Posted by Kendall Harmon

The show, which features Tom Hollander as a well-meaning pro-gay inner-city liberal vicar, is “ great entertainment” but it “doesn’t truly tell the whole story,” according to the Most Rev Justin Welby.

Writing in the Radio Times about the Sandford St Martin Trust Awards, which celebrate programmes that explore the relevance of faith, Archbishop Welby says: “It would be no surprise if BBC2’s Rev makes the awards shortlist next year. The show amusingly depicts some of the challenges facing clergy up and down the country. But while it’s great entertainment, it doesn’t truly tell the whole story.

“I have a friend who runs a growing church in Reading city centre, filled with young people with no church background; I have another friend who has had to plant two new churches because his congregation is bursting at the seams.

“Other churches have few people but great impact, again with visionary and inspiring leadership...."

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ESPN Films, creators of the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, will premiere a new series in April surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN. 30 for 30: Soccer Stories will include a mix of standalone feature-length and 30-minute-long documentary films from an award winning group of filmmakers telling compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape.

“With ESPN being the home of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we know that sports fans will be looking forward to high quality content focused on what is perhaps the world’s most revered sport,” said Connor Schell, VP of ESPN Films and Original Content. “We feel this is the perfect time to expand upon the success of our 30 for 30 series by focusing this collection on some of the incredible stories of soccer’s legendary past.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryMediaMovies & TelevisionSports* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazil

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Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With several Bible-based films to be released this year, 2014 is being called Hollywood’s year of biblical epics. Some filmmakers are already reaping box office rewards, but what are the potential pitfalls of making these movies? RandE talks with Noah director Darren Aronofsky, Son of God producer Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, actors, and scholars about the challenges of adapting sacred stories to the big screen. Says San Diego State University history professor Edward Blum: “The biblical literalist wants, ‘Oh, hey, does this match up with Genesis? Does this match up with Exodus?’ while the more liberal modernist may want the more artistic spirit of the story. But you also have another group. You have those who vigorously dislike the Bible stories, and so how do you get those three groups to like the same thing?”

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is the themes of faithfulness and optimism that give the biblical Noah story coherence. Without them you have—as with Mr. [Darren] Aronofsky's two-and-a-half-hour movie—a vast and dreary expanse of time, space and meaning to fill. The director strives his frenetic best. He gives us giant fantasy creatures that look like Transformers, except that they're made of rocks. He gives us, as a substitute for religion, the creeds of animal rights and environmentalism, in which the gravest sins are eating meat and mining. He gives us knifings, arsons and impressive computer-generated battles.

But as a determined secularist in a determinedly secular world, he can't give us the one thing that the Noah story once stood for: hope.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even before the rain fell, there were questions.

Would "Noah" the big-budget action movie from Paramount Pictures, alienate the faithful? Would it attract the secular masses it needs to earn back its $125 million production budget? And most importantly, would Hollywood's splashy return to biblical epics float with key religious leaders?

Already, some of those leaders who have seen it say the movie—which opens Friday and is loaded with special effects—takes liberties with the Bible account. Some Christian leaders argue the film repurposes the book of Genesis as a modern-day environmentalist parable, layered with details not found in scripture.

Three Arab countries are even refusing to release the movie....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did stepping into the world of "Noah" make you consider your own take on religion?

I already had the sense that I was someone who was more spiritual than specifically religious. ... I’m really interested in those things that are more far-reaching than culture, nationality, race, religion.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* Theology

8 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The newest Utah polygamous family featured in a reality TV show says sharing their story with a wide audience has been liberating.

Brady Williams and his five wives were a bit apprehensive ahead of the airing of a pilot episode in September, but they said this week an interview with The Associated Press that it felt liberating to be open about who they are and what they believe.

"It really is like coming out of the closet," said Brady Williams, 43. "It's very liberating."

His wives feel the same way, including his second, Robyn Williams, 40, who said: "I feel more free to just be who I am and not be so afraid."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before giving birth to her first child, Sheona Beaumont avoided watching One Born Every Minute, deeming it to be "too raw, too real".

By the time she was pregnant with her second child, she was ready not only to watch the programme, which documents births in close detail, but to participate in it. Furthermore, she is planning to use the reaction to the episode to create a piece of artwork.

Mrs Beaumont, an artist, who is married to the Revd Adam Beaumont, Assistant Curate of Holy Trinity, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, has been commissioned to contribute to the Birth Online: Birth Offline art project, which will explore perspectives on public birth. It will form part of the Birth Rites Collection, on permanent public display at the University of Salford and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 7, 2014 at 5:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Film critics have spoken: Son of God is a dud.

Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. They found evidence of divine favor in the film’s release, citing the “truly miraculous” support they received as Catholic and evangelical leaders from Charlotte to Los Angeles threw their influence behind the movie. Clearly, their efforts were successful—a film that was a re-packaged version of scenes that aired during last year’s Bible miniseries brought in $26.5 million in ticket sales for its first weekend.

Burnett and Downey attribute the wave of support to a grassroots movement and the “quiet commitment of people of faith to spread the word about the life-changing love of Jesus to their friends and neighbors.”
'
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus Christ is serious business. The remarkable ratings of The Bible miniseries on the History Channel led to the release of the new film Son of God. Producers played up the fact that it had been 10 years since Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was released and grossed at the box office more than $600 million internationally. In its opening weekend, the Son of God made $26 million—not bad, given that its content had previously aired on television.

Both films are serious for their revenue generating, their strategic niche marketing to the religiously devout, and their tone, style, and approach. The Passion was two hours of brutality. Some reviewers screamed that it was a horror flick, not a holy one. Gibson was intent on accuracy (or at least how his particular Catholicism viewed the sacred story). The characters did not speak English and he had the color of actor Jim Caviezel’s eyes digitally altered from blue to brown and gave him a prosthetic nose to make him look “authentically” Jewish. The Son of God is serious in its own way. A “political thriller” and an epic “love story,” the film features overtly evangelical themes of the virgin birth, miraculous healings, vicious crucifixion, and the resurrection.

Jesus films have not always been so serious, and they have not always been directed toward particular segments of the Christian community. In the 1970s, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar used whimsy, even silliness, to tell the old, old story, and both sought mass appeal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please watch it all from Jimmy Kimmel--very funny.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMovies & Television* General InterestHumor / TriviaWeather

2 Comments
Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I do not come to bury our culture (for it may well bury itself). Rather, I write to understand it. And there are few topics that we need to understand more than how our culture is viewing sex. Some of what I say may be familiar. I’m not striving to be creative, really, so much as I am seeking to speak a true word so as to be able to engage folks around me.

Nowhere are modern sexual mores more evident than in pop music. Pop music today is not singularly occupied by sex, but nearly so. And not just sex generally, but increasingly sexual acts. I think it’s important for Christians who want to engage the culture well to know that this development is not merely owing to an aberrant way of life, but to a different worldview. I commend Peter Jones’s The God of Sex, a prescient and underappreciated work from a few years back. Jones helped me to see that many people today have, wittingly or unwittingly, adopted a pagan outlook on life. In our modern neo-pagan world, the body is paramount, sex is cathartic and even gives meaning to life, and there is no telos or purpose for sex and relationships.

I cannot help but think of these matters when I listen, as I infrequently do, to secular rap and R&B.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenMovies & TelevisionMusicPsychologyReligion & CultureSexualityWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsWicca / paganism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Traditionally, members of religious communities misrepresented on screen have taken two approaches. The first is to complain. Pointing to the stereotypical portrait of the Arab world in "Homeland," a Muslim critic at Salon labeled it "TV's most Islamophobic show." Similar sensitivities have surfaced about Darren Aronofsky's upcoming movie "Noah," with some Christians expressing concern that it may not fairly depict the biblical narrative.

But angry op-eds and petitions can only go so far. Many more people will see a flawed film than read the criticism of it. That's why some believers have settled on a very different solution to combating caricatures of their faith: Make culture, not war.

This weekend, "Son of God," a re-enactment of the life and resurrection of Jesus as told in the New Testament, will open across the country. The film, which has already made $4.1 million in advanced ticket sales, is the product of husband and wife Christian filmmakers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who produced the movie in consultation with faith leaders....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2004, The New Yorker magazine quoted the screenwriter Dennis Klein as saying that Mr. Ramis rescued comedies from “their smooth, polite perfection” by offering a new, rough-hewn originality. The writer of the article, Tad Friend, compared Mr. Ramis’s impact on comedy to that of Elvis Presley on rock and Eminem on rap.

“More than anyone else,” Paul Weingarten wrote in The Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1983, “Harold Ramis has shaped this generation’s ideas of what is funny.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryHunger/MalnutritionMovies & Television* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...perhaps Hollywood leaders have realized how many regular Joes and Janes out there are searching for life's meaning - and will buy a movie ticket or two along their quest to find it.

They will be joined by masses of already devoted Christians willing to part with $10 to see Noah, for instance, save humanity on the big screen, said Thomas Keating, associate theater professor at Charleston Southern University.

"Hollywood realizes that there is a market for these Christian films where they might have been reluctant in the past," Keating said. "Now they are willing to make an investment."

Local Christians said they don't care as much about why Hollywood is producing these movies as whether they will share their faith through top-notch productions.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So, you recently released your new book, Balancing It All. Why did you decide you wanted to write a book on balance?

I think it's so relative to how we live life today. We're all crazy-busy in this world of technology, and I think that each generation puts more and more on our plates. Whether you're single or married, you have children or you don't, no matter where you are in life, we all feel the pressure to do a lot and then try to figure out how to balance it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“When I saw ‘All My Sons,’ I was changed — permanently changed — by that experience....It was like a miracle to me. But that deep kind of love comes at a price: for me, acting is torturous, and it’s torturous because you know it’s a beautiful thing. I was young once, and I said, That’s beautiful and I want that. Wanting it is easy, but trying to be great — well, that’s absolutely torturous.”

--Philip Seymour Hoffman as quoted in the New York Times.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMovies & TelevisionPsychologyTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2014 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While Comcast says it will divest three million of TWC's roughly 11 million subscribers, the merged company will still have about 30 million video subscribers, far ahead of the next biggest pay-TV operator, DirecTV which has about 20 million. It will have a big presence in the northeastern U.S., in particular, including in the New York area where TWC is a major cable provider now. Perhaps more important, Comcast will be by far the dominant provider of broadband services, which DirecTV doesn't offer. In early December, Aji Pai, a Republican commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, said the Obama administration would be unlikely to approve a Comcast-TWC merger, given its track record of reviewing big mergers.

Regardless of the regulatory outcome, the deal is likely to reinforce a consolidation trend. Liberty and Charter executives have argued that greater scale would better enable cable operators to compete by, for instance, being able to work together on programming ventures. Mr. Malone has said cable operators, because they don't operate nationally, can't buy programming on a national basis and often lack the scale in invest in research and technology.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the first hours and days that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin, there was an outpouring of grief on Facebook, on Twitter and in columns by recovering addicts and alcoholics like the journalist Seth Mnookin and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about their own struggles with sobriety and the rarely distant fear of relapsing back into the throes of active addiction.

There was also a palpably visceral reaction in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where, according to some in attendance, many discussions since last Sunday quickly turned from the death of a great actor to the precariousness of sobriety, and the fears of many sober people that they could easily slip back into their old ways, no matter how many years they have been clean.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMenMiddle AgeMovies & TelevisionPsychologyTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 8, 2014 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The outpouring of grief all around the country, but especially in the environs of New York City where "Phil" lived and worked, has been extraordinary and has, perhaps, taken some observers by surprise. The acute pain of my own grief has not abated for days; indeed, it has grown. I loved this actor beyond all others. There was a core of sensitivity and empathy at the heart of everything he did, even when playing the most unattractive characters. I was collecting his films, but in a desultory way, assuming that there was no particular urgency. Like many others who knew his work but not his personal story, I had no idea of the struggle he'd had. The idea that there will be no more performances is almost unbearable. He wasn't just a "character actor," though he certainly played a lot of characters; he had a range that, the more I think about it, was Shakespearean in its humanity. I can't even name a favorite performance; it was true of him across the board (or boards). I was looking forward to whatever he did next; now we can only play his old movies and suffer our loss. Now we will never see him play King Lear, a dismal thought that has occurred to several theatre critics who have lamented in print.

James Lipton, dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City, widely known as the creator and host of Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo, was interviewed by CNN (I think it was). I don't remember ever seeing a scheduled television appearance at the time of a death that was so ferociously in the moment, not studied, not thought out ahead of time, just pure rage and grief. He seemed to be gripping the table (he may not have been, but it seemed that way) as he almost spat out his fury at "god-damned drugs." He was liberal on most things, he said, but when it came to drugs he felt nothing but implacable opposition and hatred. It was good to hear that. We don't hear it often enough. I remember when Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning after years of drug abuse. Someone said, "She made bad choices." As if a person in the throes of addiction has a choice! This isn't about choices or "free will." This is about the bondage of the will by demonic powers.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionMovies & TelevisionTheatre/Drama/PlaysUrban/City Life and Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all. "Overcheering"--LOL.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* General InterestHumor / Trivia

1 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman hurts like few recent celebrity passings I can think of. Well, like one of them: the death last summer of James Gandolfini. Both Hoffman and Gandolfini were fantastic actors, the sort of faces who'd make you say, "Hmm, maybe I'll have to see that," when they popped up in trailers. Both doted on their young children, and it stings to think about them right now.

But Gandolfini, for all his greatness, will forever be linked to one role. He spent eight years playing Tony Soprano, and that was after a couple years of typecasting as Italian-American Tough Guy No. 6. If you comb through social media today, you see movie fans tearing up over Hoffman and rarely focusing on any one role. The man could play psychopathic toughs (Mission Impossible III), frustrated artists (Synecdoche, New York), sociopathic intellectuals (The Master), gay intellectuals (Capote), gay spazes (Boogie Nights) slobs (Along Came Polly), and jerks (Hard Eight).

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionTheatre/Drama/Plays

3 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.

Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.

The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionMiddle AgeMovies & Television

1 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ultimately, the film’s central question—who are the heroes of the revolution?—scarcely seems to matter. Its answer—the liberal democracy activists—seems dubious. And was it even a revolution? Today some activists are in jail or back on the street, protesting against the new regime. Others have joined a large majority of Egyptians to cheer for the army as it withholds many of the freedoms the activists fought and died for.

Peter Hessler, a winner of the Macarthur “Genius” grant who reports for the New Yorker from Cairo, heard a common refrain around the city on the day of the referendum on the army’s constitution: “The country needs to move forward.” There were very few “no” votes that day. On Twitter, journalists joked that a citizen willing to admit he or she voted “no” couldn’t be found anywhere. Very few Egyptians seem to be willing to jeopardize stability and security to experiment with the Western-style values of democracy and accountability preached by the activists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Justin Bieber is..] 19 and peeling rubber in a rented yellow Lamborghini, drag racing in Miami Beach before dawn Thursday and flunking a street-side sobriety test, according to a police report.

Are his global followers, the Beliebers, still around to read this and weep? Do they even care or have they moved on to other idols of self-expression? (Miley, anyone?) Maybe they have found Bono, who once said, as Falsani noted: “There’s nothing worse than a rock star with a cause … But celebrity is currency and we want to spend it this way.”

It’s certainly not easy to be a celebrity in popular culture and still be taken seriously as a person who practices a religion — Christian or any other faith — in word and deed.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionMusicReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stephen Colbert has figured out how to reach people, and Catholic educators should take notice. Since the debut of his late-night satirical news show, “The Colbert Report,” in 2005, Colbert has gained immense popularity. Each night his program opens to the thunderous applause and chanting of a packed studio audience. The show has garnered many awards, including two primetime Emmys, several additional nominations and the honor of coining the Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2006: truthiness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did you coin the phrase bad hair day?

Prove me wrong. Bryant Gumbel and I were talking about my bad hair days on the Today show in the early '80s. If I had two good hair days out of five it was great. Garry put the phrase bad hair day in Doonesbury. He got it from his wife.

So your career is not a total loss.

I do have a claim to immortality.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionWomen

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Hollywood nod to a Christian film has come as a shock to the entertainment world, as the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" (from the movie by the same name) was nominated for an Oscar.

The song beat out Coldplay, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray to join the other four nominees for best original song: Frozen's "Let it Go"; U2's "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Pharrell Williams's "Happy" from Despicable Me 2; and Karen O's "The Moon Song" from Her.

What's more surprising, however, may be the person who performed the song in the end credits: Joni Eareckson Tada, quadriplegic Christian author and speaker, and one of CT's "50 Women You Should Know."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionMusicReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionRace/Race Relations

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 1988 film [The Last Temptation of Christ] stars Willem Dafoe as a Jesus Christ who imagines himself subject to temptations including lust, and David Bowie as Pontius Pilate. Barbara Hershey won a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress as Mary Magdalene. The film’s original release led to protests and it is still banned in some countries.

Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who was previously Bishop of Bath and Wells, defended the cathedral. “I would have no problem with this and support the Dean and Chapter,” he said.

The diocese is about to get a new bishop, the Right Rev Peter Hancock, currently Bishop of Basingstoke. He declined to comment but another conservative evangelical warned that there could be protests. “It has got a heterodox view of Christ. It has upset people,” he said.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMovies & Television* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide – oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations – are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.

Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.

But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bible narrative has always been one heck of a story. It reads like a mix of action thriller, period drama, romance novel, and the more apocalyptic parts, like pure fantasy. The gripping narrative sections of the text are part of the reason why the Bible is the bestselling book of all time.

But in 2014, we’ll discover if the Good Book is as captivating on the modern day silver screen as it is in print.

The scrappy Christian film industry has been budding for the last several years, proving that people of faith are hungry for content that speaks to the soul. But what many religious films possess in terms of spiritual content, they often lack in star power and budgets. This year, however, big studios such as Sony and Lionsgate are entering the fray by releasing films of, well, biblical proportions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elizabeth and I finally made it to Saving Mr Banks this week--it was really well done; so many great scenes, lets go fly a kite my favorite. I would note, however, to any father who has daughters or vice versa, that the story packs a real emotional and personal punch (and it applies by extension to other parents and children)--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchMovies & Television

2 Comments
Posted January 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whatever one thinks of Duck Commander Phil Robertson’s recent remarks (and let’s be honest, his references to human anatomy could have used some nuance and his comments on race were rashly insensitive), there’s at least one element in this hubbub that’s going underemphasized, but that should be appreciated: Morality. Merely defending the right of Robertson to make these comments without defending the underlying rightness of his comments (leaving aside the comments on race) is to deny the full monty of this story.

A lot of the defenses of Robertson’s comments omit any discussion of the merit of Robertson’s views on human sexuality. Most applaud Robertson from the virtue of viewpoint diversity, pluralism, and free speech. In essence, commenters seem to either intentionally or unintentionally bracket the moral reasoning or merit of Robertson’s comments, implicitly cowing to today’s sexual relativism.

Morality matters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We recommend Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes--funny, touching, and full of the colourful context of an English town.

What would you recommend and why would you recommend it? The more specific you can be the better it is for the rest of us--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMovies & Television

3 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....and among traditional Christians, precisely who doesn’t take that passage seriously when it comes to talking about the reality of sin in this fallen world? Catholics? The Eastern Orthodox? Most of the world’s Lutherans and Anglicans? Pentecostal believers (the fastest growing flock in worldwide Christianity)?

Pretty quickly, CNN sets this up as a rather typical battle between a country-fried preacher (or two) and a real biblical scholar. Yes, that is ONE biblical scholar, from one seminary.

Read it all.

What Terry doesn't say is that the MOST revealing thing about the article is that CNN believes their own statement about their own article (“best, fairest, article on Christians and homosexuality you’ll ever read. Fact.”) when it so clearly is at odds with the truth--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMenMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...while we need to acknowledge the things Robertson got wrong, we do not need to pretend that his dismissal from A&E had mainly to do with any of those three things. The A&E network does not have a track record of concern about remarks that are sexually explicit or pastorally insensitive. And I suspect that A&E would not have pulled the plug if this were merely a matter of his remarks about growing up in Louisiana. None of these by themselves caused the offense that has led to the current uproar.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A lot of fun--watch it all (15 seconds).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionMusicSports* General Interest

1 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a 2007 interview with The New York Times, O’Toole described himself as a “retired Christian.” He played, among others, the pope (twice–onstage early in his career and in “The Tudors”), a Catholic priest (“Fore Greater Glory“), and a British lord who thought he was Jesus (“The Ruling Class”).

O’Toole left his Catholic faith behind in his childhood, but often had high praise for the figure behind Christianity. Speaking of his admiration of the Sermon on the Mount, O’Toole said, “No one can take Jesus away from me…there’s no doubt there was a historical figure of tremendous importance, with enormous notions. Such as peace.” He didn’t have much use for the institution of the Catholic church, but he held Jesus in reverence.
- See more at: http://lauraturner.religionnews.com/2013/12/15/peter-otoole-no-one-can-take-jesus-away-from-me/#sthash.2UVvUEvq.dpuf

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The actor Peter O'Toole who found stardom in David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, has died aged 81, his family has annouced.

The acclaimed leading man who overcame stomach cancer in the 1970s passed away at the Wellington hospital in London following a long illness.

His daughter Kate O'Toole said: "His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television

1 Comments
Posted December 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is at the intersection of genetic variation, personality and choice that the show presses into new territory. What does it mean to be free? Which will predominate in the long run, genetics or environment? What are the legal and moral limits to biological exploration? Who has the power to create, control and manipulate life? As the clones begin to figure out their place in a larger scientific experiment, they are sucked into a world of danger, intrigue and philosophical and scientific speculation, all while having to raise children, finish a dissertation or escape a destructive boyfriend.

The show is suspenseful and addictive. By the time you finish watching the first season, you may not even realize that it’s examining deep questions about the meaning of selfhood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...Teo Bishop, while keeping up a career in pop music, accomplished something less predictable and altogether curiouser. Beginning about three years ago, he began a rise to prominence in the Pagan community. Then, last month, he shocked the Pagan community by re-embracing Christianity.

“I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of Jesus,” Mr. Bishop wrote on Oct. 13, on his blog, Bishop in the Grove. “Jesus and God and Christianity and the Lord’s Prayer and compassion and forgiveness and hope. ... I don’t know what to do with all of this.”

For American Pagans, Mr. Bishop’s defecting to a big, bad mainstream religion is bigger news than winning a Grammy, bigger than shooting a Vanity Fair cover. If you’re a Druid, a Wiccan or any of the nature-religion followers grouped under the label Pagan, you’re not talking about Britney, JT or Xtina. You’re talking Teo Bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsWicca / paganism

1 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An East End rector is entering the race for the Christmas No 1 as a rank outsider, taking on Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and the winner of The X Factor to challenge for the top slot in the charts.

The Rev Niall Weir, rector of St Paul’s in West Hackney, London, is hoping to repeat the success of his first and only Christmas chart hit to date, which earned £30,000 for his local community in 1991.

He has assembled a choir of 60 people, including the homeless, recovering drug addicts, vulnerable adults, pensioners and others who belong to the wide variety of charitable groups and organisations that use Stoke Newington church hall for their meetings.

Read it all from the [London] Times(requires subscription)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionMusicReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Doctor Who fans celebrate the series's 50th anniversary Dr Andrew Crome, lecturer in the history of modern Christianity at the University of Manchester, explains how the time-travelling Doctor allows us to explore different beliefs and ethical viewpoints.

A near immortal crossing space and time, followers split over interpretation, characters in strange hats... Perhaps it is no surprise Doctor Who is sometimes described as a form of surrogate religion.

However, behind this light-hearted comparison lies a grain of truth, as Doctor Who has continually engaged with important religious themes across its 50-year run.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The choice to become a reality TV star took an unfortunate turn for Andrew Hamblin after Tennessee wildlife officials confiscated more than 50 venomous snakes from the young pastor's Pentecostal church.

On Friday, the 22-year-old star of Snake Salvation and pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in Lafollete pled not guilty to a wildife possession charge—and then continued to handle snakes at his church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘I’m very optimistic about the future of cinema,” says Serge Toubiana, the director of the Cinematheque Francaise, sitting in the library at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

Toubiana was in Israel last week, a guest of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

While Toubiana’s formal title certainly sounds impressive enough to the casual observer, the fact is that Toubiana could be called the King of Cinema.

The Cinematheque Francaise is the mecca for film lovers worldwide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceMiddle EastIsrael

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four years later, of course, Jeremy Lin is a brand name and a phenomenon, having burst into fame with the Knicks last year and gone on to a lucrative free-agent contract with the Houston Rockets. Just the other night, he put up 21 points at Madison Square Garden in a victory over his former team.

As for the documentary, “Linsanity” has been shown on the festival circuit and in art houses, and is now moving into the download and DVD part of its cinematic life. At one level, the film is a quintessential saga of sporting triumph, with Lin as the perpetual underdog who defies every doubter and conquers every challenge to achieve his dream.

In a deeper way, though, “Linsanity” brings to a mass audience not just an Asian-American sports star, but an Asian-American Christian. The film shows Lin not only tossing in three-pointers and piercing down the lane, but also repeatedly speaking of divine direction, divine intercession, divine will.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Asia* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What was supposed to be a touchy-feely, one-on-one interview by Oprah Winfrey with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has morphed into a broader, sometimes angry exchange about what it means to be an atheist.

Earlier this month Winfrey, 59, hosted Nyad on “Super Soul Sunday,” her weekly talk program on cable’s Oprah Winfrey Network. Nyad, 64, recently completed a 53-hour solo swim from Cuba to Florida.

During the hourlong segment, Nyad declared herself an atheist. She then explained, “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

0 Comments
Posted November 4, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

tudios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as source material for upcoming mainstream films: the Bible.

Nearly 10 years after the blockbuster success of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which earned $611.9 million worldwide, studios are looking to the Good Book for good material....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted October 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This photo is just wonderful and made my morning brighter. It is on the front page top of the (London) Times Ipad edition--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionWomen* General InterestPhotos/Photography

0 Comments
Posted October 21, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legendary Pictures LLC, the company behind this summer's monster movie "Pacific Rim" and a coming film adaptation of the hit videogame "Warcraft," makes anyone authorized to read one of its scripts purchase a special iPad app that allows them to view it for a only few hours before the digital document, like a "Mission Impossible" assignment, self-destructs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Films about being adrift seem to suit the national mood: “All Is Lost” is one of a spate of movies this season, including “Gravity,” about Americans unmoored.
--From a profile article on Robert Redford in this week's New York Times

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionPsychology* General InterestNotable & Quotable* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Geographic Channel followed two snake-handling preachers off and on for a year for a called Snake Salvation that will air this fall on Tuesday nights. Pastor Jamie Coots is one of the series' subjects.

"Snake handling fascinated me because it's such an extreme gesture of faith," says Matthew Testa, the series' executive producer. "We set out to tell this story from the snake handlers' point of view, to really humanize them, not to judge them, and to show how important religion is in their daily lives with their daily struggles."

The Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., is a short drive through the Cumberland Gap from Coots' church. The pastor here is Andrew Hamblin, a lanky, charismatic 22-year-old, who is the other preacher featured in the TV series. Hamblin wants to modernize the practice of handling snakes in church. He posts photos of himself with snakes on , and he aspires to pastor the first serpent-handling megachurch.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* General InterestAnimals* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

8 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was well worth the time--visually just stunning.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From snake handlers to trivia buffs, entertainment with religious overtones has gilded the fall TV lineup with the renewals of such ratings-busting shows as “The American Bible Challenge” (GSN), now in its third season, and the return of “Breaking Amish: L.A.,” including a bonus reunion event (TLC). Add ongoing reality shows such as “Preacher’s Daughters” (Lifetime) and the list just keeps growing.

“We are certainly in the midst of a rush of interest in faith-based shows,” says Martha Williamson, executive producer of the CBS hit “Touched by an Angel,” which ran from 1994 to 2003.

The appetite for faith-based shows should hardly be surprising. Some 78 percent of Americans say they are Christian, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center’s Project on Religion and Public Life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted September 27, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Los Angeles filmmaker Andrew Thomas has turned his attention from the secular to the religious by directing a feature-length documentary on the life and times of the Rev. Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest who says the church needs to be more relevant to the everyday person and has worked to improve that issue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted September 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Simply terrific, and way more than just a who--done--it, but a deeply moving drama about fractured people in one English town--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchMovies & Television

2 Comments
Posted September 7, 2013 at 10:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As summer winds down, the hottest trend on Hollywood’s fall schedule appears to be religion. Faith-based entertainment is in the midst of a comeback, what with NBC announcing its sequel to “The Bible,” the highly rated cable mini-series; multiple upcoming movies about Moses; a new film about Noah (starring Russell Crowe); and a Ridley Scott production of Exodus.

And then there are the renewals of such ratings-busting shows as GSN’s “The American Bible Challenge,” back for a third season, and TLC’s announcement that not only will its franchise, “Breaking Amish: LA,” return, but there will be a reunion event as well. Add to that list ongoing reality shows such as “Preacher’s Daughters” and the list just keeps growing.

“We are certainly in the midst of a rush of interest in faith-based shows,” says Martha Williamson, creator and producer of the CBS hit “Touched By An Angel,” which ran from 1994 to 2003.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

2 Comments
Posted September 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is something indulgent about boredom. It makes me think of posh people in Russian plays complaining they have nothing to do while other people work their arses off in the field. As Schopenhauer insisted, life for the person of means becomes a question of how to dispose of surplus time. Maybe that's why boredom feels like a problem especially associated with August and not least with children on long car journeys.

But according to the Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen, author of A Philosophy of Boredom, boredom comes to take on a particular and possibly darker inflection with modernity. Having been bored witless writing his PhD about Kant, Svendsen came to see a connection between his subject and his state of mind. With Kant, God is replaced by the self as the ultimate source of meaning. As traditional structures of meaning are wiped away, boredom comes to be regarded as a very personal sort of failing. And in order to avoid it, various distractions are entertained: travel, drink, drugs, the Xbox, sex, transgressive behaviour – all strategies of avoidance, all hinting at a desperate desire to hold off the acknowledgment of meaninglessness. It is, says Svendsen, a problem characteristic of modernity. Whereas boredom has once bragged about as a mark of nobility, now it is the ultimate in personal failing. Those who are bored are losers.

Perhaps this is why the entertainment industry is more important to us that we are often prepared to admit.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Al-Jazeera and America, two name brands often at odds since 9/11, were wed as one on Tuesday (Aug. 20) when the Qatar-based media network began broadcasting its U.S. news channel Al-Jazeera America from New York.

This is not the first time Al-Jazeera has tried to find a home on American TV. Al-Jazeera English debuted with an international focus in 2006 but was never picked up in major media markets outside the Northeast.

From CNN to MSNBC to Fox, the leading cable and satellite news channels all struggled to gain and hold viewers, credibility and profit for years after their launch. But for Al-Jazeera America, deep-seated prejudices among some U.S. audiences are likely to make this uphill slog even steeper.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 22, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our world is fascinated with zombies. From revisionist writings in adult literature like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to children's books such as Zombiekins, from television dramas of The Walking Dead to major motion pictures like the recent World War Z, as well as quasi-zombies — Boggans — in children's films like Epic, not to mention the plethora of zombie video games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, our society is captivated by the undead.

What drives this zombie-filled imagination? What is its philosophical and theological import? Perhaps it is just good science fiction. Maybe it is the fear of chemical warfare, concerns of which flood our commercial media and public broadcasts. But why has this new genre of literature and film so mightily fixed our gaze upon the printed page and illuminated screens? Are we all worried about rampant cannibalism; being devoured by insatiable creatures, stoppable only by a "deadly" blow to the head? Or have we simply run out of other good reasons to give Brat Pitt a heroic leading role?

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEschatology

0 Comments
Posted August 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For reasons unknown, the government finally has admitted that Area 51 — the Shangri-La of alien hunters and a sturdy trope of ­science-fiction movies — is a real place in the Mojave Desert about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.

It presumably does not house hideous squidlike ETs, but at least you can see the place on a map. Area 51 is confirmed in declassified CIA documents posted online Thursday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. A dogged researcher pried from the CIA a report on the history of the U-2 spy plane, which was tested and operated at Area 51.

The military, which runs the base, always denied that Area 51 was called by its famous moniker, preferring a designation connected to the Groom Lake salt flat, a landing strip for the U-2 and other stealth aircraft.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. Government

1 Comments
Posted August 17, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Steubenville. The Naval Academy. Vanderbilt University. The stories of young men sexually assaulting young women seem never to stop, despite all the education we've had and all the progress we've supposedly made. There are times when I find myself darkly wondering if there's some ineradicable predatory streak in the male subset of our species.

Wrong, Chris Kilmartin told me. It's not DNA we're up against; it's movies, manners and a set of mores, magnified in the worlds of the military and sports, that assign different roles and different worth to men and women. Fix that culture and we can keep women a whole lot safer.

I contacted Kilmartin, a psychology professor and the author of the textbook The Masculine Self, after learning that the military is repeatedly reaching out to him. Right now he's in Colorado, at the Air Force Academy, which imported him for a year to teach in the behavioural sciences department and advise the school on preventing sexual violence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaMenMovies & TelevisionPsychologySexualityViolenceWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted August 16, 2013 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why do some people have a problem with trans stuff?
I think people have a problem with it because they’re uncomfortable with themselves, about what it means for them to be a man or woman. So it’s "If I was assigned male at birth, does that mean I can’t play with toys that are pink and things that are not seen to be traditionally male?"

The very binary idea of man and woman, it blows it out of the water really. People want to believe gender is something that’s essential, and people repeat these essentialist ideas all the time. "Oh, women do that" and "Oh, men do that" and the reality is that all women don’t anything. We as individuals do what we do, you know, and sometimes that’s informed by gender and sometimes it’s just who we are. And I think all that just makes people really, really uncomfortable because they don’t want to think about who they are.
Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionPsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropology


Posted August 12, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Transgender celebrity B. Scott has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks and its parent company, Viacom, for discrimination.

Identified as Brandon Sessoms in the lawsuit, Scott alleges the television network discriminated against him while he was working as a style stage correspondent for the BET Awards pre-show on June 30 by forcing him to dress more masculine.

According to the suit, Scott is an “openly gay TV and Internet personality, advice columnist and entrepreneur [who] indentifies his gender identity as transgender. B. Scott’s gender identity is separate and distinct from his sexual orientation.”

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMovies & TelevisionPsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted August 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's finally happening, folks. This year, the average time Americans spend with digital media each day will surpass traditional TV viewing time. That's according to of media consumption among adults.

The average adult will spend more than five hours per day online and on non-voice mobile activities (read: texting, apps, games). That's compared to an average four hours and 31 minutes each day of TV watching.

Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will be up nearly 16 percent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of my favorite “Yes, Prime Minister” episodes is “The Bishop’s Gambit,” where Prime Minister Hacker has to select a new bishop for the diocese of Bury St. Edmunds, and wonders naively whether the ideal candidate should believe in God or not. From the script:

“The bench of bishops should have a proper balance between those who believe in God and those who don’t.”

“Bishops tend to live a long time, perhaps because the Almighty is not all that keen for them to join him....”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

1 Comments
Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Arab cops hunt jihadi terrorists. A con artist becomes president of Egypt. A mosque preacher falls in love with a secular violinist at the opera house. These are just a few of the plots for dozens of new TV shows playing to 90 million households in the Arab world this month. Ramadan is a time of fasting and contemplation—but in the Middle East, it's also the most high-stakes period for hundreds of satellite channels in 21 Arab countries.

Most serials made their debut with the new moon on July 8 and air nightly after daylong fasting is broken at sunset. This year's story lines reflect the political upheavals rocking the Arab world and suggest that the region—or at least those producing the shows—are tilting against Islamism.

Read it all (another link here if needed).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 19, 2013 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a stated aim to “provoke,” Britain’s best-known TV company, Channel 4, is justifying its live daily broadcast of the “adhan” — the early hour Muslim call to prayer — and sparking applause as well as anger.

The broadcasts, airing each morning at 3 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, will continue throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We are focusing on the positive aspects of Islam and hoping to explain to a broader public what Ramadan is, and what it means for the 2.8 million Muslims who take part in the UK and provide a platform for different views and different voices,” said Ralph Lee, the network’s head of programming.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2013 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the cause of death for Cory Monteith.

Post-mortem testing, which included an autopsy and toxicological analysis, found that Mr. Monteith, aged 31, died of a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.....

It should be noted that at this point there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most-tragic accident. When the investigation is concluded, a Coroners Report will be issued.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingDrugs/Drug AddictionMovies & TelevisionYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In most parts of the world, arranged marriages are a time-honored expression of religious and cultural orthodoxy. Even in modern-day Israel, with its educated and affluent population, the tradition endures in the Hasidic community. But “Fill the Void” is not the critique of sexist repression we might have expected. It’s an artful, character-driven drama that constitutes a minor miracle of empathy.

The source of that empathy is director Rama Burshtein’s own life. She is the first ultra-Orthodox Israeli woman to direct a feature film, and the yearning for independent identity is embodied in her heroine, Shira (Hadas Yaron).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As they enact a marriage for their kids and their neighbors, their “real” lives as spies sometimes require actions incompatible with their cover. They are meant to have an understanding, for instance, that each will use sex with other people as a tool for their missions, but this arrangement creates inevitable problems for their relationship. A hidden identity is a hard thing to nourish, and an identity embodied in habit and practice is a harder thing to disavow.

The storyline plays with the tensions created when there is a difference between identity and self-presentation, between hidden purpose and what one shows to the world. The house, the marriage and the kids may be meant as a cover, but it turns out that when you live with someone for years on end, when you care for children from diapers to braces, your daily life will threaten to become your real life.

Scripture speaks of the way domestic life shapes who we are and how we worship when the Lord commands Israel not to “enter into marriage” with those who “will surely incline your heart to follow their gods’” (1 Kings 11:2). When King Solomon flouts this command and clings to his foreign wives in love, his “heart is turned” and he is “not true to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:4)....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted July 2, 2013 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Does being an atheist make it easier to conjure up a supernatural world?
I think that it gives me a need to write fantasies. I don't have a fantastical belief, so it's nice to create a world where there could be one.

At a commencement speech, you told students to embrace death. Is that a theme for you?
Well, it is the one universal truth, and our culture is so terrified of it. I work in Hollywood, where people routinely chop their faces in order to look younger and look like shiny, scary monsters. And everybody says, Well, that's just fine. Death and life are part of the same thing.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For some reason, audiences have no problem when God, faith and religion are regular elements of animated comedies such as “The Simpsons,” ‘’Family Guy” and “South Park.” Psychologically, a cartoon Jesus on the small screen is okay in ways that a live-action Jesus is not.

But with live action sitcoms, success is more difficult to predict. And when the family at the center of show is not Christian the premise can be an especially tough sell. The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s critically lauded “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” lasted from 2007-2012, but with steadily declining ratings.

A critical factor for “Save Me,” which concludes its limited run Thursday (June 13), was how viewers would receive Heche as a Cincinnati housewife and former weekend television weathercaster who converses with God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted June 13, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As biographer Robin Wood pointed out in his eponymous book on the director, that when the British film journal Movie compiled its ranking of great directors in its inaugural 1962 issue, only two directors received its highest rating, “Brilliant”: Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks. The two directors were polar opposites; Hitchcock was as masterful at generating self-publicity as he was directing his fabulous films, while Hawks epitomized the laconic and self-deprecating protagonists he often featured in his stories.

Hawks said a good movie consisted simply of “three great scenes, no bad ones,” and described a good director as “someone who doesn’t annoy you.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television

1 Comments
Posted June 1, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

3 Comments
Posted May 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Palmetto State has stars in its eyes.

Film industry professionals Thursday celebrated a new law they think will expand their industry in South Carolina.

Richard Futch, former casting director for the TV show “Army Wives,” said the Film Rebates Bill, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law last week by Gov. Nikki Haley, makes South Carolina competitive with neighboring Georgia and North Carolina.

The new law, which provides incentives to filmmakers, will bring more movie and TV productions to the state, he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted May 17, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Game of Thrones we’re shown a world of medieval technology, accoutrement, and honorifics, but without chivalry (some lame pretense is made here and there, but it plays no part even in the life of the nobility, and the tale is told solely through their eyes) because there is no Christ to inspire it and no Church to encourage it. The denizens of the land claim a belief, of whatever sort, in “the gods,” who are never specified, whose mythology is never told, and of whom worship seems virtually nonexistent. The latter is the one significant breach with real-world paganism, which always involved true belief and often extravagant liturgics. There is also (as there was with Rome) a most implausible dearth of numinous awe for the natural world. One may have to pledge one’s son in marriage to the daughter of the castle-holder controlling a vital river crossing in order to get one’s army across, but of the necessity of offering a she-goat or woodcock to the river god himself in order to be granted safe passage there is nary a trace.

This is a significant oversight and makes the world a more modern one that the filmmakers should be comfortable with. Nevertheless, we are presented a generally accurate (for Hollywood) portrayal of what theologian David Bentley Hart calls the “glorious sadness” of ancient paganism in which life was short, or at least wildly precarious, and relatively meaningless while it lasted, and death both all too common and all too horrid to contemplate. Pleasures were to be grasped in whatever form they may be readily at hand, and whether they involved cruelty or kindness was a matter of relative taste. Joy may flit briefly by, but only in such a manner and measure as to enhance the agony of its loss and the poignancy of its ephemerality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsWicca / paganism

8 Comments
Posted May 16, 2013 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It seems to happen whenever Steve Beard hangs out with friends -- especially folks who don't go to church -- talking about movies, television and whatever else is on their minds.

"It may take five minutes or it may take as long as 10, but sooner or later you're going to run into some kind zombie comment," said Beard, editor of Good News, a magazine for United Methodist evangelicals. "Someone will say something like, 'When the zombie apocalypse occurs, we need to make sure we're all at so-and-so's house so we can stick together.' It's all a wink-and-a-nod kind of deal, but the point is that this whole zombie thing has become a part of the language of our time."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

1 Comments
Posted May 15, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...many viewers of TV preachers are women. In the most conservative Egyptian households, women rarely leave their homes and account for nearly two-thirds of television viewers, according to Ipsos, a Paris-based global polling group. During the runoff of presidential elections last June, 76% of women voted for the Brotherhood's Mr. Morsi, propelling him to a win, according to telephone exit polls by Baseera, a private Egyptian polling firm. Overall, Mr. Morsi received 51.7% of the vote.

"The advantage of the channels is that they reach those groups that the mosque will never reach," said Aatif Abdel Rashid, one of the founders of Al Nas who is now a presenter on Al Hafez, another Salafi satellite station.

Al Nas was started by Saudi investors who owned a media group called Al Baraheen in 2006 as a "cultural" station that featured tame music videos, dance routines and religious dream interpretations—a variety show with an mildly Islamic slant.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religion should be incorporated into “reality” television shows in order to increase understanding of other faiths, the Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, who was enthroned in March, warned of “dangerous” consequences if religion disappeared from television schedules. Broadcasters who force religion to the margins are helping to “cultivate ignorance”, the Archbishop said.

He praised the ITV documentary series, Strictly Kosher, which featured an internet-dating Rabbi and a flamboyant fashion boutique owner based in Manchester’s orthodox Jewish community, for “stitching” religion into everyday life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking at a gathering of digital advertisers in New York City last night, Mr Schmidt refused to forecast when internet video would displace television, instead declaring: "That's already happened."

"It's not a replacement for something that we know," he added. "It's a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms."

YouTube recently surpassed the milestone of a billion unique users a month. Only the Google search engine and social network Facebook are frequented more often by those browsing the internet worldwide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. [Reed] Hastings said he realized that the company’s attempt to both raise prices and separate into two companies, one the legacy DVD-by-mail business and the other the up-and-coming broadband streaming business, was trying to do too much too fast. Angry subscribers abandoned the company in droves (800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone), revenue missed estimates and the stock plunged.

“I messed up,” Mr. Hastings wrote in an unusually forthright September 2011 blog post. Citing the precedents of AOL and Borders Books, which struggled or failed to make the digital transition, “my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.” But in the rush to accelerate the transition, he wrote, “In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” He also made a video apology.

Mr. Hastings said he didn’t expect the apology alone to “turn it around,” adding, “I wasn’t naïve enough to think most customers care if the C.E.O. apologizes, but I thought it was honest and appropriate.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHistoryMovies & TelevisionPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted April 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

magine two teams with more than a thousand competitors on each side. Imagine a playing field that stretches three miles from goal to goal. And imagine a single ball that both sides are fighting over.

That is Shrovetide Football, which is played each year over two days in Ashbourne, England between members of the town. In his documentary Wild In The Streets, Peter Baxter tells the story of the game that has been played for centuries.

Read it all and take the time to watch the official trailer video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionRural/Town LifeSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted April 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hollywood movie critic and author Theodore “Ted” Baehr came to Columbia this week with the hope of persuading Christian parents and children they have a moral obligation to take on the popular culture moguls who traffic in sex and violence in movies, video games and online entertainment.

Baehr has spent a lifetime teaching, writing and lecturing on the importance of spreading Christian values on the widescreen. He has challenged the movie industry through his biblically based movie reviews to recognize that there is money to be made in family-oriented movies.

“I’ve often said we need more Christians in Hollywood and less Hollywood in Christians,” Baehr, the son of a television actor, said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted April 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all. LOLOL.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A wonderful French comedy-drama film based on a true story. Terrific acting, lovely music, great scenes from Paris, and all deeply touching. The official website is here. Check it out if you have not done so--KSH (Hat tip: Abigail Harmon).

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchMovies & Television

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's, like, totally tubular. The '80s: The Decade That Made Us isn't about nostalgia; it's about the history of our modern world that spawned political, technological, cultural, and social revolutions that began in the United States and went on to dominate the world. This cultural programming event is the defining biography of a generation. It's about a decade of people, decisions, and inventions that changed our future, told from the perspective of the unknowing history makers who lived these iconic moments. We worked out, worked harder, played harder and consumed more—because the 1980s was the decade when we went forward to the future....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2004 Sandra and I flew to the northernmost part of Uganda to visit a couple of theological seminaries in the city of Arua. The Ugandan seminary was relatively well appointed. Its faculty joyful. Its students adequately fed and eager to learn. The Sudanese seminary, across town, was a study in contrasts. Bare buildings, dirt floors, underfed students, listless faculty were all testimony to the suffering of Sudanese people who had sought refuge across the Uganda border to save their lives.

Today South Sudan is its own country, thanks to the accord in 2011, by which 8 million Sudanese – mostly African and Christian (as opposed to northern Sudanese who are Arab and Muslim) – ceded from Sudan. People like the seminarians we saw are now moving back home and rebuilding the decimated southern part of the country. When we lived in Pittsburgh we got to know many of the so-called “Lost Boys” who had come to America back in the 1980’s and ‘90’s as refugees. Beautiful young men, many of them had seen the most brutal atrocities the human mind can imagine.

These atrocities are paraded across the wide-screen in a new movie from Relativity Media called Machine Gun Preacher. Starring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers and Michelle Monagan as his longsuffering wife Lynn, the movie tells the true story of one man’s effort to help the suffering children of Sudan....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

0 Comments
Posted April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television

2 Comments
Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all (a little over 13 1/2 minutes) or if you need to (second best) read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionTheatre/Drama/PlaysWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I caught this by accident recently and was hypnotized by its beauty. It is simply splendid--on central park, on the seasons, on the birders, and, oh my--on the birds.

You can read more about it here and if you are up for it there is a spectacular bird show there to whet your appetite.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television* General InterestAnimals

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a Sunday afternoon several months ago, I was engaged in one of my favorite religious rituals, watching pro football on television. During a break in the game, I reflexively clicked the “mute” button on the remote control. But my eyes stayed fixed on a startling commercial.

The screen showed a balding man with tawny skin and a salt-and-pepper goatee, and seconds later it spelled out his name: Mujahid Abdul-Rashid. The advertisement went on to show him fishing, playing in a yard with two toddlers, and sitting down to a family meal.

One week later, again during an N.F.L. game, the same commercial appeared. This time I listened to the words. The advertisement was for Prudential’s financial products for retirees. Mr. Abdul-Rashid was talking about his own retirement after 19 years as a clothing salesman, and the family time he now intended to enjoy....

Read it all and you can see the commercial there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted February 9, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an interview with Esquire that is generating a surprising amount of buzz—and not just because she appears on the magazine's cover in her underwear—TV and film star Megan Fox talks about her Pentecostal upbringing and her experience of "getting the Holy Ghost." Ms. Fox's account of speaking in tongues is proving particularly buzz-worthy, prompting comment in Christian media as well as mainstream news outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

Why the kerfuffle? Didn't we get our fill of this a couple of years ago with similar descriptions by the Pentecostally raised singer Katy Perry? And what does it mean to speak in tongues?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted February 8, 2013 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1 Kings 18:21 describes a crucial moment of decision. It's the final showdown between the God of Israel and a false god called Baal. Elijah calls God's people to choose once and for all between the living God who delivered them, and this false god who has captured their affections: "'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing."

They seem unable, or unwilling, to make a choice. They want to hedge their bets, sit on the fence, and keep their options open. How different are we Christians in the 21st century? Would you prefer to make an ironclad, no-turning-back choice, or one you could back out of if need be? Do you ever find that you're afraid to commit? Do you reply to party invitations with a "maybe" rather than a "yes" or "no"? Do you like to keep your smartphone switched on at all times, even in meetings, so that you are never fully present at any given moment? Will you focus on the person you're talking to after a church service, or will you look over her shoulder for a better conversation partner?

If so, you may be worshiping the god of open options.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those of you who know the story/like the movie, etc. here is the Baltimore Raven's Michael Oher with his adopted mother after winning the Super bowl, and here he is with his adopted sister.

If interested, you may read a lot more about this over here.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionSports

0 Comments
Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday].. Netflix...release[d] a drama expressly designed to be consumed in one sitting: “House of Cards,” a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Rather than introducing one episode a week, as distributors have done since the days of black-and-white TVs, all 13 episodes will be streamed at the same time. “Our goal is to shut down a portion of America for a whole day,” the producer Beau Willimon said with a laugh.

“House of Cards,” which is the first show made specifically for Netflix, dispenses with some of the traditions that are so common on network TV, like flashbacks. There is less reason to remind viewers what happened in previous episodes, the producers say, because so many viewers will have just seen it. And if they don’t remember, Google is just a click away. The show “assumes you know what’s happening all the time, whereas television has to assume that a big chunk of the audience is always just tuning in,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.

The producer Glen Mazzara took a similar approach to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” this year. In the second half of the season, which will start in mid-February after a two-month break, “we decided to pick up the action right away — to just jump right in,” Mr. Mazzara said. Fans of the show, he said, have little tolerance for recaps, since many of them will have just watched a marathon of the first half to prepare for the second.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elizabeth and I finally got to this and it was simply lovely in every sense. Touching, moving, well acted and produced--it has all the hallmarks of a true story, based as it is on the diaries of one who worked as a midwife as it is--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryMovies & TelevisionWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted January 31, 2013 at 6:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One scholar says it's impossible to understand American history without an understanding of the nation's Christian history. Another suggests that it can lead to church renewal. A third says it helps us interpret Scripture, shape our mission, and appreciate God's grace. People of Faith serves most of these needs well.

The series—produced by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College (Illinois), with support from the Lilly Endowment—shows Christians engaged in public life during the European settlement, the founding of the nation, the Civil War, the 19th-century social reform movements, and the civil rights movement. Christian activity is portrayed as predominantly positive, though not entirely so. For example, the series points out that Christians made arguments both for and against slavery, and that Prohibition began as a public health crusade against a devastating social problem but quickly turned punitive and counterproductive. Subjects that Christians got mostly wrong, notably the treatment of Native Americans, are touched on lightly, if at all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 30, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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