"Courageous": A Sermon Wrapped in a Movie


This was not so much a movie as a (very long) sermon. In fact, it's a sermon that actually culminates in a sermon, as Kendrick's character spells out what he has learned in a message delivered to his church congregation.

Despite its well-meaning intentions, Courageous fails to say anything new about fatherhood, family, faith or anything else, for that matter. The few funny or moving scenes are surrounded by clunky acting, overly-moralistic dialogue and a plot that is trying to be three movies in one -- and none of them terribly believable.

Voices from the Web (and World): Responses to the Troy Davis Execution

troy-davi-amnest-intl-photo"Continuing a cycle of violence through state-sanctioned actions does not bring justice but only creates a culture of death and retribution. As a pro-life Christian, I believe the execution of Troy Davis shows a failure of moral leadership by both our country and the state of Georgia. The doubt surrounding the case of Troy Davis has served as a wake-up call to many in this country that our justice system is flawed and should not hold the power of life and death over any person. Justice should restore and heal, not destroy." -- Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis statement today, Friday Sept. 23

BREAKING NEWS: Georgia Parole Board Denies Davis' Plea for Clemency

troy-davi-amnest-intl-photoDavis is set to die on Wednesday for the killing of off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was slain while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked. It is the fourth time in four years his execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials...The decision appeared to leave Davis with little chance of avoiding the execution date. Defense attorney Jason Ewart has said that the pardons board was likely Davis' last option.

Troy Davis: Will Georgia Execute an Innocent Man Next Week?

So what makes the Troy Davis case stand out from most other death penalty cases?

Serious doubt.

Not about whether the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for Davis or has been correctly applied.

The doubt raised in Davis' case is whether he committed the crime at all. And those questions about his guilt have prompted hundreds of thousands of people to raise their voices in opposition to his execution, most recently former FBI Director William Sessions who, in an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday, called on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Davis' sentence to life in prison.

Alabama Clergy Sue to Stop Anti-Immigrant Law

When the Alabama legislature passed their infamous, anti-immigrant law (HB 56), the religious community in the state immediately cried foul. Jim Wallis and other national leaders condemned the law as unjust and immoral.

HB 56, which will go into effect September 1, attacks virtually every aspect of immigrants' lives. Among many punitive measures, it authorizes police to detain anyone they suspect is undocumented, mandates criminal penalties for those who transport undocumented migrants, and demands that public schools determine the immigration status of all students.

Growing Together

Outside the community dining hall at Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia, a bell sits on a rough-hewn post like a hat on a welcoming host. For almost 70 years, visitors have been welcomed there every weekday for a community meal. Today, there's a new vitality at Koinonia; it can be heard in the bell's ring five times a day, as well as in the voices of cattle and sheep, children and construction crews. While deeply rooted in their tradition, Koinonia's members are creating fresh structures in community life -- and they have a new approach to the land based on permaculture, a design system for sustainable habitats.

In 1942, Clarence and Florence Jordan, along with Martin and Mabel England, started the farm as a "demonstration plot for the kingdom of God." Koinonia endured violent hostility for its pacifist stand in the 1940s and for fostering close relationships between African-American and white neighbors in the 1950s and '60s. In the '70s and '80s, members' work led to forming international ministries: Habitat for Humanity, Jubilee Partners, and the Fuller Center for Housing.

But in the wake of a 1993 decision to make structural changes to function more like a typical nonprofit corporation, Koinonia experienced a decade of challenges. The change had sound reasons, including the hope to include more African-American neighbors in long-term employment, but the community struggled for leadership and focus. The core ministries were sustained, but Koinonia lost money and had to sell nearly half of its 1,100 acres.

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