Culture Clips: Maxed Out on Streaming Services?

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HBO Max debuts this week leaving many people reeling as they pick and choose which streaming platforms are best for their families. As Vulture.com points out, “Finding something to watch on TV used to be as simple as turning on the set, flipping through a few dozen channels, and stopping when you stumbled upon something worth checking out.” When streaming first became popular, you still really only had three big platforms to choose among (Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime). But it’s not so simple anymore. HBO Max joins the ranks of Apple TV+ and Disney+ in the slew of online streaming platforms that you can now subscribe to.

Experts say that some platforms (such as recently launched Quibi) may not survive the incoming tide that will be brought by HBO Max and (soon) NBC’s Peacock. While HBO Max is padding its lineup with reruns of such popular shows as Friends and The Big Bang Theory, and Peacock is granting early access to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, Quibi is allegedly offering content that no one wants to pay for. According to USA Today, for $4.99 or $7.99 monthly, the short-form video platform offers exclusive ten-minute videos of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez that fans can watch on their phones. Considering YouTube has dozens of similar videos for free, it’s not exactly shocking that the platform isn’t doing so well.

CBS All Access, yet another streaming platform, is revamping this summer, and it will bring us Some Good News. According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Krasinski (creator, writer, director, producer and host of the viral, feel-good web series) sold the show to ViacomCBS following a massive bidding war. “Could not be more excited and proud to be partnering with CBS/Viacom to be able to bring Some Good News to so many more people!” he said in a statement. Although Krasinski will no longer be hosting the show due to other filming commitments (such as Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan, of which he is the lead), he did say in an Instagram Live interview with fellow Office alum Rainn Wilson, “We have a lot of really fun stuff planned, and I can’t wait to dig in. I’m going to be a part of it whenever I can, and I’m going to host a couple episodes and bring on a different community of people.”

Meanwhile, Pixar generated some buzz this week as it introduced its first gay lead character in the new short film, Out. Available on Disney+, it tells the story of a man named Greg who struggles with coming out to his parents as gay before moving in with his boyfriend, Manuel. Disney called the tale “heartwarming” in a tweet, and it joins a list of other Disney movies featuring LGBTQ characters such as Onward and Beauty and the Beast.

Some parents may choose to default to one or more of these streaming platforms this summer while keeping themselves and their children entertained. This is especially true as COVID-19 takes yet another thing away from the childhood experience: summer camp. USA Today reports that camps are “scrambling” to come up with alternatives such as “online camps.” But making this transition has many parents worried about the negative effects of more screen time. “My kids are changing before my eyes because of how much screen time they’re getting between online learning and just trying to physically connect with her friends,” says Leslie Sindelar (an attorney and working mom of two in Sacramento, California). “So I’m feeling very anti-tech right now. If our traditional summer camps aren’t available, do I concede and sign them up for online camp anyway?”

Sindelar’s complaints are certainly not unfounded since a new study looking at the mental health of children showed that young people who are inactive for large proportions of the day face a greater risk of developing depression by age 18. Researchers tracked the children and recorded their movement history, finding that “every extra hour of daily activity helped to lower depressive symptoms by 7.8 to 11.1 percent.”

PhD student Aaron Kandola of University College London said, “Worryingly, the amount of time that young people spend inactive has been steadily rising for years,” but since the world has been spending much of 2020 stuck indoors, the risk of depression has only grown. Dr. Joseph Hayes recommended simple changes, such as walking or playing an instrument, to increase your child’s activity levels. “Light activity could be particularly useful because it doesn’t require much effort and it’s easy to fit into the daily routines of most young people,” he explained. “Small changes to our environments could make it easier for all of us to be a little bit less sedentary.”

Jon Steingard, frontman of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson, announced this week that he no longer believes in God. He said in a statement, “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life—I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.” According to Fox News, he went on to explain that this loss of faith didn’t happen overnight and that it came with questions about God, the Bible and his upbringing in a Christian home. And while this news is heartbreaking for Christians, he did add, “I’m open to the idea that God is there. I’d prefer if he was. I suspect if he is there, he is very different than what I was taught.” Steingard has received an outpouring of support from fellow Christian singers offering their continued love and willingness to talk. So perhaps with prayer, this shift will not be permanent.

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E Hayes 3 months ago

I am surprised but I am glad that Jon has told us what he believes and that he has been honest.  I think he is like many people who’ve grown up in church in North America who just do it to fit in, and now like in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13,they are ditching it because society now expects it of them and kids that grow up in church usually follow the rules of society.  We need to focus on logic instead of just faith in the church.

In the linked article he also gives reasons for his doubts in God’s existence, but I believe all of these questions have answers.

1. “Why does he say not to kill, but then instruct Israel to turn around and kill men women and children to take the promised land?”

Because the people who lived there were worshipping idols and killing their own children to these idols. 

2. “Why does God let Job suffer horrible things just to… win a bet with Satan?!”

It wasn’t a bet because God already knew what Job would do and that Job would still worship God. Christianity isn’t a religion where you’re given earthly rewards for doing good.  Matthew 10:17-20 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.  On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

The thing is, there are many people even today who have been through horrible things and still believe in God.  Whatever evil other people or nature brings at us is there because Adam brought sin into the world and it corrupted nature and people.  If God had not allowed sin to occur we would all be robots and not know if we truly loved God or not.  The universe will be made new and everything will be made perfect eventually but we cannot expect that now. 

3. “Why does he tell Abraham to kill his son (more killing again) and then basically say “just kidding! That was a test.””

Because Abraham valued Isaac over God.  Because Abraham had fathered Ishmael with his concubine because he didn’t believe that God would make his wife able to conceive and then the concubine and Ishmael were treated badly.  Abraham was being hypocritical in his treatment of his sons and God needed him to focus on more than just Isaac.  Because every day there are Christian parents who need to trust God when their children say they need to do things for God that might be dangerous. 

4. “Why does Jesus have to die for our sins (more killing again)?  If God can do anything, can’t he forgive without someone dying?”

Because death is the consequence of sin.  I know this isn’t the best answer. 

5. 1 Timothy and women in the church.  So basically, what I was told about this passage was that in those days the women generally did not have the luxury of an education as the men did, so these women at this church were interrupting the service with uneducated opinions. The braided hair and expensive clothes were things that the Greek prostitutes did at pagan temples.  As a woman I do think it’s not fair that Paul says that women should not teach men in 1 Timothy 2:13, but that doesn’t mean Paul’s advice is wrong.  There are many men who only listen to men and women preachers cannot reach these men. 

These are my answers to these questions, but I am a layperson, so I would advise people with questions to listen to Ravi Zacharias,John MacArthur, Hank Hanegraaff, and Ken Ham. For people who think evolution disproves the Bible, you have been lied to.  There are discoveries that seem to indicate the earth is old such as light years and distance in space, but there are also discoveries like ocean salinity and the magnetic field that would indicate it is young.  There is too much discrepancy to think that we can disprove God.  

E Hayes 3 months ago
I don't know if replying to my own comment is allowed, but I was rereading my comment and I became concerned that it would be misread as judgmental.  I didn't write it to bash anyone, I wrote it because I've worried about many of these questions myself and because I worry others will think these questions Jon Steingard mentioned have no answers.  I think it was too direct.  I did not know what to feel, hearing another person that I thought was a Christian now saying that he is not.
Circumstances in my life made me question Christianity before I was even a teenager.  I tend to forget that others might hit this stage later in life.  I pray that it is this way for Jon Steingard, if his life was so good that he never had a reason to doubt before, that now like the disciples he will follow Christ and be sure of his faith as they all doubted as well in the beginning.