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March 17, 2011 

Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 or rlkyte@viterbo.edu 

“VIRTUES—AND VICES?—OF FAITH: LESSONS FROM CHRISTIANITY’S EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN AFRICA AND THE ‘TWO THIRDS’ WORLD” PRESENTATION AT VITERBO UNIVERSITY MARCH 31 

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Scholar, author, and documentary filmmaker James Ault will present “Virtues—and Vices?—of Faith: Lessons from Christianity’s Explosive Growth in Africa and the ‘Two Thirds’ World” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre. 

The presentation will include clips from Ault’s forthcoming documentary film series, African Christianity Rising: Stories from Ghana and Stories from Zimbabwe. The films have been described by Terence Ranger, professor of African History at Oxford University, as “The most penetrating and informative material I have ever seen on African Christianity, bringing out its vitality and variety without ever sensationalizing.” 

Educated at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, Ault’s first film Born Again, a portrait of a fundamentalist Baptist church, won a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and was broadcast nationally as a primetime special on PBS. His book about the project, Spirit and Fresh, received very positive reviews by the Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Post. He has made documentaries on an order of nuns, a homeless shelter, youth work, and on leadership and governance. 

“Ault has an incredible understanding of religious faith as an indispensible part of human culture, interwoven into the fabric of people’s lives,” said Rick Kyte, director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo. “He is neither evangelist nor critic, but rather a very astute observer. This presentation gives us an opportunity to view a groundbreaking piece of filmmaking while it is still taking final shape and to see religion portrayed in a way that transcends the simplistic perceptions that inform much of the contemporary American debates on the topic.”  

Ault’s presentation corresponds with the Conference on the Theological Virtues, which is being held Thursday, March 31–Saturday, April 2. It is part of the 2011 D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership’s Spring Lecture Series. The event is free and open to the public and no registration is required. 

 

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