If Celebrities Have Pop Culture Triggers, We Probably Do Too

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Demi Lovato has suffered through some high-profile battles with addiction. Because of that, the singer and actress knows herself well enough to recognize what she’s got to stay away from if she wants to maintain her sobriety. Talking to Glamour magazine, Lovato recently said that she hasn’t seen a particular film because she knows it’s […]

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The Walking Dead Has Gone Too Far … Even For Some of Its Fans

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At least 17 million people watched the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead—massive numbers in today’s fragmented television landscape. More people watched the villain Negan beat two characters to death with his barbed bat Lucille than watched Sunday Night Football that evening. I was one of them. You can find our review of the […]

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Vodcast: Is The Birth of a Nation’s Grittiness Actually a Good Thing?

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The new Birth of a Nation movie is rated R, and rightfully so. But its subject matter has us wrestling again with a tricky concept: maybe, just maybe, harsh content can sometimes serve a purpose. The truth of the matter is this: Life—both modern and historical—is not as cut and dry as we like to make […]

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Down the ‘Portable Rabbit Hole’

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There’s a lot of stuff on the internet. But every now and then, I’ll come across something that just flat stops me in my tracks. That happened to me recently with Andrew Sullivan’s New York Magazine article “I Used to Be a Human Being.” The piece’s subtitle spells out Sullivan’s subject matter: “An endless bombardment […]

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What Does it Mean to Be Christian … and an Actor?

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The Magnificent Seven lands in theaters today, starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington and burgeoning superstar Chris Pratt. Next week, another box-office megastar, Mark Wahlberg, will unveil his latest action flick, Deepwater Horizon. All three actors, incidentally, are Christians. “Put God first in everything you do,” Washington recently told the graduating class of Dillard University, a […]

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Born to Be Influenced by Media

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I reviewed A&E’s Born This Way this week (the review will be posted later today). It’s a reality show that focuses on several young adults with Down syndrome, and a refreshing change from the many reality shows that are predicated on greed and selfishness and bad behavior. It’s a gentler program that, while not exactly […]

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Engaging Wisely With Real-World Violence

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I had been planning on writing this blog even before the horrific events in Dallas, Texas, last night. As people gathered there to protest the shootings of two black men by police officers earlier this week, snipers opened fire on Dallas police working the event, killing five and wounding seven others. What I want to […]

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Hollywood Likes Morality: Its Own

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Last week, Plugged In Director Bob Waliszewski asked us whether Hollywood should do a better job of making good—as in ethically good—movies. Whether it should focus on creating products that “encourage, inspire and uplift us,” he says, and even sometimes tackle critical issues. He writes: For instance, I can only imagine what could happen if […]

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Vodcast: How Porn and Pop Culture Intertwine

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Here’s a surprisingly controversial statement for you: pornography is a problem. There it is. We said it. We mean it. Not only has pornography been linked to what many are beginning to call a public health crisis, it is—in and of itself—a problem. And a big one at that. Pornography and the use of it […]

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What Is Google Trying to Tell Us?

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We’re coming up to the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (May 3). It seemed like a good opportunity to talk about England’s most famous Elizabethan bard, and I was thinking about writing a piece about Shakespeare’s faith: Do his plays and sonnets give us any insight into his spiritual beliefs? Naturally, my first research […]

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What Does the Truth Feel Like?

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Every now and then when I’m reviewing music for Plugged In, I’ll come across a lyric from an artist that succinctly encapsulates some aspect of our culture. That happened recently when I reviewed Gwen Stefani’s first new solo album in 10 years, This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Before I talk about the lyric […]

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