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Author Archives: Rebeca Seitz

About Rebeca Seitz

A Christian entertainment agent and publicist specializing in representing novels, novelists, motion pictures, and actors. Seitz is also a five-time published novelist. She is a regular presenter at publishing trade shows and writers conferences regarding the publicity of Christian entertainment products.

Stories…Lies?

Some of my fellow Christians keep telling me there is no eternal value in story – book, film, whatever. They ask, upon learning about Glass Road or SON, “But how is it a ministry to make stories?”

Let’s set aside the soul care offered to story creators through GR and SON for a second, and just focus on the creation of story itself.

Understanding lives in story, comprehension in character exploration. This is probably why Jesus almost always used story to teach Truth.

Our church bookstores don’t seem to follow that example consistently. Over the course of my career in stories, I have been advised numerous times by bookstore owners and publishers that there is no ministerial value in fiction. I can’t tell you how many church bookstores I’ve walked into whose shelves are lined with Maxwell, Moore, Stanley, Blackaby, and the like – and not one novel in sight.

I leave those stores feeling bereft. What of the people who need story?

What of those like Madeleine L’Engle…

“But I was frightened, and I tried to heal my fear with stories, stories which gave me courage, stories which affirmed that ultimately love is stronger than hate…And so story helped me learn to live. Story was in no way an evasion of life, but a way of living life creatively instead of fearfully.” (from WALKING ON WATER)

The wise and talented L’Engle continues… “It was a shock when one day in school one of the teachers accused me of ‘telling a story.’ She was not complimenting me on my fertile imagination. She was making the deadly accusation that I was telling a lie. If I learned anything from that teacher, it was that lie and story are incompatible. If it holds no truth, then it cannot truly be story. And so I knew that it was in story that I found flashes of that truth which makes us free.” Story holds Truth. It illustrates Truth. So, can we please stop comparing the ministerial value of callings, please? If we who are called do not build up the body of stories, what ideas will minister to those who do not respond to sermon? Ponder for just a moment whose stories will be told if we do not tell those given to us. Now to those of us who are called to the world of story creation and wondering if our work matters – please know:

When we abdicate our role as story creators in favor of a “higher” calling as defined by humans, we can only disappoint the Creator of Story who entrusted us with that element of His own being.

 

 
 

Homosexuality and Hymns

This is not an easy post to write. I love people. (Well, most people. I should love all people, but a couple are just the other side of impossible, you know?) I have this awesome privilege of hearing people’s stories all day long – of bringing those stories to the attention of a large audience. I’m going to do that here.

And some people might feel hurt by this story.

That’s not easy to think about.

But this story matters. Not just because it’s true, but also because hearing it opens a door of freedom and relief for people.

People who are wrestling hard with the urge to love someone of the same sex.

SingOverMe_Wrap_Wyn/AmericDVDWrapYep, this is a hard post to write.

I love people, regardless of whom they’re drawn to love. I especially love artists. Humans who create are a mysterious community, full of emotion and passion and ability that I can get lost in exploring. When I’m with creators, I know the Creator more.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a friend. He is married to his best friend, who is also my friend. I love them both. I think they’re intelligent, cool, fun, clever people who love Jesus. We were discussing their involvement with a major project I lead.

He asked me, “So, we need to talk about the obvious elephant in the room. Before we get too far into this, is us being gay going to be a problem?

I really hate that the question needed to be asked, even while I appreciated him for bringing it up. “Look,” I answered, “if you’re asking me about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, I have to tell you that my read of the scripture doesn’t leave me believing it’s allowed. I just can’t find that anywhere. I find the opposite. But I also know I don’t know everything and we disagree on this and I respect you. I also read scripture to say gluttony is wrong, but that doesn’t preclude me from being in relationship and doing ministry alongside fat people.”

“I appreciate that,” he said. “But I don’t think you’re going to run into that attitude with some of the supporters of this project. Our involvement could cost you.”

I sighed. “Walking out our faith is hard. At least, it is for me. I appreciate a lot of grace from people who give me wisdom when I ask and then give me room to find the wisdom when necessary. I want to give that here and I want to get that here. With everyone involved. Okay?”

“Okay.”

We talked for a while longer. I hung up. My heart hurt.

Fast forward to the present. To an email from a colleague asking if I’d be interested in helping with a new film called Sing Over Me. “I would,” I said. “Send me a link to watch it.”

I watched the film.

(You can, too – DOWNLOAD HERE. Or get the DVD HERE.) 

I bawled.

Dennis Jernigan has written hundreds of songs that we sing often in church. “We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory”, “Thank You”, Great is the Lord Almighty”, and “You Are My All in All” are just a few. He is married. A father of 9.

But he also tried to end his life early on because of an inability to deal with same-sex attraction.

I cried watching Dennis’s story because it is real. It is raw. It highlights how we Christians have so mis-directed and polarized the conversation that we actually damage and demonize people who have same-sex desires. We hurt when we should offer hope.

It is the right way to talk about this kind of story.

Not from meanness. Not from ostracizing people. Not from identifying someone based on one behavior. Not from any place other than, “This is my story. This is my walk of faith.”

This is the story of a creator, loving his Creator.

 

 

An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

Dear Glenn Beck,

BeckTVShotI’m writing because your words today caused great alarm. I doubt you remember me, so here’s a refresher:

When I wrote a blog post last Fall that went viral (oh my gosh, are you as sick of that phrase as I am?) about a commercial ABC aired during the morning news, your producer called and asked me for an interview.
In my first interview with you – for your radio show – you asked me to lead a boycott of Disney (ABC’s parent company). You asked me to organize moms to march on Disney in protest.

You said to hit ‘em where it hurts – their bank account – and they’d stop airing this stuff.

I declined. I told you I wanted to be a part of the solution by creating entertainment worthy of our time and talent. 

You told me to consider the boycott idea. Held it up as the only way to effect change in our TV content. “It’s all about the money, Rebeca.” Told me to consider a boycott before we talked again. Said you’d put your resources behind me if I’d just take on the idea.

That was a heady moment, Mr. Beck. You’ve got a lot of resources and your fans are very loyal. The tiny woman in me who is mesmerized by the shiny ball of resources started screaming. “Shut up, Rebeca! You do not tell Glenn Beck no! What are you thinking?!”

(I was thinking boycotts don’t solve anything. I was thinking a few million folks not watching a multi-billion dollar network’s channel for a bit wouldn’t make a hill of beans’ worth of difference. I was thinking I needed to focus on causing actual change, not just screaming about causing actual change. I was thinking I can’t – with integrity – tell people that they are making a difference in TV content by holding a sign and marching or by not watching a channel for a little while. I thought a lot of things and wrote them here.)

I stuffed tiny woman’s voice back in her closet. She returned with every call and blog comment telling me to take you up on your offer. A couple hours later, you interviewed me again for your TV show, Mr. Beck.

You opened this second interview by asking me if I’d reconsidered – was I now ready to organize this march on Disney? You offered your resources again. You’d back the effort, I just needed to lead it. I told you it wasn’t about money, it was about the ideology of those in charge.

You laughed.

You told me it was about the money.

Like I just didn’t get it.

And now, it sounds like you get it.

Today, the Blaze reported this quote from your show, “The arrogance on all fronts is just astounding,” he said. “And that’s why when you call your cable company, they don’t care about you. … Honestly? They don’t even care about the American market anymore. All they care about is expanding overseas, because those are growth markets.”

That’s right, Mr. Beck. It doesn’t matter if we call a cable company. If we march on Disney. If we yell or scream.

The article went on to say, “Beck said whether we like it or not, the world is about to change, and that’s why those in power are sending a ‘very clear’ message that ‘you won’t work; you won’t eat; you won’t be accepted anywhere in society’ if you have a different opinion.”

We disagree again, Mr. Beck. And the dangerous impact of your words demanded that I write.

Those words devastate and destroy and depress the people we work with. The people who are the solution.

So I’m writing you to say this:

You are accepted in entertainment if you are someone who wants to create and distribute worthy content. Uplifting. Thought-provoking. Genuinely entertaining. Clever. Intelligent. Soaked in talent and skill. Mainstream. You do have a community to consider. A community that is connected. That is productive. That is committed to principle. That is young but is growing and getting it done.

PrintWe call it SON: Spirit Of Naples.

We’d be happy to have you.

With all sincerity,
Rebeca Seitz

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

God + Suffering = ?

c3olormanprayingIf God is God of all, why is there pain? Why suffering?

Our pastor—going through a sermon series in which he addresses questions of the congregation—had the difficult task of tackling those questions yesterday. He made me think harder, pray more, and consider the Word again…which is the best kind of pastor!

He shared a story of being called to another city to baptize a newborn. The baby had been born with severe brain defects and would only live for two days. The situation begs the question, “Why, God? Why create this?”

I have had three miscarriages. Each time, I cried out to God. Aren’t children a blessing? Did I not love Him enough? Was I not “good” enough to be blessed with another child this side of Heaven? I wrestled. My husband wrestled.

There have been other difficulties in life, of course. I am an abuse survivor, as is 1 in 4 women in this country. If you’ve read other writings of mine, you know other tough situations that came and went. I’ve also had the privilege of praying with and walking with some of you through stormy circumstances.

Why does God create that?

I think it’s the wrong question.

God created a perfect world, including humans. Perfect. Without any blemish. Everything in working order. Harmony. Peace.

We broke that.

We chose to use a perfect gift He’d given us, free will, and turn away from Him.

We broke perfection.

We’ve been breaking it for generations.

When I lose a child within my womb, when a friend of mine suffers through vision abnormalities, when I witness the breakdown of my dear father-in-law’s body to Parkinson’s, or when a child is born and dies within two days from defects, I no longer ask, “Why, God?” Instead, I look in a mirror.

I did that.

You did that.

Millions of us did that.

God did not create imperfection. He set out to create perfection and, each time we see otherwise, we see the repercussions of generations and generations of breaking and breaking and breaking and breaking. How dare we lay that at His throne?

This groaning that erupts when we encounter the fallout of our choices and the choices of those who came before us – death, sickness, destruction, war – is a direct response to the groaning of the Holy Spirit within us believers. Just as it pains me to see my child hurt for his choices, it pains God to see us hurt when we use His gift of free will poorly. How much more it must pain Him to see us walking around amidst fires, famine, disease, and carnage – heaps of unholiness wrought for thousands of years by humans He created. Humans today being burned by choices made generations ago.

God desires the perfection He created.

We cry to God, “Fix this! Save us from our own consequences!” We sound like the Israelites in Judges 10, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think is best, but please rescue us now!”

And, sometimes, He does. That very next verse in Judges says, “Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” The rest of the chapter talks about how He led the Israelites to defeat the people that had been hurting them for 18 years.

Other times, the story He is weaving for all of mankind won’t allow for the miraculous removal of brokenness in the present. In those times, we read and re-read Romans 8:28. We stand on it. We cling to it. We find rest in it. “All things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose.”

We like to focus on how much God loves us. He does. More than we can comprehend. But when we encounter sickness and death, I believe it is important that we not fall for the twisting trap of satan and ask how a “loving God” creates sickness and death.

I think we must look upon and walk through that experience with the full knowledge that we created it.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Life Lessons

 

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Say, “Yes!”

“So, what do we choose instead?” Hundreds of emails, thousands of comments, lots and lots of texts and FB posts and Tweets – all asking me to point toward what we do about the problem of destructive material in our media.

I have a lot of answers now, and a couple of the bigger ones will be announced shortly.

ImageIn the meantime, I wanted to respond specifically to all of you who said you’d disengaged with media. I want to ask you to engage with one specific product. Earlier this year, DreamWorks purchased Classic Media, which is the parent company of VeggieTales. We are enormous Veggie fans in our house (okay, not so much at the table, but definitely at the TV!). When DreamWorks acquired VT, I got a little nervous. The same company that gave us “Free Birds” (which Eric Metaxas so beautifully discussed for Breakpoint) is going to be the parent of Bob and Larry? The French Peas? Madame Blueberry?

Yep. And that is INCREDIBLE. Those are good values, being acquired by an enormous company, and disseminated to an even more massive audience.

Which is why I’m asking every one of you to download the new VeggieTales app (first one since the DreamWorks acquisition, it was created by Cupcake Digital). Let’s be sure DreamWorks is reminded that there is a loyal audience for Veggie, and what it represents.

Go to your app store and search for “It’s a Very Merry Larry Christmas”. If you wanna go all out, get the DVD, too, “Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas”. It even features Si Robertson from Duck Commander.

[Full disclosure: Glass Road was hired to help get the word out about the app. Even fuller disclosure: I'd have been talking about this and buying it anyway.]

We can’t just be a people of “no” – we have to say, “YES!” as loudly as possible when good media is created. And this is good, folks! Uber-high quality app that my two kiddos have pronounced, “The coolest ever!” Any of us who have watched VeggieTales DVDs can speak to their high production value. This is a brand that sets the bar.

I love it when we have excellently produced, thought-provoking, high-quality, entertaining media to choose. If you know of other NEW media (we all love the classics, but I’m asking for NEW), let me know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

LOL…or not

On a recent trip to Nashville, I had the ridiculously fun opportunity to catch up with Jessica Dotta – and, boy, were we in for a thought-provoking experience.

(Jessica was the first person I hired into Glass Road, over 8 years ago. She worked at GR for about a year, then took a position to help another ministry grow. I hired her back when GR expanded and she brought her indefatigable spirit and staunch work ethic to bear. A year later, this brave soul decided to focus full time on her writing. Now, my incredibly talented friend is a published novelist with Tyndale whose first release is going gangbusters.)

It’s been over a year since we talked and I was excited to hear about Jessica’s book release, share with her about the big announcements coming up in my world (yes, the announcements are coming!), and just enjoy each other’s company again. We met at my hotel for breakfast.

As we laughed and shared stories and fell into that camaraderie that is forged in the trenches and always picks up right where it left off, the minutes flew by. I think I’d just told her about the strange looks I garner at the gym because I laugh out loud while watching “Friends” and running (I go to the quietest gym on the planet – it’s eerie) when a gentleman with thinning gray hair, round glasses, loose cardigan and slacks pulled up a bit too high, approached our table.

old2-man-cardiganHe stood there a moment, cleared his throat, and said, “Ladies, I had to come over here.” I prepared to be asked to quiet down (we were loud). The man clasped his hands in front of him. He looked toward the floor. He shook his head slightly and shrugged. He seemed to be trying to get control of his emotions and I wondered if Jess’s storytelling brain was going at mach speed with mine to envision a tale that would necessitate this poor older man being in such a state. We’d been discussing our faith pretty openly, too, so maybe he needed prayer? Jesus? A glass of water?

He raised his head and looked at each of us. “I had to come over and tell you how much we have enjoyed listening to you laugh. It’s just so good to hear girls your age laughing and talking like you’re doing.”

Relief at him being okay and us not being reprimanded for our volume flooded through me and I saw a grin on Jess’s face that probably mirrored mine. The man went back to his seat and Jess and I continued catching up.

A2rrrrggghhhAnother 10-15 minutes passed and here came another older gentleman. Again, he stood at the end of our table. This one appeared a bit more gruff…serious look on his face but a twinkle in his eye. Mr. No Nonsense. We ceased our chatter and looked toward him.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, ladies, but I wanted to tell you that I’ve loved listening to you two laugh. To hear your happiness in the room. It’s good to hear laughter again.”

As he went away, that last word echoed in my soul. I turned toward Jess. “Hey, he’s right. When did the laughter die?

2012-10-11 21.50.43That was three days ago and I’ve since had 14 hours of driving alone in the car to ruminate. I checked with friends of several generations and they echoed the idea – we don’t hear laughter like we did a few years ago. When we do hear it, it’s canned on TV. We walk into restaurants and there isn’t a hum of happy people talking. We walk down streets and see people, but don’t hear joy. A pall has settled on us.

Now, here’s the thing: in the second (maybe third – my memory ain’t what she used to be) year of “Grey’s Anatomy” (this was when “Private Practice” came on after it), I remember Meredith and Christina asking each other if they were happy. In the “Private Practice” episode afterward, the same question arose. I remember wondering why they seemed to be valuing “happiness” as the ultimate life goal…and assuming they’d find it primarily in whomever they slept with.

happy-faceWe hear it everywhere now. Parents just want their children to “be happy”. Spouses leave their spouses because they “just want to be happy” or “deserve some happiness”. Ads and therapists alike hound us women to get manis, pedis, massages, and facials so that we can take care of our “happiness” because, if we don’t, we can’t make anyone else happy.

Good grief, even pet stores are telling us to buy all kinds of toys and treats to make the darn dog happy. (Ours is good if I scratch his ears just-so, which is free, so he gets it a lot.)

Yet, despite all this attention on chasing happiness, it appears that we’ve become a people who smile and laugh less.

I’m pretty sure that’s because we’re worshiping at the altar of self and, ultimately, we make for pretty crappy gods. We’re way too fickle to be masters of the universe.

Today’s “happy” means managing to stay within my calorie allotment. Tomorrow’s is a donut … or two.

I’d love to hear if you’re experiencing this in your neck of the woods. Do you hear people laughing, see them smiling, as much as you did ten years ago? If not, why not?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Hope Springs…from a Public School Principal

Y’all are not going to believe this. Well, some of you may.

RechpicA dear friend of mine, Alan Stewart, is a longtime pastor in the Mayberry-esque East Tennessee town of Soddy-Daisy. His church has become known in recent years for its crazy-effective Vacation Bible School programs, which Alan wrote and based on the public domain characters from those incredible children’s tales written by Christians – Beauty and the Beast, Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan – after realizing several years of other VBS programs had been entertaining, but not effective.

Alan and the church are a go-to resource when the town needs, well, anything. Food, shelter, counsel, money, a listening ear, an answer to a troubling situation. They are what the church is supposed to be, at least in so much as I’ve known them the past few years.

Alan was asked by Sale Creek Middle and High School, a local school, to speak at their 9/11 Tribute last month. He diligently prepared a speech and delivered it on September 11. You can read it by clicking Address for Sale Creek Middle and High School.

A couple of weeks later, one of the Department of Education’s attorneys received a letter from the National Freedom From Religion Foundation. I could describe it, but it’s so much better to let them speak for themselves – see the letter by clicking FFRF Letter.

Alan – and I’ve gotta say this is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy working with him – read the letter carefully and spent some time praying and thinking about it before memorializing a reaction. He then crafted a response. Again, it’s WAY better to let a letter speak for itself. Click Rechoboth Response to read it.(You really should read it…if only to smile. Widely.)

Now we get to the part that has me grinning and shaking my head…and entertaining hope for our country.

salecreekmhThe two letters have become the talk of the school, and the town. (Small towns are both comforting and frustrating that way.)  The students are asking questions, wondering if Alan did, indeed, trample all over some constitutional right and if they should be offended or if the NFFR folks are trampling on Alan’s rights…and they should be offended.

The principal – and I am serious that we have to send this principal about forty-thousand “atta-boys” for even thinking of this, much less doing it – assigned the students the task of researching the issue and writing a paper espousing who is right and who is wrong (constitutionally speaking).

This PUBLIC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL basically said to the students, “You’re going to research, learn, think about what you’ve learned, and form an educated opinion. I will not tell you what to think.”

To Principal Tobin Davidson: I have endured quite a bit of chiding and snide looks since putting my son in a public school. I’m told he’ll be indoctrinated by Common Core and robbed of his ability to think for himself. Stripped of his right to pray. Treated harshly for being a Christian. That may well be in some schools (which is a whole ‘nother blog post).

You, however, have given me hope today.

You have renewed my faith that education can be applied at the local level, in creative ways, in public schools, to produce independently-thinking citizens grounded in Constitutional knowledge.

I’ve read the speech. I’ve read the letters. I’ve read the Constitution. I’m excited and hopeful I’ll get to read the students’ papers. THIS, friends, is why we have public education – to produce a citizenry educated in the formation and guiding principles of this country, to think about those principles, and apply them.

Bravo, Alan Stewart, for shepherding a church that is a true resource and voice of sound wisdom to the hard questions.  And bravo, Principal Davidson. Thank you for the hope, sir.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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