Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

November 2018 – Turkey on the Table
Turkey on the Table is a book and a hands-on cardboard turkey that illustrate how gratitude is an action and giving to others in need reflects one’s gratitude. “Gratitude is a learned behavior,” said Kerry Maunus, co-creator of Turkey on the Table. Maunus and another mom, April George, were inspired to start the tradition of having family members write things they’re thankful for on feathers to add to the turkey leading up to Thanksgiving Day. 

For young readers, the book reinforces the concept of gratitude in the context of an endearing story. 

In addition, there is greater benefit behind Turkey on the Table. Through a partnership with Feeding America, each kit purchased provides 10 meals to families in need. The goal is to sponsor one million meals for hungry families. 

Feeding America is a group of charities and businesses (both secular and Christian) that provide meals for hungry families. Learn more about the Turkey on the Table project at turkeyonthetable.com.

Stacy Singh

undefinedI Was There
Eric Horner’s new CD release, I Was There, includes a few old hymns, some new lyrics lifting up family relationships, and a new tribute that reflects his patriotism. It’s vintage Horner – moving narrative lyrics, soulful down-home vocals, and a heart the listener can hear.

For example, in “That’s How You Make a Man,” he paints a picture right out of the chute, beginning with these lyrics: “Turn that TV off and grab a fishin’ pole; turn off of the highway down an ol’ dirt road.” Then he proceeds to dispense a lot of practical advice, e.g. respect for elders, admitting when you’re wrong, and more.

Horner is well known for his on-base concerts for U.S. troops, and an annual “Tank Full of Love” campaign at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In the latter, he, friends, and volunteers gather for a day to purchase a tank of gasoline and encourage service members and their families.

It is fitting that his new CD closes with a tribute to the military and the U.S. flag: “You Stand for Me, I’ll Stand for You.” Learn more at erichorner.com. 

Randall Murphree

undefinedHonoring the Code
Honoring the Code: Warriors and Moral Injury is a documentary film designed to educate, encourage, and enable families, active duty soldiers, and veterans who are suffering, struggling, and striving to move forward in life. 

Only since 2009 has there been an attempt to pull apart Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and “moral injury” because there seems to be an overlap. While there are connections, they each have their distinct elements. 

Interwoven throughout the documentary are emotional stories of servicemen and women. Viewers will begin to grasp the reality that moral injury doesn’t require people to have been on the front lines to suffer this condition. Soldiers often keep this hurt to themselves because they don’t know what to do with it or who to trust.

“The main approach for moral injury is not a medical doctor with drugs,” says Retired Maj. Gen. Jim Mukoyama. “But rather it is the forgiveness and grace of a moral authority.” (See feature here.)

Robert Youngblood

undefinedPhoto left,from the movie, abortionist Kermit Gosnell on trial in 2013.

Gosnell
A full-length movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, was scheduled to release in theaters October 12 after years of roadblocks and delays. Starring Dean Cain and other stellar actors, it powerfully and truthfully portrays shocking details surrounding a drug investigation that led police investigators, DEA, and FBI agents to a repulsively filthy abortion clinic. That investigation took them further – into the unimaginably dark world of one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. 

The movie is based on police and court records, and sets are created as practical photocopies of real-life images. It reveals back-room conversations, media silence, and the 2013 trial that ended with Kermit Gosnell being sentenced to three life sentences for first-degree murder of babies born alive and killed by inserting a pair of scissors into the back of their necks and severing their spinal cords. 

The film was financed through a crowd funding campaign in which 30,000 people donated over $2.3 million. 

While producers deliberately avoided some of the more graphic material to make the PG13 film, the content is disturbing and weighty, and contains moderate profanity. But it reveals the evil of the abortion industry.

Anne Reed

undefinedFlippers
Author Asa Tittle is only seven years old, but he possesses wisdom beyond his years. Plus, he is a great storyteller. In his new book Flippers, Asa tells the story of a platypus who must learn to trust God after the tragic death of his father. Momma Platypus helps Flippers learn to traverse this journey of grief by explaining God’s sacrificial gift of salvation. 

Like Flippers, Asa knows firsthand how difficult it can be to face the suffering of loss since his father and two of his sisters were killed when their home was destroyed by a tornado. Timely scriptures accompany each engaging illustration in Flippers, and a bonus section for parents and caregivers provides biblically sound ideas for helping children understand and process the bad things that sometimes happen in life. Learn more at refinedfamily.org.

Joy Lucius

undefinedSeeking Allah, Finding Jesus
The third edition of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity has been released with bonus content from those closest to its author, Nabeel Qureshi, who died in September 2017 of stomach cancer at age 34. Qureshi grew up in a loving, devout Muslim family and had been diligently prepared by his parents and Muslim leaders to defend the tenets of Islam against Christianity. 

The New York Times bestseller is engrossing and thought-provoking. Qureshi’s easy relationship with college friend David Wood, a Christian, lightens the mood with ample banter as well as intellectual depth and their commitment to a lifelong friendship. 

Readers will likely learn a lot about Islam, Christianity, and cultural differences while walking alongside Qureshi on his difficult and emotionally charged journey of discovery. The story of Qureshi’s slow and agonizing birthing into the Christian faith will leave readers with equipped minds, softened hearts, and perhaps a newfound confidence and desire to establish relationships with Muslims and others of differing beliefs. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Anne Reed

undefinedSheep to Shepherd
After coming to faith in Christ in 1976, Thomas B. McDonald was soon applying his military background and business acumen to shaping a system of principles and practices to help young men become men of integrity and Christian character. 

McDonald’s insights are succinctly packed into his book Sheep to Shepherd, an echo of his goal to help build followers into leaders. While the stated purpose of the book is “to provide a resource to help dads teach their sons the minimum essential behaviors they need to become citizens of integrity and godly character.” 

Thirteen chapters explore 13 character traits such as discipline, mercy, toughness, respect, and surrender. Guided questions urge deeper thinking. While designed for dad and son, the book challenges any man, young or old, for group or personal study. Available at wordsalongtheway.com.

Randall Murphree

undefinedPraying Circles Around Your Future
New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson encourages readers to pray, dream, and believe. Praying Circles Around Your Future is a perfect coffee table book, filled with beautiful full-page photography and large-font quotes that will inspire increased faith and boldness in prayer. 

Batterson opens with an example from a first century (BC) Hebrew named Honi, who reportedly drew a circle around himself and prayed fervently for rain to save a generation. God’s answers to Honi’s determined, specific prayers were documented by famed Jewish historian Josephus Flavius.

“Once you embrace the unlimited power of God, you’ll draw bigger and bigger circles around your God-given, God-sized dreams,” Batterson writes. Available at online and retail bookstores.

Anne Reed

undefinedThe Story-Killers
Most parents assume that schools teach pro-American lessons about U.S. history and the nation’s present conditions, and they find it entirely appropriate for teachers to help students understand the atrocities of slavery and the struggles for civil rights for all citizens as a part of history. 

What they do not expect is a curriculum that paints America as an unjust nation from its beginning to the present, where sexism and racism have been and continue to be the norm. They do not expect students to be taught the great classic books in a day or a few days and then compared with post-modern authors who have anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-family biases. 

Dr. Terrence O. Moore, author of The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core, cites specific examples of Common Core-approved lessons that kill or ignore many of the traditional great classic stories, sweeping up traditional values in the process.

The Story-Killers is available at retail and online booksellers.

Dr. Carolyn Reeves, retired science teacher