What Bothers Me About The Movie “God’s Not Dead”

In this trailer, a bitter reporter tries to entrap Duck Dynasty people.


I have to talk about the box-office sensation “God’s Not Dead” which I just watched over the weekend with my sweet Aunt Sandi who has been raving about this movie since its debut.The arguments presesented in favor of Creationism were well done. Still, from practically the very first scene, I was worried.

I believe that those behind this film have only the best of intentions. But somehow, there is the least bit of deception illustrated here. It’s similar to what I felt after reading “The Shack.” Was this a wonderful book? Yes. Did it bring people to Jesus? I’m sure that God can use anything to his glory. But the same thing that bothered me about “God’s Not Dead” bothered me about “The Shack.”

Both stories are presented as being true (or at least a compilation of truth) when in fact they are both fiction. 

According to the Christian Post, the only true part of the story was when one of the minor characters in the film, a Chinese student, was based on a real person named Wing Mang was actually witnessed to by a college professor who led him to Jesus: http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-turned-christian-character-in-gods-not-dead-movie-was-inspired-by-real-life-harvard-educated-chinese-born-doctor-117336/. In the film, he becomes a Christian as well, but not because of his professor–in spite of his professor.

At the end of the film, there’s a list of court cases that are supposed to be roughly representative of the plot of the film.

None of them really are. This is so disappointing.

I think one of the things that bothered me most is the fact that I am a professor and so much about this scenario does not make sense. If I humiliated a student the way the instructor did in the film, I would be in the Dean’s office before you could say discrimination. It’s not only against the law to impose my religious beliefs upon my class, it’s against the law for me to threaten a student’s grade on something so subjective. There are procedures in place both for academic grievances as well as non-academic grievances. What the film discusses–a professor who threatens a student’s grade unless he can prove God is alive–simply would not fly. 

I believe that movies like this do little but foster fear within the religious right. It makes people afraid to send their kids to anything but private Christian colleges.  Conservatives don’t need anyone fanning the flame of fear–they are already scared! They worry our country is off-track–that we need to “take it back” (from whom, I’m not sure). They worry that The World wants our souls–and the souls of our children. The last thing they need to worry about is this idea that if they send their kids away for an education, they will come back indoctrinated by atheists and Satan worshippers.

Aside from the overt attack on philosophy and liberal arts professors, the movie also demonizes a Muslim father (when he finds out his daughter is reading the Bible, he hits her and throws her out of the home). Do conservatives need a reason to hate Muslims? Not really.

Also, the Christians in the film were REALLY GREAT PEOPLE and everyone else was…well, evil. Without fail!

I don’t have anything against Christian films. I always root for them! I want them to be good, to compete with other films in different genres. I want them to reach out to those who are curious about Jesus. I really, really want them to be interesting enough to intrigue non-Christians. Sadly, many times, Christian films are only liked and applauded by people who are already Christians and don’t need saving.

Come on, Christian filmmakers. I think we can do better.


Sarah Bessey’s Post: Advent: The Ones Who Know Longing

Please enjoy Sarah’s newest post.


Tips For New Bloggers ~ Widget Magic

‘The Most Difficult Essay I’ve Ever Written’: Meghan Daum on Her Mother


If you asked me what my central grievance with my mother was, I would tell you that I had a hard time not seeing her as a fraud. I would tell you that her transformation, at around the age of 45, from a slightly frumpy, slightly depressed, slightly angry but mostly unassuming wife, mother, and occasional private piano teacher into a flashy, imperious, hyperbolic theatre person had ignited in her a phoniness that I was allergic to on every level. I might try to explain how the theatre in question was the one at my very high school, a place she’d essentially followed me to from the day I matriculated and then proceeded to use as the training ground and later backdrop for her new self. I might throw in the fact that she was deeply concerned with what kind of person I was in high school because it would…

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30,000 Words, 700 Jobs, One Year


A few months ago, a friend considering a freelance writing career asked me how much money I make as a writer. I wanted to say, “You mean, what’s the going rate for a human soul?” But I wasn’t close enough to this friend to be certain she’d realize I was mostly kidding. Instead I said, “This month, I made between $25 and $2,000 for individual stories that were about the same length,” to indicate how unpredictable rates are in an industry that is hemorrhaging money while flooded with qualified candidates.

I’ve produced more than 30,000 words of original and highly job-specific material without pay in an effort to prove myself a capable and good sport to the handful of companies that have reached back out to me from the black hole of resume inboxes to give me a chance.

– Prospective employers demand full-time freelancers to produce inordinate amounts of…

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Mattel Pulls Sexist Barbie Book “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” Off Amazon

5 Things You Should Know About Your Friend, The Writer

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(Commentator whispering with an  Australian accent): There’s the writer in her native habitat! Isn’t she lovely! Ah, but don’t be deceived! She can be deadly in her beauty. See the pained expression? Give her some room, Mate! You don’t want to upset her now. If you read her body language–the hunched back, the bloodshot eyes, the cramping hands, the pile of discarded Reese’s cup wrappers–you’ll know she’s not one to be trifled with. You’ll be taking your life into your hands!

So you made friends with a writer. Thank you! Now, I’m not one to make blanket statements for large groups of people, you understand. That’s how wars are started, Son.

That being said, (ok I HATE this expression!) I will just tell you this. Writers as a group can be sort of introverted and standoffish. Not because we think we’re better or anything, but just because we don’t really like talking to people. It’s much easier to create conversations with our imaginary friends than to keep up relationships with actual humans. We’re basically very weird people as a group. There’s a reason why we take a moment to choose each word to put on paper. However, face-to-face conversations with actual people? Um, no. We don’t interview well, either. We tend to say a bunch of unrelated gobbledygook that, when played back, makes Forrest Gump sound like a worthy adversary. I for one hate hearing my own voice played back–I think I sound about 11 years old.

Anyway, thank you for befriending a writer. We appreciate it. I don’t know you, but I feel a connection with you because I know you must be a patient, kind soul to love a writer. God bless you. I’m currently filling out the paperwork for your canonization. While that’s in the works, here are some tips to understanding us.

1. Writers are moody creatures. We’re up, we’re down. We love the book we’re working on today but hate it tomorrow. This is true about every writer I’ve ever met. Much of our moods are directly related to our WIP (writer lingo for work in progress). It’s very likely that we secretly think our book is going to be the next big thing late at night when we’ve barely slept, and then the next morning pronounce the exact same work the hugest, steaming pile of dog crap ever pooped. But you love creative types, right? I sure hope so.

2. Writers can be very narcissistic. The sad thing is, we KNOW this…but sometimes we just can’t help it. I apologize for all writers where this is concerned. I really don’t think that a person could be a good writer and not be a tad full of themselves. One thing about good writers is we KNOW good writing when we see it…and when we don’t (See #1 about writers being moody). We are also VERY sensitive about our writing, and if you say something that could be construed as the mildest of criticism, we will mope for days. I’m sorry! We’re just like that. It’s embarrassing to admit.

3. When we are writing, we don’t want to talk to anyone. This is often difficult to explain. Geez, when I admit all this on paper I hate me right now! It’s best to just let us write, and take out our frustrations on the blank page. There is one caveat here, though. Sometimes we need to be rescued from our self-imposed exile or we will be sucked in, much like a gambling addict in Vegas, sitting on our diaper pad for 24 hours straight, living on a diet of peanuts and martinis. While this may sound ideal, it’s not pretty to watch. Or smell. So do come rescue your writer friend if you have not heard from them in several days. Don’t let the blank stares and body odor keep you away. Your friend has never needed you so much. If you receive a phone call late at night that is basically just sobbing…it’s me.

4. Most writers are either mentally unstable or addicts (whether alcohol, drugs, reality T.V., gambling, overcaffeinated, obsessive Johnny Depp fans, etc.) Here’s the thing: we don’t really understand the words “moderation,” and if we are honest with ourselves, we are medicated for your safety. I’m just telling you this because you should know who you are dealing with. Sometimes we’re just giant a$$holes and there’s really no excuse for that.That’s one of the things that makes us so lovable, right?

5. Writers are very loyal friends, and they love deeply. If they love you, you can bet you will know it–because they will write about it. Sometimes, I think this is the only thing that keeps our spouses, friends and acquaintances around. Plus, we’re good in a pinch if you need a quick proofread for your resume or break-up letter/email. I highly recommend consulting us for this last one — we are especially talented at finding just the right word to tell that d-bag where he should go, who he should take with him, and which direction to take.

Again, I want to thank you for befriending a writer. We need all the flesh-and-blood friends we can get (and that can stomach us), lest we fall into the sidewalk art like Mary Poppins, never to be seen again.

Now, will you give me a minute? I need to finish this blog, then I’m all yours.

For Alex’s Mom: A Prayer of Grief


I pray the sun warm the earth where they lay my boy today

Clouds, please hold your tears, I have enough for us

Wind, blow softly on the too-green grass

Like you once blew on his ruddy cheeks as he played in the creek

Stong and young and fearless

Do not be harsh like the blunt end

I’ve worked and labored to provide bread for us

Money in the bank and clothes on our backs

I watched him grow tall and beautiful in your eyes

His hands loving the earth

His mind fine and quick

His heart shy and soft

But now his time is gone

The shadows fall and I must leave him

With the others so silent

Sun warm the earth where I lay my boy today

A Letter to My Daughter on Her Graduation Day

This is my most searched for post. Thought I’d repost it for you!

Tina Bausinger


My Dearest Daughter,

It’s hard to believe it’s already your graduation. It seems like just yesterday I was walking you into your first day of class.

I still remember your first day of kindergarten. Your blonde hair was pulled up in two ponytails, and you smelled of new clothes and bubble bath. You were so scared, you were shaking. Oh, wait, that was me.

Do you remember the advice I gave you? It’s funny how it still applies. It was something like this:

Be friendly to the other kids. They are nervous, too.

Play jump rope at recess. It’s good to get your heart pumping, and you will have at least two other girls to talk to.

Don’t throw away your sandwich and just eat the Twinkie. I will know.

Pay attention in class, mind your manners, and most importantly, don’t wait too long to go to the bathroom.


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Sticks and Stones


Sticks and stones will break my bones

But words can never hurt me

That’s not the truth I say to you

For words are surely deadly

I can’t forget your words that day

You thought I wasn’t listening

They burn so deep beneath my skin

The wound is never healing

Your words, suspended in midair

In every conversation

So loudly spoken without care

It’s just my observation

Sticks and stones can break my bones

But your words

Your words

Your words

They just might kill me