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A Brick Testament Christmas

The Brick Testament: The Story of Christmas (Brick Testament)In 2003, I had an interview published in the Door with “The Reverend” Brendan Powell Smith, creator of the web site The Brick Testament, which depicts Bible stories using Lego blocks. Since that time, Smith (who is not a real clergyman) had published a book of some of the best scenes, and now he’s got a second one, The Brick Testament: The Story of Christmas.

He’s an interesting fellow. The web site (much more so than the books, from what I’ve seen) includes some very literal depictions of some very disturbing Bible passages. But Smith doesn’t seem to have any deep-seated animosity towards religion (or if he does, he hid it well during our interview). Rather, he’s fascinated by the stories and enjoys playing with them and making people look at them from a new perspective. He is more of a prankster, an agent provocateur.

No New Yorker for me

I had to go to Nashville tonight to cover a lecture for the newspaper, and I stopped on the way to try to get a copy of the New Yorker with the Trinity Foundation / Door article in it. The issue on the magazine rack was dated Dec. 13, and if it had the piece in it, I couldn’t find it, either in the table of contents or during a casual flip-through. (I should have bought the magazine anyway, just in case I missed it.)

Ole takes a stand

I’m a contributing editor for The Door, but I’ve not yet had the privilege of meeting Ole Anthony, who (in his role as the head of the Trinity Foundation) serves as the magazine’s publisher. Ole is a thorn in the side of televangelists, investigating their various abuses and pecadillos, sometimes at the request of various foreign and domestic news organizations.

Ole was on the MSNBC show “Scarborough Country” tonight, debating the issue of TV evangelists with J.C. Joyce, an attorney who represents some and has represented others. There were two other guests, but the primary conflict was between Ole and Mr. Joyce. Scarborough Country, which I’ve never seen before, is normally hosted by former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, but he is ill and Pat Buchanan guest-hosted tonight. Say what you will about Pat Buchanan (and I certainly haven’t agreed with some of his arguments and positions), he did an even-handed and pro-active job as moderator tonight. In fact, although I agreed with pretty much everything Ole had to say, there were a couple of times where I don’t think Ole directly answered a fair question that Buchanan was asking him.

By the way, if you think TV evangelists are a purely-American concern, Ole told Buchanan that most of the recent work Trinity Foundation has done for news organizations has been for the foriegn press, since America’s TV evangelists are seen by satellite in many foreign countries.

But I can take that a step further. When I was in Kenya in August, one of the top news stories — perhaps the top story — was about Gilbert Deya, a native Kenyan who moved to the UK and has a TV ministry based there. Deya claimed that some of his followers were having “miracle babies” after having been infertile; in reality, say Kenyan officials, the babies were being smuggled out of Kenya.

Here’s a more recent update: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4006945.stm

The Door makes it big

I learned from http://sacramentomountainsradioclub.org/?hifer=%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%B9-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B0%D9%87%D8%A8&617=bc وضع بيع الذهب The Door Magazine‘s newest e-mail newsletter that the new issue of افضل موقع لتداول الاسهم السعودية The New Yorker has a feature on The Door, The Trinity Foundation, and Trinity Foundation founder Ole Anthony. I’m definitely going to have to try to track this down!

Kevin’s NaNoing too

As I blogged below, I interviewed Brad Abare and Kevin Hendricks of the “Church Marketing Sucks” web site earlier this week for The Door.

I’ve had to correspond with them since about artwork for the article, and Kevin e-mailed me today; he had apparently gone to my web site and noticed that I am writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. Turns out Kevin is writing one, too! Here it is.

Church Marketing Sucks

I interviewed Brad Abare and Kevin Hendricks of “Church Marketing Sucks” earlier today for The Door. (The Door is backlogged with interviews right now, so It will be mid-year 2005 before this probably sees print.)

I was extremely impressed by both of them. They are passionate about challenging the church to do a better job of communicating its message to others, and yet they are grounded enough to recognize that marketing’s job is to serve, not overwhelm. That kind of marketing does not expect the church to conform; it takes what is already true about the church and finds an effective way of directing that message towards those most in need of it.

I highly recommend their web site for anyone active in a local church. (And I highly recommend being active in a local church.)

The good news: the novel is up to more than 21,000 words. The bad news: it’s November 15, halfway through the month, so I should be at 25,000. But I’m continuing to make progress, and I may not even be through for this evening.