News round-up: July 1
Bigger Than Ben-Hur?
Yes, the rumours are true. Classic gladiator-meets-Jesus epic Ben-Hur (1959) has been remade — and will reach our cinemas on August 18. Starring Morgan Freeman and many others we haven’t heard of, Ben-Hur will again chart the ancient tale of a Jewish prince who is enslaved by the Romans, becomes a Christian and a famous charioteer. Set at the time of Jesus’s life on earth (the Son of God will be played by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro), the remake of Ben-Hur looks to be one of the most intriguing yet risky blockbusters of 2016.
Sad plight of refugee detention
Centre for Public Christianity’s Simon Smart has written a jarring piece about how, even when we try not to, we can allow something we disagree with to become an accepted part of our life. Smart has been impressed with a satirical podcast about the 2016 Election campaign, particularly an episode about asylum seekers and offshore detention. He was challenged — and challenges us — to consider whether we have come to a point of being able to live with something we don’t want to. And, then, how will we respond?
Public prayer on the rise in NRL
Often seen in American sports, professional athletes having a prayer session is becoming more frequent and prominent in the National Rugby League. Despite ongoing controversies, legal action and criminal charges, the NRL does offer a positive depiction of public prayer. According to Eternity newspaper, prayers after matches — involving players from each side — have been on the rise since Easter this year. Parramatta Eels captain Tim Mannah, who is a Christian, says “It sends a pretty strong message that we’re not shy about our faith and also that, in the end, regardless of what team we’re playing for and what result we get, we’re all brothers in Christ, with the same passion in life. We’re driven by the same thing [Jesus].”
America, guns and Christians
Understanding another culture can be hard. Understanding sub-cultures within another culture can be even harder. The arguments in the USA between Christians about whether guns should or should not be more heavily regulated, is just one example of how hard it can be to make sense of what is going on in another place. But a brief opinion piece on The Huffington Post site is one American Christians attempt to swiftly outline why they oppose guns — and don’t get why many American Christians support them.