Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Word-of-Mouth Bestseller"

Almost 10 months after it was first released, Ron Hall and Denver Moore's incredible life-changing story, Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, continues to sell well. As Ron Hall told me in an interview, "Our publisher calls it a 'word-of-mouth bestseller.' One person reads it, then buys five copies to give away, then those people buy five more."

And that word-of-mouth phenomenon could gain even more momentum now that ... Tim Challies has endorsed the book at his site. It is such an amazing story, Hollywood is likely to scoop it up any day now. So take Tim's advice: "Why not buy it now so you can say that you read the book before you ever heard of the movie!"

To read an excerpt from Same Kind of Different as Me, which was written with the help of WORLD Magazine Features Editor Lynn Vincent (who is also my "blog boss" at WorldMagBlog), go here.

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Me and R.C.

Three weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend Ligonier's 2007 National Conference, "Contending for the Truth," in Orlando, Florida. The trip to hear and see the likes of John MacArthur, Al Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, R.C. Sproul Jr., Steve Lawson and Joel Beeke came courtesy of my wife and daughter, who made this my combined Christmas and birthday gift. (Thank you, girls.) As you can see, I even got to meet some of my heroes of the faith, including R.C. Sproul (above). ...

I also met Christian uberblogger Tim Challies (right), who blogged away from the front row at Orlando's First Baptist Church so that people like me wouldn't have to take notes (but I did anyway). Be sure to check out Tim's excellent summaries of the sessions.

It was great to hear all these guys speak in person on apologetics and postmodernism, especially John Piper. His two messages, "Faith and Reason" and "The Challenge of Relativism," are available online at the Desiring God site.

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"A People's Film"

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I saw a special screening of The Ultimate Gift, the latest release from Fox Faith. (The movie is dedicated to the memory of Clete Childs, a student at our daughter's school who died a year and a half ago in a car accident.) Based on Jim Stovall's book of the same name, the Capraesque film tells the story of a trust fund brat who must perform a series of tasks designed to help him grow as a man in order to receive an inheritance, a.k.a. "The Ultimate Gift," from his late grandfather.

With an excellent cast that includes James Garner (reportedly his last film), Brian Dennehy, and the Oscar-nominated Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), the movie uses sometimes over-the-top characters and far-fetched plot twists to weave its message of redemption. Still, it's an engaging story told from a Christian worldview that doesn't whack you over the head.

That hasn't stopped some critics from blasting the film for its moral messages. ...

The New York Times' Jeannette Catsoulis wrote, "Reeking of self-righteousness and moral reprimand ... [the film] is a hairball of good-for-you filmmaking coughed up by ... Fox Faith." The Chicago Tribune's Lou Carlozo added, "There's an anti-abortion message jammed into one scene with all the subtlety of an avalanche," in reference to a scene where a single mother simply says that giving birth to her daughter "was the best decision" she ever made.

Ultimate Gift producer Rick Eldridge has responded that it "is a people's film, not a critic's film. And there is, increasingly, a big difference between those two things."

If you've seen it, let us know what you think. If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend that you do so.

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