Entry Category: Religion - Starting with G

God’s Not Dead 2

God’s Not Dead 2 is a 2016 Christian-themed movie starring Melissa Joan Hart and directed by Harold Cronk. Filmed in central Arkansas, the movie is a sequel to the 2014 film God’s Not Dead and centers upon Grace Wesley (played by Hart), a high school history teacher who encounters legal trouble for incorporating words from Christian scripture in a classroom lesson. During a lesson about civil rights figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, student Brooke Thawley (played by Hayley Orrantia), in her history class at the fictional Martin Luther King Jr. High School, asks teacher Wesley about the religious origins of King’s commitment to non-violence. Wesley’s answer incorporates a few lines of Christian scripture, specifically Jesus’s …

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (2018) marked the third installment in a popular franchise of Evangelical Christian–themed movies by production company Pure Flix. Like its predecessor, God’s Not Dead 2, it was filmed in central Arkansas and features several prominent landmarks. The movie was released nationally on March 30, 2018. Set in the fictional Hope Springs, Arkansas, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness opens where the previous movie left off—with Pastor Dave Hill (played by David A. R. White, who also produces) in jail for refusing a subpoena for the text of his sermons. After he is bailed out by his co-pastor, Reverend Jude (Benjamin A. Onyango), he finds that his church, St. James, has become a …

Gospel Music

Musicologists and journalists have often provided conflicting definitions of the term “gospel music.” Early African-American gospel was a blend of nineteenth-century hymns, spirituals, field songs, ragtime, and blues, while the religious music performed by white artists—an obvious antecedent to what would be labeled Southern gospel—incorporated folk, traditional hymns, and singing convention standards. Today’s Christian music is often categorized by genre, reflecting the social, racial, ideological, and generational diversity of the Christian community. This diversity is shown in a contrast of pervading traditions, varied approaches to lyric writing, and stylistic exchanges between the sacred and secular. Throughout the evolution of gospel music, Arkansas has remained at the forefront, producing noteworthy pioneers of yesterday and molding trendsetters of today. Several key figures …

Graham, David Crockett (D. C.)

David Crockett (D. C.) Graham was a Baptist missionary and pioneer anthropologist in southwestern China. Over the course of almost four decades in Sichuan Province, Graham, through his publications and museum work, introduced to the English-speaking world the cultures of several little known peoples, and introduced modern archaeology in the region. D. C. Graham was born in Green Forest (Carroll County) on March 21, 1884, to the farming family of William Edward Graham and Elizabeth (Atchley) Graham; he was one of nine children, five of whom died young. After his mother died, the family moved to the Walla Walla, Washington, area when Graham was about four. He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he was active in the Young Men’s …

Grannis Vigil

On September 29, 1975, in the tiny town of Grannis (Polk County), a group of approximately twenty-five residents, most of them relatives, closed themselves off from the rest of the world to ready themselves for what they believed to be the soon-approaching return of Jesus Christ. Over a period of almost ten months, the vigil members left jobs, removed children from school, and gathered food and supplies in a single residence to await the end of the world. The ensuing vigil garnered local and national attention and even sparked debate relating to the separation of church and state and the right of religious expression. The vigil ended on July 16, 1976, when federal marshals acted on a court-ordered notice of …

Graves, Lawrence Preston

Lawrence Preston Graves served as the second auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop for the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the state of Arkansas. Graves was also the second native Arkansan to be elevated to the Catholic hierarchy. Lawrence Graves was born on May 4, 1916, in Texarkana (Miller County); his parents, Louis Graves and Agnes Fant Graves, were local grocers. They had two sons and two daughters. Raised in St. Edward’s Church in his hometown, he attended all twelve grades in the local parish school and was a member of the first graduating high school class. At eighteen, Graves entered St. John’s Seminary in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and, two years later, Bishop John B. Morris sent him to the …

Great Passion Play

aka: Passion Play
The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) is an outdoor drama depicting the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. There was a “soft” media opening on July 14, 1968, followed the next night with the first public performance. More than 7.5 million people from all over the world—an average of 100,000 a year—have attended this tourist attraction, the outdoor play with the largest attendance in the United States. The production includes animals, period costumes, a life-sized city street scene, numerous special effects, original music, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and more than 200 cast members. The Great Passion Play is one of the Five Sacred Projects of the Elna M. Smith Foundation, created by Gerald L. K. Smith and …

Greek Orthodox

The ancient Christian Greek Orthodox Church claims a founding by Jesus Christ and his apostles, as described in the Book of Acts in the Bible, along with a claim to an unbroken historical existence. Orthodox Christianity endeavors to lead all peoples of all nationalities toward a dynamic spiritual relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Arkansas has an estimated 2,000 Greek Orthodox Christians, out of a total 1.5 million in the United States and approximately 300 million worldwide. The teachings of Orthodoxy are described in the Nicene Creed, adopted in AD 325 by an ecumenical council: belief in one God, creator of all things, and his Son, Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the world’s salvation and …

Greer, William Ezra

William Ezra Greer was a minister and civil rights and social activist in Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s. Ezra Greer was born in Illinois around 1925, but a lack of documentation makes it impossible to identify his exact date of birth. Not much is known about his early life, but early on he became a minister with the Church of God in Christ. He became particularly active in the Church of God in Christ’s department of evangelism and directed the public relations efforts of the church. Greer also served as a “national evangelist” for the church and conducted revivals around the country. He appears to have been assigned to Alabama; settling in Birmingham in the early 1950s, he served …