Finally got to #Showtime's movie of #TimMcGraw and #FaithHill's 2017 Soul2Soul world tour, my oh my it was enjoyable https://t.co/RQ90ybumF4 #countrymusic #usa #marriage #family #relationshipsarehardwork #children #travel
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 28, 2018
Category : Movies & Television
Christian prohibitions against abortion and infanticide encouraged the survival of baby girls and dramatically increased Christian fertility over the long term once those girls grew up and married. Many took pagan husbands, whom they sometimes converted, and then raised their children as Christians—another demographic boost.
All this is at the very heart of Mr. Hyatt’s understated movie, which takes place in the dank and clamorous Roman alleyways where slaves are bought and sold and mob violence rules. While Paul and Luke ( Jim Caviezel ) are central to the story, as important are Aquila ( John Lynch ) and Priscilla ( Joanne Whalley ). This affluent Christian married couple opened their house to alleviate some of the misery around them, feeding and sheltering families made homeless by the Great Fire.
Luke uses his physician’s skills, not a miracle, to heal a dying erstwhile pagan girl and touch the hearts of her parents. The imprisoned Paul is an icon of the power of forgiveness, for he himself has been forgiven for murdering Christians in his youth. The Christians marked for death in the arena are terrified ordinary people who somehow summon the faith to trust in an eternal life they have never seen.
Mr. Hyatt has dedicated his movie to “all who have been persecuted for their faith.” Today that resonates in large and small ways—from Islamic State’s violent repression of Christians to the controversy over wedding cakes in the U.S. It also should resonate with the future makers of faith-based movies: You don’t need $30 million to tell a powerful Christian tale.
Buried within the Trump administration’s recent budget was a proposal to sharply cut food stamp funding. In its place would be a box of government-provided foods, a scheme sure to be a boondoggle benefiting only the companies who get contracts to produce and deliver these packages. The plan offers yet more evidence of the lack of policy knowledge within the administration, its ignorance of the scale and scope of US hunger and poverty, and its disregard and contempt for the millions who, despite their best efforts, still struggle to get by.
That said, there’s nothing especially novel about the administration’s attitude – disdain for poor people is a longstanding feature of American political culture.
Hollywood has been among the guilty parties. Thanks to April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign, we are developing the habit of evaluating how well women, people of color and LGBT Americans are represented among the nominees. But the notion that we should also look for better representation of poverty in the movies is still not on our radar. It should be.
Last week Joy Behar, co-host of the ABC show “The View,” did something that has become an escalating trend in our popular culture over the past 10 years — she mocked religiosity.
In a segment about Vice President Mike Pence and his belief that he hears the voice of God, Behar quipped: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct . . . hearing voices.”
The audience of “The View” clapped and laughed along with her.
But outside the entertainment bubble, in places like Cumberland, people were horrified.
“I am not sure what shocked me the most, that Behar mocked one of the core beliefs of Christianity or the reaction of the studio audience,” said Tim McGregor, pastor at the Lighthouse of Hope, a non-denominational Christian church here in western Maryland.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
(Telegraph) Church of England calls for daytime ban on betting adverts amid fears of ‘moral crisis’ facing children
The Church of England has called for a ban on betting adverts before the 9pm watershed in a bid to tackle the growing “moral crisis” facing children and young people.
The Rt Rev Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, told The Daily Telegraph that society will reap a ‘terrible harvest’ because gambling is being ‘normalised’ for children and young people.
The Church is calling for the exemption which allows gambling companies to show adverts before the 9pm watershed to be closed and for social media giants to take greater responsibility.
According to official figures, children see an average of 185 gambling adverts a year, equivalent to nearly four a weeks. Premier League football games have around five commercials from betting firms per game.
(Sunday [London] Times) interviews director Andrey Zvyagintsev–‘Russia is going through a period of profound religious crisis’
Was he aware of the risks he was taking? Putin is not big on criticism. “Yes, of course, we were fully aware of what we were doing. We did touch on extremely sensitive issues for Russian people: the authorities and the Orthodox church. We were making serious problems for ourselves, but we knew what we were doing, both me and my producer.”
The Orthodox church, which, disgracefully, has become yet another Putinised institution, is a particularly sensitive target. Zvyagintsev showed the script of the final scene of Leviathan, in which ecclesiastical cruelty and complacency are exposed, only to the actors involved; he didn’t want the others implicated. What on earth has happened to Russian religion?
“Russia is going through a period of profound religious crisis. Religion has become more a kind of ritualism than a profound Christianity. This is really disturbing.
“There’s a line between Christianity and paganism. In Christianity, the line between good and evil is within ourselves. In paganism, the division is between myself and the rest of the world. What I see happening in Russia now is the extremely regressive rise of that antagonistic feeling towards the other, who is deemed evil by those who claim to be good.”
Read it all (subscription required).
Andrey Zvyagintsev interview: the Russian director on Loveless and making films under Putin
He has created a movie masterpiece: but how risky is it to critique the effects of the Putin regime on film? TK https://t.co/UrGd9C9Gqy
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) January 29, 2018
Oprah Winfrey’s public image could not be more different from Donald Trump’s.
While the longtime talk show host is famous for getting her guests to open up emotionally, Trump’s signature move on The Apprentice was firing contestants, who often left the boardroom crying.
But beneath their vastly different images, Winfrey and Trump share the same populist theology. Both preach a gospel of American prosperity, the popular cultural movement that helped put Trump in the White House in 2016.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The Reverend Matthew Stafford is based at Holy Trinity Church in picturesque Much Wenlock.
He and the ministry team will be in the spotlight when the ups and downs of four vicars are aired in a new reality show.
Mr Stafford is taking part in the six-part religion series that goes behind the scenes of the lives of vicars in the heart of the countryside covered by Hereford Diocese, which takes in parts of Shropshire.
From opening summer fairs to taking wedding ceremonies for residents, vicars are knitted into the fabric of country life, also providing a pillar of support in times of crisis and personal sorrow. Mr Stafford previously served at Telford’s Wrockwardine Wood and Oakengates parish.
While thrilling art-house audiences with his urbane, witty films, Éric Rohmer attended Mass each Sunday at the Church of St Medard, subscribed to the royalist weekly La Nation française, and kept up his membership in the Louisquatorziens, a group devoted to the genius of the Sun King.
Publicly, he was one of the leading directors of the French New Wave. In private, he was a Catholic of the old type: loyal to pope and king. As his peers scuttled from one fashionable cause to the next, he admirably refused all political engagement, lapsing only in 1974, when he joined an anti-automobile group called Les Droits du Piéton, and in 2002, when he supported Pierre Rabhi, the Green presidential candidate whose slogan was “Growth is not a solution, it is a problem”. (Rohmer, no leftist, correctly saw that the Greens had come to echo his own aristocratic and reactionary ideals. He asked: “Doesn’t progress often consist in moving backward?”)
Rohmer despised the kind of “engaged” art that indulges in pamphleteering. Rather than trumpet his religious convictions, he used them to construct a unique approach to film-making. Used rightly, he believed a camera could capture the movements of both body and soul. “Be an atheist and the camera will offer you the spectacle of a world without God in which there is no law other than the pure mechanism of cause and effect,” he said. But the greatest film-makers did more:
I am a Catholic. I believe that true cinema is necessarily a Christian cinema, because there is no truth except in Christianity. I believe in the genius of Christianity, and there is not a single great film in the history of cinema that is not infused with the light of the Christian idea.
The BBC’s review of its religion and ethics output “feels like the beginning of a new era” the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, has said.
Bishop James, who is the C of E’s lead bishop on media issues, said on Wednesday that BBC had produced “the most promising review of religion and ethics at the BBC that I have seen for a generation… It is very promising all round.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the BBC published plans for reforming its religion and ethics output. These include the establishment of a religion editor for news, a global team of specialist reporters, a greater focus on religious festivals, and creating a “Year of Belief” in 2019.
Bishop James said he was hopeful that the proposals would be implemented, and that they would have an impact on religious programming.
“I’m confident that at the highest level [in the BBC] this is now being taking seriously, at a level I have not seen before.”
The BBC has pledged to broaden its range of mainstream religious programmes. But, in our increasingly secular society, is this a step in the right direction? Chris Bond reports. For many people Christmas is a time of enjoyment, a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family. It’s also an opportunity to take stock and reflect as another year draws to a close.
Religion and its inherent message of kindness and helping others is at the heart of Christmas yet increasingly it seems drowned out by the rampant commercialisation of the festive season.
The BBC has pledged to “raise our game” on religion by increasing the portrayal of all faiths in mainstream shows.
The corporation said it would “enhance” the representation of religion on TV and radio dramas and documentaries.
It said it would also create a new global religious affairs team, headed by a religion editor, in BBC News.
The BBC will also keep Thought For The Day on Radio 4’s Today programme – despite presenter John Humphrys saying it’s often “deeply, deeply boring”.
(Oxford Handbook of Atheism) What is the relationship between cinema and atheism? A look at the religious dimensions of cinema
We live in a world utterly saturated with images, many of them moving. We tend to believe reportage and footage because we think that the camera never lies, and we sometimes tend to forget that images are shaped and chosen in the name of a particular agenda. At the same time, fiction films offer a kind of desirable escape from the drudgeries of work—not to mention the worship of actors and actresses who often appear as a set of contemporary gods and goddesses, though more in the Greek mode than the Christian, with their fallibilities and sex-lives up for exposure and discussion. There is cinema that is explicitly anti-religious (often ‘factual’ or documentary) and there is cinema (often ‘fictional’) that is a-religious or secular. But very little cinema that is perhaps truly atheist in both form and content, in the sense that it breaks with both the need to ‘believe’ (in a story, in a character) or the desire to forget about the apparatus and technology of cinema itself (would we be happy to watch a film that constantly drew attention to the fact that it was a film, that it was being played over a projector, that it involved a certain number of crew-members, and so on? Of course many films have drawn attention to their conditions of production, but only on rare occasions). One may easily be an atheist in the sense of not believing in God or gods, but one may have harder time denying one’s faith in the moving image.
We finally got to it–wonderful stuff. Touching, moving and funny–very much worth your time–KSH.
— Content Catnip (@contentcatnip) November 27, 2017
A growing number of prominent media moguls have been accused of sexual assault – Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby and most recently, Harvey Weinstein.
Why have none been successfully prosecuted?
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The androids of the original [Bladerunner] had a simple quest: understandably, they wanted more life. The android protagonist of Blade Runner 2049 – K – who destroys his own kind, wants to know if he is truly alive or not. In many senses, K is the new human: he’s socially isolated and a slave to the rhythm of work and consumption. Respite comes only in the form of hopeless devotion to his hologram bride who flickers between subservient homemaker and vampish sex idol. She’s a slave enslaved to a slave.
But what K wants, just like Pinocchio, is to become a real boy. In the end, he can only aspire to those qualities that, apparently, make us truly human – memory, empathy, romantic love, compassion. Familiar territory explored by the original. Where 2049 furthers the philosophical exploration is in its insistence that the replicants become more human than human in their desire to seek purpose, to celebrate wonder, and their willingness to die for something greater than themselves. As one puts it: ‘Dying for the right cause is the most human thing you can do.’
A steady diet of cable news reinforces the idea that everything is about politics, that everything is life or death, and that we should all devote our attention to the big news story every day. (Consider how news channels count down to big events, as if the entire country waits breathlessly for whatever the channel determines is most important!)
Recently, I finished Andy Crouch’s The Tech-wise Family, a book from a journalist and writer who I’ve long respected for his insight into faith and culture. Crouch is a brilliant commentator on society and culture. And he doesn’t have a television in the living room. The TV is in the basement. (The family turns it on so rarely that his daughter wasn’t even sure they had one!)
John Piper, a preacher and writer highly influential in American evangelicalism (especially among younger generations) doesn’t have a TV at all. He’s never had one.
Which makes me wonder: could it be that the reason Andy Crouch’s cultural analysis is so astute and Piper’s devotional and exegetical writing is so compelling is because they don’t spend time in front of the screen?
A former star of the hit television show Gladiators-turned evangelist is joining a major evangelism event being led by the Archbishop of York in Merseyside.
Warren Furman, known as ‘Ace’ on the 1990s programme Gladiator, is sharing with primary and secondary school pupils his journey to faith as part of the Believe in Birkenhead initiative.
Speaking with Premier, Bishop of Birkenhead Rt Rev Keith Sinclair said his prayer for the four-day campaign was that “people who might have thought God wouldn’t give them a second thought realise God’s love for them and God’s work in their lives, and they start to begin a journey to come back and engage with that reality.”
Mr Furman’s being joined during the question and answer session on Thursday by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and several local Anglican bishops.
When did america become untethered from reality?
I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”
(CT) ‘They Call Us Monsters’ Offers a More Compassionate Brand of Juvenile Justice–a look at Ben Lear’s directorial debut production
The question at the heart of Lear’s film, then, isn’t whether these children deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Undoubtedly, they do. Rather, it’s whether we’re willing to take a second look at these “monsters” and see something of ourselves in their plight.
The simple fact is that there’s no such thing as an “adult” crime, just as there’s no such thing as a “respectable” sin. Apart from God’s unmerited grace in Jesus Christ, none of us would have any hope if God had elected to deal with us the way our legal system deals with juvenile rapists and murders.
As people who know better than any the transformative power of grace, we have every cause to support an approach to justice that holds offenders accountable while still leaving room for the possibility of redemption and restoration. There are plenty who would say that the final scene of these teenagers’ lives has already been written, and they’ve walked out on the rest of the show. They Call Us Monsters dares to suggest that there are plenty more unexpected plot twists yet to be revealed, if we’re willing to stick around for the whole production.
These days, he reads a lot of Irish writers. “They are head and shoulders above,” he says. “It’s the ability to take language and spin it.” And a lot of South Americans, too, “because they seem to have a handle on the ability to cross time and depth.” He struggles to think of contemporary American writers he rates, beyond Denis Johnson. “The thing about American writers is that as a group they get stuck in the same idea: that we’re a continent and the world falls away after us. And it’s just nonsense.”
Did he ever get stuck in that idea? “I couldn’t see beyond the motel room and the desert and highway,” he says slowly, and turns his glass a little. “I couldn’t see that there was another world. To me, the whole world was encompassed in that. I thought that was the only world that mattered.
“And it’s still there,” he adds, “but now it’s redundant because everything’s replaced by strip malls.”
The situation, he believes, is irredeemable. “We’re on our way out,” he says of America. “Anybody that doesn’t realise that is looking like it’s Christmas or something. We’re on our way out, as a culture. America doesn’t make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit’s a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you’ll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw.”
It is certainly true that moral perceptions have significantly, fundamentally changed on a number of social issues or behaviors since 2001 — most notably, gay/lesbian relations, having a baby outside of wedlock, sex between unmarried men and women, and divorce. But these attitudinal changes did not occur in isolation. They have occurred alongside important cultural and legal changes, including the rising propensity of divorce following changes to state laws at the end of the 20th century and the gay rights movement that ultimately succeeded in legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015, to name a few.
No such shifts have occurred with respect to polygamy. It remains illegal in all 50 states. And only this year, the state House of Utah, a state that outlawed the practice in 1895 in order to gain admission into the union, passed a bill that would, among other things, increase the penalties for convicted polygamists. And while academic research finds that covert polygamous marriages do exist in the U.S., they are uncommon and are largely confined to some immigrant Muslim groups and Mormon sects that have broken away from the mainstream church.
In short, there is little reason to believe that Americans are more likely to know or be polygamists now than at any other time in the past. But there is one way Americans may feel more familiar with or sympathetic to polygamy: television.
Read it all (my emphasis).
2007 was a vintage year for technology. While there has been plenty of coverage of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, the same year also saw Netflix, best known then for renting DVDs by post, launch another novel product: online movie streaming. At the time, some Netflix investors fretted about the expected $40m cost of launching its streaming service during its first year.
A decade later, Netflix’s share price performance has far exceeded even Apple’s 700 per cent increase since 2007, with the internet TV group’s stock skyrocketing by more than 6,000 per cent in the same period. This week added another 15 per cent to those gains, after second-quarter results showed its total subscribers had reached 104m, shooting through Wall Street forecasts.
Netflix described the symbolic milestone of exceeding 100m members as “a good start”.
“We connect people with stories,” its recently redrawn mission statement says. “Someday, we hope to entertain everyone.”
— Financial Times (@FT) July 20, 2017
Though these films neatly complement each other, they are being received rather differently. “The Venerable W.” was shown with pomp at Cannes, while “Sittwe” was banned from the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon. This year’s edition was dedicated to Miss Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, with censors deeming the movie “religiously and culturally inappropriate”. Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, brands the decision as “ludicrous”. The ban, he explains, reveals the government’s authorities persistent bias against the Rohingya and the reluctance to present them as victims in any capacity. “The Rohingya have been put in a separate, untouchable category by the government, and any real discussion of their situation gets tarred with the same brush.”
“Sittwe” found an audience in Thailand instead. For Lia Sciortino Sumaryono, the director of Southeast Asia Junction, a non-profit organisation which hosted the screenings in Bangkok, the issue is relevant to the whole region. “Extremists movements are increasingly regionalised,” she says, pointing at the several contacts between extremist Buddhist networks in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and those of Islamist groups in the Philippines and Malaysia.
“The Venerable W.” and “Sittwe” offer some insight into a social and religious quagmire. Were the country open to talking meaningfully about relations between Buddhists and Muslims, the films could form part of the discussion. As it is not, acts of violence are likely to continue.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 15, 2017
Do not take yourself too seriously Dept–The Classic Tim Conway Dentist Sketch from the Carol Burnett Show
If you haven’t ever seen it, or even if you have take the time to watch it all.. Really, really funny.
We are now approximately one-sixth of the way through the 21st century, and thousands of movies have already been released. Which means that it’s high time for the sorting – and the fighting – to start. As the chief film critics of The Times, we decided to rank, with some help from cinema savants on Facebook, the top 25 movies that are destined to be the classics of the future. While we’re sure almost everyone will agree with our choices, we’re equally sure that those of you who don’t will let us know.
Read it all and see what you make of the list in terms of ones on that you think should be on and ones off you think should be on.
It is a superb UK drama for which the lead actress (deservedly) won a BAFTA for best actress. Definitely not suitable for under seventeens since it features content you would expect for a gritty investigatory story. Available on Netflix.
— BBC One (@BBCOne) May 14, 2017
(LA Times)-Cheryl Allen has a different narrative about-Living ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’-+it raises uncomfortable questions about the secular liberal elites
Take those elite-class Wives. Liberals typically assume the 1% consists of striped-pants tycoons off the Monopoly board who reliably vote Republican and want to cram retrograde religious ideas down people’s throats. In fact, as social scientists (Charles Murray in “Coming Apart”) and political analysts (Michael Barone, writing recently for the Capital Research Center) have observed, it’s the Democratic Party that’s the party of the 1%: the tech and finance billionaires, the media and entertainment moguls who cluster in expensive ZIP Codes around metropolitan Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington.
Those folks aren’t known for their church-going, and they vote in favor of liberal social and economic causes from abortion and immigration rights to sustainable energy to higher taxes. They contribute heavily to political campaign, and with their upper-middle-class epigones they run the culture, deciding who gets banned on Twitter, which kinds of “diversity” are allowed on campuses, and what television programs we’ll be allowed to see. Today’s overclass Wives typically hold Ivy League degrees, “lean in” to high-status careers, and stand with Planned Parenthood.