By Christy Barritt
“Amazing Grace” Headed to Broadway?
A new production about the real-life story behind the song “Amazing Grace” and its author John Newtown premiered as a pre-Broadway production in Chicago in October.
Newton was a British abolitionist who authored the historic hymn. The description of the play reads, “As Britain sits atop an international empire of slavery, [Newton] finds himself torn between following in the footsteps of his father—a slave trader—and embracing the more compassionate views of his childhood sweetheart.”
The story behind the hymn embraces the themes of romance, rebellion, and redemption, according to producers. Producer Carolyn Rossi Copeland believes it will profoundly inspire audiences.
Getting the play to the stage has been seven years and $12 million in the making. Many have projected and are hoping the play will make it all the way to Broadway in New York City.
Seminaries Given Money to Include Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science announced that 10 U.S. Seminaries will receive a combined $1.5 million in grants to include science in their curricula.
The John Templeton Foundation, which has funded other efforts to bridge science and faith, is providing the grants. Various Christian seminaries will be given anywhere from $90,000 to $200,000 as a part of the measure.
According to a study by AAAS, evangelical Protestants are more than twice as likely as other Americans to say they’d turn to a religious text, a religious leader, or people in their congregation if they had a question about science.
The selected seminaries represent broad denominational, demographic, and geographic diversity. The grants will cover faculty, events, science resources, guest speakers, and other related costs.
Online Christmas Sales Expected to Increase
Retailers have projected an increase in their year-over-year online Christmas sales this year. A survey by ChannelAdvisor Corporation, an e-commerce company, found that 86 percent of vendors expect an increase in profits.
“Christmas is the time of year that retailers look forward to and plan for all year long,” said Jordan Weinstein, managing director at ChannelAdvisor.
According to the survey 62 percent of retailers began planning their Christmas promotions as early as September, while 20 percent of retailers began their holiday campaigns as early as August.
Other key findings from the survey include that 27 percent of retailers expected an 11 to 15 percent increase in Christmas sales as compared to last year at this time, while 46 percent expected a 1 to 10 percent increase. And 41 percent of retailers said that customer service features, such as free delivery and returns, will help to drive their sales.
More than 200 online retailers from both the U.S. and the U.K. were surveyed for the study.
Street Preacher Charged with Causing Offense
A street preacher in the United Kingdom is facing three charges of “causing offense” after making public remarks about the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The preacher, Mike Overd, said his comments about Muhammad marrying a 9-year-old girl were not meant to be hateful, but he was simply comparing Jesus Christ to Muhammad and making factual comments on both.
He’s being charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. Section 5 notes that a public speaker is guilty of such crimes if they use threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behavior.
He’s faced other similar charges in the past for violating the law while street preaching. In February of 2012, he made comments about homosexuality and was arrested on the charges of committing a hate crime.
Ovred said to various media outlets that he has no hatred of Muslims, but he’s only seeking to preach the truth of the gospel.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons. www.christybarritt.com