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Are you ready to pursue your passion and purpose with Christ?

Pursue The Passion is a seven-day digital study based on the life of Christ and His Crucifixion. Through film, scripture and discussion questions, it is designed to inspire reflection on our life purpose and how to use our talents to further the Kingdom of God. When we focus on Jesus’ plan for our lives and follow His will, then our purpose becomes more clear. Jesus is the ultimate example of this, and we will see this demonstrated in the film, The Passion of the Christ.

We are God’s passion, and He is ours. Pursue your passion and you will find your purpose! Get started on your journey.

alec-baldwin-tina-fey-and-tom-hanksThis past Friday night on Facebook Live, the ACLU Telethon brought together a wide range of celebrities and comedians to raise money for an important cause, our civil liberties. Celebrity favorites including Tom Hanks, Tracy Morgan, Amy Peohler, Tina Fey, and Cecily Strong all joined together for the event.

Hanks took the roll of emcee for the event, while the rest participated in managing phone lines and putting on comedy segments. Final numbers have not been released, but the ACLU telethon raised at least $149,000 for the cause.

The ACLU has been protecting civil liberties since 1920. This point was driven home in the opening of the telethon with a video of why viewers actually need the ACLU. Celebrities reeled off example after example of the ACLU’s positive actions. This was the most serious moment of the broadcast, but really set the stage for why this event was important for all Americans.

After the opening, the broadcast was full of fun and light-hearted moments. In the first hour alone, you could watch as Hanks hounded on Morgan for apparently wearing red pajamas, Ike Barinholtz and Poehler played a very intense game of Guess Who?, and there was a stirring performance on the piano by Norah Jones.

“The Promise” is a new film set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire that stars Oscar Isaac as Michael Boghosian, a medical student who has come to the vibrant city of Constantinople in 1914, determined to bring modern medicine back his ancestral village. While in Constantinople, Michael meets and befriends photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale) and Ana (Charlotte le Bon), a beautiful and intelligent Armenian artist from Paris. Both men spark an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry.

Their conflicting passions must be deferred when the Ottoman Empire turns violently against its own ethnic and religious minorities. Michael, Chris, and Ana must join forces to survive injustice and persecution of Christians throughout the Empire.

The film is directed by Academy-Award winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, Hart’s War) will be in theaters April 21.

Guest post by Padma Kuppa, of Seeking Shanti @patheos.com

We are living in a time of demonstrations, demonstrations that can potentially lead to a movement, a movement towards peace and justice. According to a good friend, interfaith leader and pastor of a local Presbyterian church here in Southeastern MI, these demonstrations are a throwback to another great movement, that against the Vietnam War. There was great polarization in the USA in the 1960s, between those who wanted peace, and those who wanted to continue US involvement in the war in Vietnam. At this time of great political divides, it seemed appropriate for a few of us to take up the words of Vincent Harding, and a speech he wrote on peace and poverty, race and economics – issues that are as relevant today as they were then, with the country seemingly divided as it was then. As we neared the 50th anniversary of this great speech given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” many of us in metro Detroit, determined to commemorate it with a 50th anniversary reading on April 2, 2017 at 4 pm. The event is open to all.

This 50th Anniversary Reading of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” will be introduced by Aljosie Aldrich Harding, our distinguished guest at the event from Atlanta, GA. She has been a teacher, librarian, and researcher for the causes of peace and justice all her life. She worked side-by-side with her late husband, Dr. Vincent Harding, who drafted Rev. King’s great speech. That Dr. Harding, a historian, author and scholar was also an activist will come as no surprise: this speech that he wrote was one of the most polarizing speeches ever given by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

The speech will be read in 16 parts by 16 Readers, who include former MI State Legislator Rashida Tlaib (now at the Sugar Law Center), Kezia Curtis from the Black Lives Matter movement, Kim Redigan from Michigan Council for Human Rights, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Butler Murray, President of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Sidney Simon of Congregation T’chiya, Donnell White of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, and the co-leaders of Veterans For Peace Chapter 74.

This event is sponsored by 17 organizations including Peace Action, Swords into Plowshares Peace Center & Gallery, Detroit Central United Methodist Church, the National Council of Elders and Detroit Branch of the NAACP.

The venue is historic – the pulpit the readers will speak from is one where Dr. King preached from several times. The speech itself calls for a revolution of values, to break free from the three-fold illnesses of racism, materialism and militarism, and recognize that “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” This was Rev. King’s first anti-war speech, delivered on April 4, 1967 at New York’s Riverside Church – a year and a day before his assassination.

This video, from an event held on the anniversary in 2016, with audio from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, will provide viewers a call to action, and the urgency to speak out, to break the silence. I do hope that you will join me this year, on April 2, 2017, either live or via livestream.

MLK Promo vr.alt 5 from John Hammond on Vimeo.