Saturday, February 18, 2017

EXTRAORDINARY Project Finished. Extraordinary Projects Relaunch

"EXTRAORDINARY" Project Completed

"EXTRAORDINARY: Stories about Fr. Solanus Casey for Children,"  is a completed project Pam and I have been working on for over a year. It involved 22 extraordinary children as cast. We're now waiting on the release window and premiere TENTATIVELY set for July 16, 2017 at the AMC Star 20 Theaters in Southfield, MI.

The project website is here: http://swcfilms.com/EXTRAORDINARY/. Look for the tabs at the top of the page for more information about the production and the Solanus Casey Center, our client.

Kelly Nieto, creator of the (also) extraordinary stage musical, The Cross and The Light, that tours the U.S. every Lent, co-wrote the scripts, directed the kids, and acted as art director. Sean Lam of Singapore created the art, and James Stonehouse, the "John Williams of Detroit," wrote the original musical score that now stands on its own as a 14 movement tribute to the simplex priest — The Solanus Casey Suite. You can hear all the music on the above project website.

Here is the project's 4 minute trailer revealing all of our wonderful cast of children.



Extraordinary Projects Relaunch

We're now moving on to relaunch two of our favorite narrative feature motion picture projects, TIGER'S HOPE (aka DREAM IT FOR ANOTHER), and THE WIZARD CLIP DEMON. Both have strong Catholic themes and values.  We're looking for funding.


TIGER'S HOPE is a low-budget, pro-life, Drama with music story that focuses on adoption. Based on actual events, the story is about an entertainer who cannot conceive, goes through IVF, gets pregnant, but then gives birth to a baby that is not hers.  She and her husband then battle the Church, the courts and the medical community to keep the child. You can read the Story Fundamentals, synopsis, watch a trailer, and order a script here: http://www.swcfilms.com/tiger-s-hope.html

THE WIZARD CLIP DEMON is a supernatural, haunted house drama—a true story documented by many written accounts from Early America Virginia. It's about a persistent and devious demon that is only dispersed when Holy Mass is said (with great difficulty) in the house. You can read the Story Fundamentals, synopsis, and order a script here: http://www.swcfilms.com/tiger-s-hope.html

Both scripts are fresh re-writes based on the notes offered us by professions and friends. THE WIZARD CLIP received particularly good feedback from The Black List, which is posted on the site above. TIGER'S HOPE is just now being reviewed by The Black List.

If you know someone who is an "accredited" investor, who would want to help get these good films launched, I've posted a Business Plan Brief (or Top Sheet) on the SWC Films website. Even if you're not into risking money on movies, you may find the detail here interesting. I've been writing business plans for Hollywood movies off and on, and find the financial and legal structure involved a fascinating topic. The Top Sheet can be found here: http://www.swcfilms.com/swcf-business-plan.html

Blessings to you and yours.
Please pray for us...and our country.

Stan 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Fads of Christian Evangelism

 by Stan Williams

Crusade Evangelism with Billy Graham
The title is unfortunately provocative. Juxtaposing "fads" with "evangelism" implies that evangelism is as insignificant as a fad of fashion.  But while Christian evangelism is perhaps the antithesis of a cultural fad, it nonetheless suffers some of the same attributes.


Track Evangelism
I was born into Evangelical Christianity—Free Methodism, it was called. We were evangelicals because we understood Christ's Great Commission to be the one command that superseded all the others.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matt 28:19-20) 

Pulpit Evangelism with Billy Sunday
Consequently, over the decades of my life I have seen evangelism fads come and go. Each being described as the silver bullet that would save the world and usher in the Second Coming of Christ, or Christian utopia. Here's a list of some of them:

  • Crusade/Stadium Evangelism
  • Pulpit Evangelism
  • Personal Evangelism
  • Tract Evangelism
  • Teaching Evangelism 
  • Family Evangelism
  • Prayer Evangelism
  • Life-Style Evangelism
  • Bible Evangelism
  • Protest Evangelism
  • Mall Evangelism
  • Curbside Evangelism
  • Lead Evangelism
  • Small Group Evangelism
  • Blimp Evangelism
  • Sticker Evangelism
  • Street Preaching
  • Pre-Evangelism
  • Booth Evangelism
  • Tent Meeting Evangelism
  • Street Evangelism
  • Apologetic Evangelism
  • Bill Board Evangelism
  • Radio Evangelism
  • Book Evangelism
  • Food Evangelism
  • TV Evangelism
  • Movie Evangelism 
  • On-Line Evangelism
And in each of these there are sub categories where the technique takes on a hard "confrontational" or softer "salting" approach.

Of course none of these techniques ushered in Christian utopia, so leaders got frustrated and started their own efforts—new churches with a thousand different names. Some opted for the mountain top. Frank and Edith Schaefffer chose the Swiss mountains and started L'Abri Fellowship. William Booth took the Gospel to the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute.

Food Evangelization

These two extremes are found in the Gospels in the accounts of Christ's Transfiguration. Jesus took his disciples to both places. The mountain top was for enlightenment, and the valley was where real ministry took place.

Others rejected evangelism altogether because evangelism took on a militant-utilitarian identity that the Christian's only reason for existence was to save other people, so they in turn could save others, etc. Franky Schaeffer, Frank and Edith's son, wrote a popular book about the subject, Addicted to Mediocrity. And as much as my copy is heavily highlighted, I didn't agree with his final resolution—he gave up on Christianity altogether.

Evangelism falls under the second of the great commandments: 1. Love God, and 2. Love your neighbor. In my case I was so inundated with the above evangelization tyranny that one day I realized we had forgotten to Love God. Catholicism for me offered an opportunity to attend Mass where I could worship God and not bemoan yet another 10 minute altar call to save the lost sinner somewhere in the Sunday morning congregation. Such "altar calls" were rituals growing up in Free Methodism which lost their meaning before I turned 13.

I am almost 70 now. Pam and I left Protestantism 18 years ago and became Catholic. My current parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC)  in Plymouth, MI, is beginning a 14 week program called REROUTING. It's really not clear what it's all about or where we're being rerouted to...though it seems to be an attempt to reroute us around misunderstandings of Christianity, the way a GPS mapping app reroutes our car around an accident.


Protest Evangelism (e.g. anti-evangelism)
We've been through the first week where the emphasis was about how we're all called to be personal evangelists to those we meet at work, on the street, in restaurants, or at a sporting event.  It seems old to me, but it's clearly a new idea to many at OLGC. I've heard the illustrations and the Scriptures a thousand times, if I've heard them once. I've been an outspoken Christian all my life and although I gave up on Evangelicalism (see my faith memoir, Growing Up Christian), I will never give up being evangelically minded. But my methods now are more nuanced and relationship based. I've stopped asking waitresses if I can pray for them, because about the 10th time the waitress hears that from a customer it sounds like Bumper Sticker Evangelism, and cheapens Christianity.

Everyday I attempt to wear my Christianity on my sleeve, especially in my business dealings. Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a friend who died suddenly at age 76. He was a great pulpit preacher and teacher, and during his life I was involved with him in a number of evangelical media efforts that had a business aspect to them.  One of his sons greeted me before the funeral service. He drew me aside and said, "Stan, when we first met years ago, I didn't trust you. I thought you were taking advantage of my Dad. But over the years I have seen that you are an honest man, You are a man of integrity, and I would trust you with my life."  I should quickly add that his father, too, was an honest man of integrity. And today, that son, now a grown man with a family, is considering entering seminary for the diaconate, along with his two brothers.  


Street Evangelism
Evangelism is an important part of the Christian life. But its importance should not be overshadowed by everything else that God calls us to, namely obedience.  Evangelism is not mentioned in the Ten Commandments, The Beatitudes, or the list of vices and virtues in Galatians 5. The Great Commission was given to Christ's 11 Apostles following his resurrection. It was not given to his hundreds of disciples, nor to his thousands of followers. To the masses the instruction was to Love God, Love Our Neighbor, stay away from sin, and to obey God. When it comes to evangelism, I believe the cornerstone for everyday Christians is 1 Peter 3:15-16. Why? Because it puts personal integrity up front. It's not about being assertive with "words" about Christ, the Bible or your church (which is what most of the evangelism fads listed above are all about). Rather, it's about outwardly obeying God, living a life of integrity, and then...
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16.)


   

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Logical Case for Catholicism

A new on-line presentation suitable for RCIA, Catholic Studies and Homeschooling (ages 14 and up) is now available. Go to: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/logicalcasecatholicism. Play the trailer below. A content outline follows.



Designed for delivery in parishes, this is a 7-Part screencast course on how Catholicism (and Christianity) is validated by Logic and Natural Law. Contains 75 graphic slides and 6 videos. Total Length about 2 hr. 47 min. [Program: Copyright © 2016, Stanley D. Williams. All Rights Reserved.]

CONTENT OUTLINE

Introduction Starts: 00:00 (Length: 11 min)
1. LOGIC TERMS (Define Terms) Starts: 10:45 (Length 27 min)
• Logos
• Argument
• Opinion
• Validity
• Fallacy
2. NATURAL LAW (Logic’s Best Friend) Starts: 37:16 (Length 11 min)
• Physical
• Psychological
3. NATURAL LAW (Logical Short Cuts) Starts: 48:38 (Length 25 min)
• Biblical Precepts
• Catholic Precepts
• Social Research
4.LAW AND ORDER (Logic’s Best Evidence) Starts: 1:13:40 (Length 32 min)
• Logical Order
• Human Genome
• Free Will
5. LOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS (Logic’s Demise Pt 1) Starts: 1:45:33 (Length 21 min)
• Contradiction vs. Paradox
• The Dominant Contradiction
6. TWO LOGICAL FALLACIES (Logic’s Demise Pt 2) Starts: 2:06:34 (Length 14 min)
• Equivocation
• Difvocation
7. FOUR ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD ARGUMENT (Logic’s Solution) Starts: 2:20:24 (Length 27 min)
• Relevancy
• Acceptability
• Sufficient
• Rebuttal Proof

Friday, November 18, 2016

Alpha - The New Videos

by Stan Williams


Out of respect for Fr. John Riccardo, our pastor, and curiosity I've been attending the ALPHA (Introduction to Christianity) Course (http://alphausa.org/) at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, MI. 

The course is excellent and I encourage all Christians and non Christians who are interested in understanding  the basics of Christianity to search out a course in your area (they're presented in multiple denominations) and attend. (11 weeks, I think.)

As a video producer of hundreds of projects over the decades, I have been impressed with the production quality of the film series that is featured in each session. And as a Christian apologist all my life, and now a part-time Catholic apologist, the content in these videos is the best I have ever experienced. The brain behind these is Nicky Gumbel, an Anglican Vicar, who used to be a British barrister (attorney).

Here are links to the NEW ALPHA FILM SERIES. In my mind, these are benchmarks for all Christian didactic form teaching films. Wonderfully, they also contain strong narrative elements with incredible stories.



Video links:
Week 1 - Is There More to Life Than This?: https://youtu.be/CmeSw6KVweU



Week 4 - How Can I have Faith? https://youtu.be/4KCmLE4fTkc

Week 5 - How Can I pray? https://youtu.be/qSqLif_vKP8

Week 6 - The Bible: https://youtu.be/YSRFba_Zh2w

Retreat Videos
Video 1 Who is the Holy Spirit?: https://youtu.be/8-OZfBbuF7E

Video 2 What does the Holy Spirit Do?: https://youtu.be/SQgW36QFdSA


Video 3 How Can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit?: https://youtu.be/FnQ_8vcWreg

Week 7 Does God Heal Today?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_ECe-5EZzE&feature=youtu.be


stan

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Would Adam Have Been Happier Single? (or, The Git of Singleness)

Stanley D. Williams, PhD


Adam, when he was single, was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked him, “What’s wrong?”
Adam said he didn’t have anyone to talk to.
So God said he was going to give him a companion and it would be a woman. God said, “This woman will cook for you and wash your clothes. She will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear you children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will not nag you, and you will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you’ve had a disagreement. She will never have a headache, and will freely give you love and compassion, whenever needed.
Adam thought about this for a moment, then asked God, “What would a woman like this cost?”
God answered, “An arm and a leg.”
Adam thought about that for a while. Then he asked God, “What can I get for just a rib?”
The rest is history. And toward the end of this, I’ll tell you the rest of the story.
So, the theological question might be, "Would Adam have been happier single?" Some of you who remember the trails that Adam went through might be quick to answer, “Yes!” I wonder how that would that have made the rest of us feel?

10 Objections to Mary

With Scripture and Reason's Response
with a tad of common sense

Stan Williams, Ph.D.

Objection 1
Mary was just a regular girl with nothing special about her.
Don't make more of her than God did.

Mary is not the only person in Christ's lineage.
She shouldn't be considered more important THAN say the incestuous Judah,
the prostitute Rahab, or the adulterer David.

In Scripture, Mary is proclaimed as part of God's salvation plan before the world was created.
Rev. 12:1-6; 13-19

In Scripture, Mary is found as the only human being consistently mentioned and associated with the incarnation and the eternal plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation.

n     Rev: 12 (what we just read) - the woman is part of God's plan.  21 references to the woman.
n     Gen 3;15 - the woman is not a spur of the moment concept. God sees time as we see space, all at once.
n     Note: These two references are perhaps not coincidence to Jesus' use of the term to his mother in John 2
n     Is 7:14
n     Micah 5:2-3
n     Matt (Mark?) Luke, John
n     John 19:26-27 - Mary the mother of the church
n     Galatians 4:4 - fullness of time - born of a woman


Objection 2
Mary was born in sin and she sinned throughout her life
just like everyone else.

This objection uses Romans 3:23 that says "all have sinned." and 1 John 1:8 says "If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."  "ALL" means just what it says "ALL, everyone, without exception…except Jesus of course."

The problem we face here is that there are other Scriptures that imply the opposite and

Corpus Christi - A Commentary on John 6

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as revealed in St. John's Gospel, Chapter 6

by Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.

CONTENTS
·       Declarations and Corrections
·       Preface
·       John 6 Commentary
·       St. Paul's Perspective on the Real Presence
·       Early Church Fathers and the Real Presence

Declaration and Disclaimer

This document has not yet been granted the nihil obstat or imprimatur declarations, attesting that it is free of doctrinal error and may be published as a trustworthy rendering of Catholic doctrine. These declarations will be sought as the document is further refined and as it joins other chapters in a future book.

In the meantime, I welcome the comments from anyone who feels so led. I am especially grateful for reviews by Catholic priests, bishops, academics or theologians.  Please send your comments, complete with citations to: Stan@StanWilliams.com.

Many thanks to my wife, Pam Williams, and to Jim Kluge for their valuable feedback and suggestions.

Preface

It was May 1997 when, as a searching Evangelical, I visited St. James Catholic Church near my home. After visiting a few times, I approached the priest, Fr. James Cronk, after Mass and asked if I might take communion with the rest of the congregation. "I've been a Christian most of my life, I explained." Fr. Cronk looked me in the eye and said, "Well, let me ask you something. Do you believe that The Eucharist is the real body and blood of our Lord?" Although I was stunned by the ludicrousness of the question I didn't hesitate, "Of course not. That's ridiculous!" He didn't hesitate either. He smiled quietly and said simply, "Then we'd prefer you not."