Opening - by Marlin Detweiler
Feature Article—Collision by Darren Doane
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler
One evening some time ago I travelled to Westminster Seminary to hear Douglas Wilson debate Christopher Hitchens. What I didn’t know at the time was that the event was part of what would become the movie, Collision. Nor did I know that the director, Darren Doane, is a customer of Veritas Press. He’s quite a busy man but agreed to step out of his comfort zone of movie- and music video-making to write our lead article this month, coinciding with the release of Collision.
When I was asked to write a thousand words about my film, Collision, for Veritas I had two reactions. One, I have no idea how many words that actually is, and on the surface that seemed like a novel. Marlin assured me it was around a page and a half. Two, I would be writing to a group of people who take education seriously. Run that down and you probably end up taking grammar seriously. And things like writing a thousand words. And there is the actual fear. I have a public high school education. And it’s about to show as I begin to write this.
I came to Christ about six years after I graduated high school. I was a budding young filmmaker fully steeped in the ways of the world—Hollywood to be specific. That means I was a very bad man. Through God’s grace He grabbed me one day, threw me to the ground and claimed me as His own, and commissioned me to keep making films and talk about Him. (For those of you already assessing my potential run-on sentence, I would appeal to the Pauline epistles for my defense.)
Within the first few months of my Christian life I was given an audio debate between Greg Bahnsen, a Christian apologist, and noted atheist Gordon Stein. I was amazed at what I heard. Greg's defense of the Christian faith was just music to my ears. I loved it. Some people love football or gardening or Halo3. I just loved hearing people argue. A mentor later in my life would say arguing is a virtue when done with respect and kindness. So back to that audio tape. Over and over I listened to it. It became my new Christian Led Zeppelin. This was my "Stairway to Heaven." I would imagine what it would have been like to film the debate. How I would have done it. The music, the angles, the back-story. As the years rolled on I began to think about recreating the debate with actors. They do it with those Lincoln/Douglas debate things, why not this?
About a year and half ago I was having dinner with David Hagopian. I had met David at a memorial dinner for Greg Bahnsen. We were at the same table. David was the moderator for the Bahnsen-Stein debate. So that put him in the rock star category for me. I knew his voice from those tapes, and now I knew his face. Around that time my wife and I began to have children. This led quickly to books on children, marriage, education, church, etc. I ran into Doug Wilson's books and had my life shattered. But that’s another story. Then education. I knew David Hagopian had experience in this area and was the closest guy I could get some advice from. We met and started talking debates and how boring they are. I had suggested that a pure cross examination debate style would be really what people want. Get to the good stuff. See people defend their positions.
Jump Ahead a Few Months.
David and I keep talking about filming debates. We start talking about Doug Wilson and his online debate with Christopher Hitchens, and before we know it, we are all talking about making a film. Wilson, Hagopian, Gary Demar, Aaron Rench, and Nate Wilson quickly became the players. Aaron Rench had set up the original debate with Doug and Christopher and was continuing to develop a relationship with Hitchens. Aaron lays it out, and Hitchens agrees to spend three days with Wilson, debating, hanging out, eating, and traveling. So the film is ready to be made, and the players are lined up.
So what happened? And why is Veritas Press having me write this? What does this have to do with education? Where do Collision, Latin, and math manipulatives live together? (And why is a thousand words starting to seem really short?) When I began to edit the film, something happened. I found I was being educated. And not just with arguments. I was watching a Christian life. I was seeing a Christian man. I was experiencing interaction with ungodly men who want to see Christianity destroyed and exposed as ancient Stone Age myths. I could see Doug's reactions, his temperament, his smile, his grace, his picking and choosing, and the outcome of what he did. I was being educated in a way that a book had never done. It was like meat being applied to bones. I did not have a Christian upbringing. A godly man to imitate was hard to find.
The triune Christian life is earthy and dirty. It is action. It moves and gets involved. It engages. And it takes dominion. I have spent more time with Doug Wilson by way of an editing bay and looking at footage of him living the Christian life than I have in person. But what has been captured in the film is Doug Wilson loving anti-theist Christopher Hitchens and looking to win the man, not the argument. And that is something I needed to learn—something I needed to be educated on how to do and what it looks like.
So here we are—back to education. And those involved with Veritas take education seriously. I would hope that this film can be used as a tool in the education of our children for God's glory. What is the chief end of man? Doug Wilson glorifies God in this film and helps me to enjoy our Lord even more than I did before. Oh yeah, the film also has really cool music, is really enjoyable, and Hitchens gets a run for his money.
Darren Doane is a Christian, father, and husband who works as a Hollywood director. His work can be seen at http://www.level4.tv/.
This month we are excited to feature the movie Collision, with Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson debating the question, “Is Christianity good for the world?” I have now watched this video for the third time and will probably see it again soon. It is captivating and thought-provoking.
This is a GREAT movie around which you can develop family discussion. Our children need to be able to answer hard questions about their faith as they start to rub shoulders with the world. After all, if we are teaching them logic and rhetoric, this is what we should expect them to do. What a wonderful example it is for our children to watch Douglas Wilson debate one of the best the secular world has to offer and answer his questions in a way that causes evens Hitchens to think. This is classical education at its best—it’s what we should expect from our children, too, after all these years of work.
Also, take note of the impressive cinematography. Darren Doane is extremely accomplished in his field and is using those God-given gifts to take back culture. As Christians we need for our children to see more of this.
To assist you with discussion, we asked Bruce Etter, a Veritas Scholars Academy administrator and instructor, to prepare discussion questions. Click here to download them. We hope they will help with your family discussion.
Be warned, though. The world’s standard would give this a PG-13 rating due to language. If you have younger children I would suggest that you review the video before allowing them to view it. Marlin and I would have let our children watch this under our supervision, but some of you may not feel comfortable doing that.
Collision Free with a $200 purchase or $10 with any order
The Collision DVD is free with any November order of $200 or more, or $10 with any size order. You must request the DVD while placing your order (item #901136). Pricing will update automatically on web orders.
Is Christianity Good for the World? Free with a $50 purchase
If you don't have the opportunity to see Collision right away, the next best thing is this book. It chronicles the online debate Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson conducted for Christianity Today. As a precursor to the in-person debates hosted in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., this written debate will get you warmed up for the film. It is a quick, compelling read and yours free with a $50 purchase in November—but only while supplies last. You must request the book while placing your order (item #901026). Pricing will update automatically on web orders.
Q. Our son simply loves the new self-paced course about Ancient Egypt. When will there be more courses like it?
A. No, absolutely not—they are too much work. Phew, glad I got that out of my system. Actually, we’ve already begun working on more. While it is too early to tell just how many we will finish just yet, our goal is to complete the remaining four grammar school history courses (New Testament, Greece & Rome; Middle Ages, Renaissance & Reformation; Explorers to 1815; and 1815 to the Present) for the next school year, more specifically, September 1, 2010.
Q. Wouldn’t it make more sense to learn a modern foreign language like Spanish rather than Latin?
A. While it is true that Spanish is spoken in many places, we should step back and ask why we study Latin in the first place. There are a whole host of reasons for studying Latin, but the first and foremost one is this—it is a tool of leverage for mastering our own language. Learning Latin will make the student’s vocabulary, grammar and overall language mastery progress at a much accelerated pace. It will also make it far easier to learn modern foreign languages like Spanish later on.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Writing Contest
There are still a few days left to polish up a story for the Feature Article for our December issue of epistula. This is a contest for students, and the title of the article is to be Christmas Was Different that Year. Submissions must be 800 - 1,200 words. Authors must include their name, age, address, and telephone number. The author must be in high school or younger. Submissions must be submitted electronically to email@example.com by 5:00 PM EST November 12, 2009. The winner will also receive a $100 Veritas Press gift certificate.
Columbus Day Coloring Contest Winners
A $50 gift certificate from Veritas Press has been awarded to the following winners.
Miriam Atlee (age 5) won the Age 3 – 5 group
Gabriella Monestero (age 8) won the Age 6 – 9 group
Nadia Gossner (age 12) won the Age 10 – 12 group
Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma Program
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Future Job Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Online Teachers—We are hiring now for next year! With the rapid growth of our online courses we continue to seek more teachers for the future. Experienced teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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