Current Events

Justice League movie: Hope lost; hope restored.  When Superman’s dead – and the bad guys are closing in fast, and all hope seems lost – who you gonna call?  How about the Justice League!  Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg team up to fight evil and seek justice for all.  Warner Bros. brings their story to theaters on 6 continents.  (Short op-ed)

The Star movie: First-Christmas animal adventure.  This fun and funny animated film tracks a slew of animals following an unusual Star to a manger in Bethlehem, where they sense something wonderful is about to happen involving a pregnant woman named Mary and her husband Joseph.  Celebrity voices include Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Heaton, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi and Christopher Plummer.  (Short op-ed)

Same Kind of Different movie: An inspiring odd couple.  Not always in sync with your spouse or partner?  Try befriending a homeless ex-con who shuns you.  Maybe some miracles will happen.  Homeless drifter Denver Moore became a catalyst that transformed Ron and Deborah Hall’s lives and jumpstarted a major community service movement.  Paramount and PureFlix bring the bestselling book Same Kind of Different as Me to the big screen.  (Short op-ed)

Dunkirk movie: WW2 mayhem and miracles.  When your back’s against the wall, and the enemy’s closing in fast, and all hope appears lost, it might be a good time to consider praying.  That’s what faced England in May 1940.  Hitler’s war machine had pinned nearly 400,000 Allied troops by the English Channel.  Surrender or annihilation seemed imminent.  The ensuing drama inspired millions and significantly influenced the war’s outcome.  Warner Bros. brings this epic story to the big screen.  (Short op-ed)

Wonder Woman movie: Want her on your side?  She deflects speeding bullets with her bracelets, swan dives off a tall cliff to rescue an Army officer who’s crash landed in the ocean, and dazzles with spectacular sword-and-shield combat moves.  She does it all with power, grace, wisdom, and…wonder.  If you were choosing teammates to defeat the bad guys, would you pick Wonder Woman?  (Short op-ed)

Jonah movie: Whom would you like God to punish?  So, if there is a God, and he punishes evildoers, whom would you especially like him to judge?  And if he gave that person(s) a second chance – to follow him – would you be pleased or disappointed?  Maybe you can identify with Jonah, the biblical prophet.  A new movie musical tells his dramatic and entertaining story.  (Short op-ed)

The Case for Christ movie: An atheist wrestles with the evidence.  If you’re a committed atheist and your spouse becomes a follower of Jesus, it might just rock your world.  That’s what happened to hardnosed Chicago Tribune legal affairs editor Lee Strobel, who marshalled his skills in journalism and law to find out what had happened to his wife.  (Short op-ed)

CNN’s Finding Jesus series wrap: denial, doubt, dedication.  Have you ever lied about a relationship to protect yourself?  Or told close friends you didn’t believe them … about something really important?  Maybe you can identify with Peter or Thomas, subjects of the two remaining episodes in CNN’s second season of Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery.  Curious about these guys?  Here’s a primer that may facilitate your understanding of the programs.  (Short op-ed)

CNN’s Finding Jesus series: What do you believe?  What’s your take on New Testament stories about Jesus’ life and death and their aftermath?  Did the events described really happen, or are they merely inspirational fables about a great man?  For many years, I was skeptical.  CNN’s second season of Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery appears to be designed with questioners like me in mind. (Short op-ed)

The Shack movie: God and your tragedy.  When your personal tragedy strikes – and it will – is God good?  Millions wrestle with that question.  The Shack, a bestselling novel and now a movie, uses fanciful fiction to help people process age-old intellectual and emotional struggles about evil, suffering, and divine character.  (Short op-ed)

New Life movie: Real love, real life.  As I watched this film, I often felt like the screenwriters had placed a hidden microphone in my home.  True love.  Romance.  Exciting, intimate, emotional connection.  Fulfilling, committed partnership.  Joys and sorrows.  Drama … tragedy … recovery … triumph.  This one’s got real love and real life, folks.  (Short op-ed)

I’m Not Ashamed movie: Columbine victim’s inspiring story. The 1999 Columbine High School massacre became etched in a nation’s collective consciousness.  Shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered twelve fellow students and one teacher.  Rachel Joy Scott was their first victim.  This new film tells her inspiring story.  (Short op-ed)

Birth of a Nation movie: Freedom fighter or domestic terrorist?  Into a nation boiling with racial conflict enters a film about an antebellum Bible-quoting Virginia slave whose revolt inspires many today to counter racial oppression.  Who was Nat Turner?  What did he accomplish, and why should we care?  (Short op-ed)

Deepwater Horizon movie: horror, heroism, fear and faith.  The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, oil spill, cleanup, and lawsuits against British Petroleum dominated the news back then.  But the saga of what happened on the rig that night – and the valor that saved many lives – is a lesser-known story.  (Short op-ed)

Ben-Hur remake: Revenge, redemption, inspiring backstory.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have remade the classic MGM film for a new generation … complete with a chariot race for the ages, plus plenty of action, romance and inspiration.  What’s behind this story, and why has it endured so long?  (Short op-ed)

Tell her you love her.  Recently, when my wife, Meg Korpi, was dying of cancer, a longtime friend offered some advice I’m really glad I heeded: I should write and read to her a tribute, expressing what she’s meant to me and how much I love her.  (Short op-ed)

The Real MVP movie: Kevin Durant’s inspiring mom struggles and shines.  When NBA superstar Kevin Durant received the league’s Most Valuable Player award, he named his mother “the real MVP.”  The standing ovation and subsequent media groundswell confirmed that something significant had just happened, something transcending the game.  Now, Lifetime Television brings the inspirational backstory to a wide audience.  (Short op-ed)

Batman v Superman movie: Superhero rumble.  Both stand for good, fight crime, and help the needy.  So, why are these two guys fighting each other?  Is it turf wars – Gotham vs. Metropolis?  Do they each have Lois Lane crushes?  Welcome to the backstory of how these two met.  (Short op-ed)

Miracles from Heaven movie: Astonishing outcomes.  A nine-year-old girl falls thirty feet, lands headfirst, sustains only minor scrapes and bruises, and leaves the hospital the next day.  She says she visited heaven and sat in Jesus’ lap.  Eventually, her chronic, life-threatening illness is gone.  What happened?  (Short op-ed)

Young Messiah movie: Jesus’ childhood imagined.  Seven-year-old Jesus is accused of killing a bully … then raises him from the dead.  He restores life to a dead bird, sight to a blind man.  Sound familiar?  Maybe not.  Filmmakers and novelist Anne Rice – a former atheist who became a Jesus follower – portray a touching fictional story about how the child Jesus learned who he really was.  (Short op-ed)

Risen movie: Resurrection hoax?  Did Jesus Christ really rise from the dead, or was his “resurrection” an elaborate hoax?  A Roman tribune searches for Jesus’ missing corpse.  This novel, detective-story approach to centuries-old questions uses dramatic historical fiction to let viewers consider the evidence – and its implications – for themselves.  (Short op-ed)

The 33 movie: Chilean miners’ despair, faith, miracle rescue.  In this dramatic true story that captivated the world in 2010, a huge explosion traps 33 miners deep underground.  Up top, an international team works frantically to save them.  With miniscule rations and little human hope – but with deep determination and fervent prayer, both above and below ground – the miners last 69 days until liberation.  (Short op-ed)

Peanuts movie: good grief – plus fun – in 3D!  Charlie Brown wants to change who he is and become a winner.  Snoopy’s determined to shoot the Red Baron from the sky.  The perpetual underdog and his dog embark on an epic quest that’s all about dreaming big.  Lots of family fun in this delightful film; lots of inspiration in the Peanuts stories.  (Short op-ed)

Woodlawn movie: racial strife, football, faith.  A nation too-often tarnished by racial conflict could use an inspiring film like this.  The poignant story of NFL star Tony Nathan and how football plus faith helped bring harmony among racial enemies during his high school years in early 1970s Birmingham, Alabama.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are executive producers.  (Short op-ed)

Captive movie: gripping Atlanta hostage drama.  Her story captured a nation’s heart.  Hostage Ashley Smith reads to courtroom killer Brian Nichols from Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life.  Two broken, wounded souls navigate a risky journey about purpose, survival, faith and redemption.  (Short op-ed)

Faith of our Fathers movie: Vietnam War healing.  What was/is the Vietnam War for you?  Guided by wartime letters from their dads – combat companions who died in Vietnam – two men embark on an odd-couple odyssey to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, DC, to discover the fathers they never knew.  (Short op-ed)

WW II movie drama: Christian students hiding Jews from Nazis.  As the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Return to the Hiding Place dramatically portrays a forgotten story of dedicated Dutch students’ vital role in rescuing hundreds of Jews from Nazi persecution.  Driven by faith, love and conviction, they endured great hardship and risked their lives to protect the oppressed from Hitler’s terror.  (Short op-ed)

Cleveland Abduction: Courage, faith, riveting TV drama.  No one should have to suffer what Michelle Knight and her fellow captives did in Ariel Castro’s house of horrors.  With gripping realism and tender reflection, Lifetime’s movie tells this absorbing story from abduction to liberation and beyond.  (Short op-ed)

A.D. TV series: The Bible continues … in prime time.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey – Hollywood’s Bible Power Couple – are back with a flourish, this time on prime-time network television.  Their dramatic series about Jesus’ first followers, premiering Easter Sunday evening on NBC, captures the personal angst and adventure of those tumultuous early years.  (Short op-ed)

Old Fashioned movie: 50 shades of nice.  Want an alluring love story for your Valentine’s Day movie date?  You have distinct options.  Much-discussed Fifty Shades of Grey is based on the erotic novel that’s drawn countless bookclubbers into lip-biting, toe-curling ecstasy by offering excitement, mystery, pleasure, bondage, and pain.  Old Fashioned takes, shall we say, a somewhat different approach to relationships.  Romance lives.  (Short op-ed)

Unbroken movie: hope, despair, redemption.  When Louie Zamperini boarded a World War II bomber in late May, 1943, unforeseen dangers awaited the Olympic runner and war hero.  He later said he’d prefer suicide to repeating his castaway and POW ordeals.  His enthralling story – told now in film – still inspires.  (Short op-ed)

Exodus movie: brother-enemies, slavery, liberation.  If you were an epic-adventure filmmaker and wanted a protagonist who could connect with over half the world’s population, Moses would be a prime candidate.  He’s revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews.  Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings stimulates interest in this timeless story.  (Short op-ed)

The Identical movie: Elvis-esque, secret past, conflicting dreams.  Ever have trouble getting people you love to embrace your life dreams?  You’ll likely identify with Ryan Wade.  Music is in his soul.  He has the looks, voice and moves of Elvis, and drives audiences wild.  But his preacher father has different dreams for him, setting up a monumental collision.  A fun Rock ‘n’ Roll parable with an upbeat, inspiring, message about finding purpose, revealing secrets, and experiencing redemption.  (Short op-ed)

New Football Movie: Character trumps winning.  Could a football coach who teaches that character trumps winning … win games consistently?  It’s happened – and quite dramatically – inspiring the film When the Game Stands Tall.  Jim Caviezel plays Coach Bob Ladouceur, who led an obscure, struggling California high school team to record-shattering national prominence by helping his players mature toward adulthood.  (Short op-ed)

Does God’s Love Make You Want to Give?  Some current social scientific research suggests it might.  Intriguing survey results, and an inspiring story of Auntie Anne, the pretzel lady.  (Short op-ed)

Global Warming and Hurricane Sandy.  Did global warming—human-induced climate change—cause or exacerbate Hurricane Sandy?  If you answer “no or “not sure,” are you a “science denier”?  (Short op-ed)

Sexual Abuse Victor Offers Hope for Sandusky Victims, Others.  He knows how Jerry Sandusky’s victims must feel.  Their stories reawakened agonizing memories of childhood sexual abuse in Josh.  He’d hated his assailant, hated his father, and damned God.  He felt ashamed, and terribly alone.  Then a college student’s challenge started him on a quest that changed everything.  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi)

Jordan’s Bold Educational Experiment. Amid continuing Middle Eastern political and social unrest, a quiet revolution is taking place in Jordan that could help reshape the future of that nation and provide a model for the world. It is a revolution not of guns or violence, but of character and mind—and it was started by King Abdullah himself.(Short op-ed by Meg Korpi and Rusty Wright)

Tiananmen Leader’s Divine Cause.  Chinese student Chai Ling helped lead the massive 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that drew the world’s praise and her government’s wrath.  Twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, today this Harvard MBA is a successful businesswoman who still risks persecution to bring reform to China.  Her current activities might surprise you.  (Short op-ed)

Jordan’s Moderate Arab Spring.  As we sat in a Parliamentary conference room talking with Jordan’s Senate president and his colleagues, we could see why Jordan’s Arab Spring has been more subdued than most.  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi)

Evangelicals’ Image Problem.  God should have sued Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for defamation, says New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.  “Few words conjure as much distaste in liberal circles as ‘evangelical Christian,’” he writes.  So why does he sing evangelicals’ praises?  (Short op-ed)

Gay Mayor, Christians in Surprising Alliance.  Portland, Oregon, mayor Sam Adams gets “calls from mayors of liberal cities all across the United States asking me if I’ve been abducted by aliens.”  He tells them the churches and the city really do cooperate in social services and that “we’re better for it.”  (Short op-ed)

Jesus is Coming May 21?  We read it in the Washington Post.  “Save the date!” say the billboards.  That’s also our wedding anniversary.  Maybe we should invite him.  (Short op-ed; by Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi)

Americans Flunk Religion 101.  Think you know a lot about religion?  Pew Research Center says many atheists and agnostics know more about world faiths than do believers.  I once flunked an important faith question and learned that what you don’t know might hurt you.  (Short op-ed)

Atlanta Volunteers Change Lives.  Want a dose of inspiration and motivation?  Take a look at these fine folks who are getting “out of their seats and into the streets” to help meet Atlanta’s physical, psychological and spiritual needs.  (Short op-ed)

Is Casual Sex Losing its Zing?  Hot news from CNN: Some university students are giving up casual sexual activity because they feel it’s not fulfilling.  What’s going on here?  (Short op-ed)

Marital Strife and Your Health.  Being married can mean better health, but being happily married seems to matter most, says current research.  Learn to fight fair.  (Short op-ed)

Tiger’s Faith-Road Home.  Tiger gets religion?  “It’s up to me to start living a life of integrity,” affirmed golf’s superstar as he confessed to his affairs.  He says to save his marriage and children, he wants to balance his spiritual and professional lives.  Can he?  (Short op-ed)

Global Warming’s Glacial Blunder.  “World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown,” declared the disturbing headline in The Sunday Times of London.  What caused a major UN climate change panel to backtrack and admit a serious mistake in its prediction?  What insights does this episode offer about determining the truth?  (Short op-ed)

Jerusalem’s Delicate Balancing Act.  It’s easy to see why this city – bustling with spiritual, social and political contrasts – is the focus of so much world attention.  King David’s ancient admonition to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” has significant modern implications. (Short op-ed)

Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust Library Card?  Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the Holocaust is a “lie” based on a “mythical claim.”  He should visit Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.   Can we get him a library card?  (Short op-ed)

Iranian Holocaust Denial and Peace Seeking.  Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “lie.”  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced his claim at the UN, presenting evidence.  Humans have a curious ability to reinterpret the world to fit their biases or personal aims.  Shouldn’t truth be a foundation for seeking peace?   (Short op-ed)

You Don’t Say!  If you’re like me, you could use a good chuckle right now.  After all, times are messy.  Maybe this real-life humor will help cheer you up.  Reflections on using the right word at the right time.  (Short op-ed)

Coping with Job Loss.  I got an email recently from another laid-off colleague.  One more recession downsizing casualty.  I’ve been there, too.  How do you help a friend – or yourself – cope with losing their job?  (Short op-ed)

Forgiving Bernie Madoff?  Could you forgive the multibillion dollar swindler if you were one of his victims?  (Short op-ed)