Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the HGTV show Fixer Upper, found themselves at the center of controversy last week for their choice of church.
The devout Christian couple attend Antioch Community Church. The church’s pastor, Jimmy Seibert, “takes a hard line against same-sex marriage and promotes converting LGBT people into being straight,” according to BuzzFeed’s Kate Arthur. The BuzzFeed story created quite the stir. The Boston Globe says the flap illustrates how important reality television is to shaping how society thinks about family and society. HGTV released a statement to The Huffington Post, saying, “We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows.” Some have criticized BuzzFeed for running the article, alleging an anti-Christian bias, and Erik Bernstein, vice president for Bernstein Crisis Management, told Fox News the story was a “hit piece.”
But Chip Gaines told their fans to play nice. “I ask that people please! respect @KateAurthur,” he tweeted. And then, later, he tweeted this: “In times of trouble.. you’ll find the gaines family at church.”
In times of trouble, where do University of Texas students find themselves? Maybe in a van driven by Matthew McConaughey. The award-winning actor participated in the school’s safe rides program recently, making sure that everyone made it home after a football game safely.
He wasn’t the only celeb making headlines this weekend, of course. Musician Justin Bieber took on Instagram, saying the social network was for the devil. “We get sent to hell, we get like locked in the Instagram server,” he said during a recent concert stop.
And while actor Mark Wahlberg has no beef with Instagram, he does think that his fellow celebs should stop talking so much about politics. “A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble,” he told Task & Purpose magazine. “They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”
Speaking of the real world, Relevant Magazine’s Tiffany Rogers tells us that “Netflix Might be Ruining Your Life (Seriously).” She speaks from personal experience, saying that she was addicted to the streaming service. And over at Slate, Laura Miller argues that while violent video games might not make us more violent, they can make us more cruel. “Pain, in a video game, is nothing more than a plummeting health monitor and a red tint around the edges of the screen … ,” she writes. “How can we hope to recognize the reality of other people’s pain when we’re so intent on walking away from our own?”
But all was not gloom and doom. According to The Federalist (and Focus on the Family’s own Glenn Stanton), a recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that teens who are virgins are healthier than those who aren’t. And even as The New York Times asked, “Can Television be Fair to Muslims?” an Amazon commercial featuring a priest and an imam fostered a real-world friendship.
Finally, we’ll leave you with this: Last week, a game called That Dragon, Cancer won the Games For Impact award at The Game Awards. But the game, created by Ryan and Amy Green, wasn’t just a pixelated diversion: It was a meditation on the Green’s own real-world experience caring for their cancer-ridden son, Joel. The little boy dies at the end of the game, just as he did in real life, and the game is filled with the Green’s own Christian faith, processing where God is in times of crisis and grief. Ryan Green gave a deeply moving acceptance speech during the awards ceremony: “You let us tell the story of my son Joel,” he said. “In the end, it was not the story we wanted to tell. But you chose to love us through our grief by being willing to stop, and to listen, and to not turn away.”
Culture Clips are compiled by Paul Asay, Adam Holz and Bob Hoose