Join us for a thought-provoking conversation on the intersection of film and faith. Movies are not just about being a financial success, they are tools used to express the worldview of the film maker – and, if we are paying attention, sometimes very important questions are being asked during a movie. Oftentimes, the film maker doesn’t have the answer – just the question. But as good apologists, we can pick up where the film left off and have a conversation that may lead to the Cross. Join us to learn how to think critically and biblically.
It’s hard enough having a painful secret that you are terrified of sharing.
It’s even harder when you find yourself in the international limelight as the advocate wife of a Christian hero imprisoned for his faith.
The worst part is fearing that, if you did share this secret, it might devastate the lives of your family and close friends, alienate tens of thousands of active supporters, and cause persecuted people around the world to become even more vulnerable.
Our guest lived in constant tension from the irreconcilable realities playing out in her own life, in her family life, in the conduct of others, and on the worldwide stage as she interacted with power brokers and well-known religious leaders. Tension involving:
· Steadfastly honoring God versus being carried away by the tide of circumstances
· Personal reality versus public persona
· Genuine faith versus hypocritical religion
· Truth and caring versus the end justifying the means
· Obedience to God versus loyalty to others
For our guest, it all came to a breaking point, and the only way through it was to die. Not physically, but in experiencing a death and rebirth in her understanding of God, her faith, and her identity as a woman. "I can't tell you how I was able to make it through, because I didn’t," she writes. "Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the new me emerged from the catastrophe of my marriage."
Abdu Murray is the President of Embrace The Truth ministry. He offers the credibility of the gospel message as a speaker and writer with Embrace the Truth. He has authored several books including Saving Truth, Grand Central Question, Apocalypse Later, and his latest book, More than a White Man’s Religion. For most of his life, Abdu was a proud Muslim until a nine-year historical, philosophical, theological, and scientific investigation pointed him to the Christian faith. Abdu has spoken to diverse international audiences and has participated in debates and dialogues across the globe. Abdu holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.
Naghmeh Abedini Panahi is the cofounder and executive director of Tahir Alnisa ("Setting Women Free") Foundation, which serves women and children around the world impacted by domestic abuse and religious-motivated violence. Born in Tehran in 1977, Naghmeh immigrated to the United States at the age of nine and soon converted from Islam to Christianity. In late 2001, after graduating from college, she returned to Iran to work as a businesswoman and missionary. There, she witnessed—and experienced—the oppression and violence women are subjected to every day in the Middle East. It was there that she also met her future husband, Saeed Abedini, with whom she led one of the largest house-church movements in Iran. In 2005, due to persecution, she and Saeed moved to the United States, where their two children were born. When Saeed visited Iran in 2012 to work on opening an orphanage, he was arrested for his involvement in the underground church and sentenced to eight years in a notorious prison. Naghmeh unceasingly advocated for Saeed’s release, appealing to President Barack Obama, Donald Trump, the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and nearly every major news outlet over the three and a half years that Saeed was in prison. Yet underneath the surface of her leadership in the Iranian house church, her family life in America, and the spotlight of her advocacy, Naghmeh had been an abused wife, and Saeed’s imprisonment had further intensified his controlling and abusive behavior. It took the crisis and aftermath of Saeed’s arrest for Naghmeh to finally recognize what had been happening to her and begin to find healing. Naghmeh’s personal experience with domestic violence and the misuse of religion to reinforce abuse has given her a passion to advocate for women who are vulnerable to abuse and oppression because of religion.