Newcomer to Christian fiction : Aaron L is a newcomer to Christian fiction, "but he is not new to anything related to art and all things creative. The seattle Post-Intelligencer. Christian video games released : A Christian video game publishing company has released at least seven new games in The Huffington Post. The Montgomery Advertiser. Michael Card, Bible teacher : Christian artist Michael Card says that, whether as a songwriter, singer or author, he is following his calling to be a Bible teacher.
The Englewood Herald. The Daily Journal. Waynesville Smoky Mountain News. Stores closes after 30 years : The final chapter in a local Christian tradition closes when the Gospel Shop bids farewell after three decades of serving the retail needs of clergy and lay people across Delmarva, Del. Delmarva Now. The Northern Virginia Daily News. The Daily Inter Lake. Quad-City Times. Deseret News. The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. The Knoxville News-Sentinel.
HarperCollins' Nelson move : HarperCollins, which runs publisher Zondervan, will have a percent share of the evangelical Christian publishing market after acquiring Nashville-based Thomas Nelson. The Dodge Globe. Amish writers discuss their work : Three Amish fiction writers discuss their work. The Times-Reporter. Nashville Business Journal. The New York Times. The Saginaw News. The Times Colonist. The Hollywood Reporter. The Daily Telegraph. Pastor-author profiled : A profile of author and pastor Wayne Cordeiro.
The Register-Guard. The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen. The Erie Times-News. Canadian stores pursue personalization : Christian stores in Canada have installed personal engraving machines to help grow their gifts business. The Edmonton Journal. New homes for old books : The Theological Book Network helps find new homes in the developing world for discarded theological study materials.
The Sequim Gazette. Brandon Heath, 'rising superstar ':. The Hill. The Birmingham News. The Huntington West Va. The Gadsden Times. The Visalia Times-Delta. The Record. Northumberland Today. Electronic Urban Report. The Jewish Journal. The Albuquerque Journal. The San Antonio Express-News. The Morning Journal. Authors gather for signing : Four nationally known romance novelists take part in a signing at The Well in McPherson, Kan.
The McPherson Sentinel. The Selma Times-Journal. The Middletown Transcript. River Oaks News. The Colorado Springs, Colo. Religion News Service. Indie stores pick up business : Some independent bookstores seem to have picked up business in the wake of the Borders closures. Falling sales prompts closure : Declining sales and increased online competition have forced the closure of The Promise Shop in Fergus Falls, Minn. The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. Screen Daily. New Catholic publisher launches : Ken Nowell, a former businessman, has launched his own Catholic publishing company.
The Bismarck Journal. Some even have fur" is based on the true story of Cadie, an abused and seemingly unadoptable German shepherd, and a lost man who crosses paths with her. South Coast Today. The Calgary Herald. The Flower Mound Leader Star. Historical novelist goes undercover : To better inhabit her characters, historical novelist Deanne Gist commissioned a full Victorian get-up from a seamstress who specializes in period clothing. She now puts on Victorian fashion shows for fans and other romance novelists. The Wall Street Journal. The Utica Observer-Dispatch. Free Bible app focus : One of the leaders in new technology publishing is YouVersion, a free Bible app developed by the staff of LifeChurch.
Band Angels are big : Tim West has sold more than , boxes of his Band Angels, band aids featuring Bible verses, advertising on Facebook and by word-of-mouth. The Fort Myers, Fla. The Boot. The Apex Herald. The Warsaw, Ins. NBC25 TV. The Financial Times. Agence France Press. South Park Magazine. The Ledger. Singer's latest movie role : Singer Rebecca St.
James is filming the faith-based romantic comedy, "A Strange Brand of Happy. The Amarillo Globe-News. Small store weathers storms: A small, independently owned Christian bookstore in Topeka, Kan. The Topeka Capital-Journal. Apparel company wins award : Apparel company Gardenfire won a Best Booth award at the International Christian Retail Show with a recreation of its retail store display. Lovely County Citizen. Houston Chronicle. The Florida Times-Union. The York Daily Record.
The Warsaw, Ind. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The Cypress Times. Playing cards proclaim healing : Art gallery owner Tom Woodfin has created a deck of healing-themed playing cards. The Fort Wayne, Ind. Journal Gazette. Store hosts free concert: Kolas Christian Bookstore in Highland, ind. North West Times. Michele Bachmann's Christian library : A profile of Michele Bachmann looks at the Christian books that have influenced the Republican Presidential nominee hopeful.
The New Yorker. Bookstore seized over taxes : A Christian bookstore in Mattituck, N. The Riverhead News-Review. The Kitsup Sun. Author is voracious reader : Basketball executive and Christian author Pat Williams is a voracious reader. Orlando magazine. The Jackson Citizen Patriot.
Hacking scandal brings scrutiny : The scandal involving NewsCorp head Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid empire has brought scrutiny to Zondervan. Michael Vick's book delayed : "Finally Free," the faith-based autobiography of jailed NFL player Michael Vick, will not be released as originally scheduled. Publication of the book has been delayed. Book promotes money management : A new book looks at money from a biblical perspective. Rapid City Journal. Romance writer's personal story : Romance novelist Kathleen Y'Barbo-Turner is living out her own real-life love story.
The Star News. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Burlington Patch. Lee Strobel's 'who-is-it? The Chicago Tribune. The Middletown Journal. The Tampa tribune. The Albany Herald. Associated Press. Mahalia Jackson biopic coming : Biopic "Mahalia!
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Southeast Missourian. Doves return to Atlanta : The Dove awards will return to Atlanta in Christian book chain Living Oasis has announced its third store closure in just over a week. The Bookseller. Dutch publisher's lightweight books : Dutch Christian printing house Jongbloed is adopting the lightweight, high-quality ''onion skin'' paper used for Bibles to produce a series of miniature sideways books that can be read using only one hand.
The Sydney Morning Herald. The Virginian-Pilot. The Appleton, Wisc. People magazine. Bookseller and Publisher. The Columbus Dispatch. The Dayton News. Pastor writes faith fiction : A new mystery-thriller-romance novel with faith overtones is what author Sheilah Fletch calls "proof that God challenges you out of your comfort zone to expand your world.
Owen Sound Sun Times. The Jersey Journal. Publishing, retail veteran dies : Robert Kregel, who for decades ran the the local Christian publishing house and bookstore chain begun in by his father, has died after a brief illness. The San Antonio News. Books bloom at florist's : A florist's in Springfield Township, Ohio, has opened a Christian bookstore as part of the business. The Suburbanite. The Amador, Calif. Ledger Dispatch. Church bookstore expands : At a time when many places of worship are cutting back the hours and the space dedicated to their bookstores, Holy Cross Catholic Church in Charlotte, N.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicles. Connect Amarillo. The Sun Journal. Cowboy romance author's success : Author Mary Connealy worked on her cowboy romantic comedies for 10 years before getting her big break at a Christian fiction contest. The Omaha World-Herald. Ottawa Citizen. Karen Kingsbury movies coming : Several of Karen Kingsbury's recent novels are currently under full-length movie production and will appear in theaters over the next few years.
The Daily News Journal. North Country Now. Online sales force closure : Internet sales have been the biggest factor in the closure of Upper Room Christian Bookstore in London, Ontario. Our London. The Mobile, Ala. Berenstain Bears author's support: Mike Berenstain, author and illustrator of the popular Berenstain Bears books that include a faith-based series for Zondervan, supports a Christian bookstore's summer reading program. Documentary follows pastor's trials: Pastor and author Ed Dobson features in a new documentary series from David C. Cook that looks at his life after being diagnosed with ALS.
Mardel supports military families: Mardel Christian Bookstore in Corpus Christi, Texas, is collecting handwritten Bible verses and personal messages on cards that will be given to local families who have lost loved ones in war. Canadian writing award finalists: Five Manitobans have been named finalists in the annual Canadian Christian Writing Awards, which recognize excellence in books, articles, columns and songs written with a Christian worldview.
Winnipeg Free Press. The Madison County Herald. Bleacher Report. The Register-Herald. Industry Radar for the week of May 26, AARP magazine. Swept along by 'Broom': T. The Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Texas store to close: After more than six years in business, the Cornerstone Christian Bookstore in Lufkin,Texas, will close its doors. The Lufkin Daily News. Ex-atheist preps 'devilish' film: A former atheist, Tim Chey plans to release "Suing the Devil," his fifth Christian-themed movie, in about theaters.
Debut author nominated: At 74, optometrist Dale Garland finds his first book up for a small Christian publishers' award. The Andrews Journal. The Freeport, Ill.
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Journal Standard. Chris Fabry's writing career: Since his first book was published in , Chris Fabry has gone on to write 69 more. The State Journal. Indiana NewsCenter. Documentary tackles absent dads: Author John Eldredge and heavy metal musician James Hetfield appear in a new documentary about the problems caused by absent fathers. Jakes' movie has 'polish': T. The Republic. Jars' well mission accomplished: Jars of Clay celebrates helping provide 1, African communities with clean water sources.
Zondervan to close warehouse: Zondervan will close its warehouse in June and eliminate 75 jobs as parent company HarperCollins moves to on-demand publishing. Gulf Coast Business Review. Zondervan may move HQ: Zondervan plans to move its headquarters to another Grand Rapids-area location and close a warehouse operation next year. The Detroit Free Press. Praising C.
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Lewis: C. Fox News. The Gainesville Guardian. New Zondervan head speaks : Scott Macdonald discusses his new role as the leader of Zondervan. Publisher supports prayer day : Group Publishing offers its facilities in Loveland, Colo. The Loveland, Colo. Faith film's 'honest discussion' : T. The Appleton Post-Crescent. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Huntsville Item. David Wilkerson, movie pioneer: David Wilkerson, killed in an auto accident, pioneered ministry films like "The Cross and The Switchblade," originally his own book, into theaters.
The Baylor Lariat. The Sudbury Star. Vanity Fair. ABC News. Musician helps Haiti effort: A concert in Shippenberg, Pa. Smith will help a local organization fund the building of a school in Haiti. Public Opinion.
New 'official; Bibles launch: U. Catholics and Protestants alike are being introduced this Easter season to separate "official" updated translations of the Bible. The Couer d'Alene Press. Church hires movie director: An Elgin, Ill. The Courier-News. Ex-publisher portrays Lewis : A former Christian publisher now portrays C. Lewis in a one-man show. The National Post. The Wilmington, N. The Age. The Banning, Calif. Record Gazette. The Wentzville Patch. Screen Africa. Jakes unveils new movie : T. Jakes' new "Jumping the Broom" is the story of two African-American families from different socioeconomic backgrounds coming together one weekend in Martha's Vineyard for a wedding.
Lewis Bible dispute : A newly published Bible bearing his name has excited fans and provoked debate over whether C. Lewis would have approved. New Nelson leader speaks : New Nelson chief Mark Schoenwald says research suggests Christian reader are slower to adopt e-book readers than others. Florida Today. Top ghostwriter profiled : Best known for helping others tell their faith stories, leading co-author Lynn Vincent's own life has taken some dramatic turns.
The San Diego Union Tribune. Bible collection contains treasures : The Green family's massive collection of biblical manuscripts and texts includes many items yet to be studied in detail. Georgia stores doubles space : Christian Art and Books has doubled its space with a moved into downtown Monroe, Ga.
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The Walton Tribune. The Gazette. Entertainment Weekly. The Orlando Sentinel. Meet the big box challenge : How a small Christian chain in Canada has responded to the challenge of other channels selling Christian products. The Globe and Mail. The Pepperdine Graphic. The Christian Science Monitor. The Tampa Bay Tribune. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. The Benton Evening News. The Sioux City Journal. S Lewis. Richmond BizSense. Mark Schultz goes instrumental : On his latest tour, Mark Schultz debuts several pieces from his instrumental project, "Renaissance," recorded in Italy this year.
The New American. Rob Bell 'worn out' : Rob Bell is 'a bit worn out by trying to reduce the complexities of his book and faith into tube-friendly sound bites. Francesca Battistelli, rising star : Francesca Battistelli is the best-selling new Christian music act to come along in the past eight years. New packaging for NIV : Zondervan hired an award-winning design firm to help package the updated New International Version, with shop-alongs with consumers and home interviews. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The Evanston Review. Jeremy Camp's impact : Singer Jeremy Camp has funneled personal pain into songs like "I Still Believe" that have garnered him three gold albums and more than 3 million records sold. New Bibles for Lent : As many Christians begin observing Lent, American publishers release new translations of two of the most widely read English language Bibles.
The Detroit News. Businessmen host faith movie : Christian businessmen in Dalton, Ga. The Daily Citizen.
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Grand Rapids Press. The Boston Globe. Distributor's bomb squad alert : A UPS shipping error led to the evacuation of about employees at Christian Book Distributors while a state police bomb squad investigate d. The Salem News. The McCook Daily Gazette. The Roseville Press Tribune. The Sun Chronicle. The legacy of Lewis : C. National Review. The Kansas City Star. The Irish Independent. The State Journal-Register. Heavenly visit for anniversary : A McCook, Neb.
The McCook daily Gazette. The New York Review of Books. First Christian bookstore app : A Christian bookstore in Northern Ireland becomes the first in the world to launch its own iPhone app to sell books. The Belfast Telegraph. The Missourian. Former lawyer's case for faith : A one-time Brooklyn lawyer who happens to be an Orthodox Jew has discovered a new publishing niche: creating religious-themed children's books and bible trading cards—which sell like hotcakes in Christian bookstores.
Crain's New York Business. Synagogue becomes Christian bookstore : A year-old former synagogue in downtown Massena, N. The Watertown Daily Times. USA Business Review. Pastor discusses new book : Pastor Frank G. The Boston Herald. Churches making more movies : More and more local churches say they are frustrated with the movies Hollywood has been putting out, so they are making their own. The San Antonio Current. Faith Forward. Christian musicians discuss drugs: Michael W. The Commercial Appeal. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Kentucky Kernel. The Examiner. National Catholic Register.
The Daily Mail. San Carlos Patch. The Peoria Star Journal. Pastor launches publishing house : After careers as a church pastor, businessman and Zondervan book marketer, Greg Smith has funneled his talents into the virtual publishing company Black Lake Press. God's techno 'Message' : Inspirational film, "The Message," is a drama in which God uses technology to bring a lost soul back to faith. The Tampa Tribune. The Herald. New York magazine. Store hosts immigration authors : Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore in Marshalltown, Iowa, hosts the authors of a book about how several immigrants overcome many obstacles on their way to getting settled in anew home and life.
The Times-Republican. The Santa Cruz Sentinel. The Central Plains Herald-Leader. Brandon Heath's hope : Brandon Heath talks about finding hope in a troubled world. Grant and Smith reminisce : Out on tour together, Michael W. Medicine Hat News. Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Christian music's largest tour: With nearly a dozen acts, WinterJam has been called Christian music's largest tour. The Mansfield News Journal. West Liberty Index. Winter Jam tour : "There's not many tours that can compare to the sheer magnitude of Winter Jam," says James Mead, guitarist for Kutless.
The Augusta Chronicle. Winans on faith and family : Faith and family factor in heavily to the outlook and craft of siblings and gospel superstars BeBe and CeCe Winans. The Contra Costa Times. Inspirational memoir recalls tragedy : Dorothy Lewis' inspirational memoir, 'Unbroken,' tells of her overcoming her rape, attempted murder and the killing of her two daughters. The Dayton Daily News. The River Falls Journal.
Anti-porn pastor speaks : An interview with author, pastor and anti-porn campaigner Craig Gross. Joel Osteen returns : Best-selling Christian author and televangelist Joel Osteen has returned to the publisher with whom he scored blockbuster success with his first book. Author on 'gay divide ': Author Andrew Marin says the Grand Canyon-sized divide between a handful of his openly gay friends, and the church, is what motivated him to write a book.
News5 TV. Store damaged by motorist : A woman with plans to purchase a Bible was cited by police after running her car through the windows of The Light Christian Bookstore in Greenville, N. The Daily Reflector. The Seattle Times. The Morung Express. The Lahontan Valley News. Philip Yancey's gay 'heat' : Author Philip Yancey has "taken an incredible amount of heat" for speaking at the conference of the Gay Christian Network. The Vancouver Sun.
Looking into Borders' troubles : An analysis of the troubled Borders bookstore chain. The Lafayette, La. The Courier Herald. Mardel supports fund-raising effort : At Mardel Christian bookstore artist Debra Scott used her voice to raise money to help a young man in need of a new heart. Gunpoint robbery at store : Police in Yukon, Okla. Heretic or fresh voice? Lieutenant Leo Smythe paced the wooden floor of his newly built office, a shack with some furniture in it. Lights would be added later, maybe. Wildcats, sir, Jim corrected, realizing he risked being disciplined more.
MPs gave him a harsh look but Leos glance ordered them to not A man and a woman of Japanese descent were brought into the office by react. Wildcats, Leo echoed. Tell me something, Jim and Lin-Lin, are you Leos head raised slightly as they entered, forced onto their knees by the Japanese Americans or Americans of Japanese descent?
MPs, both landing with an awkward thump. Lin-Lin speaks first, Lieutenant, where were you born? The tension was high enough. Leo didnt need this. Leo puts their files on the desk and calmly answers, My father was Both of you have been accused of inciting a riot. Its bad enough I got Irish and my mother was Egyptian.
I dont know what that makes me, thousands of people coming in here this week, I got to deal with you two but I was born in West Virginia. Im the second oldest son of eleven making matters worse. Get em on their feet. The MPs gingerly lift the man and woman on their feet. Our civil rights are being violated, Lin-Lin said.
Leo looks each of them in the eye. She was known as Lin-Lin. She was Youve been brought here for your own protection, Leo replied. The twenty-five and gorgeous. He was slightly younger, a determined look in President of the United States, has declared that all citizens of Japanese his eye that spelled trouble for most authority figures. Leo grabbed their files and holds them in front of his eyes as he confronts them.
Thats bull Lin-Lin tries to argue, but is interrupted by Leo. Parents Jong Its bullshit, I know. But, its reality. I dont have the power to undo it. Born in San Jose, California. Graduated from I do however have the power to take this negative energy, this nightmare University of California with a degree in Economics.
You were working were all in, and make something good come out of it. Hiroshima Both Jim and Lin-Lin looked puzzled. Two teams battled it out for second place. The winner would take on the You were a star baseball player. You hit 44 home runs for the Arizona Giants of New Yuma. Youd be playing for the Cleveland Indians from what I understand if you werent exiled here. I need a baseball commissioner The Gila Bend Whipper Snappers were holding onto a thin one-run lead for our new town. Jim asked, taken aback. The stands were packed with American white officers intermingled with Japanese soldiers and their families.
Vendors sold popcorn, soup and Im asking you to help me. Give the people something to do while wontons. With all the passion of a professional baseball game, a visitor theyre in here.
Leo stomps his foot on the wooden floor. This wasnt wouldnt know there was a war going on. It will be torn down as easily as it went up and with greater passion. Nobody wants a war, but we need it. The politicians cut off the August 6, Now, every American who is not Asian looks at you and sees the enemy.
Frank Capra got an Academy 9 a. Japan time. Award for painting the entire Japanese population as potential spies. So, we have to show em theyre wrong. We have to show them more love As the American bomber the Enola Gay prepared to drop its first nuclear and obedience than they show hate and rebellion.
Youre both qualified. Will you help me? Will you help citys perfect August sky would be seen for the last time yourselvesthose people out there. Will you help them? Target hit. Hiroshima destroyed. All airmen accounted for. Returning to base. Casualties: Unknown.
A radio operator recorded the information, proof read his notes and handed it to another for proof reading, who nodded and gave it to a messenger for delivery. Leo was cheering in a pitching duel that had succeeded into taking the He hadnt felt this much loss since Lin-Lin died. The messenger reluctantly handed Leo the paper, reaching up to the bleachers to put it in his hands, Leo Corporal, I need a minute to myself, he said, the messenger instinctively taking it and finishing his cheer before opening the immediately nodding and breaking his stride to return to the radio carefully folded paper.
As the crowd continued to howl about the game, in a mix of Japanese Leo walked into his barrack and closed the door behind him. He sees Lin-Lin sitting up, older, as if she had aged. Her hair is half His friends looked at him, realizing a look of pain, fear, disbelief and silver, the other a flowing black Japanese hair that made the room smell shock stunned his body into an unlikely trance.
He didnt know he began like perfume. Leo looks at a picture of he and her together, dancing at a ball. Leo, whats wrong? Jim asked his long time commanding officer and mentor. He remembers. Leo cannot control his emotions and began to sob. He didnt see the In short, they fell in love. She died of pneumonia during her first winter Japanese as the enemy. After four long years, they were family. Jim cautiously took the message from Leos hand, but the messenger Now her memory comforts him here.
Guilt weighed on him. He couldnt save her. Penicillinhe couldnt get Sir, the first American bomber made it to Hiroshima. They dropped one pill in for herthe coroner assured him it was not his fault enough bombs to destroy the city. They had built this community, this family, out of a dusty patch of As the game kept going, Jim looked at Leo as if to ask what next. Leo shrugged. They dont need to know yet. Weddings, birthdays, baptisms, even a few funerals, they had built lives The crowd howled in excitement.
Leo climbs down the bleachers and here. And now, it was gone. Leo wept as he sat on the bed where he had come Ill be right back, he says toward the crowd, faking a nonchalant so close to making love to her on. Chaplin Joe knocked. When the people had assembled, Leo said, You may have already Leo, Not now. He opened the door anyway Leo grabbed his sidearm and aimed it toward the doorway. Japan time, US bombers hit Hiroshima, leveling the city. Were learning the casualties right now. I understandthey are few. Joe raised his arms and said, Its me. I am at this time suspending all community events in honor of the Lowering his weapon, Leo waived Joe in, who quickly closed the door dead.
The citizens objected. We have nothing else to live for! I know about Hiroshima, Joe said. Hows Lin-Lin? Leo was quick to correct himself. Okayare you saying, you want to Why dont you ask her, Leo said in sarcasm. The sounds of his voice was audibly taken aback, peeking slightly on the word baseball.
She looked up at him, her beautiful brown eyes finding Chaplain Joe standing pensively across the room. They shouted in almost unison, Yes! A lot of souls entered eternity about five minutes ago, she said, Lin-Lin looked on from within the crowd. Leo saw her and smiled sensing it from within.
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Thanks, Leo heard himself say. Then his inner voice rebuked Chaplain Joe caught the sight of young woman in her 20s where Lin-Lin that. Waitthe community needs to hear it from me. Where are we? Wade decision in a moot court. The film went straight to DVD in , and Escobar estimates that over 3 million people have seen it, thanks in large part to church screenings.
Escobar went on to make three documentaries for WND films, where he serves as vice president. The Academy made the decision after the songwriter, Bruce Broughton, directly lobbied its members, which is prohibited. Still, conservatives revolted, claiming the decision highlighted Hollywood's liberal bias. Escobar was happy for the publicity and even happier that his new career was taking off.
He was "finally being of use to the Lord. T hrough the midth century, Hollywood's output was less at odds with the tastes and sensibility of the religious and political right. Though the major film studios were by no means the right's allies -- conservative politicians, activists and clergy often found fault with films' content and clashed with studios during episodes like the Red Scare -- the major motion pictures of the day were far less risque than they are today.
Many faith-based filmmakers, including Escobar, speak reverently of the Motion Picture Production Code, a set of self-censorship guidelines first agreed upon by Hollywood's major film studios in The code prohibited the portrayal of nudity and sexual relations, depictions of interracial or same-sex relationships and the mocking of the clergy. References to "God" or "Jesus" were permitted only in religious contexts, and criticism of the government was strongly cautioned against.
The code demanded that scenes in bedrooms "be governed by good taste and delicacy," forbade suggestive dancing and banned kisses lasting longer than three seconds. What's happened is you get remakes of some of these films nowadays, and the Judeo-Christian values are removed and replaced by other, more secular philosophies. The industry was not immune to the cultural and political upheavals of the s, however.
The popularization of television and the proliferation of racier foreign films from the likes of Jean-Luc Godard and Ingmar Bergman forced the major studios to produce edgier material. Capra's code-era films were soon being derided as "Capracorn. Conservative stars grew scarcer, and liberal actors like Warren Beatty and Harry Belafonte set the stage for the A-list progressive activists of today, like George Clooney and Sean Penn. Christian filmmakers failed to compete in a post-code, pre-VHS world where movie theaters remained the primary means of film distribution. Outside of church basements and the occasional Sunday morning TV movie, there wasn't much space for low-budget productions of "Pilgrim's Progress" and dry biopics about prominent missionaries.
Christian-friendly stars like Pat Boone weren't going to sell as many tickets as Robert Redford. B ack at the workshop, between discussions about casting, blocking and story arcs, hot-button political issues like gay marriage, school curriculums and parental notification laws kept cropping up. During a presentation on story development, Escobar extemporized a pitch about a woman who is forced to shut down her bakery because she refuses to follow laws antithetical to her beliefs.
The woman ultimately decides to run for Congress. Even as more and more Christian filmmakers aim to reach mainstream audiences, the politics of the far right remain ever-present in their work. That connection has only intensified in recent years, as religious and political activists have tried to leverage the emotional power of film. His studio is currently producing a movie centered around the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which found that religious employers cannot be required to pay for insurance coverage of contraception for their employees.
Other Christian films similarly take their cues from current political debates. The anti-abortion "Sarah's Choice" follows an up-and-coming account executive who grapples with an unwanted pregnancy. And "A Matter of Faith," premiering this month, features a college freshman who weighs the merits of her biology professor's teachings on evolution against her own Christian faith. You look at 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' today and it's [still] highly contemporary. Anti-abortion organizations and other special interest groups held screenings of it after its release.
Escobar advised his students to align themselves "with an established organization with like-mindedness of purpose and shared viewpoint" -- an arrangement that would ideally lead to "shared resources. Escobar's eyes lit up. There still hasn't been a dramatization of Obamacare, he noted. Hollywood has produced an endless supply of movies with menacing avatars for all things conservative, whether in the guise of prudish parents, corrupt Republican politicians or religious zealots.
And just like their mainstream counterparts, Christian filmmakers have no shortage of material from which to draw. But aggressive agendas, both political and religious, present a challenge for the Christian film industry as it attempts to capture a greater share of the secular moviegoing public. Critics have bristled at the genre's more overtly religious hits. None of the top-grossing Christian films from the past decade have earned positive ratings on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
For the non-devout, the only redeeming value is the occasional appearance by a star of yesteryear. Jon Lovitz? Christian filmmakers know that churchgoers still represent the core of their audience. Even in trying to appeal to the mainstream, they don't want to repeat the mistakes Hollywood studios have made in the past, on films like "Noah" and the "Narnia" franchise, and lose their devout fans in the process. The marketers of "Left Behind" are hedging their bets, heavily promoting the film to conservative Christians and hoping the film's explosions and Cage's name on the marquee will attract everyone else.
They're also encouraging religious fans to go see the movie with their more secular friends. In a recent promotional video for the film, "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson declares, "Opening the door to unbelievers has never been this much fun. But the new generation of Christian filmmakers understands that fun -- more than faith -- is the operative word. At the end of the day, moviegoers just want to be entertained. That doesn't mean filmmakers will have to completely cast aside their scruples and make "2 Fast 2 Jesus" or "Harold and Kumar Go to Church," but finding a middle ground between entertainment and proselytizing will be key.
You could even call it propaganda if you wanted. But he thinks Christian filmmakers have been too myopic in their approach, forgetting that there is a "world outside the church. Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Christian filmmakers are now a force to be reckoned with, and they hope to reach beyond their religious fans to a larger, less devout audience. Jesus is ready for His closeup. Paul Lalonde is part of the growing nexus of Christian filmmakers who are trying to reach mainstream audiences.
Here he holds a prop from the set of "Left Behind," which he co-produced and co-wrote. Photo: Stoney Lake Entertainment.