Filmmaker Explores Christianity, Ghana

Dr. James Ault

Dr. James Ault

James Ault, award-winning documentary filmmaker, author and sociologist, screens his most recent film and discusses Christianity’s explosive growth in Africa followed by Q&A on Thursday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m. in Westmont’s Winter Hall, room 106. “African Christianity Rising: Stories from Ghana,” sponsored by the World Christianity and Global Encounters of the 21st Century Lecture Series and the Adams Mission fund, is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Charles Farhadian, Westmont professor of religious studies, at (805) 565-7094.

Christianity’s influence in Africa is part of a startling reversal in world history, where it is no longer considered the religion of the West. More than two-thirds of the world’s Christians now live in the global South — with Africa growing the fastest. Ault will explore questions about what this expansion means and what developments will it foster.

Ault and his crew in Ghana

Ault and his crew in Ghana

“With guidance from leading scholars in the field, we have been documenting the vitality and changing nature of Christianity in Africa,” he says. “We have explored the ways in which it’s has become increasingly popular by becoming increasingly African — that is, becoming rooted more authentically in local cultures, as Christianity has wherever it has effectively spread.”

Ault, a Harvard graduate, earned a doctorate in sociology from Brandeis University. He co-­directed and co-­produced “Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church,” which won a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and a Cine Golden Eagle. The film offered a gripping view of life inside a fundamentalist Baptist church and its Christian school, and was broadcast as a national prime-time special on PBS in 1987. His other films include “African Christianity Rising: Stories from Zimbabwe” and “Building the New Community: Stories of Multicultural and Latino Ministry in the Episcopal Church.”

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