My Top 8 Stories In 09′

So, happy New Year. 2010. Exciting. I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot of top ten lists on the radio and TV, so I’ve decided to make my own. It’s a list of the top eight stories (had to be a little different) I’ve had the opportunity to cover over the last year.

I have to be sensitive here, because some of the stories are tragic. They were very hard to shoot. This list isn’t about most fun, or which story was happiest. The list is more about my connection with the event: what I was able to learn, what I was proud and honored to be a part of. So, without further ado… Continue reading



Photo courtesy of Christian Post: (L to R) Stephen Kendrick, Jim McBride (Exec. Pastor), Alex Kendrick, Michael Catt (Sen. Pastor)

I talked with my mom on the phone a few days ago. She told me my last few blog entries were deep. They were well written she said, but they were very heavy. Reading back she was right, they were on the heavy side. So this post is about something lighter: a trip to a groundbreaking church in Albany, GA: Sherwood Baptist.

In 2002 someone at the church had a crazy idea:  what if the church made a movie? A movie that would involve the whole church. Something that would be fun, a learning experience, and good to show to the community. A twenty-thousand dollar budget was raised and the film was made in 2003. The result was Flywheel, which was shown at a small theater in Albany, GE for six weeks. The movie, about a used car salesman, ended up being a hit. All six weeks the theater was packed out. Blockbuster ended up picking it up for rental in its stores. The church was shocked. There was a desire for wholesome, Christian entertainment. Over the span of the next seven years Sherwood made two more movies, Facing the Giants and Fireproof.

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A Fort Hood Sunset

Fort Hood Sunset

The sunset at Fort Hood Army Post, right before the candlelight vigil.

Thursday afternoon Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, stormed into the Soldier Readiness Center, two handguns drawn, and started firing at whoever he could find. Some argue he had targets, others argue it was random. Although the details are still murky, it is clear that Hasan did something unthinkable, irrational, and arguably unforgivable. Some soldiers have called it the ultimate betrayal. Major Hasan turned on his own soldiers, those he had dedicated his life to protect.

Webster defines aftermath as “the consequences of an event.” By this definition the aftermath has yet to be determined–it can be hypothesized at best. What is for sure though, is that 13 brave men and women died at the hands of an Army Major, someone they looked up to for leadership and support. Usually when I write articles in my blog I start out with a clear conclusion, some final thought or idea or opinion to work towards. Today, I don’t have one; not in some dramatic speechless fashion, but in a tired, confused way. How can someone like Major Hasan (last name assumptions aside) do something like this? Instead of even attempting to answer this question, and in avoidance of simply restating facts that were blared by mainstream media for days straight, I’ll simply retell some of the things I saw. I’ll describe some of the people I met, and some of the stories they told me. I’ll leave understanding the intricacies of human atrocity to you… Continue reading

A Public Vote

Portland, Maine.

A state drawing battle lines for the definition of marriage.

My latest bit of travel was fairly interesting, to say the least. It started out in Maine covering Gay Marriage, and ended in Fort Hood, TX, covering tragedy. I’m going to write two separate posts, one on my trip to Maine, and one on the tragedy at Fort Hood.

Originally a quick two day trip, our mission was to head to Portland, ME and cover the citizen’s vote to uphold legislation that legalizes gay marriage. The state legalized gay marriage using state passed legislation, but the public demanded a vote instead. This vote would either uphold the current law (keeping gay marriage legal), or turn it down (making it illegal). Millions of dollars went into both campaigns: commercials, radio spots, billboards, signs and stickers. In the end the vote was won by citizens who wanted to do away with the current law (which wasn’t even in effect yet), successfully ending the possibility of gay marriage in Maine.

I found myself in a ballroom at the Easton Hotel, embedded with the camp of people who wanted the legislation to stand, the people that wanted to keep gay marriage legal. Wet bars were on both sides of the room, projectors flashed up the latest vote count on big screens at the front of the ballroom, and people excitedly watched as different counties in Maine started to report their numbers. Lesbian and gay couples held hands, talked with other couples, and quietly watched the screens with hope. As the night dragged on, the pro-gay marriage camp watched their numbers slowly fall as the votes to make it illegal started gaining ground. By 1:00AM, they had officially declared a loss…

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Rifqa Bary, the apostate child…


Rifqa Bary: threatened child, or hormonal wolf crier?

I’ve had the opportunity to travel the US and track this story. After shooting interviews, talking to her friends, and hearing both sides of the argument I’ve come to a few interesting, personal “observations.” A story interesting to Christians and Muslims alike, both sides loudly weighing in with their opinions. What are these opinions? Why is it a fascinating story that strikes the hearts of American Muslims? And why is this one small, teenage girl causing all this commotion? Let’s lay out the details…

It’s late July in Columbus Ohio, and Rifqa Bary, not unlike other girls her age, is having a quarrel with her parents. But unlike most of those other girls, Rifqa Bary is Muslim-raised and from Sri Lanka. And she’s arguing with her parents about Christianity… Continue reading