Culture Clips: Behind Bars, But Newly Freed

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culture clips prison

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.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Hannah Cole 18 days ago
I wonder if the Catholic school will be pulling the Narnia books from their shelves as well, since they also include magic. Their reasoning is behind it is...interesting, but magic isn't either good or evil because it doesn't exist. It's a made up element for a fantasy series.
Landen Fields 18 days ago
I mean, the Bible mention sorcerers and witches in different areas. It's kinda scary but I think magic does exist in the real world
Hannah Cole 18 days ago
I think there is a big difference between the occult and the kind of magic found in Harry Potter. The magic system in the books is basically "speak a Latin phrase and it will come true." The other type of real world "magic" involves people actively trying to communicate with demons or beings from the "spiritual world."
E Hayes 17 days ago
Well, actually, there were some people at my church when I was a teenager who were upset about Narnia.  I was one of those kids who read Narnia and LotR over and over again.  I didn't read Harry Potter until I was an adult, though, because of the ban (my mom heard the series had too many deaths and banned it before it was complete).  I almost think that this news of "banning" the series is a major source of publicity for the series.  I do think now that HP was alright, but it makes lying and breaking rules at school look cool.  (Although, I will say, that it turns out in later books that the reasons Harry gets away with breaking rules at school is mainly because the administration wants an eleven year old risking his life fighting Voldemort and the exceptions they made for him were because Dumbledore is manipulative and has an agenda.)
I think the only concern with the magic would be that it might make people want to find out about real witchcraft.  I mean, to clarify, the HP magic is basically saying words in Latin, and making potions out of obscure ingredients, and learning about mystical beasts.  

I don't really believe I missed out on anything because of the ban.  I do work with some Harry Potter fans so it's good now to be able to talk about the same things, but honestly I was neither deprived nor isolated by not reading HP as a kid.  I read lots of things, Frank Perretti books, Hardy Boys, Wayne Thomas Batson's novels, Bryan Davis' novels, Eragon, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Warriors (the series about cats), Animal Ark, Left Behind (the kid's version was better), and lots of other books.  

As far as ticket prices... There's still a theater in my town that screens movies for $4 in the afternoons.  It is not a dollar theater, either, it has new movies.  I enjoy the movies in it just as much.  
Hannah Cole 17 days ago

I didn't read Harry Potter until I was an adult either. My parents didn't want me reading the series as a kid because they thought it was too dark and violent, which they were right about; I was a pretty sensitive kid and some stuff in the books would have bothered me. I didn't end up reading them as a teen because I thought I would be too old to enjoy them, but eventually I decided to give them a try two years ago and did end up liking them quite a bit. They're a fun read.


I'm currently reading LotR for the first time. Some friends have warned me that it's a slow read, but so far so good.

Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Always good to see another Bryan Davis fan! Very underrated author.
Hannah Cole 16 days ago

Nice, Bryan Davis was my favourite author as a teen! Unfortunately I feel like I outgrew his stories. I read one of the books recently and the writing/dialogue/characters really weren't as good as I remembered them. I'll always have good memories of the stories, however.


On a side note, if anyone is looking for an excellent, clean fantasy series, I highly recommend Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive.

Anonymous 11 days ago
I read Harry Potter last year and I find it an excellent story. I have read a lot of stories with magic in them, like LOTR, Narnia, Earthsea, and the Inheritance Cycle, and HP wasn't any worse than any of them. Those all have a lot of magic, but i think the problem with Harry Potter is that is more famous and gets more publicity. 
 Hayes, I've read Warriors too!
-Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous 18 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I'm pretty sure the 2019 Lion King is a remake, NOT a sequel.

But in terms of college prices, I can relate. As a college student myself, it's tough to pay for college while also finding fun things to do in my down time that don't cost too much money. At least I won't have to spend money on expensive movie tickets since there's nothing I'm interested in seeing for a while
Karl The Klown 18 days ago
Save up for an Xbox, and then join me on Gears of War 5. Releases in less than 24 hours 
Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

For you, my friend, I just might! :)