Jenny Calendar, Lester Freamon and pastors in the news

Via Whedonesque, I learn that Jenny Calendar is now an evangelical Christian minister.

Robia LaMorte’s theology seems to be quite different from mine, but I can’t help but love a website with tabs for “Buffy,” “Prince” and “God.” So while I don’t think it’s helpful (or biblical) to refer to the Bible as “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” I’ll try to avoid picking a fight with someone whose résumé reads: Prince, Joss, Jesus.

Sadly, when you see the word “pastor” in the news, the story isn’t usually a happy one. (A Google News search on the phrase “youth pastor” tends to be mostly horrifying.) So it’s nice to see a pastor making the news in an unambiguously positive way. James Grantz saved the day on the PA Turnpike — because he’s not just a minister, he also has his commercial driver’s license. Well done, sir.

And speaking of heroic pastors: Clarke Peters takes the pulpit in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, his new film co-written with James McBride and centered on a Brooklyn church.

Lee also shows he’s familiar with a mainstay of every evangelical childhood — the John 11:35 Maneuver:

Lee and his siblings competed to recite the short Bible verse when asked for one during childhood visits to their Southern grandparents.

“Me and my brothers would fight for that one,” he said. “Jesus wept — two words. Can’t go wrong with that, right?”

Here’s the trailer:

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  • Con: Don’t think I can agree with Robia’s interpretation of Christianity

    Pro: she’s still a whole lot less irriating than Cam-Cam aka “Based on my training as a washed-up eighties TV Star, I can totally prove Evolution wrong.” So I’ll let her slide a little. Especially since, even though I haven’t seen any episodes of Buffy, I know that a minute of Buffy is probably better than all the combined seasons of Growing Pains.

  • Random Lurker

    Hijack: Anyone know whats up with the front page? It’s divided into two columns now, it’s driving me nuts because everything is squeezed together too much to finish the paragraph.

  • Aeryl

    I know LaMorte refused to come back as the villian in Season 7, that she had played in a previous season, because of her conversion to fundamentalist Christianity. 

    I hope she feels her life is fulfilling, but damn, CwDP would have been awesome with a scene and her and Giles(and Xander and Jesse, and Willow and Tara…)

  •  Con: Don’t think I can agree with Robia’s interpretation of Christianity

    Yeah.  The tab about her theology was actually becoming physically painful to read.  It’s like Central Casting asked for an attractive white woman to tell the most watered down possible Evangelical Conversion Story.

  • Nathaniel

     Oh man, I only got a few sections down before I had to stop. It was the line “either the whole bible has to be true or its not” that got to me.

    Not that I can really say I’d have a much better opinion of her past New Age beliefs.

    P.S. Did anyone else notice how she put scare quotes around “New Age religion” the same way homophobes put scare quotes around “Gay” marriage? I’m not even a new ager and I felt like giving her the middle finger for that.

  • Um, actually, Fred, the pastor in Red Hook Summer has rather more to do with the first two sentences in your previous paragraph than the last two.

  • vsm

    I have a policy of trying to know as little as possible about the personalities and politics of actors I like. They are completely irrelevant to what I like about them, namely their ability to become someone else, yet it is always disappointing when a person you assumed had to be at least somewhat clever and decent holds disagreeable views. Even if they agree with me, chances are their political analysis isn’t the sharpest around, so I’d benefit little from reading it.

  • AnonymousSam

    One day she said a couple things to me that made sense. The first  was, “you’re reading all these books about God, what if God actually wrote a book? Don’t you think you might want to read the Bible before coming to any conclusions?” Well, it was hard to refute that logic, so I agreed to start reading the Bible. She also suggested that since I did believe in God that I could pray and ask Him to show me how Jesus fit into the picture.

    So basically, she was the intended demographic for the Proselytizer’s Script, one of the three assumptions about the world that young and eager converts are taught to make about anyone they might share the Gospel with:

    1) No one not already a Christian has ever read the Bible.
    2) Reading them the Bible will cause them to instantly convert to Christianity.
    3) The only exception to this are prideful fools who are Satan’s playthings.

    I have a really hard time not wanting to mock anyone who hears the words “if God wrote a book about God, maybe you should read it before deciding if you believe in God?” and replies “God wrote a book on God? That proves everything!

    God set it up so that we don’t have to “earn” our place with Him by trying to be good. It is not by our works (actions or deeds) but by our faith (believing in Christ) that we are right with God. …  It is so simple! All we have to do is believe in Christ! That is it! That way every time we fall short, and we always will, (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”) we don’t have to work, work, work to earn brownie points with God. We can relax.Knowing God, becomes about your “who” (who you are) and not your “do” (all your good deeds).

    So rapists and murders get to speak the magic words and instantly become better than a person who creates a charity to feed starving children and spends every penny they ever earn to fulfill that purpose. Good to know.

    That is some amazingly shallow faith.

  • Daughter

     Have you seen the movie yet? Because it’s possible that the pastor in the movie becomes the mentor and role model for his grandson that the boy’s mother wants him to be.

  •  So basically, she was the intended demographic for the Proselytizer’s
    Script, one of the three assumptions about the world that young and
    eager converts are taught to make about anyone they might share the
    Gospel with:

    I’m just shocked that the Scientologists didn’t get to her first…

  • Lori

    This is the only thing I can ever remember Fred posting that I actively
    wish I hadn’t read. I was happier when I didn’t know that Jenny Calendar
    because a Christian pastor with a really weak sauce conversion story
    and faith. 

    Sigh. Sometimes ignorance is, if not bliss, definitely preferable.

  • I can’t help but love a website with tabs for “Buffy,” “Prince” and “God.”

    Liking Buffy doesn’t make someone a reasonable, thoughtful, or good person any more than being Christian does. Do you have any idea how many misogynist, racist, homophobic, selfish, ignorant, entitled jerkwads with their heads lodged near their colons enjoy geeky things? 

    By the way, I never liked Buffy, and Joss Whedon’s writing makes my teeth itch. Does this mean I don’t get to belong to the tribe?

  • Nenya

    I’m torn between amusement and deep sadness that Jenny Calendar’s actress has a subsection on her website about how awful witchcraft is. *sigh* Can we blame Joss, for killing her off in the first place? :P

  • The idea of a pastor who had raped one adolescent boy becoming a mentor and role model for another is, to say the least, problematic.

  • MikeJ

    Nice having the front page back to one column.  Now you just need to convince them to give you room to work so you can add an illustration if you want, or hell, just a paragraph break.

    I realise they’re just trying to artificially inflate pageviews, but it’s a pity they have to make everything so ugly and user hostile.

    If Patheos had come down from the mountain with the ten commandments they would have made you click after each one. Of course that would settle the whole question of the proper way to number them (hint: Jewish book, written in Hebrew by Jews for a Jewish audience.)

  • Lori

    The sentence that you quoted said that Fred can’t help but love a website with those tabs. He didn’t say that liking those things makes someone a reasonable, thoughtful, or good person or that geeks can’t be jerks. He also didn’t say anything about membership in a “tribe”. Fred likes Buffy. Fred had a particular reaction to a particular website. AFAICS that’s the whole of it. 

  •  God set it up so that we don’t have to “earn” our place with Him by trying to be good.

    What bothers me about that statement is that it assumes that all other religions are about “trying to  ‘earn’ our place with God by trying to be good.”  I do not consider that an accurate description of my own religion.

  • AnonymousSam

    And Robia LaMorte has direct history with both Buffy (she played Jenny Calendar) and Prince (one of the lead dancers in the Cream, Gett Off, Strollin, Diamonds and Pearls music videos), so it’s not a statement of geekdom, it’s her work resume.

  • I find Robia LaMorte’s description of how her friend sought to “witness” to her very telling:

    She immediately went to work on me.

    Yep, she instantly became an “evangelism project” to be “worked on.”  And apparently, she saw no problem with that?  To each their own, but that’s certainly not how I’d want to be treated.

    Oh, and I’ll say that having spent my college years in a “Full Gospel” church, some of her statements and even word choices brought back a lot of memories.  In many ways, it’s seems like she’s still practicing witchcraft, just a “Jesus flavored” version of witchcraft.

  • Madhabmatics

    Between your not liking Buffy and me not liking the popular games, we could form some opposition party. But only if we get to create a Shadow Government.

  • Daughter

     I must have missed that in the preview. He raped an adolescent boy?

  • Daughter

     ETA: if that’s the case, then you’re absolutely right.

  • See The Atlantic‘s review of the film here.  Sorry for the spoiler, but I think in this case the positive value of the trigger warning for anyone considering seeing the film trumps the negative effect of the spoiler.