Christian Living

ChurchWatch 11/02/07

'Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story' Releases on DVD

The American Civil War was a key turning point in the history of the United States of America. But it was also a key turning point in the history of freedom for mankind. The causes of the war are still disputed to this day. Those of a southern sympathy argue that it was a war over the rights of states to be self-governing. Those of a northern persuasion argue that it was a war that began as a campaign to preserve the Union, but that evolved beyond that goal into a war to make all Americans -- regardless of race -- truly free.


There were no easy answers for those who had to choose sides in this complicated war. Some from the South moved to the North; and some from the North moved to the South. Brother fought against brother, and friend against friend.


Many people were conflicted as they went to war, fighting against their brethren, many who prayed to the same God, and shared many of the same values.


One of these men who reluctantly went to war was Thomas Jackson, a dedicated Christian, and aProfessor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artilleryat the Virginia Military Institute. Though his choice was painful and difficult, once he decided to fight for his native state of Virginia, and thus on the side of the South, Jackson quickly rose as one of the most intelligent and bold commanders in the war.


Jackson is considered by military historians to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in United States history. His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide to this day.


During the first major battle of the war at First Bull Run, the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson's brigade provided crucial reinforcements. Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer."


Franklin Springs Family Media, with producer/director Ken Carpenter, have released Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, a 48-minute documentary that examines this complicated, but devoted Christian man. The video recounts the life and faith of Jackson, beginning with his orphaned childhood in what is now West Virginia.


The story follows Jackson as he is trained for military service at West Point and then moves to Lexington, Virginia, to join the staff of the Virginia Military Institute. It is in Lexington that Jackson established a Sunday school class for African-Americans -- a class that continued long after his death in the Civil War.


Shot in High Definition video, the film features new footage from Jackson's boyhood home near Weston, West Virginia, along with scenes from various settings in Lexington, Virginia, and key Civil War battle sites, including Manassas and Chancellorsville, Virginia, as well as Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.


Included in Still Standing is valuable insights from respected historians James. I. Robertson, Jr. and William Potter. The documentary also features commentary from Francis Lightburn Cressman, great granddaughter of Civil War Union General, and Jackson boyhood friend, Joseph Lightburn.  


The film is endorsed by Jim Bob Howard, Editor-in-Chief of Homeschooling Today Magazine. "Still Standing chronicles the life of a true Christian man brought to fame by his exemplary military acumen in the American Civil War. But it was his faithfulness to the Gospel — in his family, with his children, toward his soldiers, and the Sunday School class for Blacks (freemen and slaves) that he started, taught, and supported — that, no doubt, earned Thomas Jackson the reward of hearing those precious words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ from his King when he ‘crossed over the river’ and finally ‘rested under the shade of the trees.'"


"This is yet another excellent film from Franklin Springs," writes reviewer and home school parent Bethany Vaugh. "…[it] not only excels in masterful workmanship and beauty, but completely captures the Biblical worldview, the gentle heart, and solid character of Stonewall Jackson during a pivotal time in our nation’s history."


"We especially enjoyed the information presented about Stonewall Jackson’s black Sunday school class in which he labored diligently to share the love of Christ with his black brothers and sisters.  It is a fascinating and inspiring story that still lives on today."


The film is based on the book "Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend," by Richard G. Williams, Jr. Producer/Director Ken Carpenter was moved by William's book about Jackson's caring efforts to advance the standing of enslaved people. "[This] reveals a fascinating side of this great American hero -- a side we never learned about in history class. The film explores the character that defines this man, and I believe it will inspire and challenge audiences to reconsider preconceived notions about a uniquely complex period in American history."


Carpenter is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked in film, television and music video. He was awarded the 2007 GMA Dove Award for the long form video, Time Again … Amy Grant Live. He is completing work on a new John Tesh broadcast special, as well as 13 episodes of a new television show featuring Joni Eareckson Tada.


Recognizing the need for more family-edifying DVD selections for the home-centered marketplace, Carpenter recently founded Franklin Springs Family Media. A pioneer in the Christian music video industry, some of Carpenter's credits include the Billboard Music Video Award-winning clip "The Hard Way," by dcTalk; Michael W. Smith's Dove Award-nominated "There She Stands" music video; and the Newsboys' "In the Belly of the Whale" video from Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie.


Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story is currently available at FranklinSprings.com.

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