Category Archives: Entertainment

Movie Review: We Bought a Zoo

I’m not a movie buff nor am I a movie critic. Because of my critical nature in general, I have a hard time not picking any movie apart and I have a difficult time sitting still and watching anything for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I do, however, know when a movie meets the kind of standards my family and I need to be feeding our eyes on.

This past Christmas day as we’ve done for the last few years, my wife and kids went out to see a movie. The movie we saw was a movie named We Bought A Zoo.. The movie stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johanassen. In a nutshell, We Bought A Zoo is about a family consisting of a father raising two children, a 14-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, without their mother. The mother has passed away approximately 6-months earlier and the family needs a change of scenery in order to help with their grieiving. The father, Matt Damon, had inherited some money from his father sometime earlier and buys an old dilapidated zoo in the country. He feels that fixing up the zoo and helping save some endangered animals would be just the sort of distraction his young family needs to distract them from their grief and allow them a level of healing.

In general, I thought the movie was a little long and drawn out and certainly could have been condensed somewhat. However, the general plot of the movie was good and piqued the interest of my wife and daughters when they were deciding which movie to watch. But that was where I feel the goodness ends. This movie was a PG movie and was billed as a family movie. We won’t watch PG-13 movies with the family and even my wife and I are generally selective with PG-13 movies we watch by ourselves. We won’t watch movies with excessive cursing, extreme violence, nudity, etc. There are certainly exceptions to this, an example being the movie Schindler’s List. The nudity, violence, and cursing in that movie was historically accurate and added to the gravity of the Holocaust.

Back to the movie at hand. During the course of the movie there was very little rough language. However there were pockets of filthy language and the sad part of it was the large part of it was used by the children. The language was very strong and was absolutely not something my 10-year-old had ever heard. The saddest part was the little girl in the movie was a cutie, but used one of the foulest words in the movie….it turned my stomach.

In addition to the foul language, there was a little teenage crush between a 13-year-old girl that worked at the zoo and the 14-year-old son of Matt Damon. Toward the end they were telling each other they loved each other and were kissing passionately…..I know this is what’s going on out there in the world, but it has no place in a Christian’s life.

And finally, the zookeeper, played by Scarlett Johannasen, was a 28-year old woman in the movie. Matt Damon was approximately a 45-year-old man in the movie. Toward the end they ended up falling in love and sharing a passionate kiss. I know this is minor, but this was just icing on the cake of an already edgy movie. In the grand scheme of things by today’s standards I guess it was a pretty tame movie. But with all the foul language and the young teenage love affair I feel like it was more like a PG-13 movie. The movie could have been a good family-friendly movie, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to any family with young kids.

By the way, we didn’t walk out….hindsight is that we should have. We had too much “PG-ing” to do to our 10-year-old afterwords. I’m a little disappointed in myself for allowing us to stay.

It disgusts me that Hollywood can take a rather innocent movie and turn it into something that’s too rough to watch…….I guess that’s why in the early days of movies the church resisted movies and television.

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Thou Shalt Entertain Thee

My wife and I went to the movies last night on a “date”.

We saw the movie “Lincoln Lawyer” based on the novel of the same name. I had listened the novel on audio about a year ago and really enjoyed it, as I have all of Michael Connelly’s novels.

In the movie there were curse words, a couple of scenes of graphic violence, and a steamy love scene (no nudity) between the main character and his ex-wife, neither of whom had re-married. In other words, there were things about the movie that probably weren’t “God-honoring”.

During the previews before the movie, there was a movie advertised named “Jumping the Broom“. It’s a movie produced by TD Jakes. The same TD Jakes who’s a pastor of “The Potters House” church in Dallas, TX. The same TD Jakes who’s the televangelist seen all over Christian TV.

Obviously I haven’t seen the movie, as it isn’t released yet.  Based on the trailer at the movie I went to see last night and what I can derive from the internet, it’s a movie about a woman who was spending her life chasing after the wrong kind of men and engaging in premarital sex. After an embarrassing incident, she tells God that if He would help her meet “Mr. Right”, she would no longer share her “cookies” (the movie’s words, not mine) with another man until marriage.

Again, I haven’t seen the movie, but it doesn’t appear there is one drop of Gospel message attached to her “conversion”. It appears it was merely a moral decision on her part.

I guess I can’t understand the motivation of a pastor with the kind of influence TD Jakes has making a movie like this. Obviously, while it’s a good thing not to “share your cookies” with another until marriage, without the Gospel driving your life, it’s merely moralism. Decisions based on moralism are merely that. Moral decisions that don’t “get you into heaven”. Righteousness that’s filthy rags in God’s sight.

While I struggle with the decision to watch the kind of movies my wife and I saw last night, at least there isn’t a danger of confusing what we saw with Godly values. The danger in movies like “Jumping the Broom” is confusing moral decisions with Godly obedience to the Gospel.

While I could go on and on about TD Jakes theology and whether he’s even a Christian or not, that’s not my intention here. Making movies, even with a “morally positive” message is just something no church leader has any business putting his name on.

It does nothing more than confuse an already “Gospel hardened” America once again making it seen like Christians are more concerned with their prosperity rather than being “slaves of Christ”.

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Double Hockey Sticks

Before you read this post, I just want to state that although I want to always keep this blog a “G” rated blog, this blog isn’t really intended to be “family-friendly” entertainment. Justasorethumb is intended to log the things that are on my mind at the time and though I’ll avoid profanity everywhere I can, I also realize the world is the world. Sometimes they just need their mouth washed out with soap.

I give this warning because attached to this article is a link where there are a couple of “naughty” words used and if anyone is easily offended, then don’t click the link.

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There are some things that seem so obvious to me that at times I have to sit in amazement that others can’t see what I see. There are some things that seem so obvious, that I have to constantly check myself to be sure I’m seeing it correctly.  I mean, when you’re in a room of 20 people, for instance, and you think you’re the only one that’s right and everyone else is wrong…..well you might want to check your ego a little, because you might just be the problem.

So when I read a post on Facebook the other day by an acquaintance of my wife and I praising a television show called “That ’70’s Show”, I have to admit I’m a little stunned. See, this person is a professing Christian and not only were they praising the show, they made the statement they wish all of their friends were just like the characters on the show. Adding to this were other professing Christian acquaintances of ours making comments that agreed.

While I have never watched an episode of That 70’s Show from start to finish, on several occasions early on I would flip over and begin to watch the show. It didn’t take long before some of the characters in the show were talking about sex or drug use. And not in a way that made it seem bad, but it made teen sex and drug use seem okay, even funny and fun.

So I guess I’m a little baffled that professing Christians could watch this show, use it for entertainment, and even want their lives to emulate the characters on the show. In fact, like I said above, it seems so obvious to me that this isn’t a show a professing Christian needs to be watching that I have to do a “double-take” when other “Christians” can’t see what we see.

So when along comes a show on ABC like this here , I have to admit again I’m a little stunned. I guess I even to say “So what?”.

So many professing Christians today are feeding themselves on garbage like That 70’s Show, Sex and the City, Justin Bieber, Twilight, Harry Potter, Ultimate Fighting, and other similar entertainment that the world can’t tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian.

Read this statement from the article about the ABC show above:

“ABC’s core viewership is Christian, so the goal of the show won’t be to attack Christianity. Just like the book, this is a show by Christians, for (mostly) Christians, to enjoy a little prime-time self-deprecation,” Los Angeles-based entertainment expert, Jenn Hoffman said.

So I have to ask…….where did ABC get an idea like that? That their core viewership is Christian? I doubt they pulled it out of thin air, I mean, they pay big money to marketing experts whose job is to understand the demographic of their viewers.

So when suddenly ABC decides to put on a show that depicts Christians acting a little like the rest of the world, I gotta say “So what?”.

After spending years telling the broadcasting executives you love television shows that glorify extramarital sex, gossip about your neighbors, greed, lust, pride, and self-worship what else do you expect them to do? How else do you think they’re going to view Christians?

So if you’re really and truly tired of the networks doing things like this and offering shows that cast Christians in a negative light, then stop supporting the networks. Period. Turn off the shows that glorify sin and perversion and stop entertaining yourselves with it.

Otherwise shut up and take the criticism from the world because whether you know it or not, the world didn’t pull this image of Christians out of thin air. There’s an element of truth to it. It’s how they see us living our lives. you know, all “back-bitey”, gossipy, lusty, greedy, all the while acting all “goody-two-shoes.”

Seems to me we’re getting a little of what we’re asking for.

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Two Cents Is All I Have

This past weekend was my wife’s birthday and our 20th anniversary. As part of the “celebration” we went to the movies together. As pretty much everyone knows, especially the parents of teens, the Justin Beiber movie was showing this past weekend and therefore the theatre was full of large groups of squealing teen girls.

Justin Beiber is a hot commodity right now. My wife and I have several Christian friends whose daughters obsess so much over Justen Beiber that it’s all they want to talk about. Most of the conversations center on how “OMG hawt” ol’ Justin is. But it’s not just Justin. Most of their conversation is focused on not only various boys’ “hawntess” but on the appearances of other girls.

You can develop a sense of what is constantly passing through their minds. Basically you begin to come to understand what it is their heart desires.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil 4:8, ESV)

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34, ESV)

See, it really doesn’t matter what our age is when it comes to idolatry. If we’re 16 and our constant focus is on how hot other guys and girls are, or if we’re 42 and we’re constantly watching sports or obsessing on our appearance, our heart will still follow where our focus is.

That’s the one thing God leaves up to us. Whether to turn our attention on Him or our idols.

When it comes to our sexual needs and desires, God created men and women differently. Men and boys are more attracted to the physical aspects of sex. It’s one of the reasons that pornography is still mostly a male issue. (although it is growing among women). Women and girls are mostly attracted to the romance, the emotional, the drama of a relationship as opposed to the physical. And it’s these differences that make certain forms of “teen idolatry” seem okay when it comes to girls as opposed to boys.

Not one Christian that I personally know would consider it okay for their teen son to look at or carry around pornography. It’s the raw physical aspects of pornography that a boy or man tends to be more attracted to. Additionally, not one Christian that I know would purchase pornography for their teenage son. It would be unthinkable.

It would be unthinkable because of the kinds of feelings, emotions, and thoughts it invokes in a teenage boy or a married man. It fuels a lust in the heart of boys and men for things that God has not given to them. That’s why it’s sin.

Yet how many Christian parents of teenage girls that my wife and I personally know find it okay to take their teenage daughters to the Justin Beiber movie, buy his music, and spend countless hours talking and fantasizing over him? How many Christian parents found it okay to take their teenage daughters to see the Twilight movies and provide them the Twilight series books? How many Christian parents see no problem with allowing their daughters to spend countless hours talking about how “hawt” the latest male teen idols are or craving to look like the latest female teen sensation?

It’s a “socially acceptable”  form of pornography for teenage Christian girls. It, like pictorial pornography for boys and men, fuels the kind of lusts in teenage girls for things that God hasn’t given to them either.

Yes, teenage girls are naturally drawn to giggling about teenage boys. Yes, it’s natural for teenage girls to be concerned about their looks. The desire to find a husband and be beautiful are things that God has placed in the makeup of every female. However, it’s the responsibility of every Christian parent (mom) to direct those gifts of God to be used for the glory of God.

I got news for you……lusting after Justin Beiber, or any other “hawt guy” to the point that is’s all you can talk about is not using those gifts for the glory of God. It’s lust and it’s idolatry. Pure and simple.

Left unchecked, the devoting of a teen girl’s heart to the constant lust for the latest teen sensation will lead to nothing but heartache later in life. Just like pornography use in men places a standard on their wives that can’t be upheld, so does the “emotional pornography” that girls and women are attracted to place a standard on their husbands that can’t be upheld either.

It’s all up to you, Christian parents. Are you going to direct those God-given feelings for God’s glory? Or are you going to throw gasoline on the fire?

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Modern Day Romans

About five years ago I went on a church mission trip to the former Soviet Union “republic”, The Republic of Georgia. At the time, I was attending an Assembly of God church, a denomination which teaches abstinence from alcohol and tobacco. However, in the Republic of Georgia the AG counterpart, the Pentecostal Union, doesn’t see it the same way.

The Republic of Georgia is grape country. Some say it’s where Noah settled and planted his vineyard mentioned in the Bible. They are known for their winemaking and serve real wine to everyone in the church during a communion service. They take the Bible literally in regards to wine. They also take the Bible literally in regards to drunkenness, which is forbidden in the Bible.

The culture of the American Church is different from the culture in the Georgian church. What we think is significant here in America differs from what the Georgian church sees as significant. One of the reasons the American Assemblies of God preaches abstinence from alcohol is because of the cultural stigma on alcohol here in America. Alcohol abuse is responsible for the breakup of many families.  It’s responsible for the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of people. Alcohol abuse ruins jobs, lives, and families and I feel the AG in America is right in preaching abstinence.

When a deacon in a church is seen in public slamming down a “cold one” the Super Bowl-esque image of dancing half-naked women at a party is immediately attributed to the deacon as supporting this sort of behavior, whether or not this is a fair assessment of the deacon or not.

As Christians we are called to come out from the world’s system and behavior. We arent to be seen as a bunch of partying drunks but are called to be sober-minded, behave decently and in order, to love what God loves and hate what God hates. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world is chasing after nor what is popular in our culture, we are to abstain from the sort of things that cause us to be indistinguishable from the rest of a pagan culture.

When I attended this Assemblies of God church mentioned above one of the things that was popular among the men (and many women) was Ultimate Fighting Championships. It’s a very violent form of fighting that blends martial arts with boxing.

Whenever a UFC event was televised there was some sort of party at someone’s house in the church. On Sunday morning, UFC is what most of the men wanted to talk about. There were no men’s Bible studies, nor men’s accountability groups, nor men meeting to clean up around the church, nor anything to involve men in godly church life……but there were the UFC parties. And they were popular.

This weekend there must have been some sort of event again because all of the chatter on Facebook on Saturday was about Ultimate Fighting. My wife recounted a conversation she had with a deacon and the children’s pastor of the church where she was chastising for watching the UFC fights. Their defense was that there “There was fighting in the Old Testament”. Thus showing their ignorance as to what the context of the fighting in the Old Testament was really about.

Ultimate Fighting is violent. Men are violently bashing each other to the point of drawing  blood. It’s the blood and violence that keeps these “men of God” coming back for more. It certainly could be argued that if it wasn’t for the opportunity to see the bashing of the face and the drawing of blood, no one would watch. It’s kinda like a crash in a NASCAR race.

It all kind of reminds me of something from our past…..The Roman Games.

The Roman Games…….where people would gather for the violence, the gore, and the blood. The very type of worldly events that the Apostle Paul told us to come out of and not be a part of.

God never intended for the blood and violence in the Old Testament, or anywhere for that matter, to be our entertainment. The world thirsts to be entertained by bashing violence and blood. The world gets excited when there’s slightly clad women in beer commercials. The world gets excited about the perfect creation of God being used in such a perverted and violent way.

There’s something wrong about a Christian who longs to be entertained by such bloodthirsty violence. There’s something wrong with a Christian who gets excited  with a gleam in their eye about the latest match they watched of Ultimate Fighting, yet they do everything they can to avoid discussing Spiritual things.

So here’s what I suggest to those who think shows such as Ultimate Fighting make good entertainment for Christians………Get to know the God of the Bible. Put aside all of the rhetoric and your uncanny ability to use Bible verses out of context to justify your chasing after the things of the world.

Read the Bible and stop allowing the lusts of worldly Christian leaders to justify your behavior.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8, ESV)

But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thess 4:10-12, ESV)

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:12-14, ESV)

The above verses, while not in the exact context of how we entertain ourselves in a media driven modern society, depict a behavior of God’s people as far different from the behavior of the world. That’s one of the reasons for all of the seemingly silly laws  in the Old Testament. God wanted a people who would be different. God didn’t want a people who blended in with the culture of the times. God wanted outsiders to look to His people and see Him.

And God doesn’t bash people’s faces merely for sport.

This is one of the main reasons I call this blog Justa Sorethumb. I’m fully aware my fellow church men see me as less of a “man” because of my unwillingness to participate in things such as Ultimate Fighting. However, I feel my fellow Christian men spend an inordinate amount of time memorizing sports statistics and far too little time on discussing and learning the things of God.

My father taught me long ago that a real man isn’t one who gets tattoos, wears sleeveless shirts, guzzles beer on the sofa while spending all of his free time engaged in watching sports while his house is in disrepair and his bills go unpaid.

A real man, a Godly man, is one who works when he needs to, spends time with his family when he needs to, keeps his affairs in order and his family in order (Read Timothy and Titus), leads a peaceable life and lives his entire life as though he’s working for the Lord.

A real man stands for his principals and the things of God in spite of the direction of the world.

real man’s free time doesn’t belong to him……in spite of what the world would have to say about that.

So “man up”, man of God, and turn the sports off for a while.

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Vanity, Vanity, Ain’t It All Just Vanity?

Well, I started my new job working from home yesterday.

I took a temporary job converting engineering drawings that were drawn in one type of computer software into another type of software. Although the salary will be less and it’s not a long-term job, I’ll have less expenses going to and from work and, of course, it’s a job….which came just in time.

One of the things I’ve been able to do yesterday and today while working from home was listen to my radio while working on my computer. I’ve never been able to do that in the engineering offices in which I’ve been working in the past.

The radio station I’ve been listening to is the most popular Christian station here in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex. Anyone from this area would immediately know which station I’m referring to because it’s popularity dwarfs the other Christian stations.

A while back, I noticed my wife had quit listening to this Christian station and had returned, at least occasionally, listening to a local popular country station. I kind of got on to her about it, and she told me she was sick of the ads on the aforementioned Christian station and that the stuff being advertised on the country stations weren’t anywhere near as offensive as the popular Christian station. 

Well, after a couple of days of listening again to this Christian station, I see what she was complaining about……and it ought to turn the stomach of every Christian in the DFW area.

First of all, in nearly every commercial set there is some kind of laser hair removal advertised. Much of the advertisements focusing on women and their bikini line. Next, on and on again are commercials for various kinds of weight loss. The amount of these commercials are unbelievable. Pills, hypnotism (yes, that’s right, hypnotism being advertised on a “Christian” station), weight loss centers and the like. Then there’s the bariatric surgery centers. Ad after ad for these various doctors offering these types of surgeries.

As I’ve stated here earlier on previous posts, I’m a firm believer of taking care of your body. Eating right and getting enough exercise. Caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit that God created us with. But as I listened to the ads on this Christian station, I couldn’t help but believe that it was more than that.

The final commercial I listened to this evening was being done by one of the morning DJ’s advertising a hair removal center. He stated that he had spent the last couple of weeks during the holidays visiting with friends and family and how when you’re doing a lot of visiting, you want to look your best. You want people to see you at your best. This could, of course, be accomplished by removing all of that unsightly hair.

I can’t help but wonder what’s at the root of this? Have we American Christians finally become so saturated with Your Best Life Now and The Me I Want To Be books and sermons that even listening to our worship music has to be flavored with this kind of idolatry?

Would persecuted Christians in Indonesia, Pakistan, Chad, or China care about whether or not their bikini line was properly coiffed as they were being beaten for their faith? What about Egyptian and Somali Christians who can’t even buy food because they’re kept from trading in the marketplaces? Do they worry about the need for a weight-loss center?

I guess I’m amazed at my fellow American Christians at times. We look at things as being “needs” yet our perception of “needs” don’t seem to line up with the needs of other Christians anywhere else in the world. I can’t help but wonder if we Christians in America haven’t made ourselves one big golden calf out of our Christian radio and television stations and we’re dancing around it calling it “Yahweh” while all along we’re falling headlong into idolatry.

It’s easier to discern right and wrong when watching secular television and listening to secular radio that it is doing the same with so-called Christian media. I have such a hard time any more consuming any type of Christian media. Most of it turns my stomach.

Looks like I’ll be dusting off some of my worship CD’s over the coming days.

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Did God REALLY say?

An interesting article here about the current interest in vampires.

Obviously, my position is that we “no longer have anything to do with the deeds of darkness” (God said it, not me), but take a look at the article and decide for yourselves because you probably won’t listen to me anyway.

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