Posted 5/21/15 at 12:26 PM | Brian Wallace
Posted 5/6/15 at 8:49 AM | Karen Kramer
A & E Network doesn’t get it. When “Neighbors With Benefits” failed due to lack of sponsorship after two measly episodes, producers became anxious to see if “Seven Year Switch” might resonate with audiences.
Both shows highlight adultery and encourage it as entertainment and perhaps the spice any marriage needs to remain vibrant.
In “Seven Year Switch” four couples “at a crossroads in their relationship” will get the opportunity to not just separate from their current spouse but to live with another person—yes including sleeping with him/her. Consider it a two-week experimental relationship. After this brief hiatus from married life the original couples reunite and determine whether they should renew their vows or call it quits.
Gena McCarthy, one of the senior programming executives overseeing this venture, describes “Seven Year Switch” as a way to see if absence really does make the heart grow fonder. FULL POST
Posted 4/28/15 at 12:40 PM | Karen Kramer
As if we don’t have enough hedonistic shows on the airwaves, Sex and the City writer and producer, Darren Star created the sexually themed sitcom, Younger. TV Land Network airs this show Tuesday nights at 10 pm. The premise is a 40 year- old suddenly single mom needing to find employment.
She meets a young guy at a bar and since he thinks she’s younger than her 40 years, she decides to pass herself off as 26. Of course, the deception allows her to get a dream job and date a much younger guy. Viewers see pixilated nudity, a topless outdoor lunch during Topless Tuesday, bedroom scenes that leave nothing to the imagination, excessive alcohol consumption, and a litany of crude jokes.
Younger is designed to entertain, but at the expense of any decency. Once again, One Million Moms has an email campaign to alert the show’s sponsors that these deplorable shows won’t be supported. Extra Gum (Wrigley/Mars, Inc) is one of the sponsors, so let them know there are plenty of other brands we can chew. Click here to email them your disapproval.
Posted 4/21/15 at 11:40 AM | Karen Kramer
After just five episodes, WE Network has cancelled its highly controversial Sex Box.
The show featured a soundproof box where couples would have sex prior to a counseling session with “experts”.
Exceedingly popular in the United Kingdom, producers couldn’t wait to bring it to American audiences. What the producers couldn’t foresee is the backlash from value-oriented consumers, who faithfully complained to the Sex Box sponsors.
One Million Moms campaign to alert concerned parents and citizens hit its mark quickly. The show ended before it ever garnered much attention. Let’s continue to use our pocketbooks to shame entertainment advertisers that support shows that demean, devalue, and attempt to destroy our family structures and the fabric of human dignity. God will not be mocked, and those with God-honoring values should do what they can to make certain He is not.
According to a LifeWay Research study, only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week, and 18 percent of attenders say they never read the Bible. A Barna research study showed that 60% of Americans cannot name five of the ten commandments. Similar surveys have shown that scripture illiteracy is at an all-time high, and Telly Award winner and top 40 Billboard artist, Jennifer Shaw, hopes her new project will help alter the current trend. Shaw is releasing a children’s music project entitled Scripture Memory Songs for Kids and Families, which features 30 word-for-word scripture songs from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. The NIV version is the second most popular version according to American Bible Society, surpassed only by the King James. The recording project also includes nine bonus Christian theme songs suitable for Vacation Bible School curriculums or for other kids-themed events. Shaw says the project has been eight years in the making. FULL POST
Posted 4/9/15 at 1:26 PM | Karen Kramer
One Million Moms hopes to forestall the release of Disney-ABC’s Family of the Year.
This is a sitcom based on the life of Dan Savage, a mean-spirited, anti-Christian, violence-touting, political activist.
The humor that can be found at the expense of Christians must seem entertaining to the producers at Disney and ABC, but do we really need another show that is spawning hatred against those who love God?
In an effort to inform viewers about Dan Savage and his brand of hatred, OMM and the Family Research Council have included videos of Savage in their effort to fully inform viewers, but be advised they are extremely graphic and offensive. Both of these can be viewed on the link here. Don’t be silent at a time Christians need to be united against hatred. Sign the petition to stop this offensive show now.
Posted 4/8/15 at 9:46 AM | Karen Kramer
After two airings of Neighbors With Benefits, the show has been cancelled due to lack of advertisers. Thanks in large part to an outpouring of complaints funneled through One Million Mom’s email campaign, A & E network cancelled the show even though another nine one-hour segments had already been filmed.
May this send a resounding call to Christians and concerned families across our nation, that our collective voices do matter when the unholy dollar is at stake. Advertisers fear losing valued customers and would rather switch shows than lose revenue in the marketplace.
It never hurts to lend support to good, faithful causes, so if you’re so inclined you can send a donation to One Million Moms as they continue fighting for moral values on the airwaves and advertising. They also welcome your prayers in this monumental effort.
Posted 4/7/15 at 1:00 AM | Sunny Shell
The holy Bible is authored by God Almighty, and He has unequivocally denied anyone "artistic license" concerning His Word. In the holy Scriptures, God reveals Himself as—Savior to those He graciously and mercifully grants the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and the Righteous Judge who will forever cast into Hell, all those who disobey and deny Him.
In the holy Bible, God reveals that only those who've been granted new life in Christ can actually understand the Bible, and alone are empowered by Christ to do what it says (Phil 2:13, Heb 11:6).
"Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. FULL POST
Posted 4/5/15 at 11:44 PM | Thomas Reed
Most good movies are a solid “B” grade. Every movie can’t be a Marvel tentpole, Ben-Hur, The Shootist, or The Matrix. “The Fast and the Furious” franchise began as a solid B movie with the familiar “Point Break” structure: too-young cop goes undercover to catch a charismatic bad guy and the question is always if he will join forces or maintain his identity. The series stayed in semi-serious, semi-comic shoot ‘em up mode until Vin Diesel rejoined for #4. Since then, the series has ascended to heights of action-adventure-comedy-drama and depths of relationship and emotion quite unexpected for the genre.
It’s now a solid “A-” grade. The acting and writing are consistently good quality. The special effects are spectacular and only occasionally border on the ludicrous. The action is never gratuitous but always demanded by the story. The bevies of uber-young, uber-cute (uber-empty headed) chicks in uber-tiny bikinis that drove the early street-racer culture has faded far into the background, appearing now only momentarily. The themes are not grandly philosophical but homely and profound in their mundanity: family, love, sacrifice, and, in this last case, revenge.
One of Christopher Reeve’s lesser known vehicles, starring with Jane Seymour, was “Somewhere in Time” (1980). In it, Reeve time travels to meet Seymour. They fall in love but he accidentally time travels back, leaving her in great distress. The whole story starts when the very aged Seymour meets the young Reeve, gives him a pocket-watch and says something like “come to me.” The watch keeps appearing throughout the story. Where did it come from? Somewhere in time.
In spite of the tragic and untimely death of co-star Paul Walker, and of the extended and very well-done homage to him at the end of this movie, the emotional center of the story is really about Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). She was always Dom’s woman (Vin Diesel) and he was Marvel-type heroic to find and redeem her after she lost her memory in an accident, disappeared and reappeared in the employ of the bad guy (in #6). But, she still doesn’t remember … (dang!). So you need to follow the bouncing silver necklace.
This story begins with super-duper-bad guy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) visiting his brother, Owen Shaw (comatose bad guy from #6), in the hospital. He took a silver cross from him (which Owen had gotten from Letty in #6) and walked out vowing revenge. We know he’s “bad” because he walks through the smoking ruins of the military hospital and past the very still bodies of bunches of other tough guys in full armor whom he’s … (ahem) defeated, to get to his brother’s bedside. He kills Han in a street race in Tokyo (end of #3) and drops the necklace by the burning car. This now rectifies the series’ convoluted time sequence. Dom receives the necklace as part of Han’s personal effects when he comes to get Han’s body for burial. Dom wears it prominently through most of the film. When the fighting gets particularly dangerous, he gives it to Letty and she makes him promise to come back for it (i.e., don’t die). At the end, as he lays perhaps dead in a pile of wreckage with Letty weeping over him and the rest standing around in shock, Letty confesses she remembers it all. How they married and the necklace was her wedding ring. This does what CPR could not and Dom revives. … and there ain’t a dry-eye in the house.
She asks, “why didn’t you ever tell me we were married?” The rest of the cast and audience could ask the same. He answered, “because you can’t tell someone that they love you.” Apparently, Diesel is in running for “man of the year” for all the years after 2000. He manages to pull off the total macho tough guy and the uber-sensitive patriarch all at the same time.
So, we get another crazy girl fight. Gina Carrano vs. Michelle Rodriquez in #6 turns into Rhonda Rousey vs. Michelle Rodriguez here. Apparently, she enjoys the beatings but she gives them well, too. We get two great Statham fights, one each with Dwayne Johnson (the Rock, but who might as well be called the human terminator … just sayin’) and Vin Diesel. Paul Walker gets two rousing butt-kickings from Tony Jaa, the Thai martial arts, action star. In each of these, the action is terrific and believable and the professional fighters get their due. There’s none of the “he lost because the script said he had to and we ran out of film stock.” Typically, the fight goes as you’d expect but the good guys win by good luck. Even Kurt Russell gets several good scenes as a jovial, Belgian Ale loving super-spook who’s pretty terrific in a fire-fight. It is perhaps an homage to his fame as Snake Pliskin that he puts on dark glasses (as night vision gogs) in a dark area before he starts picking off bad guys like a video gamer. OK, woulda been nice if it had been dark over only one eye .... In a further homage, Diesel takes out a helicopter (in which additional bad-guy, Djimon Honsou, murderously fires away) with a bag of grenades while flying his car through the air … much as Stathem did with a mine in “Transporter 3.”
Yeah – great heart and wild action. This ain’t no B-movie anymore. Furious 7 could easily be the end of the series. It ends well. There are no questions remaining. But Diesel has already said in interviews he’s setting up for #8 with Russell’s character. Further, either of the bad guys from #6 or 7 could escape vowing revenge. The problem is they’re running out of good guys. “Mi familia” is now down to four from a high of maybe twice that. OK, they have several potential new members but those relationships take time to develop. Still, they seem to know what they’re doing and I always figured you don’t go out “on top.” You go out on the next one (which ever one that may be). So, there’s something to look forward to …
Posted 4/5/15 at 11:37 PM | Thomas Reed
Easter approaches and someone recommended I watch “The Ten Commandments” (1956). Apparently, it’s a tradition (who knew?). I would’ve thought the whole “grace vs. works” thing would tip the scales in favor of “Ben-Hur” but I would be wrong. This last and greatest work of Cecil B. De Mille stars Charlton Heston as Moses and includes half of Hollywood (and much of Egypt) in its cast. At three-and-a-half hours, it is slightly shorter than the actual events. It’s full of melodramatic intrigue filling in Moses’ early life which the simpler, more believable biblical narrative passed over in silence. These, however, became clever vehicles for a great deal of biblical theology. They clearly and directly linked Israel’s slavery and deliverance, salvation from sin in Jesus, and the call of civil rights against Jim Crow. In this, De Mille showed far greater insight, biblically and politically, than Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” which lacked even an appropriate visual appeal. Granted, some moments were ponderous bordering on bombast. For example, in the final scene, Moses, in long white locks, looking faintly like a kung fu master in a low-budget Hong Kong film, leaves his loving wife without even a good-bye, to march away to die on the mountain. He turns and exhorts Israel to proclaim “LIBERTY” in the Promised Land. Hhhmmm – given the nature of the conquest … “aaaawkwaaaard!!”
De Mille, en route from Exodus to Jim Crow, noted some broad links to Jesus. But only a careful listener would hear them. And, after three-and-a-half hours, fatigue and sensory overload prevent an obvious ringing of the Easter chimes.
Movies, of course, are all about the visuals. Movie makers see the story as royal luxury, desolate wilderness, burning bush, plagues and the Red Sea and the like. Ridley Scott’s recent effort is at once all over the map and a little empty. His story lacked coherence and appeared to be a couple of extravagant CGI set pieces connected by a thin tissue of modernist filler. De Mille masterfully blends visual spectacle with the narrative, neatly aligning every scene and visual effect to further his explicit conceptual library. That library, for all its dramatic speculation, was deeply biblical.
Neither, however, tells the same story as the bible. The oh-so-cinema worthy “nine plagues” (chs. 7-10) appear between the burning bush (chs. 3-4) and Passover (11-13) stories. Together, these are equal or longer than the plagues. Then follows a much longer sequence, the journey to Sinai (chs. 13-19). Apparently, God is no Cecil B. De Mille for He gives far more space to provision on the road than to the next concern, His power over Pharoah. And after all of this, He ensures it is the tenth plague, the “quiet” one, the Passover, that Israel remembers as an everlasting ordinance. God is a superior dramatist but He also knows the power of the quiet moment and rituals of remembrance. For His purposes go beyond shock and awe to transformation. This brings us a little closer to Easter and farther from De Mille.
With the Passover, De Mille’s clever visual sense failed him. He showed the “angel of death” as a pestilential green mist slowly seeping through streets and buildings, followed by the cries of the living for their dead. He shows the blood operating mindlessly, mechanically. If it’s on the door, you’re “saved,” even if you’re Edward G. Robinson (egads!). The visuals are great but the meaning is all wrong. God gave Israel a clear promise about the last plague. Those who believed it, obeyed the elaborate instructions to participate in the sacrifice. Those who participated, went free and set out for the Promised Land. God decreed the act of participation should be an everlasting rite of remembrance. None of it would be forgotten but the Passover became the first of Israel’s three annual pilgrimage festivals. If the giving of the Law at Sinai constituted Israel as the nation among whom God dwelt, the Passover constituted Israel as God’s possession. And God embedded this in the center of the exodus narrative with an extraordinary gravitational weight.
Easter enters here (and that, in spite of De Mille). We think of Easter as the resurrection, and so it is. But satan’s temptations show Jesus knew the way to resurrection went only through the cross. Nearly every time Jesus predicted his “passion,” the disciples were arguing about their coming glory. He taught them the only path to glory was through the cross. On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus taught the meaning of the cross through the Passover supper. They finished the feast affirming their covenant identity in God. Then, Jesus used the bread and wine to direct them to a new covenant identity whose sacrifice would occur the next day. Just as Israel with the Passover, Jesus called the disciples to participate in His sacrifice, the final one, as a sign of their faith. As with so much of the New Covenant, the pattern emerges from the Old but explodes it from within. The greater sacrifice of the greater victim offers a greater promise that goes beyond effort-laden law to Spirit-led grace, that goes beyond death to resurrection, and beyond hope in a promised land to hope in eternal life.
The Lord’s Supper constitutes believers as those united (by the Spirit) with the Lord, their sacrifice. As the author to the Hebrews sees it: the perfect High Priest offers himself as the perfect sacrifice on the perfect heavenly altar and sits down at God’s right hand. Those who believe, don’t hand off an imperfect sacrifice to an imperfect priest and walk back to their imperfect lives. Instead, they march forward with their High Priest and sit with Him in glory. The true Exodus story points to this, even if De Mille falls short.
Today, there are the usual messianic figures, self-made gods and kings, each promising a form of deliverance from some slavery and entry to some promised land. One demands the sacrifice of your liberty. The other demands the sacrifice of ‘the infidel’. But only one has ever said, God sacrificed Himself for you … And that’s Easter.