Gaylord wants to get rid of Word music
In Gaylord Entertainment's third-quarter financial statement (like almost every other company, earnings were down significantly), the company announced "it is in discussions with various parties that may lead to the divestiture of Word Entertainment, its Christian music label." Actually, Word Entertainment has several labels under it, including Squint, Rocketown, Myrrh, Integrity, and even VeggieTales' BigIdea Productions. It's a huge part of the Christian music world, with artists from Amy Grant and Sandy Patti to Sixpence None the Richer (not to mention Kenny Rogers, Kim Alexis, and John Tesh). It's Songs4Worship CD set is one of the most popular Christian recordings ever, thanks to a huge TV ad campaign. But apparently Word just isn't making enough money for Gaylord. "This potential sale will result in a further streamlining of the company's operations and allow the management team to focus their attention on the more profitable hospitality and entertainment businesses," the company's press release said.
What's really interesting about all of this is that Gaylord has three separate lawsuits against Thomas Nelson regarding Word Entertainment. Two of the suits are over a multimillion-dollar dispute stemming from Nelson's 1996 sale of Word Records and the Word trademarks to Gaylord. The most recent claims that Nelson "engaged in false advertising, unfair competition and breach of contract" in a recent ad campaign touting the renaming of Nelson's Word Publishing to the W Publishing Group. Weblog thought it was hilarious: Max Lucado saying, "Word no longer inspires me." Chuck Swindoll saying, "Word won't be getting any more grace from me." Funny, funny stuff for Christian ads. Except Gaylord didn't think so. It will be interesting to see what happens with the lawsuits if they do end up selling Word.
Christian band backs out of Abercrombie & Fitch deal
Relient K says it's asking clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to remove all of the band's music from its store and Web site. As noted by Weblog a couple weeks ago, the band had been touting a promotional deal with the retailer. "I felt like the line we were drawing was consistent with what we had been doing for years, and that we were entering into a domain that we couldn't control—a secular domain—in order to offer a choice to consumers," Gotee Records president Joey Elwood tells Agape Press (a news service associated with the American Family Association). "But I and my partner and the band are walking in faith that there's a larger work at hand here that these other organizations are trying to accomplish—and we do not want to get in the way of that." Those "other organizations" include the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, American Decency Association, and other organizations who are targeting the A&F for its racy catalogs.
Christian singer pleads guilty to rape, molestation, and sodomy
Last week, Ja'Marc Davis, leader of the Christian dance band Raze, pleaded guilty to three felony sex offenses. In exchange for his plea, seven related counts were dismissed. Prosecutors contend that Davis had sexual contact with a then-14-year-old backup dancer for about one-year beginning in 1998. For the crimes, the Tulsa County District Attorney recommended a 10-year sentence. Davis is out on bail until his December 13 sentencing. He hasn't performed with the band since his arrest March 1 (which was supposed to be the first night of the band's tour), but Raze won two Dove Awards in an April ceremony. Neither the Raze Web site nor the Forefront Records site has a statement on what's next for the band.
Ministry after 9/11:
- In pulpits, a grateful Christian testifies to deliverance | Sujo John has become a traveling preacher in his own right, crossing the country on weekends to share his World Trade Center story through a first-hand, fundamentalist Christian filter (The New York Times)
- Also: Terror survivor emerges as Christian celebrity | An office worker who believes God saved him is in hot demand as speaker (The National Post)
- Churches bring comfort in troubling times | Big churches get bigger after terrorist attacks (KMBC, Kansas City)
- Faith after the fall | After the hate that laid us low, many turned for help from on high (KCBS, Los Angeles)
- Don't get left behind | Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins say recent events are a glimpse of apocalypse (The Kansas City Star)
Shelter Now workers:
- Families ask governments for help to free aid workers in Afghanistan | Family and friends of detained Shelter Now workers want Australian government to do more (Radio Australia)
- Contact lost with aid workers in Kabul jail | German foreign ministry says they are urgently trying to contact Shelter Now prisoners (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Post-attacks spirit of interfaith tolerance unraveling | Jewish leaders' dismay over recent exposures of incendiary, anti-Semitic comments by some Muslim leaders, and evangelicals' outrage over the massacre of Christians in Pakistan has soured the ecumenical mood (Newhouse News Service)
- Local Episcopal, Jewish leaders seek a dialogue | Three Episcopal bishops last week joined a pro-Palestinian protest in front of the Israeli consulate in Boston (The Boston Globe)
- Residents, officials defend police officer | Assistant police chief's letter about religious minorities, gays gets support at council session (The Indianapolis Star)
- Also: Letter brings controversy in Ind. town (Associated Press)
- Christians face dismal plight in Islamic realms (The Washington Times)
- At least ten killed in Nigeria clashes | Violence flared after Christians proposed moving a local government office out of the palace of a Muslim chief (Associated Press)
- 'Ten Commandments Judge' hit with lawsuit over monument | Meanwhile, Chester County, Pennsylvania, officials are also sued over similar, but decades-old, monument (Freedom Forum)
- All-faiths display to continue | A week after committee banned religious displays from busy intersection, Mission Viejo City Council agreed to continue holiday tradition after all (Los Angeles Times)
- Also: Religious displays to be moved to park | Seasonal exhibit had been erected at the entrance to the city for three decades. (Los Angeles Times)
Evangelism and missions:
- Dishing up some midnight soul food | Revelers staggering home late at night in Belfast are offered tea and leaflets by groups of Christians who take to the streets at weekends to let people know that God loves them. But it's more a case of building bridges than instant evangelism (The Irish Times)
- Sudan nixes evangelistic outreach but pastors carry on | 5,000 people in Khartoum accepted Christ the first—and only—night of the Sammy Tippit crusade (Crosswalk.com)
- Drivers can avoid tickets if they pray with police priest | In Glogow, Poland, Father Piotr gives speeders a picture of St. Christopher—patron saint of travelers—instead of a ticket (Ananova)
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