Archive for August, 2010

Thomas Chatterton Williams’ Losing My Cool is a compelling new memoir that exposes the dangers of hip-hop culture and celebrates the power of education over ignorance.

Click here to read Urban Faith’s review on BCNN4 Youth.

Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-hop Culture
ISBN: 978-1594202636
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Price: $24.95
Losing My Cool‘ on Kindle

Thomas Chatterton Williams’s Playlist Inspired by Losing My Cool
Listen to Thomas Chatterton Williams‘s annotated playlist, a lineup of ten essential hip-hop tracks that informed Losing My Cool, including highlights from Dr. Dre, 2pac, and Jay-Z.
Browse the playlist.

WATCH: Losing My Cool – Thomas Chatterton Williams

A pitch-perfect account of how hip-hop culture drew in the author and how his father drew him out again-with love, perseverance, and fifteen thousand books.

Into Williams’s childhood home-a one-story ranch house-his father crammed more books than the local library could hold. “Pappy” used some of these volumes to run an academic prep service; the rest he used in his unending pursuit of wisdom. His son’s pursuits were quite different-“money, hoes, and clothes.” The teenage Williams wore Medusa- faced Versace sunglasses and a hefty gold medallion, dumbed down and thugged up his speech, and did whatever else he could to fit into the intoxicating hip-hop culture that surrounded him. Like all his friends, he knew exactly where he was the day Biggie Smalls died, he could recite the lyrics to any Nas or Tupac song, and he kept his woman in line, with force if necessary.

But Pappy, who grew up in the segregated South and hid in closets so he could read Aesop and Plato, had a different destiny in mind for his son. For years, Williams managed to juggle two disparate lifestyles- “keeping it real” in his friends’ eyes and studying for the SATs under his father’s strict tutelage. As college approached and the stakes of the thug lifestyle escalated, the revolving door between Williams’s street life and home life threatened to spin out of control. Ultimately, Williams would have to decide between hip-hop and his future. Would he choose “street dreams” or a radically different dream- the one Martin Luther King spoke of or the one Pappy held out to him now?

Williams is the first of his generation to measure the seductive power of hip-hop against its restrictive worldview, which ultimately leaves those who live it powerless. Losing My Cool portrays the allure and the danger of hip-hop culture like no book has before. Even more remarkably, Williams evokes the subtle salvation that literature offers and recounts with breathtaking clarity a burgeoning bond between father and son.

Visit Thomas on his official site at: http://thechattertonreview.com/ and on Facebook and Twitter.
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Recently Franklin Graham held his awesome Rock the River West festival in Canada. Check out videos from the festival here on their official YouTube channel. You can also read more of what took place at their site. PLUS: Keep up with Rock The River Tour on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, and Ransom.tv.

Below check out the video of Lecrae performing at Rock the River. Along with Lecrae, other artists were Skillet, Hawk Nelson, Flyleaf, Downhere, and Starfield.

Superstar Common took time out to speak with BV Buzz about faith and his success.

“I think that’s the foundation for me. That’s how I am able to exist in the industry,” he said.

“You have to bring who you are and what you are and your spirituality and the things that you believe in have to exceed and go beyond anything that you do,” he continued. “Any work that you do and accolades that you get, you have to know that God is more important and family and love that you have for others. I just put that first and wake up in the morning like this is who I am. That allows me to function more in the music industry and the Hollywood world.”

The rapper gone actor is getting ready to head back to his hometown, Chicago and will be stopping by his childhood church, Trinity United Church.

Click here to continue reading.

Since its online launch in 1997, the EUR/Electronic Urban Report (www.eurweb.com) has become the Internet’s foremost information source for urban entertainment, sports, politics and opinion.

The faith of teenagers is a picture of contrasts. Teenagers are consistently among the most religiously active Americans, with nearly six out of every 10 teens engaged in some type of group spiritual activity in a typical week. Yet, the spirituality of teenagers is also remarkably diverse and fluid.

A new research study from the Barna Group explores the changing religious environment of teenagers, comparing their participation in personal and group forms of faith over the past dozen years. While most teenagers remain spiritually active in some way, it appears that six specific types of teen faith engagement are declining.

Changing Faith
In several ways, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen years ago. The study assessed nine different forms of teenage involvement; six of those religious activities are at their lowest levels since Barna Group began tracking such teen behaviors. These included small group attendance, prayer, Sunday school participation, donations to churches, reading sacred texts other than the Bible, and evangelism by Christian teens (explaining their belief in Jesus Christ with others who have different faith views).

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group and the director of the research, pointed out that some of these changes may go unnoticed by church leaders because the most visible activities – teen church attendance and youth group involvement – have not changed much in recent years. Bible reading was also roughly on par with previous Barna tracking of teenagers, further confounding a clear picture of teen faith.

Kinnaman commented on the findings: “While there is still much vibrancy to teen spirituality, it seems to be ‘thinning out.’ Teenagers view religious involvement partly as a way to maintain their all-important relationships. Yet perhaps technology such as social networking is reconfiguring teens’ needs for relationships and continual connectivity, diminishing the role of certain spiritual forms of engagement in their lives. Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook.”

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The Barna Group (which includes its research division, the Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization that conducts primary research on a wide range of issues and products, produces resources pertaining to cultural change, leadership and spiritual development, and facilitates the healthy spiritual growth of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Located in Ventura, California, Barna has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each new, bi-monthly update on the latest research findings from The Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website (www.barna.org). Additional research-based resources, both free and at discounted prices, are also available through that website.