Faith/Spirituality

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Heaven is for Real, movie claims.  Colton Burpo says that at age 3, he went to heaven, saw Jesus, heard angels sing, and met both his deceased great grandfather and his miscarried sister.  The best-selling book about him is now a major motion picture.  Is heaven for real?  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright)

Noah movie: courage, faith, hope.  With breathtaking cinematography – and not without controversy – Paramount Pictures releases an intense portrayal of a classic story.  That story brings important lessons for 21st–Century living.  (Short op-ed)

Son of God movie: Jesus for the third millennium.  By Meg Korpi.  Politics and religion; an enigmatic attraction. Television producer Mark Burnett and actress/producer Roma Downey have created an accurate and accessible portrait of Jesus of Nazareth for the big screen. See how this intriguing story continues today.  (Review/Analysis)

Mark Burnett’s Son of God movie: Action Epic.  The Survivor producer and his wife, actress Roma Downey, wanted to communicate “the story of Jesus for a whole new generation.”  Their new film presents adventure, drama and passion; a Jesus that is tough and tender; and enough gripping stories to allow skeptics, searchers, and the faith-filled alike to consider whether he really was the Son of God.  (Short op-ed by Rusty Wright)

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)

Human Trafficking Movie Grabs Hearts.  Annika, a delicate young girl, has been unwittingly handed into virtual slavery by her homeless father.  Sweatshop labor and sex-for-sale portend a bleak future, unless someone intervenes.  Caden, a spoiled, rich, 20-year-old Southern California student, determines to be that someone.  Their inspiring saga in the feature film Not Today might grab your heart, too.  (Short op-ed)

Mark Burnett’s Bible TV Series: Epic Adventure.  The Survivor producer and his wife, actress Roma Downey, have produced an exhilarating take on classic stories about the epic struggle of the centuries between good and evil.  Powerful depictions; gripping scenes.  Well worth seeing by skeptics, searchers, and the faith-filled alike.  (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)

Who Said That?  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”  “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  “Money is the root of all evil.”  “God helps those who help themselves.”  Who made these statements?  Learning who actually said them – and, in some cases, what they really said and meant – might surprise you.  (Short op-ed)

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)

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)

Tony Blair’s God Thing.  By Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi.  When Blair was British Prime Minister, his press secretary once explained to reporters, “We don’t do God.”  Today, Blair promotes God and faith freely.  What’s he up to?  (Short op-ed)

Atheist Recommends God.  By Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi.  A prominent British political observer and journalist says, “As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.”  What did he encounter that “confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God”?  (Short op-ed)

How to Surprise your Mayor.  When you’re the mayor, people who talk to you very often want something from you.  Luis Palau asked Portland’s mayor how churches could help the city.  The result: massive – and inspiring – mobilization to tackle homelessness, poverty, hunger, healthcare, and more.  (Short op-ed)

Faith-Based Initiatives Worth Considering.  Do faith-based social programs really work?  A look at a model prison initiative in Texas that is making headlines with encouraging results.  (Short op-ed)

Christians to Muslims and Jews: “Crusades were wrong.”  The dramatic story of what happened when believers retraced the eleventh-century Crusaders’ steps, apologizing to Muslims and Jews for the sins of their forebears.  (Short, op-ed)

Christians Retrace Crusaders’ Steps.  The dramatic story of what happened when believers retraced the eleventh-century Crusaders’ steps, apologizing to Muslims and Jews for the sins of their forebears.  (Magazine article)

Moderate Muslim leaders build bridges to Christians.  Do all Muslims threaten Western life?  138 prominent Muslim leaders of diverse stripes and nationalities extend the hand of friendship to Christians, stressing common ground as a basis for peace. (Short op-ed)

Why Radical Muslims Hate You.  Many Muslims love peace.  But if you are a Westerner, an American, a non-Muslim, or a Muslim of a different stripe than they, then some radical Muslims hate you.  Would you believe that dancing in American churches helped fuel some of today’s radical Muslim anger?  (Short op-ed)

Why Radical Muslims Hate You.  Many Muslims love peace.  But if you are a Westerner, an American, a non-Muslim, or a Muslim of a different stripe than they, then some radical Muslims hate you.  Would you believe that dancing in American churches helped fuel some of today’s radical Muslim anger?  (Probe radio series transcript.)  German

War Room movie: got prayer?  Got marital problems?  Job-related stress?  Ethical conundrums?  Try prayer.  This Kendrick Brothers / Sony TriStar release weaves prayer insights into a lively drama about a troubled middle-class family.  (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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)