The Bible says the truth will set you free. But sometimes it’ll land you in jail, too.
Languishing in jail in advance of his trial for (among other things) robbery and murder, Danny Dashay Holmes ran across the lyrics of Big Daddy Weave’s song “Redeemed.” Those lyrics inspired the guy to walk into court and confess. “I ain’t never fought for anything that made sense,” he said. “But I knew the Lord was telling me to fight for Him this time. I just knew he was stirring on my spirit.” That spirit will be stirring in prison for a while—the judge still handed him a life sentence—but he promised his mother in court that he’s “going to serve the Lord forever.” (Mike Weaver, lead singer for Big Daddy Weave, was “blown away” when he heard about the confession, according to Christianity Today.)
But Holmes isn’t the only one finding freedom in Jesus. In a wildly transparent Instagram post, singer Justin Bieber talked about the pressure of finding fame and fortune when still a child. By the time he was 19, Bieber admits to doing “pretty heavy drugs.” And by 20, “I made every bad decision you could have thought of.” But he added this:
It’s taken me years to bounce back from all of these terrible decisions, fix broken relationship and change relationship habits. Luckily god blessed me with extraordinary people who love me for me. Now i am the best season of my life “MARRIAGE”!! Which is an amazing crazy new responsibility. You learn patience, trust, commitment, kindness, humility and all of the things it looks like to be a good man. All this to say even when The odds are against you keep fighting. Jesus loves you.
Bieber also recently led worship at a Los Angeles-area church. “God is pulling me through a hard season,” he added on another Instagram post featuring a video of his church appearance. “Having trust in jesus at your worst times is the absolute hardest. But he is faithful to complete what he started.”
He’s not the only celeb singing (and talking) about God. Kanye West reportedly has a whole album titled Jesus Is King in the works, and his Sunday Service has been drawing all sorts of folks. (Latest notable guest: Brad Pitt.) Meanwhile, West’s sister-in-law, Kourtney Kardashian talked with Zoe Church founders Chad and Julia Veach about how to share your faith with your kids. Famed radio host Delilah tragically lost both of her children—one to sickle cell anemia, the other from suicide—and admits the only thing that pulled her through those devastating losses was her faith.
All of our days are numbered. God already knows when he’s going to call me home. So while I have today, while he’s given me this 24 hours, I can spend it mourning and depressed over what I’ve lost or I can spend it rejoicing in children who still need me, who still need their mom to be fully present. So, I choose life. I choose joy. I choose to invest my energies into those people that God has in my life today.
But some Christians are choosing to move away from the faith—and many are losing it at Christian colleges. In fact, a new report suggests that Christians going to evangelical schools are more likely to punt Christianity (at least for a time) than those who go to secular ones.
But who can afford college these days anyway? Hardly anybody—but that doesn’t stop families from shoveling money into these institutes of higher education. College costs are becoming a serious burden on families, and student debt is, according to some experts, reshaping the American family. (Maybe some could turn to Janet Jackson for help: Her Las Vegas residency, which ran for a little more than three weeks, grossed $13 million.)
Speaking of schools, a Catholic school in Nashville recently pulled Harry Potter books from its shelves. “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception” wrote Father Dan Reehil in an email explaining his decision.
Not that kids read much these days—not with so many YouTube videos to watch. And the ubiquitous social media/streaming service is making it easier for kids to find age-appropriate videos, too. YouTube announced recently that it’ll launch a separate website for kids (called, appropriately, YouTubeKids) with different age categories: ages 4 and younger, ages 5 to 7 and ages 8 to 12. Not that the service is doing this out of the kindness of its corporate heart, though. YouTube’s been under fire for how it handles its youngest viewers, and the service recently agreed to pay a $150 million settlement to make aFederal Trade Commission investigation go away.
(YouTube’s not the only social network in trouble over its relationship with kids. Facebook recently confessed that its Messenger Kids app had a “technical error” which Facebook now claims to have fixed.)
Finally, let’s close out this installment of Culture Clips news with something that isn’t news at all: The cost of movie tickets is rising. Just how much? In 1946, the average ticket price was 42 cents, according to USA Today. A decade later, you could buy a ticket for just 16 cents more. By 1975—the year Jaws became the first real cinematic blockbuster, tickets cost an average of around $2.05. You could buy a ticket for The Lion King in 1994 for $4.18 on average. A ticket for its 2019 sequel? More than nine bucks.
Hey, at least Plugged In is still free.