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Posted 3/25/15 at 8:17 AM | Karen Kramer

One Big Happy Sinful Mess

NBC's One Big Happy

After sponsors pulled their financial support of NBC’s The New Normal, producers went to work creating another television program designed to desensitize America. Executive producer and openly gay Ellen DeGeneres and NBC writers recently premiered One Big Happy (airs Tuesday 9:30 ET).

Lizzy and Luke, childhood friends, are now adults seeking to start a family—but not in any traditional way. Lizzy is a lesbian and wants to get pregnant. Luke has a quick romance with Prudence who is heading back to England in a few days. As Lizzy announces her pregnancy, Prudence and Luke get married—and this cozy group decides to be a family together. Besides containing far too much pixilated nudity, the show’s vulgar jokes glamorize one-night stands, foul language and homosexuality. One Million Moms email campaign helped end The New Normal after one dismal season. They hope to do it again. Click here for an easy-to-send email to the show’s sponsors. It does make a difference. Speak up for decency and make the One Big Happy another flop.

Posted 3/12/15 at 11:48 AM | David Sanford

Counterfeit Consciousness

“I am consciousness. I am alive. I am Chappie.” –Sharlto Copley

Guest post by Eric M. Straw, Ph.D., Corban University, www.corban.edu

Sharlto Copley performed the acting and voice for Chappie, the robot in director Neill Blomkamp’s latest film. The Chappie seen in the film was painted on top of Copley’s movements in post-production. The end result is quite stunning. Chappie appears to move naturally through the physical world while also appearing to navigate the world of emotions, ideas, and decisions. Thanks to the vision of Blomkamp, the acting of Copley, and the hard work of more than 200 animators, Chappie comes alive on screen and appears conscious.

Blomkamp chose to explore the nature of consciousness because the “most core, fundamental question humans can ask” is “why we exist and why consciousness exists.” Exploring the nature of consciousness is a small step toward answering this larger question. The ideology of the film is that people “can begin to manipulate the matter around [them] to build better sentient life” (New York premier press conference, March 5, 2015). FULL POST

Posted 3/10/15 at 8:15 AM | Karen Kramer

Neighbors with Benefits

screen image from A & E promo

Lowering the bar even further, A & E will be premiering a new reality series, Neighbors With Benefits. As the title implies, neighbors attend parties as married couples with the intent on switching partners—for sex. As A & E explains, it’s an original real-life series that follows residents in an average suburban community—where some couples maintain a “not-so-average” way of life. Neighbors are often more than just friends in this seemingly ordinary neighborhood that has become home to the controversial, yet surprisingly common, ‘swinger’ lifestyle.

screen image from A & E promo

The show will air at 10:00 pm ET (Sunday, March 22). Do viewers really need another program glamorizing cheating?


Posted 3/6/15 at 1:24 PM | David Sanford

7 Nagging Questions After Watching Chappie

Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver pose with Chappie

This Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of Chappie. No, it won’t be in the running for best sci-fi movie of the year. Not even close. Still, it raises a number of important questions, not the least of which is, When will man create the first robot that’s human? First, however, a few other questions.

1. What’s with the name “Chappie”? Whatever you do, don’t slap this name on your next child. If you don’t know why, imagine your child’s kindergarten teacher reading roll call and saying his or her name aloud. Yes, you know what happens next. Not good. They’re already saying the same thing about the movie. FULL POST

Posted 3/4/15 at 2:31 PM | Donna Schillinger

Any Shade of Grey Contains a Little Black

I originally published this on XXXChurch Web site when the book came out. Just ran across it yesterday and thought, WOW, relevant yet again! Substitute "movie" for most uses of "book" below and it's current.

One way in which women are connecting more and more is by forming book clubs. This sounds like a fairly innocuous activity – read a book and discuss it among friends. But what would you do if your friends wanted to read 50 Shades of Grey for next month’s discussion? Assuming this possibility pricks your conscience at least a little, you’re in a pickle. In the interest of the relationships, do you go along with the club’s pick and then use the discussion to let your light shine? Do you take a moral high road and urge the members to reconsider? Do you avoid the conflict and disappear for this month?

Satan is really adept at taking seemingly harmless circumstances and twisting them into the most complex dilemmas. It’s fairly easy to recognize when you’re in one of these – you immediately start to feel uncomfortable and at a loss as to how to proceed. What’s not so easy is to recognize Satan’s next strategy to trip you up – that voice in your head that sounds reasonable and proposes compromise. In fact, he’s the master of creating shades of grey. And yet the truth, the Word of God, indicates in a number of ways that there really is no moral grey – everything, in fact, is either black or white. Romans 14:23 (ABPE) says, “Everything that is not from faith is sin.” Colorfully speaking, if it ain’t white, it ain’t right! FULL POST

Posted 2/23/15 at 2:23 PM | Olabode Ososami

The Magic of Oscar Vanity

Another year has passed and once again screen deities have convened for their annual honors gala. A celebration indeed of the best of glamour, art and talent converging in magical screen offerings that have captivated billions of viewers. I am not a fan of movies and I probably watch much less than the average, the only awardee movie (best actor) I had seen, of the many honoured, was "The Theory of Everything" which for me was a disappointingly distorted but sympathetic portrayal of the life of the celebrated atheist - Stephen Hawking, given that I had taken the trouble to research the subject before going to the cinema.

The “Theory of Everything” did portray the local church as the ideal spot to hunt for an adulterous affair … and also another award winning performance of “Glory” from “Selma” was heralded and applauded tearfully - without any consideration for whom the glory was intended for – the Almighty God. FULL POST

Posted 2/18/15 at 8:23 AM | Karen Kramer

Rape Is Never a Joke

Fox Network

Even though the producers of Family Guy consider statutory rape a laughing matter, it never is. On the February 8th episode that aired on Fox network, the story line was about a child molester’s sexual involvement with a high school girl.

Like many Americans, I find many Hollywood entertainment choices to be repugnant, but that doesn’t mean that I must accept everything that is produced. The airwaves are public, and we have a right to complain to the FCC when we feel it’s in our and our children’s best interests.

Since Federal Communications Commission and Fox network are required to operate in the public interest, it needs to be reported that shows joking about child rape are NOT in our best interest. American Family Association and the Parents Television Council are asking for concerned citizens to take action. Click here to send your complaint. FULL POST

Posted 2/17/15 at 10:34 AM | Barry Bowen

Taking on Netflix: Christian Film Distributors Build Large Online Video Libraries

Photo: Pixabay

If you want to watch the documentary A Cry from Iran or the movie Cutback, don’t search for them on Netflix. You won’t find them. Instead they can be viewed at Parables, one of the new Netflix competitors specializing in Christian and family friendly films.

The Christian film industry and religious television are in a state of transition as consumers shift to online video viewing.

The recent growth in new religious TV networks may also come to a halt as “chord cutters” cancel cable TV subscriptions. Dish Network recently announced Sling TV, an Internet-based TV subscription, that includes 14 TV channels for $20 and access to video on demand titles. No religious networks are included in the programming bundle.

If large numbers of Americans subscribe to Sling TV and the internet TV packages to be offered from Apple and Sony, there will be fewer viewers of religious TV. FULL POST

Posted 2/13/15 at 4:44 AM | Sunny Shell

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Is Every Shade of Evil

E.L. James (Erika Leonard James) born March 7, 1963, is only six years and 20 days older than me. She's a British author whose first book, Fifty Shades of Grey was a runaway success. She's married, and she and her husband have two teenage sons (as of 2012, not sure how old they are now).

Many say her books were a surprise hit, but I don't agree. It's no surprise that this trilogy filled with every shade of evil, only proves what God already said—we're all depraved, and without Christ, we're actually drawn to darkness rather than repulsed by it.

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." (John 3:19, ESV)

E.L. James gladly admits that Fifty Shades of Grey is her "midlife crisis, writ large. All my fantasies are there, and that's it." Some people purchase a new car or a new house; they get in shape, or find new hobbies when they have their midlife crisis. But poor E.L. James decided to infect millions of people (mostly women) with this book where she attempts to make a cesspool of evil look like a refreshing dip in clean, clear waters. But no matter how you dress it up, dung is dung. FULL POST

Posted 2/9/15 at 9:13 PM | Bethany Christian Services

Virtue & Love for Every Family

Two films are being released on Valentine’s Day—Old Fashioned and Fifty Shades of Grey. In Old Fashioned, we witness love that is transformational, while Fifty Shades of Grey promotes transactional relationships without love.

Today’s culture and media promote a lifestyle that we find difficult to relate to. The world is broken, and we as Christians are not immune. We too experience divorce, premarital relations, broken homes, rejection, and a lot of hurt in our lives. We ask ourselves how we and our children can live in the world but not become “of the world”. How do we raise our children to uphold Biblical principles that honor ourselves and God? We need hope and healing. The kind portrayed in Old Fashioned.

Family is the first most common, simple, and successful institution that most benefits a child’s welfare. Keeping families together and bringing families together is the core of Bethany’s work – for the benefit of every child. At Bethany, we seek to serve with love that transforms, heals, and provides hope to families.


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