Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: interview

Interview: Rich Wilkerson, Jr.

PastorRichJr_Headshot2Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is known for a lot of things. He is a fourth generation Pentecostal pastor. He took a young adult Bible study into being nine weeks into a new church plant. He is the pastor who officiated the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. He and his wife, DawnCheré, star in the a new reality show, Rich in Faith, on the Oxygen channel. And this week, he adds author to that list.

Wilkerson’s book, Sandcastle Kings, uses four powerful stories from Luke 7 to explain why spiritual fulfillment cannot be found in ourselves, in other people, in material things, or even in organized religion. By examining the stories of the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar, Wilkerson helps the reader take a closer look at all the ways in which we build sand castles that will one day be wiped away by the storm.

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Interview: Veggie Tales’ Mike Nawrocki

Telling the story of God’s unconditional love

Next week a brand new VeggieTales DVD will be released, “Beauty and the Beet.” In this new show, a Veggie twist of the classic story Beauty and the Beast, Mirabelle (voiced by country music’ Kellie Pickler) and her family band, the Veggie Tones, are on their way to life-changing, career-promoting gig at Vegetable Square Garden. In the midst of a snowstorm, their car breaks down, and they find themselves singing for their supper for the cranky hotel manager Mr. Beet.

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Interview with Erin Bethea

Note: This post and interview is cross posted at Hollywoodjesus.com. 

“What is the highlight of your career?”

JA08_3505_colorErin Bethea paused for a few seconds, unsure how to answer the question. Some might argue that it was starring opposite Kirk Cameron in the independent film Fireproof. And they may be right. The role as Cameron’s wife changed Bethea’s career path. Others might say it was landing her first professional appearance as sportscaster Alicia Houston in the hit Facing the Giants. Or, it could have been the four years she was Belle from Beauty and the Beast at Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Born and raised in South Georgia, Bethea got her start in professional acting after graduating from the University of Mobile with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. Her role as Alicia in Facing the Giants was her first professional gig.

The pause before Bethea’s answer does not evince uncertainty about her work, but a humble heart. “I have been privileged to work with some awesome people,” she finally says. And that privilege has led her to starring in the film This Is Our Time.

this-is-our-time-posterThe film is the interwoven stories of Luke (T. J. Dalyrmple) and Ale (Erin Bethea), who marry right after college and move to India to serve as missionaries in a leprosy village; Catherine (Kate Cobb) is an aspiring financier who joins a prestigious financial institution with the determination of changing corporate America; Ryder (Matthew Florida) lands an incredible job in social media and is eager to use the powerful medium for a greater good; and finally, Ethan (Shawn-Caulin Young), who serves as the odd-man-out character, struggles to find his vocation in life.

Vocation is what the film is all about. Each of the characters struggle with discerning who they are in a post-graduation world. Even when they think they have found out what they are to do, they bump up against different barriers. What they each discover is that God instills a calling in all our lives. Indeed, Bethea feels that God gives us two callings: “The first is God calls us to some path, plan, or action. It could be ministry, medical, or education. The second is the call to who we are as faithful and obedient followers.”

The film’s theme of calling is something that Bethea hopes viewers will connect with. She does. She has come to understand her own calling in the medium of film: “God gives me these gifts and passions, so I go in that direction.” She thinks the film could be a great conversation starter for young people who are discerning what direction their lives will take. She hopes it will help them consider in what ways God is calling them to fulfill a purpose. And, as Bethea points out, “It may not be what we intended it to be, but it’s all for God’s glory.”

Possibly the most amazing part of the film are the scenes at the leper colony in India. Bethea said that those days shooting there were life-changing and educational. “It was like something back in the Bible,” she remembers. The movie-makers worked with the organization Embrace a Village. Embrace a Village is a Christian based, non-profit organization that transforms the lives of those affected by leprosy by raising the standards of living.

Bethea remembers with great fondness meeting one older lady in the village. She was only about sixty pound and had neither hands, feet, nor nose. “She didn’t look human,” Bethea recalls. But despite her small size and her handicaps, during the singing of praise songs, she sat in the front row and her voice rang loudest. While this woman is unlikely to have survived, Bethea finds peace in the knowledge that she is no longer in pain.

This humble meeting with a woman whose name we may never know might just be the highlight of her career.

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