For Darrell Campbell and Rodney Stone, the legend of basketball great “Pistol” Pete Maravich is a story worth telling and retelling. And that’s exactly what these two film producers have spent a good part of their careers doing.

Last year, Campbell and Stone, who co-produced the original 1991 film The Pistol … The Birth of a Legend, purchased the worldwide rights to the movie. “Our desire was to somehow use the film to tell the rest of the story of Pistol Pete and to glorify God through it,” Stone said.

The largely untold part of Maravich’s life is the story of his radical conversion from a bitter, rebellious, alchoholic former pro athlete to a bold follower and witness of Jesus Christ. 

The DVD “Inspirational Edition” contains bonus content that gives a moving account of Maravich’s new life in Christ. In a segment originally filmed only weeks before his death and never before released to the public, Maravich gives his own Christian testimony.

In another powerful bonus feature, Dr. James Dobson, speaking to a group of young people, recounts the day in 1988 when at age 40 Maravich died in his arms after a pick-up basketball game.

The birth of the film
Stone moved to Van Nuys, California in the early 1980s to serve as youth minister at a church that included over 200 people who worked in the film industry. One of those was Darrell Campbell, a young screen- writer/producer. The pair of 20-somethings became fast friends.

Along the way, a church connection opened the door for Stone to join the promotion team on the film The Mission, staring Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro. Eventually Stone left his youth ministry post for a job with Warner Brothers.

Meanwhile, Campbell accepted an assignment to co-write the biography of his childhood hero, Pistol Pete Maravich. Campbell quickly recognized the potential in Maravich’s story not only for a book, but also for an inspirational feature film. He asked Stone, also a Pistol Pete fan, to join him and Maravich in the venture.

From the beginning it was the intent of Maravich and the producers to make a movie of hope and inspiration. That’s why the movie focuses on Maravich as a 14-year-old in 1959. “That was the year Pete became aware of his dream to be the greatest basketball player and to commit himself to the work necessary to reach that goal,” Campbell said. “Pete wanted audiences to know that a dream can become a reality.”

Over the years The Pistol was been distributed by several film companies and seen in over 60 countries.

In 2004 Campbell and Stone, still close friends, had not worked together in 13 years. Both were living in Georgia when they decided to renew their partnership to produce a new inspirational movie. But as the pair began work on a new project, God sent the opportunity to purchase the rights to The Pistol.

“We see the new DVD as a ministry tool, like a Gospel tract” Campbell said. “If you can get it into the hands of an unbeliever and get them to watch the bonus material, you have made a powerful inroad for the Gospel.”

The Pistol is the deeply hopeful story of basketball hall-of- famer Pete Maravich. Based on the book Heir to a Dream by Darrell Campbell, the movie focuses on the scrawny five-foot-two eighth grader’s first year playing varsity high school basketball in Clemson, South Carolina, in 1959.

The film highlights a rare and loving father/son relationship, the value of pursuing dreams with hard work and commitment and maintaining personal integrity when being pressured to conform. A subplot portrays Maravich and his father, Press, as contributing to improved race relations.

The “Inspirational Edition” adds bonus content that tells the story of Maravich’s later Christian conversion. (See main story.)

The Pistol is not rated. Questionable content: Pete calls a teammate a “butthead;” a player accidently and comically hits himself in the groin with a basketball.

For more information on the film and Maravich’s life, visit www.pistolmovie.com or call 800-331-4077.

BOOK REVIEWS: Critical issues, cogent insights

EDUCATION
Public Education Against America
By Marlin Maddoux

Public education began in early America as a Christian endeavor. Any observer of that institution today can verify that there’s been a catastrophic change. In Public Education Against America (Whitaker House, 2006), the late Marlin Maddoux uncovers some shocking trends reflecting the fact that public education in the U.S. has taken a decided turn for the worse and is now firmly entrenched in the gutter of liberal political correctness.

Maddoux was host of Point of View, a radio talk show, and founder of the USA Radio Network. As a journalist and broadcaster, his voice became a trusted standard bearer for faith, freedom and family.

This volume includes countless horror stories illustrating education’s abandonment of Christian moral values. In his review of the book, Ted Baehr said: “Because my wife is on chemotherapy, we went from homeschooling one of my children to sending her to public school for one year. In doing so, we discovered that the world history textbook had three chapters on Islam and no mention of Christianity.”

Baehr’s experience reflects precisely the kind of incident Maddoux documents over and over again. Fortunately, Maddoux not only sounds the alarm. He also includes a brief but meaty synopsis of  the options for parents plus a number of invaluable resources to help them clarify the issues.

FATHERHOOD
The Image of a Father
By Bryan Davis

The foreword to The Image of a Father (AMG, 2004) cites the sobering fact that in recent decades, the critical role of the father in a family has been radically diminished by popular culture. This trend even extended to the church, with many objecting to calling God a father.

Author Bryan Davis relates personal experiences in rearing his seven children, now ages 8 to 23. One anecdote recounts the time when a young daughter asked him, “What does God look like?” In their ensuing dialogue, Davis realized that it was up to him to show her what God is like.

Regarding sons, Davis admonishes men, “Show him how to be strong, openly display your passion for protecting your family, and above all, let him see how much you love your wife. In other words, show him Biblical manliness, the masculine side of God our Father.”

Davis, who also writes young adult fiction, is a master storyteller. That quality comes in handy as he infuses humor, practical application and occasional emotion into this very reader-friendly volume for dads. He lays out tried-and-true principles to help fathers do their job better. Through 12 chapters he deals with 12 roles of a father – provider, teacher, comforter, guide, and peacemaker among them.

Because he’s been there – and is still there – Davis’ words bear the clear mark of authenticity.

PORNOGRAPHY
Think Before You Look
By Daniel Henderson

Think Before You Look (Living Ink, 2005) is a top-tier little handbook for the man who wants to find power over secret sexual temptations.

Author Daniel Henderson kicks off the172-page volume with a short introduction, “Considering the Consequences.” He compares the ultimate (and hidden) consequences of sin to lung cancer in those who work a lifetime around asbestos; it may go undetected for years, but the consequences will come. He calls pornography “the devil’s tool of choice for luring many to a life of destructive consequences.”

Forty short chapters outline 40 reasons to avoid pornography. The first is, “I enjoy the pleasure of a love relationship with God.” Others include: “I avoid a life pattern of deception,” “I refuse the temptation of idolatry,” and “I learn to live in reality rather than fantasy.” Still others address principles such as achieving authentic intimacy, laying up eternal rewards, earning your wife’s trust and protecting your children.

Henderson urges men, “Think repentance. Think confession. ... Trust God for grace to move onward and upward in your pursuit of purity. Finally, he caps off the book with “40 Practical Pointers for Avoiding Pornography.”

It’s a powerful guide for men, endorsed by Christian leaders such as pastor/author David Jeremiah, evangelist Luis Palau and Seattle Seahawks runningback Shaun Alexander. Henderson is pastor of Grace Church of Eden Prairie in the Minneapolis suburbs.