3/31/17 – Here’s this week’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media.

Natasha Bure gets real.

Natasha Bure is known to young adults for her popular YouTube channel which launched in 2014. Traditional TV viewers may recognize from Season 11 of The Voice or her performance with the Grammy Award-winning group for KING & COUNTRY on The View. At the time, the latter program featured her famous actress mom Candace Cameron Bure (Netflix’s Fuller House) as a co-host. 

Now the rising teen star is adding book author to her blossoming resume. Let’s Be Real is geared for teens ages 13-18 and offers insightful, encouraging and sometimes humorous advice on everything from dealing with acne, friends, relationships, body confidence, self-image and struggling with faith. After meeting her, I can tell you that at 18 years of age, she possesses the sort of wisdom and self-assuredness adults — let alone teens — strive for. 

It’s obvious that faith plays a large role in grounding her. She speaks admiringly of the passion that motivates her mom and her entire family (which includes her uncle Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains and evangelical film fame) in a manner that makes it perfectly clear that she’s not into judging others who hold different beliefs.  Her basic outlook comes down to “Be open, honest, and the best YOU, you can be!”

Let’s Be Real is on sale now and would be a great gift for a teen in your life — or maybe even yourself.

John Patrick at New York’s Sheen Center.

If you happen to be in New York City on Monday night, you might want to head over to 18 Bleecker Street where Pulitzer, Tony and Oscar-winning writer John Patrick Shanley will be reading excerpts from his work, including Savage in Limbo, Doubt, and The Portuguese Kid.  A Q&A will follow. Shanley, of course, also had a major hit with the 1987 classic Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage in the leads. Less successful during its initial box office run was 199o’s Joe Versus the Volcano. That surprisingly-deep romantic fantasy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan has since gone on to develop a cult following and is actually one of my all-time favorite films.  For tickets to the Sheen Center event go here.

Coming Attraction: The Case for Christ (in theaters April 7)
The true story Lee Strobel, award-winning investigative reporter who moved from atheism to belief when he set out to utilize his investigative skills to disprove his wife’s newfound Christian faith. Personal note: I worked with Lee Strobel as a producer on his 2004 TV series Faith Under Fire. He’s the real deal. I’ll also be interviewing him about this film version of his book next week.

UP TV renews Bringing Up Bates
The family-oriented channel has renewed  reality series for a sixth season, ordering 13 new episodes to premiere Thursday, June 1 at 9 PM. The shows follows Gil and Kelly Jo Bates,19 kids (plus spouses) and six grandkids as they live life in  economy-size while staying true to their values. The fifth season finale aired last night on UP. Bringing Up Bates is produced by Figure 8 Films (Kate Plus 8, Growing Up McGhee). Executive Producers are Bill Hayes, Kirk Streb, Deanie Wilcher and Mary Wilcher. Executive Producer and Director is Matthew Hightower. Series Producer is Erin Shockey.

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




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