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 Thanks, Hollywood. No, Really.

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مُساهمةموضوع: Thanks, Hollywood. No, Really.   الجمعة ديسمبر 02, 2011 10:47 pm

Thanks, Hollywood. No, Really.







The words “Thanksgiving” and “health” don’t typically go hand in
hand—not with all the stuffing and pumpkin pie and marshmallow-covered
sweet potatoes making their rounds. But as it turns out, giving thanks is pretty healthy.
At least that’s what the scientists say. Check out this snippet fromUSA Today:
While
it seems pretty obvious that gratitude is a positive emotion,
psychologists for decades rarely delved into the science of giving
thanks. But in the last several years they have, learning in many
experiments that it is one of humanity’s most powerful emotions. It
makes you happier and can change your attitude about life, like an
emotional reset button. Especially in hard times, like these.
I buy that, don’t you?



Most Christians claim a head start in this “giving thanks” arena, of
course. We count our blessings all the time during prayer (even as we
ask for some help for stuff that isn’t going so well). But sometimes we
might get into a bit of a blessing “rut”—repeatedly thanking the
Almighty for the obvious stuff, like family and friends and food and
sunshine. We have so many obvious blessings in our lives that we forget
to thank God for some of the, er, less obvious ones. Like the entertainment industry.

Plugged In, as many of you’ve noticed, is often critical of
aspects of the entertainment industry. But does that mean it’s all just a
big pile of dirty slush, not worth anything but a sneer and a thumb of
the nose? Of course not! When I look at pop culture today, I see quite a
bit of good stuff—or at leastnot badstuff—out there. Let me tell you what I’m thankful for:

Happy endings.Most American movies are still remarkably optimistic.
The world is saved. The guy gets the girl. The villain gets tossed in
the clink. Sure, the morality of these movies can be hinky, but most
movies still at least have morals (of a sort), and that’s something. For
all our talk of whatever-floats-your-boat postmodernism, the fact that
most films still have heroes and villains speaks to our inherent
understanding that there are right ways and wrong ways to behave.
Moreover, there’s a sense of cosmic justice in play here—that good really is stronger than evil, that nice guys can finish first.

Sad endings.Of course, we know the real world doesn’t always lend
itself to “happily ever after” (unless we’re prone to look at things on a
more eternal scale). This is a frail place we inhabit, filled with lots
of fallible people and freakish disasters and tragedy. I think
sometimes it’s good to be reminded that pain’s a part of life, and that
things don’t always work out how we’d like them to. And yet, that, in
the midst of that pain, we can find meaning and solace. And maybe we can
find a little commonality—and comforting community—with some of those
sad souls on screen.

“Christian” movies for the masses.Faith is a touchy subject. Little
wonder that so many secular filmmakers tend to give religion and
spirituality a wide berth. But this year, it seems, we’ve seen some
surprisingly cogent messages of faith on the big screen, and not just
from the likes of the Kendrick brothers’Courageous. ConsiderSoul Surfer, the inspirational story of a surfer whose arm was bitten off by a shark. OrJumping the Broom, a complex relational tale from megapastor T.D. Jakes. OrWarrior, a gritty story of redemption told in the confines of a mixed martial arts cage. OrThe Tree of Life,
Terrence Malick’s beautiful, dreamlike rumination on the nature of
faith. Now, none of these films earned a clean bill of health fromPlugged In. Many had loads of problematic content. But still, there were folks who’ve never heard ofPlugged Inwho saw some of these movies … and perhaps the genuine spiritual musings proffered therein found a place to take root.

The FCC.Yes, the television landscape is growing coarser by the
season, it seems. And yet we still live in a country where families are
ostensibly protected from the f-word on network television. We should be
thankful for this while we still can.

The Wii.I know there may be those out there who believe nothing
redeeming can come from video games (we’ll actually have a video game
pro-and-con argument on the blog in a week or two). But for me, some of
the most fun I’ve had with my family this past year has been shooting
baskets withWii Sports Resortor boogying around to some songs inJust Dance 2.

Facebook.Personally, I’m not very good at updating my status or
checking the status of others or even wishing my Facebook friends happy
birthday. For those of you anti-Facebookers out there, I understand
where you’re coming from. And yet, it’s really a treat for me to read
what folks are saying on thePlugged In. I’m floored by the
diversity of readers we have out there—from those who threw out their
televisions a decade ago to those who play video games until 2 a.m. And
I’m so thankful that these diverse readers all find reason to check in
with us every now and then and, hopefully, get a little bit of help or
guidance from us. It’s an honor to be a part of so many families’ lives,
and for that we’re quite grateful.

I could go on, but you’ve got a turkey to thaw, guests to greet and
football to watch. And, of course, you probably want to compile your own
list of things to be thankful for, too.
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