Congregations around America are becoming increasingly polarized. Since the 2016 presidential election, 73% of Americans have said they feel the country is more divided than previous generations. Contributing to that feeling of division are one’s political views and one’s faith informed by one’s race, gender, age, place of origin and economic status.
Since President Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists who wrote expressing concern over the lack of explicit protection of religious liberty and against a government establishment of religion, the term “wall of separation” between church and state was introduced to ease such concerns. New York Times best-selling author and global spiritual leader Bishop T.D. Jakes will lead this highly-anticipated conversation on this discordant issue and its effects more than two centuries later.
Bishop T.D. Jakes has brought together some of the nation’s most influential figureheads to sit on one stage to discuss these issues to an audience of prominent faith and community leaders. On Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. CT, “Global Think Tank: The Polemics of Politics & the Pulpit: Rightly Dividing Between Church and State” will be held at the 2017 International Pastors & Leadership Conference in Dallas.
The panel will begin a conversation exploring the role of the church within the political arena. Guests include April Ryan (White House Correspondent), Paula White (Donald Trump Spiritual Adviser and Chair of the Presidential Evangelical Advisory Board), Joshua DuBois (Former White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Director under President Barack Obama), Father Michael Pfleger (Senior Pastor, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina and highly recognized for work on equality and injustice), and Bishop Harry Jackson (Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church and serves on Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board.)
2017 is set to be an especially fun-filled year, one marked by sequels and remakes of some of our most beloved films. If you’ve been wondering which movies might be especially worth your cash in the coming months, look no further than this list!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The first installment of Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit, impressing audiences with its retro soundtrack, awesome visuals, and charismatic, wisecracking lead, Chris Pratt. And on its debut on May 5th, it’s likely we’ll get more of the same with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in which we may finally learn the true identity of Peter Quill’s biological father.
Judging from the trailer, this film promises to be just the infusion of summer fun you need this year, so don’t miss out.
Coming to theaters on June 2nd, Wonder Woman tells the story of the Amazon princess, Diana—also known as DC Comic’s premier female superhero, Wonder Woman. When a American military pilot, Steve Trevor, washes ashore and tells her of the ongoing World War I, she leaves her magical isle for London to end the conflict.
The combination of unconventional setting and strong lead actors might just make this Warner’s breakout superhero movie of the year.
Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place after Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and centers on Peter Parker’s efforts to balance his personal life with the increasing demands of fighting crime as Spider-Man.
Fans everywhere cheered when the long-awaited Spider-Man appeared in Civil War, and with the involvement of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and exciting newcomer Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Marvel is likely to have another crowd favorite on their hands.
Dunkirk is the Christopher Nolan-directed story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk during World War II, and it’s shaping up to be a moving—and beautifully shot—flim.
Told from three perspectives—the land, the sea, and the beach, itself—Dunkirk is, as Nolan says, a survival and suspense film, lacking the typical bloody aspects of war.
With Nolan’s reputation, this is one film you don’t want to miss.
Had a good scare lately? If you’re like most horror fans, you’ve probably lamented the decided lack of frightening films this year.
Well, look no further, because the second iteration of Stephen King’s novel is coming to the big screens. It tells the story of a group of outcast kids who discover an ancient evil that’s taking the children of their small town in the guise of a clown.
If you liked Stranger Things, and have a thirst for something a bit more scary, this is your movie.
Blade Runner 2049
2017 is the year of the remake and sequel, it seems—Blade Runner 2049 takes place decades after the events of Blade Runner, and follows a new blade runner, Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling, as he teams up with Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard to hold off the end of humanity.
With the original Blade Runner being regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, its sequel has a lot to live up to. On October 6th, head out to theaters to find out if its sequel lives up to its name.
J.J. Abrams has been toying with fans ever since he teased audiences with his mysterious monster movie, Cloverfield and alien invasion flick, 10 Cloverfield Lane, giving out subtle hints as to what in the world is going on in the cinematic universe he’s building.
Now he continues that with God Particle. Debuting on October 27th, this is the story of a team of astronauts aboard a space station who find themselves stranded after Earth simply disappears.
If you’re curious about where Abrams is taking us with through his Cloverfield franchise, take a look at God Particle this October.
If any Marvel film finally breaks the mold and stands out on its own, it’s going to be Thor: Ragnarok. Directed by Taika Waititi, the mind behind the hilarious mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, Ragnarok promises to be as weird as possible. In a good way, of course.
And that’s saying nothing of superstar Cate Blanchett’s role as Hela, the film’s antagonist—one who destroys Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, within the first moments of the trailer.
Also included in the film are Karl Urban, Sam Neill, and—interestingly—Jeff Goldblum.
Even if you’re not typically a Marvel fan, this spectacle may be worth the price of admission.
Star Wars: Episode VIII
This list wouldn’t be complete without Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Coming December 15th, this film picks up where The Force Awakens left off, with Daisy Ridley’s Rey training with the legendary Jedi, Luke Skywalker. And judging by the quality of its predecessor, this film is going to be great.
Unfortunately, that’s all we know so far, but hey—it’s Star Wars, and we’re all going to see it no matter what, right?
A Year of Action
If you’re a fan of action films, superheroes, monsters, and Jedi, 2017 is your year, although even if you’re not, you’ll likely still find something to love amongst these potential blockbusters.
This wasn’t only a success for Khatib, but a triumph for Syrian refugees.
Khatib comes from a family of Syrian immigrants so she decided to use this race as an opportunity to help refugees who have resettled in her home state of Michigan. The runner raised $16,000 for the Syrian American Rescue Network, a Michigan-based nonprofit that helps refugees get acclimated to life in America.
The athlete was “tossing and turning all night” before the race, according to a pre-race Instagram post. She followed up by writing “God brought me here for a reason.”
Khatib has developed a following through her Instagram account where she inspires Muslim women to get active. She also was the first Muslim woman to wear a headscarf on the cover of an American health or fitness magazine.
Khatib was born in Damascus, Syria, and later came to the United States with her family. She started running five years ago and her ultimate goal is to complete in all six of the world’s largest marathons. The Boston Marathon marks number three, and she previously ran in the Berlin and Chicago marathons.
In an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this year, Khatib said that she believed the chance to compete in the Boston Marathon was sent to her from God.
“I want to make an impact on the Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community], no matter how small, it’s my way of giving back to society and humanity,” she said.
The couple currently has no plans to file for divorce, but the actress and NBA star are now living separately. La La moved out of the family house last week and is now residing in New York City.
There have been reports of marriage difficulties the past few months involving Carmelo’s in-question New York Knicks career. The couple had many ups and downs this year due to Carmelo being plagued with trade talks.
However, sources said the breakup was amicable. The couple was seen together this past weekend at their 10-year-old son Kiyan’s basketball game. The couple currently has no plans to uproot Kiyan from his school in New York.
NBA star Carmelo, 32, and La La, 37, were married in 2010. This was nearly six years after they first got engaged on Christmas Day 2004.