News round-up: September 4
Will audiences want to spend 90 Minutes in Heaven?
On September 11 at American cinemas, a new drama starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars) and Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns) offers a glimpse into heaven. At least, the experience American pastor Don Piper professed to have had after a car accident in 1989. He was declared dead at the scene, but was later revived. Promoting the big-screen version of his own notable story about visiting heaven, Piper said that when he arrived at heaven’s gates: “I was greeted by the people who literally helped me get to heaven myself. They had played a role in my spiritual life. They had done literal things like – they had read the Bible to me, or gave me a Bible or took me to church.” No doubt, those behind 90 Minutes in Heaven will hope it has the same box-office fortunes as 2014’s Heaven is for Real — another based-on-a-true-story drama about a heavenly experience. Heaven is for Real made a whopping $90 million at US cinemas, a huge amount for a “faith based” film.
Drowned Syrian toddler claims world’s attention
Relevant magazine has provided a tasteful, brief summary of how the world’s online community has been significantly affected by photos of a dead Syrian toddler. Highlighting the plight of refugees trying to escape conflict, the image of the 3-year-old boy lying dead on a Turkish beach has sparked tributes, Tweets and outrage. Relevant helpfully links to organisations that are assisting Syrian refugees.
The problem with Christian hipsters
During the past few years, the “hipster” culture has been one of the most dominant forces across the planet. From fashion to church websites, the influence of hipster can’t be denied. But is there a problem with Christians being hipsters, or embracing the various elements of this cultural movement? Yes, there is, according to a self-confessed “Chripster” (Christian hipster).
Human Rights Commission to discuss religious freedom in Australia
With so many political and social issues raging that have an impact upon religious beliefs, a special roundtable discussion about religious freedom in Australia has been announced. To be held in November, the roundtable is being organised by Australia’s Human Rights Commission. “It is my hope that this will be the first of a number of roundtables that will stimulate much needed dialogue on exercising religious freedom in 21st Century Australia,” said Commissioner Tim Wilson. The Commission is calling for submissions from those who wish to participate.