Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Real Lies of "Pretty Little Liars"

Those who are sucked into PLL hearing that it is a mixture of creepy mystery, “Mean Girls” and stalker murder story, only need a handful of episodes to see that it is a cheat. The show simply creates new tense situations and “mysteries” to keep the viewers trapped. Yeah, it is a silly little soap. But, what had this viewer stick around was the shock of the messed-up world view and the desire to see if it would ever endorse real-world consequences.

The world of PLL is a teen world. The “adults” in this show have the maturity level of the 15 and 16 year old central characters. Everyone makes terrible decisions in order to protect themselves from the bad things they have brought upon themselves. And, in the PLL world if it is a character we are rooting for, they get away with anything. Rob a bank—never get caught. In fact, the character that is about to expose your crime turns out to be a criminal. The “Lies” in the title have a way of compounding, the way lies do, but in PLL those lies will also save you.

The worst is the way PLL embraces the “go with your feelings” ethic of a Disney movie. It is interesting the way that this show tacitly equates homosexuality with statutory rape. Or perhaps the way that should be worded is that this shows mantra is, no one should ever oppose emotion. If you want to have a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender, it would be wrong for anyone to oppose that desire. If you want to have a sexual relationship with an adult as a minor, it is just as wrong for anyone to object. And all along, the most damning aspect of the show is that these choices are being made by immature, inexperienced, minors.

No, it’s worse. In the PLL world the adults are possibly less mature than the teen-age girls. No danger of real-world consequences in this poison-apple fairy-tale.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


(Poetry Scales 24)

to some the drone of a jet overhead
is more of a siren call
and explorer journals, atlases, even cheesy brochure maps
produce such joy above all

but others do not feel the pull
when they step out their door
to them it is simply banal
an atrophied appetite,
an ignored itch,
un-scratched, un-calloused
they have some sort of glitch

the desire, the need to see over the horizon
to find what’s around the next bend
I for one have it real bad
the wanderlust has me bewitched

Monday, October 20, 2014

Doctor Who 8.9 "Flatline"

The ninth episode of the eighth (or 34th) season begins by exploring a somewhat novel concept. What would an invasion of our reality from another, two dimensional one look like? It could be an interesting philosophical exploration, but that is not the story that is really being told here so that aspect quickly falls apart.

What this episode is really about, as most of this season has been, is exploring the Doctor/Clara relationship. In this story, the Doctor is effectively taken out of commission and Clara has to play his part. She sees things from his perspective and pragmatically comes to accept what she has thus far seen as his underhanded ways. In the end she happily declares, “I was the Doctor and I was good!”

The Doctor’s response gives one pause. “You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara, goodness had nothing to do with it.”

It will be interesting to see where this goes in the next few episodes. We already know that the looming antagonist, “Missy,” was instrumental in Clara meeting the Doctor, and that the Tardis did not initially like her. Whatever the twist is, you can be sure we won’t see it coming.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Trust and Obey

…or how “evangelism” has almost killed discipleship. 

Too many Christians today believe Jesus died for the sins of humanity in the way that one believes that the earth revolves around the sun. It is a fact that has no bearing on their daily lives. That is not saving faith. Biblical faith involves two actions beyond an acceptance of a fact: trust and obedience. Biblical faith involves betting one’s daily life on the truth of the Gospel. Trusting God to do what He has promised and submission to His Lordship over our lives.

The way we have elevated conversion, or “praying the prayer” to the goal of evangelism has missed the mark. True salvation is the result, not of a verbal declaration of a decision, but the real-life proof that follows. Faith that affects. It is a bit like jumping off a 10 meter platform into a pool. Those “praying the prayer” are declaring their intention to jump. They are climbing the ladder. True faith is seen in the trust and surrender of the leap. We have far too many people today claiming to be believers who are simply milling about at the top of the platform, failing to take the plunge.

We need to be sure we are communicating a complete Gospel. Calling people, not to conversion, but to a life of discipleship, of surrender, trusting fully in and obeying God’s will as they discover it in His Word.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Star Trek DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach"

Season 7a -- Season 7b

DS9 once again explores aspects of things that Trek does not usually address, and likely never would have under Roddenberry and his Secular Humanist message: faith.
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