Exposing the Birthday Party Industrial Complex

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Two of my children went to friends’ birthday parties last weekend. My 6-year-old daughter joined a friend at a trampoline park, while my 8-year-old son headed off to Dart Warz (an establishment catering to the irrepressible urge for tweens and teens, mostly boys, to plunk one another with Terminator-ready Nerf blasters almost as big as […]

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Ad and A.D. Add Up to a Big Easter on TV

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About 3.7 million people tuned in to watch Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday—the most ever to watch a show on the network, and a 300% improvement on NatGeo’s typical Sunday-night ratings. It was a success. But it wasn’t a surprise. Jesus—or, rather, shows predicated on Him—is big business these […]

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Music Videos Shape Teens’ Values

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MTV doesn’t focus much on music these days. But the medium that the cable channel helped pioneer back in the 1980s, the music video, continues to exert significant cultural influence. Specifically, a new study conducted by researchers at Catholic University of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium, finds that some teens who watch music videos today are […]

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Unpacking Madonna’s Spiritual Beliefs

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Madonna’s 13th album, Rebel Heart, includes quite a lot of spiritual imagery—sometimes couching temptation in terms of a struggle requiring divine assistance, other times merging erotic sexual innuendo and religious iconography in deliberately provocative ways. In a lengthy new interview with Rolling Stone, the Material Girl talked about some of her spiritual experiences growing up, […]

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The Internet, Desire & Depression

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Is Facebook making us depressed? For at least some users, the answer to that question may be yes, according to a new study out of the University of Missouri. Researchers there found that when Facebook users primarily use the popular social network to compare their friends’ lives to their own, the result is often envy. […]

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Pitcher Fires Fastball at Twitter Trolls: 3 Lessons for the Rest of Us

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As painful as it has always been for its victims, bullying used to be something that could be escaped by reaching the front door of your home. Now, as much as parents try to prevent it, that boundary no longer exists. Social media doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to strike fear into the […]

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The Pope Talks Media Influence on Families

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Technology can be a great boon to communication. But it can also be an isolating influence too, something that keeps families from talking instead of enhancing their relational ties. That’s one of the significant takeaways from Pope Francis’ recent message on the 49th World Communications Day. I’m not Catholic, but I appreciated the Pope’s recognition […]

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Of Frogs, Kettles and Spiritual Renewal

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I want to take something of a personal detour in the blog today—but one that I think relates very much to the media-and-message flooded world in which we swim these days. Specifically, I’m going to reflect on something that anyone who’s been a Christian for any period of time probably knows, but something we so […]

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Whale, Whale, What Do We Have Here?

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OK, you may have already seen this since it’s casually blowing up the Internet faster than Kim Kardashian when she’s trying really hard. But I thought I’d bring it to your attention just in case. Photographer Eric Smith snapped a pic of the picture above when he was out and about in the Redondo Beach, […]

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