Displaying items by tag: Media
'Jesus Revolution' astounds entertainment industry
The new faith-based film Jesus Revolution opened last weekend and brought in $15.5 million - more than double the original estimate. The film tells the true story behind the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, including how Pastor Chuck Smith welcomed hippies looking for truth at his church. It gave birth to one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in American history and birthed the Harvest Christian Fellowship, in Riverside, California, which is now one of the largest churches in America. The church has sponsored its local SoCal Harvest event for three decades, making it one of the longest-running evangelistic events in the nation, attended by millions of people. Despite mixed critical reviews, the film has a remarkable 99% audience rating on the review aggregator and has earned a rare A+ CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
Cambodia / India: honest media opposed
Cambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen has shut down the last few independent media outlets in the country, six months before a general election. He cancelled Voice Of Democracy‘s operating licence after they published an article which he claimed slandered his son. Amnesty International said this is slamming the door on what is left of independent media and a warning to other critical voices who still dare to ask questions about the government, the prime minister, and his family. Pray for Cambodians to have safe access to truthful news. Indian tax authorities searched BBC offices after it aired a story of prime minister Narendra Modi’s role in anti-Muslim violence when he was chief minister of the state. It was only broadcast in the UK. Modi is blocking Indians from sharing ‘the Modi question’ online, calling it hostile propaganda. A spokesman for him called the BBC ‘the most corrupt organisation in the world’.
Helping children overcome trauma
Due to conflict, abuse, or persecution, large numbers of children are in need of hope and healing. This is why SAT-7 KIDS is creating a new programme, due to be broadcast in early 2023, to help children suffering from trauma. ‘Basically, if a child (or anyone) has not addressed their trauma, they cannot connect with their family, with others, or with God,’ said the president and CEO of Life Focus, with whom SAT-7 Egypt have produced the programme. ‘So, if you want someone to know Christ, you need to address trauma.’ The thirteen-part series addresses trauma caused by poverty, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and religious persecution, through drama, entertainment, and Bible verses. This aims to show young viewers that healing is possible and available for all broken hearts. It is not only for children; hopefully parents will watch and see the effect of their actions on their children.
Ukraine: dance of defiance
Dressed in the colours of Ukraine, Vladyslav Bondar, a ballet dancer, moves delicately across the stage of Rotterdam's mediaeval St Lawrence Church. He is performing with the United Ukrainian Ballet at a Salvation Army Christmas party - a setting far removed from the war in his homeland. ‘I wanted to fight for Ukraine.’ Vladyslav said after the performance, knowing it could have meant the end of his career as a professional dancer. But instead of taking up arms, he joined over 70 other Ukrainians who make up the United Ukrainian Ballet - a dance company formed directly in response to the outbreak of war. Fellow dancer Oleksii Kniazkov said, ‘Every Ukrainian has his own battlefield. And the stage is ours.’ Their dance is a dance of defiance.
Christian radio in Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Iraqis, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith at all tune into a radio station vastly different from what is normally heard on Middle Eastern airwaves. ‘Saut al Salam’ or ‘Voice of Peace’ is broadcast from a tiny studio in Qaraqosh and reaches 150,000 listeners, living up to its name. The programmes have no politics or conflicts. The broadcasters tell stories about the church, Christianity and Christian life, dispelling many misconceptions in the Muslim world that are passed on from generation to generation. For instance thinking that Christians just like to party and drink alcohol. Saut al Salam is changing wrong perceptions with programs on raising children, Christian music, and reporting cultural church events. Their highest hope is that listeners, a majority of whom are not Christians, will hear a message of peace, consideration and love.
Film deemed 'blasphemous' by Muslims
Cineworld has removed a film about Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, from Bradford, Bolton, Birmingham and Sheffield venues, after hundreds of Muslims protested, calling the film blasphemous. Cineworld said that because of incidents outside venues, and for the safety of staff and customers, the screening of 'The Lady of Heaven' will stop. The film opens with the IS invasion of Iraq, showing a jihadist murder, before telling the story of Lady Fatima. The movie's executive producer called Cineworld’s decision ‘unacceptable’ and accused them of 'bowing down to radical extremists'. He said, ‘It is never right to submit to anything that undermines free speech. The only caveat to free speech is if you incite violence either directly or indirectly. If someone doesn’t want to watch something, then don't watch it, that's your freedom. People can’t compel you to watch this film, it doesn’t incite violence, and there is nothing in British law preventing the film being screened in the UK.’
Mexico: eleven journalists killed in 2022
Yessenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana Garcia were shot on 9 May, raising the death toll of journalists this year to eleven. Mexico is the most dangerous country for media workers outside of war zones. Authorities are searching for a motive for their murder. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders are investigating the incident. Mexico’s federal government has been criticised for neither preventing the killing of journalists nor investigating them sufficiently. Although organised crime is often blamed for attacks on media workers, small-town officials and politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects in these crimes. Crimes against freedom of expression occur daily. It is not clear if Mollinedo or Garcia were enrolled in a federal protection programme for journalists and human rights defenders. Several of the journalists killed this year had made contact with the programme at some point. Although President Obrador promises a ‘zero impunity’ policy when investigating such slayings, he continues his regular verbal attacks against journalists critical of his administration.
Hollywood is a mission field
In 2010, when T C Stallings landed a very small role as an extra in the film Secretariat, he knew he wanted to make acting his career. The 44-year-old Christian explained that he was always interested in acting but didn’t think he could do it. He said his priority is to use his work as a vehicle to share his faith. ‘I try to use all my gifts and talents for Him. Acting gives me an opportunity to reflect all the glory toward Him.’ Today Stallings is known for starring in faith-based films. ‘What makes it easy for me to share my faith is like, “What would God want me to do?” I care more about what He thinks than anybody else. I don’t control the outcomes; I let the Holy Spirit lead.’
Elon Musk and Twitter
Concerns about free speech regulation have resurfaced after Elon Musk bought Twitter. Musk’s vow to ‘defeat spam bots’ and make Twitter’s algorithm public is welcomed by many, including Matt Batten, director of communication at Llandaff Church in Wales. He is pleased that there will be an edit button and that spam bots will be removed, and sees algorithms being made public as bringing greater transparency. However, his scepticism increases when it comes to free speech. He told Premier, ‘It all sounds fantastic, and we champion democracy, but whose freedom of speech?’ Political activists also expect Musk's ownership of Twitter will mean less moderation and the reinstatement of banned individuals, including Donald Trump. There are questions on what the deal will mean for Twitter's China content policy, as Musk's Tesla relies heavily on China for production and vehicle sales. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to hate or insult others.
Media and mission
By 2018 there were 5 billion mobile phone users and over 4 billion using the internet. Desert nomads can watch videos pre-loaded onto their mobile phones. This revolution in communications is increasing the spread of the gospel. Networking tools are being used in astonishing ways. Isolated Muslims who have heard of Jesus or dreamt of a man in dazzling white speaking to them have started to seek Christ via social networking. A project to do this drew over a thousand responses in just one southeast Asian country. When the idea was repeated in the Middle East, the response overwhelmed the available resources. One observer reports that thanks to messaging apps, untold numbers of groups are emerging daily who encourage one another in the Word even in places where the gospel cannot legally go. Pray for creativity and wisdom to make the most of every mission opportunity that presents itself.