Films seduce and indoctrinate us in the same way as soap operas, but there is greater variety and the opportunity to discern the difference between the real and unreal worlds. Consider this sequence of films:
Soap operas (soaps for short) are radio or television drama series following people's daily lives. They were so named because they were first sponsored in the US in the 1930s by soap manufacturers.
In the UK, of course, I mean Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Doctors, and the Australian-produced Neighbours and Home and Away. And of course the longest-running one of them all, The Archers (on Radio 4 since 1950). Nowadays people can also readily access soaps from other countries, especially, of course, the USA.
We live in an age when the Western world is dominated by secularist worldviews, secularist big stories. The dominant secularist big stories are those of materialism in both senses of that key word: that physical nature is all there is, and that enjoying material possessions is all that matters. However, for this blog post, the precise characteristics of secularist big stories do not matter; it is enough if two points can be accepted.
Men pay upwards of £1000 to listen to the 'wisdom' and 'insight' of 'pick-up' artist Julien Blanc. His worldview boils down to this: objectify women and use them for your pleasure. Videos of Blanc preaching and ranting can be found online under the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundtheWorld.
In my last blog I explored the impact of astrology upon the emperor Tiberius. Consider this contemporary story of a president who followed the stars!
Here's an entertaining conversion story from 2011.
Sal Bentivegna, a New Yorker, thought the Christian faith was ridiculous. He loved taunting his devout Catholic mother Gloria and would often get combative and sarcastic. He told his mum that she ought to pray "to her God" and ask for 'dinero' to sort out her financial difficulties. Gloria refused to do this but she had been praying for her son's conversion for several years. She told her son that he was more than welcome to pray on her behalf.
Spain's national lottery, known as "El Gordo" (the Fat One), was first established in 1812 and operates somewhat differently from most British lotteries. It has a total of 1,800 winning tickets. Each ticket costs a whopping €200 but it is then sub-divided into ten 'decimas' which cost around €20 each. The 'decima' is then broken down into individual 'participations' that cost about €5.
Mark is away this week, so here's something you may have missed last month.
As anticipation mounted for the World Cup final, a feature about football and faith went out on 6th July on 16 local radio stations around the country: from Yorkshire Coast Radio to Cornwall's Pirate FM. Mark was a central commentator: speaking alongside Christian professional footballers Bruce Dyer and Bobby Hassell, he talked about the drama, joy and wackiness of football as one of the good things we can do in God's creation.
I wanted to blog about some of the questions that students ask.
RealityBites is a ministry that creates space for people to ask questions about life, the universe and, of course, Hertfordshire. We try to arouse curiosity in people about God, idolatry and the kingdom of Jesus. We do this by telling provocative, shocking stories about rat worshippers, plastic surgery obsessives and human traffickers etc.