holiday Entertaining

posted by Idol Chatter

Sure, Thanksgiving is over, but the holiday entertaining season is just beginning. Break out the Yule logs, whip up a bowl of eggnog, bake some gingerbread cookies, and hold the fruit cake. Have trouble getting in touch with your inner […]

Paula Goodspeed: Just the Latest Celebrity Stalker?

posted by Idol Chatter

When celebrities become the object of affection for millions of fans there are often a few fanatics who take the adoration too far. Such was the case of former American Idol contestant Paula Goodspeed who committed suicide several days ago […]

Enter to Win: ‘High School Musical 3′ Prize Pack

posted by Idol Chatter

If you have a teen/tween in your family, you may have heard of a little franchise called “High School Musical.” The latest movie, “High School Musical: Senior Year”–where friends must endure separating to graduate and go off to college– is […]

‘Religulous': Bad Title, Bad Movie

posted by Idol Chatter

By Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. The Ethics Guy Bill Maher’s “Religulous” is a perfect example of how not to make a good documentary. A self-confessed agnostic, Maher sets out on a worldwide trek to understand how people can place their faith […]

‘Religulous': Maher’s Mockery Misses the Point

posted by Idol Chatter

By David Wolpe There are three problems with Bill Maher’s new movie mocking faith: It misunderstands religion, misconceives God and gets human nature all wrong. I have a fantasy of a counter-movie. I would travel around the world and interview […]

Ex-Scientologist, Actor Jason Beghe to Idol Chatter: ‘Scientology is Not a Religion’

posted by Idol Chatter

Many of us here at Idol Chatter have been transfixed by the downward trajectory of Tom Cruises’ career since the Oprah couch jumping incident which coincided with his being more out about Scientology. But celebrity and Scientology have gone hand […]

Jesus and Wookiees at Comic-Con

posted by Idol Chatter

When the San Diego Comic-Con started in 1979, it was 400 comic enthusiasts gathered in a small section of a local hotel. Three decades later, it’s a major pop culture fixture, numbering over 125,000 attendees and filling the San Diego […]

Aaron Sorkin and Kristin Chenoweth Reunited One More Time

posted by Idol Chatter

Look out, Dr. Drew. I am going to start my own celeb rehab series, but it won’t be to help stars overcome their substance abuse addictions. My rehab is going to focus on actors who need help to break their […]

The TV Critics Association Press Tour Winds Down

posted by Idol Chatter

At the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, the networks trot out their new and returning shows for the press. Days of Q & A are followed by nights of working parties. Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo […]

Coldplay: Stuff White People Like

posted by Idol Chatter

The Internet sensation Stuff White People Like has just been released in book form. The items listed on the satirical website receive more detailed treatment, but surely, amidst the affection for organic food (#6), yoga (#15), and public radio (#44), […]

Dispatch from the TV Critics’ Association Summer Press Tour

posted by Idol Chatter

Just beyond the storied pool at the Beverly Hills Hilton, the television networks are busy parading their new shows to the nation’s TV critics. Diverse luminaries from Benjamin Braff to Ludacris to Spike Lee, mill around in the halls and […]

‘Hellboy 2′: The Not-So-Golden Movie Ticket

posted by Idol Chatter

I was looking forward to last Friday’s “Hellboy” sequel for a number of reasons: 1. Guillermo del Toro directing (I’m a sucker for fantasy flicks and I don’t know a single person who didn’t enjoy “Pan’s Labyrinth”); 2. More Abe […]

‘Journey to the Center of the Earth': Great for All Ages

posted by Idol Chatter

First and foremost, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is *categorically* a movie for the kids. “Journey” has no interest in being taken seriously or leaving behind a single droplet of memorable dialogue. It is only concerned with having […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Wall-e’

posted by Idol Chatter

Watch the trailer for the new animated movie, “Wall-e” about the last robot on Earth whose job it is to clean up all the trash humans have left behind. The film hits theaters today. embedVideo(1631227929);

Documentary Explores Lives of Gay Muslims

posted by Idol Chatter

Parvez Sharma, an Indian-American documentary filmmaker, is gay and Muslim. Sharma’s feature length documentary, “A Jihad for Love,” which opened in New York last month, is a brave and a powerful film exploring how some Muslim gay men and lesbian […]

Guru Pitka Answers Your Questions

posted by Idol Chatter

In anticipation of tomorrow’s “The Love Guru” movie release, the wise and funny main character, Guru Pitka–the “second best guru in India”–has been responding to your burning questions about life and love in the Beliefnet Community. We created a gallery […]

‘The Incredible Hulk': Savage Beast or Sensitive Meditator?

posted by Idol Chatter

This post contains some spoilers. Fool me once, shame on you (I’m talking to you, Ang Lee), fool me twice… well; luckily that wasn’t the case. “The Incredible Hulk” asks moviegoers to forgive 2003’s “Hulk” and step into the Marvel […]

Top 10 Religious Beliefs About the Apocalypse

posted by Idol Chatter

People have been predicting the end of the world since, well, the beginning of it. For some, the Last Days are the ultimate righting of the scales, for some, the dark at the end of the tunnel, and for some, […]

The Soul of Sports: Celtics vs. Lakers

posted by Idol Chatter

The epic basketball showdown has almost arrived. Televisions and sports bars around the country will all be tuned into the NBA Finals for the classic match up of the Boston Celtics versus the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams have experienced […]

Believing in ‘Sex and the City’

posted by Idol Chatter

“Year after year, twenty-something women come to New York City in search of the two Ls: labels and love. Twenty years ago, I was one of them,” Carrie Bradshaw says in the May 30 theatrical release “Sex and The City.” […]

The Chosen Festival

posted by Idol Chatter

It could be said without much debate that there is a significant number of Jews in Hollywood. However, a festival focusing on the theatrical depiction of the Jewish experience is relatively new to the area. The third annual Los Angeles […]

Don’t Fear ‘Reaper”

posted by Idol Chatter

In a television season stymied by the writers strike, “Reaper” emerged as a rare critical hit for The CW. “Reaper”‘s blend of comedy and demonology has echoes of cult hit, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” But despite rave reviews, “Reaper” remained […]

10 Greatest Spiritual Characters in Science Fiction

posted by Idol Chatter

This summer’s upcoming reboot of the “X-Files” franchise after more than six years of living in a Mulder and Scully-less world, rebirth of the “Star Wars” franchise in the form of a computer-animated feature film and television series, and retirement […]

Deepak Chopra Presents ‘India Authentic’

posted by Idol Chatter

For me, it’s always been hard to picture the divine. Yeah, in Jewish tradition, there’s the story of Jacob wrestling hand-to-hand with a purported angel in the Book of Genesis. And, in Islam, the angel Gabriel visits Mohammed on more […]

Becoming Part of the Story: ‘Sita Sings the Blues’

posted by Idol Chatter

How does a journalist become a part of a story that he is covering? I first met filmmaker Nina Paley in 2005 when she and some of her friends were hosting an animation party on the roof top of her […]

Enter to Win: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Prize Pack

posted by Idol Chatter

In the upcoming animated movie “Kung Fu Panda,” a panda named Po is unexpectedly chosen to train among his Kung Fu idols. Although big and somewhat clumsy, Po works to become a Kung Fu master and defend his friends from […]

Gospel Music Week Wrap Up

posted by Idol Chatter

The Gospel Music Association’s annual GMA Week is the time every year when industry professionals, media representatives, and aspiring and established artists from every genre descend on downtown Nashville to network, showcase their talent, celebrate the industry, and basically run […]

Watch Clip: Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’

posted by Idol Chatter

In this clip from Ben Stein’s new documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” opening this Friday, athiest scientists discuss Darwinism and religion. embedVideo(1504464403);

Jhumpa Lahiri: A New Pop Culture Icon?

posted by Idol Chatter

With the launch of Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest collection of short stories, “Unaccustomed Earth” her readings all over the country have been sold out. Lahiri, an author in the literary genre, has become so popular that Knopf has reportedly printed 300,000 […]

Bang a Drum for ‘The Visitor’

posted by Idol Chatter

A drum beat commands attention, gathers communities, invites us to dance. It is the sound of freedom and also the sound of warning: “Sit up, take notice, focus.” The drum beat in “The Visitor” serves as a wake up call. […]

Watch Video: ‘The Lord’s Boot Camp’

posted by Idol Chatter

In a 48 Hours special running Saturday night (8 p.m. ET on CBS), CBS News collaborates with Loki Films, the producers of “Jesus Camp,” to document the lives of Christians teenagers training to become Christian missionaries in an effort to […]

Enter to Win: ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’ Read It Before You See It

posted by Idol Chatter

With the much anticipated, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” sequel “Prince Caspian” hitting theaters May 16, we thought you might want to start getting into the Narnia spirit of things. We have two books to give away—”The Chronicles […]

‘Battlestar’ Is Back

posted by Idol Chatter

Well…almost. In just four short days, one of the most spiritual shows in the history of television, and surely the one with the deepest exploration of the complexities of religion, finally returns to the Sci-Fi Channel for its fourth and […]

‘Love Guru’ Stirs Up Controversy

posted by Idol Chatter

Weeks before its release, Mike Myers’ latest film, “The Love Guru” is raising flags and stirring up controversy. Scheduled to hit theaters June 20th, the story revolves around an American, Guru Pitka, who is raised by gurus in India. In […]

Jodhaa Akbar: Where Love Unifies An Empire

posted by Idol Chatter

In a world wrought with religious fundamentalism and violence, Jodhaa Akbar, director Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest venture gives a refreshing peek into the history of Hindu-Muslim unity. The movie is both a 16th century love story, and a chronicle of religious […]

Sneak Peek: ‘Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’

posted by Idol Chatter

Those of you who loved 2005’s movie version of the revered book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” will be happy to watch this making-of featurette about its sequel, “Prince Caspian.” The plot picks up 1,300 years later as […]

Listen to Chris Sligh’s ‘Empty Me’

posted by Idol Chatter

Chris Sligh finished in tenth place on the sixth season of “American Idol.” Chris’ humor and unique style, along with his choice to sing songs by Christian bands like Mute Math and dc Talk, made him one of the most […]

David Gordon Green’s Emotional Reality: Q & A with the ‘Snow Angels’ Writer-Director

posted by Idol Chatter

For the record: David Gordon Green wants you to be surprised. So if you’re planning to see his target=”_blank”>adaptation of “Snow Angels,” wait until after you’ve left the theater to read Stewart O’Nan’s novel, which discloses a key plot point […]

4 Ways of Looking at Justice’s ‘Cross’

posted by Idol Chatter

Anybody who follows Christian music has probably heard the old saw from Christian bands: “if we cross over, we’re going to carry the cross over.” Really, though, when was the last time you heard a Christian pop band sing about […]

Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai: Long Lost Cousins?

posted by Idol Chatter

Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai, among the most beautiful women in the world, have always been compared because of their looks. Now they are both back in the news for a different reason. They are being looked at as possible […]

‘House’s’ Portrayal of Chasidic Jews

posted by Idol Chatter

For a long time now, Chabad, along with many others concerned about the subtle and not-so-subtle influences of pop culture, has been unequivocal about television watching as a harmful, mind-numbing pastime. But that didn’t stop the medium from turning its […]

Bollywood’s Reincarnation Story is an American Hit

posted by Idol Chatter

At the outset it’s just another Bollywood (India’s version of Hollywood, if you didn’t know already) love story–running around the trees, dancing, fighting villains, costume changes, catchy songs. The perfect formula for an expensive, highly marketed, typical Bollywood movie. It’s […]

Christian Music Artists Share Dating Disasters

posted by Idol Chatter

With Valentine’s Day this week, expectations are high to pull of a perfect romantic date. With that in mind, I asked some Christian artists to share their all-time worst dating disasters. “My husband Joel was a busy youth pastor so […]

Jaime Jamgochian Shows Fans How To Hear ‘Above the Noise’

posted by Idol Chatter

How can you hear God above the din of your daily life? That’s a question acclaimed worship artist Jaime Jamgochian (pronounced “jam-GO-shzun”) asked herself as she prepared to record her sophomore album from Centricity Records. Her 2005 debut album “Reason […]

5 Christian Bands Making a Splash in The Mainstream

posted by Idol Chatter

Switchfoot and P.O.D helped pave the way for Christian artists to cross over into the mainstream market. Here are five more acts that got their start in the Christian industry but are currently making a splash in the mainstream: 1. […]

HeartSupport Tour Kicks off with Family Force 5

posted by Idol Chatter

I don’t know what it is that causes people to share the most intimate details of their personal lives with complete strangers, but I’ve had dozens of music artists tell me that it happens to them almost every night after […]

CCM Announces They’ll Cease Print Publication

posted by Idol Chatter

In an announcement that surprised many (OK, at least the writers that run in my circle), Salem Communications announced last week that they are ceasing print publication of CCM Magazine. The final issue will be April 2008. For more than […]

Tween Sensation pureNRG Best Selling New Artist of 2007

posted by Idol Chatter

For a 40-something mom with a grown daughter, I have to confess that the whole tween scene is a bit too cutesy for my tastes, and I’ve never been a big fan of throwing kids into the limelight; we’ve seen […]

‘Vanaja': Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman in the Caste System

posted by Idol Chatter

“Vanaja” is a groundbreaking film about caste, culture, class and most importantly the feelings and emotions of a young mother, and a must-see for movie lovers and those who appreciate art and culture. Vanaja, the titular heroine, is a young […]

Girls of Riyadh: Modern Women, Traditional World

posted by Idol Chatter

Originally released in Arabic in 2005, the novel Girls of Riyadh or Banat al-Riyadh, was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia due to controversial and inflammatory content. Black-market copies of the novel circulated and the daring originality of Girls of Riyadh […]

America’s Second Black President? Barack Obama Follows President Palmer’s Path

posted by Idol Chatter

Young, bright-eyed, handsome and charismatic to the core; an optimist and a visionary with a profound ability to evoke a deeply rooted, and perhaps dormant, sense of populism in the hearts and minds of Americans. Yes, it has hardly gone […]

“There Will Be Blood”: Brilliant Showdown Between Oil Below and God Above

posted by Idol Chatter

There’s gold in them thar hills. Black gold, that is, for Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), an early California silver prospector-turned-oil-tycoon in “There Will Be Blood.” There’s Hollywood (statuette) gold gushing up on-screen, too, considering this film’s soul-drilling excellence. With its […]

‘Charlie Wilson’s War': Whose Side is God On?

posted by Idol Chatter

As a die-hard fan of “The West Wing” who mourned its disappearance from network television, I’ve missed American politics as processed through the quirky and brilliant mind of Aaron Sorkin. Lucky for me, “Charlie Wilson’s War” provides another shade from […]

The Other Side of ‘Persepolis’

posted by Idol Chatter

When the subject of Iran comes up, religious extremists tend to take center stage. However, co-directors/co-writers Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud show that there is more to the Iranian culture with their animated feature “Persepolis” — in limited theatrical release […]

Top Five: The Year in Spiritual Books

posted by Idol Chatter

When it comes to books, the definition of spirituality is a loose one. In compiling lists of the best of any given year, we can lean on familiar books about God, or the spiritual life, or we can cast our […]

Celebrity New Year’s Resolutions

posted by Idol Chatter

Some celebrities had a memorable 2007, but “memorable” isn’t always synonymous with “good.” This year, Dena Ross and Lilit Marcus have rounded up a dozen famous folks who need to get their act together in 2008, and helpfully suggested some […]

“The Perfect Holiday” – Klunky Kid Fare

posted by Idol Chatter

Billed as “an African-American take on the classic and beloved Christmas family film,” I am naturally inclined to support this genre of film because I think it’s important for African-American kids and families to have the option of seeing themselves […]

Losing ‘Grace’ in Iraq: ‘Grace Is Gone’

posted by Idol Chatter

“Grace is Gone” is built on a simple premise: Grace Phillips, a soldier, wife and mother of two, is killed in the war in Iraq. Her husband, Stanley Phillips, played by John Cusack, is left to break the terrible news […]

Top 5 Comic Books and Graphic Novels of 2007

posted by Idol Chatter

As a longtime fan and creator of comic books, I’m sad to say that 2007 was an uneven year for the medium. Comics have enjoyed a rising profile in Hollywood and among critics, but this seems to have provided diminishing […]

‘Saving Grace': Your Encounters with Strangers

posted by Idol Chatter

We posted this piece a couple of weeks ago, and your responses have been amazing! We’ve chosen our 10 best and put together a gallery that you can see here–including the top entry, which won a free iPod for Beliefnet […]

The Catholic League on ‘Golden Compass': Why They’re Boycotting

posted by Idol Chatter

Here at Idol Chatter, and throughout the media, there has been a lot of discussion about the Catholic League’s call for Christians to boycott “The Golden Compass” and the accusation by BIll Donohue, the Catholic League’s president, that the story […]

‘The Golden Compass': What Is Pullman’s Agenda?

posted by Idol Chatter

Guest blogger Tony Watkins is the author of “Dark Materials: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman’s Trilogy ‘His Dark Materials.’” This is the first of several blog posts he will be contributing to Idol Chatter about the controversy over the Dec. […]

Sound Off About ‘The Golden Compass’

posted by Idol Chatter

Philip Pullman and ‘The Golden Compass’ movie, opening Dec. 7, are sparking sharp emotions from both friends and foes of his fantasy trilogy. To many Christians, the story is an anti-religious fable aimed at instilling atheism in children, while the […]

New Religion News Blog

posted by Idol Chatter

Congratulations to our friends at Religion News Service for launching a new religion news blog to suplement their superb news-wire offerings. Idol Chatter is particularly happy to see a healthy dose of pop-culture commentary on the blog, with entries on […]

Gnostically Naughty and Nice: Gospel of the Second Coming

posted by Idol Chatter

To read a Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy book is to tease your intellect with the idea that all the literal religious history and dogma you have learned, believed and followed may be…well, how do I say this politely…does “a […]

Linney on Nursing Homes: “The Savages”

posted by Idol Chatter

When I ask Laura Linney if getting the green light for a movie set extensively in nursing homes was easy, she leans forward and lets out a loud, disbelieving “God no!” She’s meeting with journalists at the Ritz Carlton hotel […]

Dylan, the Reluctant Spokesman: “I’m Not There”

posted by Idol Chatter

Bob Dylan is, for my money, the poet of our generation, although Allen Ginsberg is a close second. And both figure in the new film “I’m Not There” about his life, his music, and most of all his protean self. […]

Enter to Win an ‘Enchanted’ Picture of Your Child

posted by Idol Chatter

Thanks to our friends at Grace Hill Media, you can celebrate the release of the new Disney movie “Enchanted” by entering to win an animated, “enchanted” picture of your child. Just click on the graphic below and follow the instructions […]

Enter to Win: iPod Mini-Speaker & Other ‘August Rush’ Prizes

posted by Idol Chatter

How has music changed your life and helped you connect with other people? That’s a question at the heart of the new movie “August Rush,” and it’s one we want to hear from you about. Post your stories below or […]

‘Good Luck’ on the Road to ‘Bootyful': An LA Shorts Story

posted by Idol Chatter

For someone who isn’t an avid short film watcher, it was somewhat surprising that the documentary “Bootyful World” and comedy “Good Luck in Her Eye” could encapsulate their respective stories with the ultimate message of female empowerment in under 30 […]

Exclusive Video: Philip Pullman on God, Atheism, and ‘The Golden Compass’

posted by Idol Chatter

A month before its theatrical release, “The Golden Compass“–the movie from the first book in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy–is sparking controversy because of what many Christians see as its message of atheism. Here on Idol Chatter, blogger Donna […]

Divisadero – Of Intersecting Lives, Divides and Links

posted by Idol Chatter

“Gotraskhalana, is a term in Sanskrit poetics for calling a loved one by a wrong name, and means literally, ‘stumbling on the name.’ It’s a familiar occurrence in the Restoration-like fables of marital life and love affairs collected by the […]

Ned Flanders Is the Devil

posted by Idol Chatter

From last night’s annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode, a segment on Ned Flanders turning the church into a “Heck House”:

‘Michael Clayton’ Delves Into the Ethical Gray Areas

posted by Idol Chatter

Since the trailer for “Michael Clayton” only left me scratching my head and grunting like a Cro-Magnon, I was surprised to find myself in full command of my cerebral cortex as I walked (upright) out of the theater. Actually, I […]

‘O Jerusalem’s’ Prayer for Peace

posted by Idol Chatter

When one thinks of Jerusalem, the literal meaning of the name–City of Peace–might not be the first notion that comes to mind. However, the current limited theatrical release “O Jerusalem” depicts the desire for peace, for the city and the […]

Quick, Hide the Veggies

posted by Idol Chatter

The big controversy surrounding Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook for parents, “Deceptively Delicious,” is whether Jerry’s wife might have copied recipes (or even the idea for the book) from a less well-known author, Missy Chase Lapine, whose cookbook, “The Sneaky Chef,” […]

Running with “the Devil”: Lumet and Cast on ‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’

posted by Idol Chatter

The title of Sidney Lumet’s latest is lifted from the old Irish saying “may you be in heaven thirty minutes before the devil knows you’re dead,” the entirety of which is typed across the screen as a disguised Ethan Hawke […]

Revenge in Stamford: ‘Reservation Road’

posted by Idol Chatter

“Reservation Road,” which opens this Friday, has nothing to do with the forthcoming “Revolutionary Road,” though both are adapted from books about families in crisis. The former, directed by “Hotel Rwanda”‘s Terry George and based on John Burnham Schwartz’s excellent […]

The Weakerthans Make Strong Music

posted by Idol Chatter

Have you noticed? There’s an intake of fresh oxygen being sucked into the collective lungs of Christians who love music. It’s finally time, it seems, for genuine Christian engagement with pop music – any pop music, made by anybody, sold […]

“Foreskin’s Lament” Chronicles Orthodox Judaism, Skepticism and Alienation

posted by Idol Chatter

Being something of a disaffected Orthodox Jew myself, I was captivated by Shalom Auslander’s no-holds-barred evocation of the right-wing modern Orthodox world in his new memoir “Foreskin’s Lament.” Echoing the themes of his debut story collection, “Beware of God,” “Foreskin’s” […]

Brad Pitt Falls For Jesse James

posted by Idol Chatter

It’s official! Summer is over and Hollywood is now rolling out its what-the-heck-do-we-do-with-these pet projects as images of gold-plated awards and acceptance speeches dance in their heads. The proof, in this case, is in the Pitt pudding, Brad’s latest film, […]

Rilo Kiley Gives a Little Love

posted by Idol Chatter

Rilo Kiley seems like a weird choice for burn-or-burn scrutiny: Nobody from the band has publicly claimed to be religious, and they’re kind of potty-mouthed. But band member Jenny Lewis’ solo album, last year’s “Rabbit Fur Coat,” was mostly about […]

Exclusive Premiere: ‘O Jerusalem’ Trailer

posted by Idol Chatter

“O Jerusalem,” the story of a Jewish-Arab friendship as the State of Israel is coming into being, opens in theaters in October. Watch the trailer, exclusively premiering on Beliefnet: Click to Launch Trailer Synopsis “O Jerusalem” re-creates the struggle surrounding […]

Video: Jon Voight in ‘September Dawn’

posted by Idol Chatter

Jon Voight Discusses “September Dawn” “September Dawn” tells a fictionalized version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which a group of Mormons killed 120 innocent settlers who were passing through Utah in 1857. Voight plays Bishop Jacob Samuelson, the leader […]

Lure of the West

posted by Idol Chatter

That the societies, culture, and traditions of countries like Tibet, Pakistan, India, and others in South Asia are becoming diluted by western influences has long been the grievance of many patriots and thinkers. This sentiment is a familiar theme in […]

MxPx’s Latest Album Fizzles Out

posted by Idol Chatter

MxPx‘s first album, 1994’s “Pokinatcha,” was one of the first releases on Tooth and Nail Records, a label which has since become the juggernaut of Christian indie imprints. A few years back, MxPx and the label’s owner, Brandon Ebel, had […]

A Facelift for BeliefBuzz

posted by Idol Chatter

A bit of housekeeping for those readers who subscribe to our BeliefBuzz newsletter: We’re changing the name to “Beliefnet Celebrities and Entertainment.” But fear not, despite the name change, the newsletter will still bring you the same great content: * […]

‘Rush’ To Get This Album

posted by Idol Chatter

If you haven’t already heard about the up-and-coming Christian rock band Rush Of Fools, I highly suggest that you check them out as soon as possible. This five-man group from Nashville stepped into the spotlight by winning Band With A […]

‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist': A Tense, Necessary Ride

posted by Idol Chatter

“The form the novel, with the narrator and his audience both acting as characters, allowed me to mirror the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another,” said author Mohsin Hamid. Hamid’s recent […]

StorySide:B Florida Rock Band Serves God

posted by Idol Chatter

Florida-based Christian rock band StorySide:B is serving up a fresh mix of musical talent with their new album, “We Are Not Alone,” a follow up to their 2005 debut, “Everything and More.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Lu Rubino, drummer Jordan Mohilowski, […]

Edith Piaf: The Song of the Sparrow

posted by Idol Chatter

I was completely obsessed with the famous French singer Edith Piaf when I was in high school. I would spend hours and hours playing her records until I could do a passable imitation of “Non, je ne regrette rien” in […]

‘A Mighty Heart’ and the Need for Dialogue

posted by Idol Chatter

Walking into the Sherry Lansing Theater at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles last Thursday, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy evening. While looking forward to the screening of “A Mighty Heart”–as I had read the Marianne Pearl […]

‘Evan Almighty’ Amps It Up for Christian Audiences

posted by Idol Chatter

When I was in film school in Los Angeles, I went to sneak previews all the time. It’s a great chance to see movies before critics and friends ruin them for you, and best of all, the audiences are a […]

Artists Rally for Darfur with New Album

posted by Idol Chatter

While many artists are out there stumping for their own music, it is such a delight to find albums that promote something more important than the artists themselves–a good cause. “Instant Karma”, a new two-CD set, is doing just that […]

Short Story Collection Explores Indian-American Experience

posted by Idol Chatter

Karma, chance, fate, destiny, and providence, are the muses for a set of tales skillfully crafted by Rishi Reddi in her debut collection of short stories titled “Karma and Other Stories.” Set mostly in the Boston area, the stories vividly […]

Artists Rally to Save Darfur on New Album

posted by Idol Chatter

While many artists are out there stumping for their own music, it is such a delight to find albums that promote something more important than the artists themselves–a good cause. “Instant Karma”, a new two-CD set, is doing just that […]

Five Reasons to See ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’

posted by Idol Chatter

In a summer of blockbuster sequels and mixed reviews, I found the latest sequel, “Ocean’s Thirteen,” to be surprisingly fun and wonderfully done. Even though it wasn’t very new. Where “Ocean’s Twelve” sought to go deeper but confounded audiences and […]

‘Big Love’ Really Gets Going in its Second Season

posted by Idol Chatter

HBO’s “Big Love” promises delights and intrigue in its second season, as it premieres on its new night tonight at 9 p.m. (ET). Compared to last year, the second season is more comfortable in both its dramatic and comedic skin. […]

Tyler Perry Tackles TV

posted by Idol Chatter

It was little more than two years ago that Tyler Perry seemed to come from nowhere–actually, it was from the African-American theater scene–to see his debut film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” gross more than $50 million. That made […]

‘Gracie': A New ‘Inconvenient Truth’?

posted by Idol Chatter

Davis Guggenheim, who took home an Oscar for “An Inconvenient Truth,” has a fiction film hitting theaters this Friday. “Gracie,” which stars Carly Schroeder as a 14-year-old girl who goes from underdog to soccer champ in the aftermath of her […]

Dustin Kensrue’s ‘Please Come Home': Johnny Cash Punk

posted by Idol Chatter

Below is a review of “Please Come Home,” the new solo album from singer Dustin Kensrue, frontman for post-hardcore band Thrice. It was the winning entry of a student writing contest at Biola University, a Christian evangelical school in Southern […]

Want to Experience the Hajj?

posted by Idol Chatter

What is it like to perform the Hajj? The only people who can tell this story are the Muslims who have been there. So how can everyone else–Muslims and non-Muslims–get a real sense of what it is like? Sure, documentaries […]

Is ‘Mr. Deity’ Blasphemous? Or Just Funny?

posted by Idol Chatter

As a Christian, I can tell you that Christians can have a tendency to take their religion a wee bit too seriously. Not that religion isn’t serious, but it’s also ripe for humor, right? Too often we confuse disrespecting God […]

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Passio’ is No Divine Experience

posted by Idol Chatter

It seems reasonable to assume that a film whose soundtrack is a setting of the Passion of Christ from the Gospel of John will have a religious or spiritual theme. The film “Passio” by Paolo Cherchi Usai, presented during the […]

FFH Walks a Spiritually Musical Path

posted by Idol Chatter

If you’re a spiritually minded person who enjoys a fresh music sound that inspires, check out FFH’s current album, “Far From Home (The FFH Collection).” Unlike some other bands of their kind, FFH manages to maintain a consistently fresh sound–every […]

Alabama’s ‘Songs of Inspiration’

posted by Idol Chatter

Alabama’s “Songs of Inspiration II” album starts with a wonderful spiritual posture: “I’m a pilgrim and a stranger, travelin’ through this wearisome land.” Then comes the familiar country gospel refrain: “I gotta home in that yonder city, good Lord, and […]

‘The Namesake': A Journey of Self Discovery

posted by Idol Chatter

Gogol Ganguli. That’s the name Ashoke and Ashima fill out in the forms for their newborn when a letter from their grandmother–that was supposed to inform the Gangulis of their newborn’s name, as per the Bengali tradition of the elders […]

Jesus Wudn’t No Sissy!

posted by Idol Chatter

If you look hard enough in the Gospels, you’ll find a Jesus that any red-blooded, pick-up truck and football lovin’ American he-man can relate to. Just flip past all the parts where Jesus heals the sick and hangs out with […]

David & Goliath’s Music Video

posted by Idol Chatter

A hilarious retelling of the David and Goliath story, set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The song, called “Bethlehemian Rhapsody,” is by a Christian parody band called The Apologetix; the video is by some creative high school students:

Get Your Dirt from the Holy Land

posted by Idol Chatter

How much would you pay for a 16-ounce pouch of dirt from Israel? Five hundred dollars? Fifty? No, no, silly. Try 20 bucks. That’s right. For only about twice the price of a one-pound bag of Starbucks’ Sumatran extra bold, […]

‘Amazing Grace,’ Drop by Drop

posted by Idol Chatter

Does God work through thunderbolts or more subtly? That’s the underlying theme of “Amazing Grace,” an earnest, informative, and often stirring biopic of the heroic William Wilberforce, who battled the slave trade for nearly 20 years in England’s Parliament. As […]

Best Punchline by a Christian Insect

posted by Idol Chatter

I’d like to think that Christian vegetables–like VeggieTales’ Larry the Cucumber–will never be passé. There is, however, a new kid on the block in evangelical children’s entertainment: Max Lucado’s “Hermie, a Common Caterpillar” series. The series’ latest DVD is “Milo, […]

The 2007 Beliefnet Film Awards!

posted by Idol Chatter

Beliefnet’s now-annual answer to the Oscars is underway. The Beliefnet Film Awards honor the best mainstream films that explore spiritual topics and themes. This year, we’ve got three categories, each with five nominees: Best Spiritual FilmBabelChildren of MenFlags of Our […]

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Wes Craven, Godfather of Horror Films, Dies at 76
Wes Craven best known as the godfather of horror films passed away August 30, 2015 after a battle with brain cancer. Craven, a director, writer, producer and actor, is best known for films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Scream series, ...

posted 8:39:27am Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

90 Minutes in Heaven Hits Theaters Sept 11th
90 Minutes in Heaven is the film based on Don Piper, who died in a highway accident, experienced heaven and returned to face severe physical, emotional and spiritual challenges—has landed a distribution deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films. The ...

posted 11:32:37am Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

WM. Paul Young's Book "Eve" Hits Shelves Soon
After selling 25 million copies of his bestseller The Shack, author WM. Paul Young has written a new novel that will be one of the best books of our time - Eve. When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the ...

posted 12:01:28pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

The True Story Behind ‘Woodlawn’ Will Amaze You
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posted 9:04:51am Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Little Boy Releases on DVD & Blu-ray
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_BdzqsIX6A[/youtube] The great inspirational tale about a seven-year-old boy and his efforts to bring his father back from the way, otherwise known as Little Boy, releases on Blu-ray and DVD today ...

posted 8:41:11am Aug. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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