The #BTTR Blog: Frank Capra, Theresa Linden, Audrey Assad

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This is the blog written BY Catholic teens for Catholic teens and their families. Virtue Works Media founder, Cathy Gilmore, is the editor for the BTT team. These teens are called the "Beyond the Trend Teens" because their task as a blogging team is to look beyond trends to highlight Catholic authors and artists who show us how to #Be The Change needed to make the world a BeTTeR (#BTTR ) place.

The authors and artists recommended in this #BTTR Blog are highlighted, along with some others, in the radio podcast “Beyond the Trend Teens Recommend Radio Show: Gift Card Edition.” It’s linked below. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to record at Covenant Network Radio Station in St. Louis, MO. Check it out! The featured Catholic Creatives create content worth enjoying, and have talent worth supporting. We think they are worth spending a gift card on any of their work :)

Scroll below to read and discover great choices to READ. WATCH. & LISTEN.

Jorge/PG: WATCH. Frank Capra

Why should a teen, or anyone, watch old black and white films directed by a dead director named Frank Capra? That’s the question I asked myself when I first watched these movies. As I watched them, I realized that they are funny without mocking people, and the wit isn’t just fun, it means something. Frank Capra is a director who celebrates underdogs who have to have the courage to fight. Modern celebrities often get us to envy their fancy lifestyles, but Frank Capra makes us laugh while showing that fame and wealth are NOT the guarantee to happiness. He is actually considered one of the best directors of all time. His Catholic faith is part of his movies in subtle ways. Once you think about it, you can recognize images of Jesus and Christianity in the way his characters behave. Frank Capra shows that Catholicism is funny, without making fun of it.

Here are a few examples of good Frank Capra films:

In It’s a Wonderful Life, it shows that you can deeply touch or help people even if it seems to you… that your life doesn’t matter.

In You Can’t Take it With You, Frank Capra shows that you don’t have to worry about peer pressure and social classes. You can just be yourself. In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra shows that even regular people can make a difference if you have the courage to stand up for what is right.

In Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, he shows that greed doesn’t make you happy and the joy of giving wealth away is actually better. (But surprise, NONE of these films are preachy or directly religious.)

And Arsenic and Old Lace is a fun Frank Capra classic Halloween comedy, with just a little bit of horror, (but not too gross) for everyone to enjoy.

Emmy/ER & YA - READ: Theresa Linden

Theresa Linden loved to read as a teen and now has become a successful Catholic author as an adult. She grew up in a military family and they moved around a lot. That gave her a sense of adventure. Her books take her readers on some pretty great adventures. She has two prominent series. Our favorite is the Liberty Series: Chasing Liberty, Testing Liberty and Fight For Liberty. These are dystopian stories that once you start reading you just have to keep turning the pages. You are glad that there are more books to come because you can’t wait to read the next one. Here’s the book trailer video for Testing Liberty. It is book two in Theresa Linden’s action-packed dystopian Liberty Series.

Theresa Linden’s contemporary fiction novels, especially the West Brothers Series demonstrate the drama of modern relationships, but also includes the spiritual effects of the character’s choices in their lives. These are great stories that bring faith naturally into the mix. They are great books by a great author who just happens to be Catholic. No sappy/preachy stuff here.

Luke/LED - LISTEN: Audrey Assad

Audrey Assad is a 30 year old singer, pianist, and song-writer. She lived in a fundamentalist home when she was young. She faced lots of trauma and anxiety as a youth. Creating music helped her. Over time, she felt drawn toward Catholicism and she would write “stress relief” songs. Now her music can help everyone find peace and spiritual comfort in the middle of stress and tension.

One of her songs, Evergreen, which was inspired by St. Augustine, helps listeners reconstruct their faith. In her song, she says that God let’s you do what you want. She also expresses doubt and fear in the song. The rhythm and music of Evergreen deepens the minds of listeners and puts peace in their mind and heart.

Ought To Be is another song by Audrey Assad. Ought To Be talks about love from God. It’s a very peaceful song just like Evergreen. The song expresses how love of God is always there to be. God’s Love is everywhere and covers a wide range. Love may not be what you may see, but it will always be there.

Good to Me is another song she wrote expresses how God is so good. She puts all her trust in Him. She will praise Him no matter what, even in the fires. She expresses that God follows her and provides the best for her. It’s another peaceful song, filled with hope and goodness.

The identities of these bloggers are semi-anonymous because ANY teen can be a Beyond the Trend Teen when they choose media and entertainment with content that goes beyond the status quo. Books, movies and music that actually affirms character and conscience. What these teens are recommending goes beyond entertainment. They are recommending we look at the authors and artists and notice how they are making a difference in our culture... and ask ourselves…how is God calling us to discover their work and perhaps follow in their footsteps, to use our creativity to #BeTheChange our world needs.