Each year, Sunstone opens their Wednesday evening lecture to the public, free of charge. Consider catching this program if you are available at the Salt Lake Sheraton Hotel
SMITH-PETTIT LECTURE, 8:00 PM
Chair DAN WOTHERSPOON, executive director,
Sunstone Education Foundation, Inc.; editor,
Opening Song "Saturday's Warrior"
Invocation To be announced
Stand-up comedy BENGT WASHBURN, professional stand-up comedian since 1998. Bengt was raised in Mapleton, Utah, and is the winner of the 2001 San Francisco International Comedy Competition.
Video montage JOHN HATCH. Enjoy a visual tour of the headscratching variety of ways Mormons have been characterized in mainstream film and television.
Lecture RELIGION AND POP CULTURE: SHOTGUN WEDDING, MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, OR MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?
Speaker MARK I. PINSKY, religion writer and senior reporter, Orlando Sentinel; author, The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family (2001); The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust (2002); A Jew Among the Evangelicals: A Guide for the Perplexed (2006)
Abstract We've come a long way since Hollywood's idea of religion was confined to biblical sand-and-sword operas; Irish priests and chaplains with twinkly eyes; and morally corrupt Protestant evangelists like Elmer Gantry. Barely a month passes without a movie or television show that portrays people of faith, often in a favorable light. By the same token, Christian creators of alternative culture have come a long way from showing Billy Graham studio movies in church basements; producing feel-good, uplifting television dramas for the Sunday morning broadcast ghetto; or publishing treacly books that sell only because they are "Christian."
Popular culture has experienced a seismic shift in the past two decades, thanks in part to the global market economy. Commercial producers now recognize that evangelical Christians constitute a lucrative, discrete market that will respond if the product appeals to them. And sophisticated evangelicals have learned that if their production values are equal to the marketplace, their movies, TV shows, music, books, radio stations, and stand-up comics can enable them to protect their constituency from the toxic popular culture. As an unintended consequence, the best of their creations can provide effective outreach for the unchurched.