Friday, December 7, 2007

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day, Interview with Mitch Albom

What would it be like to have one more day with someone you loved that has died? This is the premise of the new movie, based on the book written by Mitch Albom, One more Day. One More Day will air this Sunday night on ABC television. The movie, presented by Oprah Winfrey causes us to look at, and reflect on, family, parenting, blame, difficulty, alcoholism, divorce, and so much more. It is, unfortunately, a reflection on real life.

I have to admit, as a child growing up in dysfunction, never knowing a father, seeing the affects of alcoholism and more, I related and reflected on my own life while watching One More Day, more than I would have liked but in a way that was ultimately positive for me. Mitch Albom knows about the characters he writes about, because he bases many of those characters on his own experiences and observations. It is one of the things that have allowed him to be so widely accepted among not only viewers, but readers, and those others he comes into contact with. While he writes about reality, he hasn’t forgotten his own obligations to help those less fortunate.

One More Day stars Michael Imperiolli from the Sopranos as Chick Benetto and Ellen Burstyn as his mother Posey Benetto. This exceptional cast presents a rarity, a story that requires focus, and reflection. Absent of all the trends that currently seem to permeate movies, such as car chases, explosions, murder and the like, what we have here is reflective drama. Drama that has to be understood and appreciated to be enjoyed, and thankfully Albom writes about reality, a reality we can all understand.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss among other things, the movie One More Day with author and screenwriter Mitch Albom. After learning more abut him, more about some of the underlying themes of the movie, I will admit, I will watch the movie again. Enjoy now as I present the discussion with Mitch. Be on the lookout for the audio version of the interview which I will include on a future HJ Live Radio program. Until then, here is the interview with a man I greatly respect, Mitch Albom.

Mike Furches (MF): Hey Mitch How are you doing?

Mitch Albom (MA): I’m doing good, and you?

MF: I’m not doing bad at all. I really appreciate you working with me on this and getting it done as I am doing some training with Boys Town right now. I really appreciate you again, doing this with the tough schedule I have had.

MA: Sure no problem at all.

MF: You ready to get started then?

MA: Yea man.

MF: I know we have about 10 minutes so I want to respect your time on that. You have a new movie coming out, For One More Day, a story that you wrote, so if you don’t mind, tell us a little bit about the story.

MA: Well the story is about a boy who grows up in the 50’s and 60’s kind of worshiping his dad who tells him he has to be a “daddy’s boy” or a “mommy’s boy” but he can’t be both so he picks to be a “daddy’s boy and then he sees his father disappear when he is 11 years old and he never comes back. His mother is sort of left to raise him and he never really appreciates her because he’s always chasing after his father. Even when he is an adult he becomes a baseball player for a period of time to try and get his father back into his life. After that, when he is in his 40’s he goes chasing after his father one last time and the weekend after he does that his mother dies and he’s not there. He begins to regret all of the time he didn’t spend with her and his life starts to go downhill, he becomes an alcoholic, he looses his job, and his family. He actually decides he wants to kill himself because he doesn’t want to live anymore. He goes back in the middle of the night to the little town he grew up in. He goes to his abandoned old house and he pushes in through the door planning to kill himself and he hears his mother’s voice calling him from upstairs as if she was still alive and had never died. She comes downstairs and she is right in front of him as if she had never died. All of a sudden he begins this one last day that he gets back with her where he doesn’t know if she is dead or alive or if he’s dead or alive or whatever. She spends the day with him and kind of walks him through his life and shows him all of these things he didn’t understand about it, and him, his father, and all the rest. He finds out that a lot of things he should of done while she was alive he gets the chance to do on this one last day with her.

MF: I saw the screener for the movie and was kind of impressed with the presentation and the story. How much does it differ from the book that you wrote? How pleased are you with the final product?

MA: Well I wrote the screenplay so I had pretty decent control over making sure it didn’t veer into left field. But, you know, a screenplay is just sort of a blueprint and then you kind of turn it over, and the director and the actors kind of take it. I think the essence of the story is very much there and the relationship between the mother and the son is there. Obviously, it is only a 2 hour TV movie and if you allow for commercials I think it is a total of about 90 minutes or so movie, so you can’t have everything. You can’t have every scene; you can’t have every age, and all of the rest of it. As a good movie representation of what the book is about, I think it does a very good job.

MF: One of the things I appreciated is as mentioned earlier I have been involved in training with Boys Town this week, and I come from a situation where I never knew a father. The movie touches on, and I was impressed from a reality perspective in the way the movie addresses issues like alcoholism, family relationships, not knowing your father, being without a father.

MA: Right

MF: Where did you draw your storylines from?

MA: Unfortunately, I have a lot of divorce in my family. I see the effects on the kids and I see how hungry the kids are for just any kind of attention, or how much they just want to get the family back. How often the one that stays behind and is the one who does the raising is the one that’s resented and the one who leaves is the one who is longed after and pined after. That’s kind of sad, but it’s the truth. Sometimes the person, in this case in the movie, the father ended up, we find out in the end this dirty secret that he had kept all these years, but he was kind of the bad guy, and yet the little boy is always taking it out on the mother. Unfortunately, that’s from real life, I see that all around me.

MF: I was really impressed from looking at the bio that was provided to me. You have tried to take that component of working with families, and working with people with disadvantages on and into your own life. Would you share some about some of the charity work you have done because I was really impressed with that?

MA: Yea, Thank you! You know, I live in Detroit and for better or worst, there’s lot’s of charity opportunities here in Detroit. We need a lot of help, and I started a volunteer group that is called Time to Help about 10 years ago to try to get people, particularly people who live out in the suburbs and were doing pretty well for themselves to come into the city once a month and interact with people and help out doing everything from building houses, or rebuilding houses, to refurbishing places, or packing up food for homebound people, or going to homeless shelters and doing parties or painting, fixing up broken down schools, or things like that. In 10 years we’ve done well over 300 projects and it’s really been great to sort of show people that the dividing line between the suburbs and the city is not as great as people think. I started another one a couple of years ago called Save Detroit which is to help the homeless. It came out of the Super Bowl where during the Super Bowl they kind of took the homeless people and took them off the street and put them into this one shelter to try and give them a party, quote unquote, but really it was just to get them off the streets so that no one has to see them. They thought that was really cool because come Monday morning they kicked them back out and into the streets. I started this group which just grew, and grew, and grew and has become this big charity now. It is very well funded and it builds facilities for homeless people, kitchens, a veterans shelter and a day care center and a women’s shelter and things like that you know, really tangible, brick and mortar stuff to help the people who need it the most in our city.

MF: One of the things people may not know about, and again, saw this from the bio, you were named Man of the Year for the National Hospice Organization in 1999. What is your association in regards to your work with Hospice?

MA: Well because of book Tuesday’s with Morrie which was the story of a dying professor from ALS, that’s a true story that happened to me in my life and I wrote a book about it. Morrie was helped by Hospice quite a bit so when I started going around the country, people wanted to talk to me about Morrie and all of the rest so I kept pointing out how valuable Hospice had been to him. One thing led to another, and they asked if I would join some of their local boards and then joined their national board and do some speaking on their behalf and so I have become a big advocate of those Hospice organizations, local and national. I just think they do so much good and they were kind enough that year to give me that honor.

MF: How do you respond when you get recognized by a group like that? Especially when you do a movie or story that relates to that particular issue? Especially when that group sees that, and respects and appreciates your work?

MA: I think mainly, you should just feel like maybe you are on the right track and just keep doing it. I don’t think you are supposed to pat yourself on the back or go, “Wow isn’t this great I need to tell everybody!” I think it’s sort of just something that just maybe gives you a small sense of comfort, for want of a better word that the path you are walking on is probably a good one. I mean you don’t know that, we spend so much of our time wondering if we are going in the right direction or anything, so when something like that happens, I think it is just a moment where you say, “Well maybe I am,” and then I need to continue it. It wasn’t like, “Well I’m done with them because they gave me awards.” I think you want to work even harder for causes like that and I have tried to do that since then.

MF: For the movie coming out this weekend, Oprah has helped produce that, I think she did that with your other movie Tuesday with Morrie as well,

MA: Right

MF: One of the things I want to touch on, as a final question, if I may. For One More Day is obviously a story that is not “action packed” or anything like that, it is a story and a personal story. To me, even a reflective story to think about, one each person who is watching it can think about their own lives and people they have come into contact with, especially, people who have gone without fathers, or had issues with family relations and that type of thing. What would you want the viewers to get out of the story or movie as they watch it this coming weekend?

MA: Well, you’re right, I think people will watch it and sort of insert themselves where, I could be that son, or I could be that mother, or my father left when I was young or I wish I could have a parent back. I guess what I hope people will get out of it is that if it moves them when it is over, they will pick up the phone and call a loved one who maybe they were planning on waiting to call, or go see, or spend time with and just schedule the meeting now. Just schedule the visit now. Go sooner rather than later, because as it happens to him in the movie you never know when you are going to loose somebody. He was lucky in the movie, he got a day back, but that’s just a movie. That’s not how real life works and you should grab those days with the people when you have them, right now.

MF: Mitch, appreciate it. Again, as a kid who grew up without a dad, and who works with kids and who don’t have dads and has had family issues, I appreciate your work.

MA: Well thank you very much. Thanks for taking the time to watch the movie. That was very nice of you.

MF: Well I will watch it again.

MA: I hope you liked it.

MF: I enjoyed it and will watch it again this weekend with the commercials.

MA: (Laughing) okay

MF: We want to support those sponsors.

MA: Thanks very much, have a great day.

MF: Thanks to you, God bless you.

MA: Bye

MF: Bye

To see the trailer for the television show, click on the video below, if the video don't appear, just click on the link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1daBiHjxHbc



Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

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Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

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Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information
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P.O. Box 17731
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Thursday, November 8, 2007

American Gangster

Last week on the HJ Live internet radio program I predicted the number one movie over the weekend was going to be Bee Movie. Man oh man was I wrong. I went to see Bee Movie at one of the metroplexes in town, saw the feature I wanted to see was sold out, so went ahead and got a ticket to the nearly three hour long feature, American Gangster. I knew I wanted to see this movie, had high expectations in fact, but as high as those expectations were, I wasn’t expecting what I got. What I ended up getting was a viewing of one of the best gangster movies made in recent years.

American Gangster is the violent bio picture that follows the lives of Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. Lucas and Roberts are both played brilliantly by leading men Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe respectively. Lucas is a black man originally from Greensboro North Carolina who lives in Harlem a burrow of New York City. While working under the tutelage of a Crime Boss Bumpy Johnson played by one of my favorite character actors, Clarence Williams III, Lucas learns the tricks of the trade that allows him to become one of the top crime lords and drug dealers in the country. This film does a tremendous job at character development with one of the best ensemble groups in a very long time. In fact, American Gangster is filled with quality, from editing, to story, to sound for a picture that in many scenes reminded me of Apocalypse Now. Just about everything about this movie from a technical perspective is near perfect. Ridley Scott has directed what will surely be an Oscar contender in a number of areas.

There is so much that can be said about American Gangster, there will be the inevitable comparisons to other gangster movies, from The Sopranos to The Godfather. While the comparisons are somewhat understandable, I think they are a mistake for a variety of reasons. In this tale, we follow the life of Richie Roberts played wonderfully by Russell Crowe. Roberts is a cop who has a heart that is too good to be true. He is so pure in fact that he has a difficult time getting along with his fellow police officers. His goodness for doing what is right isn’t lost though on the government as he is eventually selected by the Federal Government to head up a drug task force to eventually take down the drug lords of New York. While we see a side of honesty and purity, we can also quickly see a side of Richie that shows his short comings and faults. His wife and daughter see those faults, and eventually he sees the faults in himself.

The person on the opposite end of the spectrum is Frank Lucas. Here we see a person who doesn’t think twice about murdering someone, or in selling drugs that kill those in his own community. While we see him for the evil person he is, Ridley Scott does a great job at also letting us see a side of him we wouldn’t normally think about, a side that has him loving his family, his wife, and in fact being faithful to even take his grandmother to church, and to offer a prayer of thanks during Thanksgiving to his Lord, Jesus.

Throughout the progression of American Gangster we see conflict, and difficulty. We see it in the issues related to the characters, but also, ultimately in our own perceptions of people. Who is good? Who is bad? What makes one evil? What makes one good? Entwined with this conflict we see not only the struggle of character, but a spiritual battle where the characters on film and those sitting in the seats watching the movie are forced to come to some resolve on those very questions.

I liked virtually everything about this film, even with its length. The only thing I felt lacking was the rush to conclusion towards the end of the film. There are brief moments where the quality of the first 2 hours of the movie is lost towards the last 45 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, those last 45 minutes are still exceptional film making, but they do not meet the expectations of the first two thirds of the movie. From the sound to costumes, the ensemble cast and the brutal reality of the violence this movie is dark, dirty, vulgar, and ultimately reflective and redemptive. American Gangsters is a movie I will see again in the theater, and will ultimately purchase via DVD. It is a movie to be experienced on the big screen as well as enjoyed for the technical superiority and historic content.

American Gangster is a movie some will hate and some will love. Thankfully, the reviews have so far been very positive from a fan perspective, and somewhat good, but not great from a critical perspective. Take away that critic concept and listen to this fan of the gangster genera. This is a brilliant film, not perfect, but nor far from it. On a scale of 1 – 10 I will remove the critic element and give it the near perfect score of 9.

To see the trailer of American Gangster, double click on the video, if the video don't appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOSOYSLDuQE


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During The Virtual Pew Live Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Home of the Brave DVD

As a fan of war movies, especially those that show the horror of war, I had high expectations for the release of Home of the Brave. I wanted to see this movie, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Beal, and 50 Cent among others in the theater. With the past work of director Irwin Winkler I thought this would be a “can not fail movie,” and the DVD would feature a ton of special features that would enlighten the story.

The movie Home of the Brave starts off with a group of soldiers serving in Iraq. It is one of the few times that some of the deleted scenes would have helped the movie. These soldiers, many a part of their local National Guard units have just been given the news they are going to be headed back home to the states shortly. They have another mission to complete, an escort that provides service to a local hospital when they are hit with an attacked by the enemy. The attack leaves these good intentioned soldiers at a place where they will forever be emotionally trapped with the horror of war. Not everyone makes it through the attack, and while the remainder gets to eventually go home, they continue to deal with the difficulty and horror of war. Home of the Brave follows the lives of four individuals who end up uniquely tied together.

Home of the Brave has an extremely talented cast with wonderfully filmed sequences, whether fighting in Iraq or struggling with the difficulties faced back home. Unfortunately, while there is a talented cast, the story is not tied together and what we end up having is a hodge podge that leaves the viewer lost and at times confused.

We see struggles among each of the characters; Samuel Jackson is having difficulty at home with his wife and children. Jessica Biel’s character Vanessa has relational issues and finds it difficult to trust, while Tommy Yates, played by Brian Presley is searching for answers to the conflict and pain experienced but not having success. One of the surprises is with the character Jamal Aiken played by Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson. This character played surprisingly well has life changing horrors that follow him home. Unfortunately we don’t see enough of the character. As each of these characters struggle with the consequences of war the story attempts to bring them together, although not nearly as tightly as I would have liked.

Despite the failures of story, and character development, there is much this movie causes one to think about in a beneficial way. It is easy to look at the headlines of the war in Iraq, or any war for that matter and not think of the long term consequences of war. There are long term consequences that do not end on the battlefield but often continue on in the battlefield of life. The battlefield of others accepting and understanding what the troops have been through, and the struggle of any one facing the difficulty of not being understood by those they come into contact with, whether family or friend. If in fact, family and friend have difficulty understanding the horrors faced by loved ones, we see how difficult it is for others outside the circle to understand. We see characters trying to understand themselves, from moments of reflective prayer, to having to face serious issues with family, friends, and ultimately with ones self..

I appreciated that Home of the Brave did not take a stand on the war; we have enough political pundits telling us what to think. Instead the focus is on the individuals it needs to be on, those who have served and come face to face with the horror of war, not just the soldier, but the family member at home having to deal with all of the issues faced in day to day life while their loved one is away. I just wish the story development for this would have been given more attention. I was also disappointed with the DVD as there are not nearly enough special features to give clarity to the story, film making, and understanding. In fact the DVD was somewhat bland as DVD’s and special features normally go.

While Home of the Brave is worth watching, don’t go into it with high expectations. If you go into it just to enjoy a couple of hours, you will be good to go. It may help you truly understand the troops in order to actually support the troops, not just in war time, but in their return home. If looking for a more powerful story, one that deals with tragedy and war, there are other fine examples of movies to see, from Full Metal Jacket, to The Deer Hunter among others. Home of the Brave may not be nearly as intense as these movies, but, it will provide subtle thoughts as to the horror of war, and the tragedy of war that often comes home with the troops.

To see the official trailer for Home of the Brave, double click on the following video. If the video don't appear, click on the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPeggaEOwf8


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry. Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information
The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During The Virtual Pew Live Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

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To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/feeds/thevirtualpew

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Thou Shalt Laugh: The Deuce

I love to laugh, in fact, my faith tells me a great deal about the importance of joy, laughter, and having a good time. Unfortunately, many within my faith practice haven’t done the best job at getting people to laugh. I take a little joy that I was watching people like Jeff Foxworthy in the comedy clubs before anyone knew who he was. I always had a special appreciation for humor that made me laugh. I especially enjoy humor that does not go over board. While I can appreciate cultural humor and language is not that offensive to me I find people like Red Skelton, and others who learned their craft without offending. Don’t get me wrong, there are many comedians I have learned to appreciate over the years, people like Richard Pryor and more recently Chris Rock, but unfortunately, there was always something that made me feel a little dirty about their humor, but more importantly, something that kept me from sharing those experiences with my young children at the time.

Thankfully, Phil Cooke and the Producer of The Blue Comedy Tour: The Movie realized the importance of producing a comedy DVD the whole family could enjoy. The makers of the DVD are sold so much so on the fact that you will laugh and think the DVD is as funny as other comedy DVD’s they have a free DVD guarantee offered on their web site.

The predecessor of Thou Shalt Laugh The Deuce, Thou Shalt Laugh is the biggest selling ‘Christian’ Comedy DVD of all time. Fans of that DVD and of laughter in general will not be disappointed in this venture, especially since the entire family can sit down and laugh together.

Thou Shalt Laugh The Deuce is hosted by legendary comedian, Tim Conway. The program shows 5 comedians doing their own routines. Comedians on the DVD include Bone Hampton, Dan Nainan, Victoria Jackson, Thor Ramsey and Taylor Mason. All provide unique aspects of comedy in their own style, ranging from stand up routines to routines using mannequins, music and audience participation. Surprisingly, not only do we find ourselves laughing we find ourselves being given subtle messages of responsibility to our society, respect to all races, and an understanding of various cultures. There isn’t only comedy here; we have messages of hope and examples of how to be better citizens.

I was very surprised with the times my own son, a somewhat critical 17 year old who is into hip hop, Dane Cook, Chris Rock, and others laughed during this DVD. I have been even more impressed with his willingness to go back and watch the DVD several more times, even having some of his favorite spots bookmarked so he can show his friends the routines. In short, for me, this proves the worthiness of the DVD which is done from a Christian perspective. When Victoria Jackson shares a touching moment about sharing her faith with the Late Phil Hartman from Saturday Night Live prior to going into a routine, we see, hear, and feel the sincerity of her faith. When she goes into her poetry and song related to those experiences, we understand the seriousness of which she is speaking, but we can find ourselves laughing at the touching moments. It was later on in my interview with Victoria Jackson on the internet radio program, HJ Live that I come to understand, and appreciate even more fully not only her commitment to her comedy, but her faith, and family. On HJ Live she shared of her real life experiences from sharing with Johnny Carson, on which she appeared on his show with him 20 times over the years, to her relationship with her long time husband. While Victoria Jackson is the most obvious regarding her faith on the DVD, she is still respectful and the same Victoria Jackson many have come to appreciate from her 6 seasons on Saturday Night Live and her nationally touring comedy show.

There is something for everyone in Thou Shalt Laugh The Deuce. From the antics of Tim Conway to the satirical humor of Dan Nainan, it is all there. If needing a good laugh, and who don’t? I would suggest picking up a copy of Thou Shalt Laugh The Deuce. Thankfully this is a product the whole family can sit down together with and watch, whether a fan of Dane Cook or a Baptist Preacher in a Georgia Church, you will laugh, feel good about it, and in the process get some subtle messages of loving for, and caring for all people.

Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

To see a video of Thou Shalt Laugh: The Deuce, click on the videos below. If the video don't appear, simply click on the links:

The Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg1U0tIf3nc



The Doctor's Office
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG4VI1huVrM



Taylor Mason Calling God
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzuI7Q6sMto



Dan Nainen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgXAgAh_On0



Bone Hampton
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxk48RalN2I



Victoria Jackson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx9XkuiiDSQ



Bone Hampton
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYfA6QmFNyY



Blonde Jokes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eFuvNv5vsk



Some Races Don't Belong in Some Jobs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvoBQBFtV1o



Movie Prices
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWnrgNWDhLk




Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During The Virtual Pew Live Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

Phone Number to Call During The HJ Live Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8853

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed - http://www.blogtalkradio.com/feeds/thevirtualpew

To Subscribe to HJ Live Live Feed – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/feeds/hollywoodjesus

Friday, October 26, 2007

HJ Live To Hit Internet Radio

Starting Monday, October 29, 2007 HJ Live will go on line. This live call in internet radio program will feature guests, movie reviews and more. We have a special kick off program on Monday, at 4:30 PM EST, 3:30 PM CST, 2:30 PM MST, and 1:30 PM PST. Our first guest during the program will be Comedian, Victoria Jackson, formerly of Saturday Night Live.

The url for HJ Live is www.blogtalkradio.com/hollywoodjesus The call in number to speak to the guests or hosts for the program is: (646) 716-8853. HJ Live will initially start with a Friday program airing at the listed times above, but plans are in place to schedule other programs in the future at additional days and times. These will include programs to interview guests where HJ readers have the opportunity to call in and ask questions, as well as feature programs through the week. Feature programs will include the Friday Show which will ultimately focus on current and new releases, a Monday Review program, and a Tuesday DVD feature to focus on current and new DVD releases.

On Friday, November 3, special guest will be David Bruce, founder of Hollywood Jesus. In this program, we will talk about the origins of Hollywood Jesus, its purpose and more. We also hope to feature reviewers at Hollywood Jesus on a frequent basis. While Mike Furches, will host the show, it is hoped that HJ Live will become an extension of the work at Hollywood Jesus. Individuals will not only be able to listen to HJ Live, they can call in, access archived programs, and subscribe to RSS feeds which will allow for regular downloads via, ITunes, My Yahoo, Newsgator, Bloglines, Google, and My AOL.

Don’t forget the first broadcast on Monday, October 29, with Victoria Jackson.

The following is information provided by Ms. Jackson’s publicist.

Victoria Jackson is an outgoing, gregarious, intelligent young woman whose high-pitched voice and comedy appearances with Johnny Carson and on Saturday Night Live have convinced many people she is something of a ditzy blonde. The fact is, she is married, raising two daughters, Scarlet and Aubrey, attended Furman University and Auburn University in pursuit of a career as a dramatic actress and spent a year studying at Florida Bible College.

Born in Miami, Florida on August 2, 1959, she and her brother were raised in an atmosphere of gymnastics and 1930’s music (their father is a gymnastics coach, ex-vaudevillian and pianist), uncluttered by the pervasive influence of television. There was no TV set, by parental edict, in the Jackson home.

Victoria became a high school cheerleader and homecoming queen, an extrovert who enjoyed being funny and getting attention. The cause was helped considerably by her “baby” voice, which had always seemed normal both to her and her family until a doctor pointed out that it was a result of a congenital defect of the palate and could conceivably cause problems for her out in the real world. Several doctors, in fact, urged her to undergo a surgical correction of the defect. By a unanimous family vote, the idea was vetoed at the dinner table.

Given her voice and youthfully exuberant face that simply did not lend itself to serious drama, the drama departments at both Furman and Auburn didn’t quite what to do with her. Eventually, the combination of schoolgirl innocence, gymnastics and rollicking sense of humor led her away from Portia and Ophelia and into the world of comedy.

Not that it was all that easy. With stints at three colleges behind her, she supported herself as a typist, a waitress in a retirement home, and a nightclub cigarette girl, did “Summerstock” and finally wound up in Los Angeles doing a stand-up comedy routine that consisted largely of standing upside down while reciting poetry. But the act led to her first booking with Carson (she’s made 22 Tonight Show appearances since), 6 seasons of Saturday Night Live, roles in films such as Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, Family Business with Dustin Hoffman, I Love You to Death with Kevin Kline, The Pick-up Artist, Couch Trip, and UHF with Weird Al Yankovich She also has had many guest roles on numerous TV shows including In the Heat of the Night with Carroll O’Conner, The Jeffersons, General Hospital, The Smothers Brothers, Half Nelson with Joe Pesci, Diagnosis Murder, the FOX movie of the week, Based on an Untrue Story, Perry Mason, Touched by an Angel, The X-Files, and much more proving that her talent and expansive range defy skeptic’s type-casting limitations.

Victoria still does her trademark “handstand poetry,” discusses her career and marriage, and plays her original ukulele songs. She has completed three CD’s: Use Me, produced by VJ and Blackmarket Productions is for adults; and her award-winning Ukulele Lady and Ukulele Ditties for Itty Bitty Kitties, were produced by Choo Choo Records.

Victoria met her husband, Metro Dade Police Helicopter pilot, Paul Wessel, in seventh grade at Dade Christian School. They were engaged in 1976 but didn’t marry until 1992 after a 12 year separation. “His strict father said we were too young to get married, so he finished the college I couldn’t afford and I went off to Hollywood,” Victoria explains. Victoria splits her time between her home in the Hollywood Hills of California and her home in Miami where she spends her time between acting jobs raising her daughters, working on her poetry book, writing songs with her Ukulele and enjoying her high school sweetheart, Paul.

Victoria appears in the new DVD release of Thou Shalt Laugh the Deuce along with various other comedians and hosted by Tim Conway.

BlogTalkRadio Listen Live

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mr. Brooks DVD Release

Mr. Broooks, is an edge of your seat thriller that is laced with spiritual themes. This recently released DVD has an all-star cast that simply put, comes through with their performance and a wonderful tight script that will have the viewer on the edge of their seat until the very end. While this is far from the best movie I have seen, it is a movie I am still thinking of some days after review of the DVD and while my criteria for a DVD is somewhat different than that of the theatrical release, I was pleased with this effort and product, and believe those who like a good thriller and exploration of the human psyche will fall into the same category.

Mr. Brooks does a great job of not losing any of the quality from the theatrical release. While it is wonderfully shot and filmed, the close quarters and close ups throughout the film do not loose their importance on the small screen. In fact, in some ways, this wonderful little thriller may be better in the quaintness of ones living room, especially during the Halloween season. From a fun filled musical score to the sound one can find themselves enjoying the frights, thrills, and suspense of Mr. Brooks. While there are some gruesome scenes, there is nothing so bad it would prevent most people from enjoying the story.

Mr. Brooks also has a wonderful ensemble cast that does not loose sight of their purpose and role. Kevin Costner plays the title role of Earl Brooks, a local business man of the year who also has an addiction that has him interacting with an alter ego constantly challenging him. This alter ego, played on screen by William Hurt is a part of Mr. Brooks but he is also a reflection of all of us. Some can imagine the little angel sitting on one shoulder and the little devil sitting on the other, one challenging us to do right, and the other to do wrong. This imagery of the conscious and the concept of good and evil existing within each of us is wonderfully portrayed in a thoughtful imaginative way. William Hurt takes on this difficult role, and does a great job with it. It is one of the best roles for Hurt in some time. Not only do we see this struggle between Hurt and Mr. Brooks, we see a struggle going on with other characters within the film, characters like Detective Tracy Atwood played by Demi Moore, and Mr. Smith played surprisingly well by Dane Cook.

The essential story of Mr. Brooks is that while continuing to struggle with his own addictions, he is challenged to balance his desires, his life, with the life of the family which he genuinely loves. He has a terrible sin that many won’t relate to, a terrible sin that one would wonder how his family would never know. But being a resident of Wichita Kansas and having done a great deal of study on our recent serial killer known as BTK, I understand to some extent how a mind like Mr. Brook works. Just like Dennis Rader, AKA, The BTK Killer, Mr. Brook has a way of keeping things from his wife and family. His secret life is one which is filled with mystery, and death. As the story progresses we see Mr. Brook struggle with his own sins. He has the desire to give them up, but has found himself trapped by the reoccurring consequences of his sin..

The concept of facing the consequences of sin is wonderfully played out in a thought provoking way. While we may not all be a Mr. Brook, at least to his extreme, Mr. Brook represents all of us to some degree. We may not think about the wrongs we do, but we eventually discover, just as Mr. Brook, there are consequences for our actions, and often those we love end up getting hurt. There are also those on the outside looking at us who think things are better than they really are. They may even covet or desire the things we do and the way we live. We see this especially in the character of Mr. Smith played by Dane Cook. But just as there are consequences of Mr. Brook’s actions we see ultimately consequences for those like Mr. Smith who would desire the evil things in life for their own benefit.

There is an interesting thought illustrated in Mr. Brook that looks at the genetic concept of behavior. While the film could have done a better job at exploring this it at least brings up the question and for those who believe in what some say is the Biblical concept of the sins of the father being passed down, there is room of discussion for this aspect. We see this in the life of Mr. Brook’s daughter. In a shocking and surprising scene towards the end of the movie, we are shocked, and ultimately forced to think of this concept.

I was very pleased with the DVD release of Mr. Brooks. The DVD contains a good selection of special features. The deleted scenes are especially nice as we see an obvious subplot contained within the character of Detective Tracy Atwood played by Demi Moore. It opens up the viewer to a better understanding of this character and all she is going through. The directors commentary is also nicely done with some very thought provoking concepts discussed. As far as the special features go, for buffs like me you won’t be disappointed.

To see the trailer for Mr. Brooks just double click on the video below. If the video don't appear, just click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNyAVeYjSXY



Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nashville to Jesus with Kevin Lawson


Over the years I have been blessed to get to hear, meet, work with, and know so many wonderful musical artists. I am unique in some ways because I was blessed to work with some bands who were there merely to entertain, yet others, who valued music and the quality of what they did. I am still blessed and honored that people still contact me for my views and opinions regarding music. Just today I told a young man in Scotland that I am willing to do that but am brutally honest. I think that comes from the respect I have for the marriage of music and lyrics and if instrumental the exceptional blend needed in production, sound, and quality of play.

With my background in music, my love for music, I have to admit, I hardly ever listen to what some label “Christian Music” That very fact astonishes people, what astonishes them even more is when I tell others I don’t listen to it because in my opinion so much of it is garbage. There are some long stories there, but for true and real fans of music, I find that most, even if Christian, agree with my premise. That don’t mean I don’t listen to any Christian music, I do, it is just much of it is either obscure because Christian labels refuse to put out quality, or it is done by groups who are going out on their own, seeking to put out quality music, not promoting their faith, but as a reflection of their own person. Over the years some of the exceptional ones include people like Larry Norman, The Alarm, certainly as of recent groups like U2, Bruce Cockburn, and I could go on and include perfect examples of people like Mark Heard who certainly fits the bill of blending music and lyric.

I have a dear friend I respect so much named Mark Hollingsworth who I met a number of years ago while working with Christian Bands and specifically Rob Cassels (AKA Rob Castles). Mark and I have gotten to know each other a little better over the last year or more as we have made acquaintance at MySpace. This wonderful ambassador of Social Justice, and quality music who works with Compassion International contacted me regarding a new artist he had heard, one he wanted me to give a listen to. I went to this person’s page, listened to some music, and now, well, now here I am doing a review of his new CD.

Kevin Lawson with his new CD Nashville to Jesus is a unique blend of an artist who has a faith, but also has an unrelentless love for producing quality music. With praise coming from MTV to Jezebel Magazine, this artist, who happens to be Christian, is setting the stage alive wherever he performs, whether it be the Viper Room in New York or Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Kevin Lawson has that unique quality that has audiences and critics amazed and pleasantly surprised.

Nashville to Jesus, released on GodTown Records, starts off with a wonderful acoustic style tune titled Follow Me. While starting off with some exceptional guitar work, it kicks into a quality rock tune that reminds me of the past work of Mark Heard. This solid tune has a great deal of potential for commercial air play. When listening to the opening tune, a novice listener will quickly be able to decipher a quality verse, chorus, and bridge. While those things exist in much music, the set aside word is “quality.”

Only You starts off with an Electric Light Orchestra style of acoustic intro. It kicks up with driving bass and relentless rhythm guitars. Kevin’s voice is reminiscent of some of the older Mike Peters of The Alarm stuff for those that don’t know a kind of Bono style that is fresh and liberating. Thankfully Kevin’s voice isn’t a replica of these individuals, but certainly fits the bill with being unique and refreshing. This song helps also identify, early on, the wonderful production and engineering work on the CD. From great guitar and drum sounds to hand claps, we hear everything fresh and clean.

I love the intro to the next song Joined At The Heart, that isn’t all I love about this song though. What a beautiful piece of song writing. While there are great songs out there, we don’t much have the chance to hear them. Sure on a rare occasion we do, but hopefully, with the commercial potential of this song, this is one we will hear in the very near future. Musically this song gives us a little bit of everything, from wonderful horn sounds, to a driving bass line. It don’t have time to be boring because it is so well done.

Joined at the Heart kicks off as a rocking tune with a differing style of vocal that reminds one of a classic rock tune from the 80’s with a taste of John Mellancamp or Bryan Adams. The listener gets a good taste of just how good the vocals are from Kevin Lawson. We are treated with some wonderful background vocals and as per the rest of the album, a wonderfully written thought provoking song that is a reminder of the need to apologize.

Goodness Gracious is a love song resembling the Beatles. It continues to highlight the vocal styles of Lawson, it is also fitted with a nice guitar bridge that is clean, and not too busy. It is part of what I mean when I tell artists to let the music breathe.

37206 isn’t really a song, but a recording of the sounds of Kevin’s neighborhood, complete with church chimes and what sounds like a religious program on the television or radio. This presents itself with a unique twist that transition to the next song Little One, a tune written for a child. This helps show one of the unique attributes of this CD by its ability to transition what would normally be a regular conversation and bed time discussion into a song that causes us all to reflect. Any parent can almost imagine themselves in the time and space Lawson presents. As the song ends we hear the raindrops from a storm, which takes us to the next tune.

In Storm we hear the raindrops and the hope that transpires. This nice tune can be viewed in a variety of ways, from a loving father who just put his daughter to bed making her a promise, a loving spouse who is making a commitment to the one they love or any other number of variables, including possibly even to Jesus talking to those who have chosen to follow him.

The next song, One who does has a country sound that reminds me of some of the old Daniel Amos tunes from the early Christian music era, Lawson continues with the theme of darkness and storms as alluded to in previous songs. Here though, we have what could be an autobiographical journey of recognizing the mistakes that the singer or listener has gone through. There is hope though in the song as there is also an allusion to knowing where the answers and hope come from.

Choices You Made has that old vinyl sound of cracklings, snaps and pops you would hear from the needle of a record player going across the grooves on the record. I actually love the production value of self reflection and looking at old times and using the sound technique to help illustrate that. While this particular song may not have a lot of commercial value; it is one of the things that set a complete recording aside from a single song. The song perfectly illustrates the themes that have occurred up to this point.

Once Upon a Dream starts off in a style resembling some of the old Cowboy tunes noted within Country Music. I couldn’t help but think of Johnny Cash during his Country Music Days. It isn’t that the vocals or anything sounds anything like Cash, they don’t, but it is the type of song Cash may have recorded. This story song takes us from finding love, to finding God and the journey that is a part of that search.

Nashville to Jesus closes out with the tune Tell You Somethin’. The song starts off with a powerful vocal that soon kicks into a bluesy ballad. This is the most religious of the songs on the CD from a faith perspective. It is a powerful reminder though of the journey Lawson is taking us on. It is a fitting finish to a non threatening journey of faith and the search of a regular guy.

The marriage of music and lyric that blends faith and reality hasn’t been illustrated so well in a long time. There are myriads of people like me that have an appreciation of some of the older styles of Christian Music, not the copycat style but the original, real life, real solid styles. The styles of people like Mark Heard for example. I am speaking about the artistry that moved and garnished the respect of people in the music industry, whether Christian or not. For that I have an immense appreciation for the CD Nashville to Jesus. If you like quality musicianship, quality meaningful lyric, and excellent production, then this is a CD I would highly recommend. Its style is varied enough that you won’t get bored, and even if you haven’t heard of some of the musical artist I compare it to, give it a listen, you will be pleased. It is one I will listen to over and over, and one that gives me hope, hope that not all Christians have sold out on bubblegum and popularity, but that some, still have a measure of integrity and quality which is something that all people will appreciate, whether Christian or not.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the memories, the quality, and just plain near perfection, I give Kevin Lawson's Nashville to Jesus a rewarding 9


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

Listen Live

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rebellion of Thought, Post Modernism, The Church and the Struggle for Authentic Faith

There is a new documentary that is sure to cause waves in the world of Christianity. Just as some of the debate over George Barna’s book Revolution is about to settle down, it is as if someone has thrown a giant boulder into the water to cause waves in the same measure of thought and reasoning as the Barna book. Waves that support in part, the premise of Barna’s book Revolution. A premise that many in Christian circles, especially the “organized,” “established,” and “traditional” church will have issue with. Rebellion of Thought does more than cause waves though, it takes us to an understanding of Post Modernism, while at the same time understanding the struggle of those who attempt to follow the teachings of Christ while balancing that with what many churches have become. In an intelligent, academic, intellectual, moving, and entertaining way, the documentary takes us beyond a point of just looking at Church, what that is or should be, it causes us to think and struggle with the concept of where does those involved in church go now.

Exploration Films and The Brothers Williamson, Kent and Brad have done an incredible job with putting this documentary together. While I am hesitant to mention this as a “Christian” company, I am pleased to say, that the quality of film making, the editing, sound, and so much more is a thing of beauty. I have to admit, I love the documentary form. I never really quite realized this until looking at my recommendations at NetFlix but it didn’t take long to see that yes, for some time now I have loved this form of film making when done well. I have seen any number of Christian themed presentations in the past that seemed preachy, poorly done, and so forth, it was with some hesitancy that I reluctantly viewed Rebellion of Thought, and let me tell you, am I glad I did. Academy Award Documentary Winner Paul Wagner stated this film was; “Visually and intellectually rich… Exciting and provocative… it will make big waves in the world of faith and spirituality!” While often times hesitant to take promotional material and give credence to it, I found myself agreeing with these comments.

In my discussion with film makers Kent and Brad Williamson recently I freely admitted that at first I thought this documentary which explores Post Modernism somewhat academic, even running the risk of going over my head. There were wonderful interviews that explored the origins of Post Modern thought but the initial academic style was more like school than a film. This was necessary though for us to understand that Post Modernism is a concept we have heard a great deal about over the years, and it is a form of thought and philosophy that has greatly impacted our society. During the early moments of the film, it is filled with the language of academia. Various professors from fields such as philosophy, religion, media, communications and more talk about the role Post Modernism has played on Western Culture. I have to admit, if the documentary would have stayed here, I and many others may have quite easily gotten lost. What transpires before our eyes though is one of the beautiful things about documentary film making.

Many are critical when a documentary film maker injects their own thoughts into a project. I am one of those who actually find this at times satisfying. The Williamson Brothers do something here while exploring Post Modern thought that moved me from the point of being a reviewer, to a point of caring about the subject matter being presented, and ultimately questioning my own thoughts and practices not only in how I see and understand my faith, but how I as a spiritual person, live my faith. This component of film and the exploration begins to take place as we see The Williamson Brothers begin to question their own thoughts and understanding of the world we live in. We see this as they struggle with their faith and practice and an incredible thing happens, we see this in such a way that it moves us, the viewer, and it causes us to struggle. This takes place so much so that days after seeing the screening I find myself thinking about the subject matter of the film.

Rebellion of Thought takes us on a journey that not only entertains, it challenges. Without giving away a spoiler for the film, we see this journey and these questions being asked and discussed in a respectful way with individuals on the street. It is a film that while certainly Christian in origin, will garnish the respect of those of other faith values. While The Brothers Williamson are unapologetic about their faith, they ask questions that don’t just have an impact for those within their faith value, but all people. We see the dramatic impact of this illustrated in the closing, shocking moments of the film. Something many documentaries don’t have, and don’t display. The conclusion forces us to think about realities, and questions in today’s world. It forces people of faith to evaluate their own beliefs and practices. For Christians, just like Barna’s book Revolution, it also calls into serious question the operations and methods of the church in the Western World.

If you can’t tell by now, I loved this film, but then again, I loved Barna’s book Revolution because it forces thought, and challenges individuals of faith to actually look at their values and practice of those values. I know the hate mail will begin, it already has for The Brothers Williamson and I saw a taste of that right after my interview with them on my radio program The Virtual Pew Live. I received several emails attacking George Barna, and any group that would challenge the church. That is okay though, because the message given, if listened to and applied will make one evaluate their faith and practice. I can’t see that as being anything other than a good thing.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the number of letters in the word Rebellion (Which I would challenge us all to be a part of.) I pleasantly give a score of 9 for what may end up being one of the best documentary films of the year.

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