taking the words of Jesus seriously

When the nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards were announced, there was a surprise in the Best Original Song category, “Alone Yet Not Alone.” The song is the creation of composer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dustin Spiegel and is the title song of the movie by the same name. This little known film is scheduled for major release in June of this year, but it had a limited run last September. The run was just long enough to qualify for eligibility, and the haunting voice of Joni Eareckson Tada caught the attention of enough Academy voters to qualify it for nomination.

In late January the Board of Governors of the Academy rescinded the nomination citing improper promotion tactics as the reason. Morgan Lee of the Christian Post wrote that Broughton, a former member of the Board of Governors and a current member of the executive committee,  sent 70 personal emails in January asking his colleagues to “boldly direct your attention to entry #57 … This is merely a request for your consideration.” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, current president of the Academy, is quoted by Huffington Post as saying “No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position … creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.” Broughton and others involved in the creation of the song were surprised by the Academy’s reaction, especially in light of the campaigns mounted by some of the major studios, but they are accepting the decision with grace.

Tada was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident as a teenager, but she has gone on to become a well-known Christian author and speaker. In the video, you will see a man seated in front of her in the recording booth. This is her husband Ken, and he presses on her diaphragm in order to give her the breath support she needs during the recording. Tada knows what it is to face what seems impossible and overcome it with God’s help. When she sings, it is not just pretty words and notes but a heart-felt message that comes from her own experience. “Alone Yet Not Alone” may never win an Academy Award, but it has a message that deserves to be heard.

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