“The Hunting Ground” is terrifying. And real.

A web cam catches the whole emotional scene. A series of high school girls with bright, rosy faces nervously open the official emails that hold their fate:  letters from their dream colleges telling them whether or not they got in. A life-long career of tireless academic excellence, leadership in extra-curriculars, sports and community service -- no shortage of blood, sweat and tears -- have brought them to this critical moment. With mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters watching anxiously ov … [Read More...]


What’s love got to do with it?

Ah, Valentine's Day. It evokes annoyance, angst, and sometimes the warm and fuzzies. It's supposed to be about celebrating love, but the definitions of that vary wildly.For instance, the movie based on the 'workplace BDSM' (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission) book Fifty Shades of Grey opens this weekend in marketing tandem with the Hallmark holiday. An awkward, unconfident 21-year-old college senior (Ana) loses her virginity to a swaggering, wealthy entrepreneur (Christian Grey) who onl … [Read More...]


Kayla Mueller’s Vision of God

Kayla Mueller, the American humanitarian captured while working in Syria by ISIS in 2013, was confirmed dead this morning in a statement issued by the White House.Kayla dedicated her life to helping vulnerable people around the world, and protesting the political and social oppression and dire circumstances of refugees and suffering peoples in places like Kenya, India, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, and Turkey. She then went to Syria because she felt compassion for the plight of … [Read More...]


What Seeing ‘Selma’ Says About You

When I moved to New York City 11 years ago, I had to defend my origins. Upon learning I was from Birmingham, Alabama, coworkers, new acquaintances, bartenders would ask me what it was like growing up in a city infamous for its violent racism, for hoses and dogs and Bull Connor, for the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four innocent little girls.I was often stunned that these people seemed to know more detail about it than I did, as a product of its very school … [Read More...]


3 Lessons for America from Christian Bale’s Moses

Earlier this week, I sat down with Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ridley Scott and a handful of religion journalists to talk about Sunday night’s New York premiere of Exodus: Gods and Kings. You might guess that a bunch of religion writers tried to school the artists on the religious veracity (or lack) of the movie, or criticize the atheist director’s reality-based choices. Not so. In fact, I walked away from the earnest conversation feeling I’d just been blessed with something much deeper than a … [Read More...]


Gods and Kings Leave Ladies in Waiting

I put on my 3-D glasses as Ridley Scott appeared on the screen. In his dapper accent, he thanked his audience of film critics at the 42nd Street AMC, and explained that we would be seeing unlocked footage of a few scenes from his unfinished film Exodus: Gods and Kings, which releases in December. He said the classic biblical story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery under the heavy hand of his 'brother' Rhamses in Egypt, was at its core a story about the "undying quest for freedom". This … [Read More...]

Anis 1

A Love Beyond

Iranian Musician Anis Oveis Risks Everything for Music------------------Outside in the night air, a security guard keeps watch for authorities. Inside, a beautiful young woman fidgets with her scarf, making sure her hair is completely covered. The band Mavara, for which she plays keyboard, takes the stage, but at the first sign of trouble they are ready with a plan to shut everything down. They are nervous, not just because they are about to perform, but because they don’t know what will … [Read More...]

Cover of Northup's memoir from

“12 Years a Slave,” An Eternity for Women

"Sin. There is no sin. A man does what he wishes with his property."The whip hisses and pops, tearing open the flesh of a slight-framed, barely pubescent slave girl. Stripped naked and hog-tied to the whipping post, terror and resignation cohabit her face.Patsey once sat humming naively in the fields, fashioning dolls from the others’ discarded corn husks, a deranged benefit of Master Edwin Epps’ alternative use of her body. Her innocence is not just his property, but his gift: “God given … [Read More...]

Chix 6: A Broadway-Bound Game-Changer for the Girls

Raising healthy girls and successful young women means not just instilling strong faith, but giving them faith in themselves. -----Musicals have a tradition of being, at heart, love stories. A show's energy is generated not only by rousing music, but by the audience anxiously rooting for the damsel to escape the clutches of the villain (whatever form that takes), for the star-crossed lovers to defeat the odds and stroll off into the sunset. Rarely disappointing, in an upbeat finale, the … [Read More...]

Reza Aslan's new book makes us think about where truth lies.

Seeking the Stolen Savior

Can a Muslim man help young Christian women find Jesus?Like so many of us, acclaimed author Reza Aslan had that unforgettable, life-changing moment: a come to Jesus moment. At the age of 15, the Iranian-born Aslan, whose family fled the revolution and left religion behind, found Jesus in the blue skies of 1980s Northern California. He had a divine encounter with a savior that created, as it is wont to do, a passionate evangelist who shared the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone he met, … [Read More...]