Shrekdirector Andrew Adamson will direct The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film
"As we've seen with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, bringing to the screen a literary fantasy classic, beloved by millions of readers, requires both a reverence for the original material and a rich imagination to create a realistic fictional world," Walden Media CEO Cary Granat said in a press release Wednesday. "Andrew Adamson knows better than anyone how to create magic on-screen and tell a story which touches the heart of an audience. His expertise in visual effects, animation, and live action will be critical to a fantasy work of this magnitude."

So far, there's been little buzz about the appointment at the Mere Lewis e-mail list (which is on hiatus this week) or on the alt.books.cs-lewis newsgroup. Note, however, that though Shrek was extremely well received by both mainstream and Christian critics and filmgoers (one negative review in Books & Culture got absolutely pilloried by readers and other critics), Adamson also worked as visual effects supervisor on the terrible Batman Forever and Batman and Robin—films that did anything but show "reverence for the original material." Of course, he wasn't director of those films, either—but he did win Academy Award nominations for both.

"Narnia was such a vivid and real world to me as a child, as it is to millions of other fans," Adamson says in the press release. "I share Walden's excitement in giving those fans an epic theatrical experience worthy of their imaginations, and driving a new generation toward the works of C.S. Lewis. Making a film that crosses generations is a far easier task when the source material resonates such themes as truth, loyalty and belief in something greater than yourself."

Walden also named South African Ann Peacock, who won an Emmy for the HBO film A Lesson Before Dying, as the screenwriter.

All well and good, and Weblog hates to be a total wet blanket years before the project comes out. But here's something to worry about. Walden Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, which is, according to its website, "the largest shareholder of the outstanding common stock of Qwest." (Philip Anschutz, who funds Walden Media, started Qwest Communications.) For those of you following the news, Qwest is in trouble, and under investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its accounting practices. Anschutz himself is under fire for selling $1.5 billion in shares while Qwest was inflating its revenues. Might these woes affect the budget of Walden Media—and thus the Narnia series?

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Bringing the head of John the Baptist
Richard Freund, an archaeologist at the University of Hartford (Conn.), says he might have found the skeleton of John the Baptist. Even he admits it's a circumstantial case: while excavating caves in Qumran, near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, Freund's team discovered a male skeleton dating from the first century. "Freund reported that the orientation of the body and its accompanying grave goods suggest that the remains may be that of the 'Teacher of Righteousness,' the founder of an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes," a university press release explained. "Scholars have long thought that this teacher may have been the prophet John the Baptist."

"I don't know if this is John the Baptist," Freund told The Hartford Courant, "but it certainly is possible."

But even members of the excavating team say such a theory is preposterous. "No person in the world believes there is a connection between the two. There is nothing to it," Magen Broshi, one of the heads of the expedition, tells the Associated Press. "What we have unearthed is most probably a skeleton of a Bedouin man from about two or three hundred years ago."

More articles

Persecution and crime:

Pennsylvania miner rescue:

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  • Did God really save the miners? | How we feel about the Somerset nine's rescue says a lot about what we think about God (Frederica Mathewes-Green, Beliefnet)

  • In a clash of cultures, we've put God in the middle | Americans' notion of the deity needs reexamination (Norah Vincent, Los Angeles Times)

  • Relieved talk of mercy, miracles, and providence | In a rural county in southwestern Pennsylvania where Christian stations crowd the left side of the radio dial, words like miracle, providence and mercy made up the vocabulary of joy and relief today over a rescue that for a while looked as if it was going wrong, but ended up right. (The New York Times)

Gracia Burnham:


First Amendment:

Church and state:

  • Suit claims student's right to faith | Leominster school didn't let girl, 7, share Jesus story (The Boston Globe)

  • Jesus Book Banned in Class | Massachusetts teacher who asked her pupils to bring a book to class about their Christmas traditions—but religious titles weren't allowed (Reuters)

  • Call for courts to drop religious oaths | Courts should abandon the practice of requiring religious oaths and use only a secular affirmation, the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria will tell a parliamentary inquiry this week (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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Politics and law:

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Pledge of Allegiance:

Life ethics:

Missions and ministry:

  • Uzbekistan: Missionaries lure youngsters | The authorities' crackdown on Islamic radicalism appears to have prompted many young Uzbeks to join the growing number of Christian groups in the country (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

  • Church-based support during, after divorce | With statistics showing the divorce rate hovering around 60 percent, many newly single Howard County residents are looking for spiritual solace, ways to begin life anew and answers to a larger question: Why did this happen to me? (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Victors over hardship on a spiritual mission | In these times of turmoil, Women of Faith seems to have a ready audience (The Miami Herald)

  • Kids religious about learning reading | Camps use Bible stories and Christian themes to teach children reading and writing (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Zoning dispute fires up ministry | A small ministry in east Orlando has been waging a David-and-Goliath-style battle against Orange County, contending that the county ignored its own laws and let a liquor store operate across the street (The Orlando Sentinel)

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Church life:


Other religions:

North Dakota mascot debate:


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  • Dispute damages Christian family group's credibility | Rather than hypocritically whining or trying to prevent students from hearing a Muslim voice into the classrooms, Christian groups like the American Family Association should teach their members how to promote and stand up for their beliefs (Rex Arnett, The South End, Wayne State University, Detroit)


Pop culture:


  • The Stephen L. Carter stonewall, day 11 | The Emperor of Ocean Park author remains silent about why he was a no-show at the President's Council on Bioethics (

  • In the Shadow of the Wall | Philip Hamburger's Separation of Church and State is delightfully iconoclastic, a great read that transforms a cherished belief of American civil religion into a myth (Stephen Prothero, The Wall Street Journal)

  • The book on black church leaders | An ambitious new work examines the religious struggles and contributions of African Americans (Los Angeles Times)

  • The Archbishop, the censored quote, and the second coming | The Times's excerpt from Rowan Williams's book was anything but exclusive (The Independent, London)

  • Fundamentally unsound | Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time thrillers, may sound kooky, but America's right-wing leaders really believe this stuff (Michelle Goldberg,
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Sexuality and gender:

Sex abuse scandals:

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  • Heaven help the cardinals | As the crisis of pedophilia engulfs Catholicism, millions of worshippers have walked away from a church out of kilter with modern life and bereft of moral authority (Stephen Crittenden, Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Hearing weighs church-victim pact | Cardinal Law expected to take witness stand (The Boston Globe)

Pope John Paul II and Catholicism:

Other stories of interest:

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  • Scamming, in the name of the Lord | Online ordination is a widespread phenomenon in the United States. (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Drug use cited in Texas bus crash | Fatigue and inattention also named as reasons for church bus crash that killed four youths in late June (Associated Press)

  • Religion news in brief | Jewish self-identity, World Anglican panel cannot agree on homosexual morality, ELCA loses membership, Hawaiian church land lawsuit, United Methodist's proabortion stance, and more (Associated Press)

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