Risen Movie shares a new angle on the Resurrection Story

Risen Movie shares a new angle on the Resurrection Story

Sometimes we can look at the same story and pass it off as “routine.”  Risen takes you to a whole new angle of a story that could have happened.  I enjoyed it as entertainment, along with an impacting and uplifting story that gave me something to think about as we approach Easter.

FROM ‘THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST’ TO ‘RISEN’ WITH THE EDITORFilm Editor Steven Mirkovich knows how to create impact through films. With the critically acclaimed THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST film under his belt, Mirkovich was well prepared to tackle the editing of the new faith film RISEN, which is in theaters everywhere.”Whether you’re religious or not, it doesn’t matter with this film, because it’s an uplifting story that makes you feel hopeful. It’s a film that everyone should see,” said Mirkovich.

Watch as Mirkovich discusses the challenges of cutting down hundreds of hours of footage to create an inspirational portrayal of the impact that resulted from Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.



Beyonce, Black Lives Matter, and her new song

Denison Forum on Truth and Culture (DFTC) exists to engage contemporary culture with biblical truth

She was once a child of destiny but now is a fierce woman on a mission. Beyonce did more than make waves this weekend, she brought the rain with her surprising release of a new song entitled “Formation.” She performed it during her Super Bowl halftime show. Usually performers play their best hits during the show, but when you are Beyonce, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. And that is exactly what Queen Bey did.

But her release was not the biggest rainmaker of the weekend. Rather it was the lyrics and themes within the song that drenched audiences. “Formation” is a four-minute song about the black experience in America. She offered allusions of the perceived injustices inherent within the land of the free and home of the brave. Strikingly, the song starts with a reference to New Orleans, calling to mind the heinous atrocities that happened during Hurricane Katrina.

“What happened in New Orleans?”

Beyonce makes vividly clear the invisible injustices with her loquacious rhythms and hypnotic beats. She audibly brings to the forefront the all-too-often inaudible injustices and pernicious stereotypes that are a part of the black experience.

“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”

Refusing to be imprisoned by the stereotypes, Beyonce speaks them into existence and identifies them for the blanket statements they are. Suffocating the listener with an intimate glimpse into the black experience in America, she speaks truth knowing that the truth never leaves you the same.

“I like cornbreads and collard greens…Oh yes, you besta believe it.”

Queen Bey was not alone in her performance of this likely radio hit. Her “girls” joined her for the show, and they were in “formation.” And in such a formation, she attempted to awaken the listener to the realities of today’s society. She invites all who have ears to hear to be  comfortably uncomfortable with the truth that the lyrics communicate.

While Katrina happened back in 2005, Beyonce alludes to a new type of Katrina sweeping across the American landscape.

“Girl I hear some thunder
Golly this is that water boy, oh lord.”

She, in her fierce and alluring way, performed the song from the ground instead of the stage at the Super Bowl. Her female dancers appeared in formation as well, channeling the look of Black Panthers. The Queen symbolically and literally communicated that fame has not changed her, that she is one of them.

“My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama.”

“Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag.”

Beyonce is a force to be reckoned with. She is the embodiment of the vox populi, the voice of the people before they even open their mouths. She sets trends, illuminates styles, and is admired by many. Though not an outright protest, her performance advocates for a more perfect union, rid of perceived injustices.

But does this require violent reaction? Some have speculated that her video goes one step too far, admonishing violence against those who have sworn to uphold justice and offer protection. Others, however, have rebutted that they are simply avid readers, reading into something that is not there. Whether they are reading into something, or attempting to read nothing, what is clear is the obvious – Queen Bey demands attention.

While Beyonce has not officially aligned herself with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, this is probably because she is already a movement within herself.

During the fight for civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a peaceful movement that marched towards the accomplishment of his beautiful dream. His dream was intricately intertwined with the American dream, rooted in the founding documents of the country.  King led a movement that sought to cash a check that guaranteed equality for all and malice towards none.

However, encumbrances and entanglements along the way hindered this beautiful dream from actuality. Dr. King remarked: “The potential beauty of human life is constantly made ugly by man’s ever-recurring song of retaliation.”

King heard and was hindered by one song, but Beyonce now sings a new song that is rhythmically beautiful. This song hopes to rid the world of injustices by awakening the world to action.

Dante believed that beauty compels the soul to act. Edgar Allen Poe tied an encounter with beauty to the presence of tears. The psalmist David, with war against him and unrest within him, asked not for relief but to gaze upon beauty.

Such beauty is perfectly on display in the heavens (Psalm 50:2). Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, reminds his followers to keep their eyes upon him (Colossians 3:2) so that they might not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). By doing good, they bring little bits of beauty from heaven here to earth. His beautiful kingdom comes, his perfect will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.

In the coming days, Beyonce will inundate radio waves. Many will joyously sing along, others may be compelled to action, and some will hesitantly draw back. But for those of us who are seeking to make his beautiful kingdom come, may a watching world see our “halos” as we work to make equality and justice a reality for all.

Source: Beyonce, Black Lives Matter, and her new song

Growing Up with Terror

Growing Up with Terror

Check out the Blog by Dr. Tim Elmore here

One of our readers wrote in asking this question:

Given that most of our teens have grown-up where terrorism and mass murders are part of the landscape, do you have any comments on how to help our kids and their friends deal with all the strife now that the occurrences are more frequent?”

I think it’s a great question.

Pause for a moment and think about the world a high school or college student is growing up in today. Our world is vastly different than it was twenty years ago. Consider what they’ve seen and how it might affect their perception of reality:

photo credit: WTC 33 via photopin (license)

  • Since the year 2000, approximately 140,000 people around the world have been killed by terrorist attacks. Today’s kids have grown up with this reality. Here at home, hate crimes remain common. Over the last few years, we watched them in Florida, Ferguson, Baltimore, Louisiana, Oregon, New York, Charleston and San Bernardino, with between 4,000-6,000 committed each year. There are 784 active hate-groups in America right now. This is simply terrorism at home. We see evidence of our preoccupation with terrorism in movies like Iron Man and Zero Dark Thirty.
  • Since 2001, corporate scandals are on the rise. Kids have seen 14 major scandals since 2001. Only about one in five Americans has much trust in banks, according to Gallup polls, about half the level in 2007. Trust in big business overall is declining too. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe corruption is widespread across corporate America. We see evidence of this in pop culture in the recent movies, Too Big to Fail, and The Big Short.
  • And politics? Don’t even go there. Kids have watched partisan politicians produce either a stalemate or, worse, corruption. In 1964, 77% of the U.S. population said that they trusted the government to do what was right. By 2014, this number had fallen to 24%. We don’t assume a congressman or senator will do what’s best for our nation, but what will get him or her re-elected. It’s about power not principle. We see evidence of this in the Netflix series, “House of Cards.”

So—in our current reality, filled with violence and corruption in many places, how do we address this and prevent our students from being marred by it? Certainly the reality of terror, corruption, and hate are real.I’m not suggesting we live in denial. All of us are being affected in our worldview by current trends. There is more fear in the air; there is more apprehension and caution. So, let’s talk about some positive, doable steps we can take as we lead our students.

Four Steps We Can Take

  1. Talk about what’s happening. Explain what’s behind a violent mindset.

Far too often, teachers, staff and parents assume it’s best to not even bring up the subject when a terrorist act occurs. Sadly, it’s an “elephant in the room.” Students notice when we avoid difficult issues. Because it’s on their minds, I believe the best defense is a good offense: talk about it. Help them interpret what’s happening and help them understand that, while terror goes back centuries, it’s always been an indecent way to express rage. Find time to interpret any hate crime or terrorist act in the media and process how it happened; why it happened; and what the best response should be.

  1. Help them see the good other students are achieving.

Make a regular habit of finding true stories of students who are making the world a better place. While this sounds cliché, it is easy to assume everything in the world is horrible when you watch the news each day. Make it a weekly habit of highlighting students who invent, who serve, and who achieve something for their community. This doesn’t need to be directly tied to “counter terror.” It can simply be your commitment to feeding their minds with an equal amount of redemptive stories to balance what we’re all hearing in the news.

  1. Involve groups of students in acts of service.

In addition, what if you matched every act of terror in the news with an act of service? I’m serious. Each time a major news story breaks (like ones in Paris or San Bernardino) you and your students plan a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) to counter it. It doesn’t have to be news worthy, but it can condition your students to return good for evil. Teach them “reciprocal behavior.” Just like reciprocals in math are inverted fractions, reciprocal conduct is performing an opposite or “upside down” act as a reactive measure to offset the first. It’s a positive response to a negative.

  1. Hold up a role model in front of them.

We live in a day where society and social media debunk heroes, sharing their dark sides and removing them as examples for our kids. While I realize these men and women from history were imperfect, humans live best when we have ideals and models to follow. Roman biographer Plutarch’s entire work is based on the premise that tales of the excellent can lift the ambitions of the living. Thomas Aquinas argued that to lead a good life, we must focus on the exemplars, not ourselves, and imitate their actions. Philosopher Alfred N. Whitehead said,   Let’s offer this to our students.

I remember my junior high school and high school teachers addressed the hijacking incidents that were going on back in the 1970s right in class. It helped me process the terror on the news. We live in a day when we must do this again.