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Showing posts from 2014

The Top Ten Posts of 2014

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I had no idea just how much the number one thing I learned last year would affect this year’s output, or its popularity. Sex in the movies has been one of my biggest topics in 2014, and, except for one exception, all of my most popular posts this year dealt with the subject. I’m both honored and grateful that these ten articles have received greater exposure (no pun intended). We in the church would do well to utilize the “law of love” more often in our movie-watching and filmmaking habits.

Counting our way up, here are this year’s top ten blog posts at Happier Far.
10. It Doesn’t Matter If Actors Willingly Undress for the Camera. It’s true that some actors in Hollywood seem to have no qualms about shooting nude and/or sex scenes. Such willing consent is, to some, undeniable proof of freedom and beauty. I’ve argued against this mindset elsewhere, but here I attempt to prove something foreign to modern sensibilities: such willingness is actually a moot point.
9. Is the Bible’s Use of Se…

When the Lord Struck My Husband: An Advent Testimony

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Hi, it’s Shannon again, Cap’s wife. Before you get too excited, the title does not refer to God striking Cap. This Christmas we both tried our hand at a little creative writing, though we took the challenge different ways. Last week, Cap wrote in dramatic monologue about Abraham’s experience with one of the first Christmas prophecies; I, on the other hand, wrote Elizabeth’s story like I imagined she would share it if she were giving her testimony in front of a modern church. For me, it provided a fresh breath of air into a story that can become so familiar. Hope you enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
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My husband and I both come from the high priestly line of Aaron, and we had lived our entire lives, before and after marriage, fearing the LORD and keeping His commandments.

Though I knew the LORD was gracious, I often struggled with our circumstances. Israel was God’s chosen people, but our sin had brought about our conquest, Exile, and eventually sile…

When Abraham Celebrated Christmas

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When we hear the well-worn tale of the Christ child, we can be tempted to greet it with a yawn. We know what Christmas is about, thank you very much.

Well, Abraham didn’t. Here’s how I image he might have responded to the “good tidings of great joy” that he heard.
Any historical inaccuracies are the fault of the Wikipedia articles I read. (Just kidding. They’re my fault—although I did consult Wikipedia.)
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After a long and harsh argument with my wife, I sought refuge in the solace of the desert night. Leaving our tent, I walked until home was a small fleck on the horizon behind me. As my anger subsided, my strides became slower and shorter. Finally I stopped. The moonlight cast harsh shadows on the ground, imitating the harsh way in which the moon had dealt with me in the past several years.
You see, I grew up worshipping our moon god, whose name was Nanna. My hometown served as the location of the chief sanctuary dedicated to Nanna. The moon god pl…

When Pornography Invades “Normal” Entertainment

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In this blog series, I’ve been assuming the detrimental nature of porn. The similarities between the sex acts in mainstream entertainment and the sex acts in porn are dangerous only if porn itself is dangerous. So, in order to reach the largest possible audience I can, I want to end this series by briefly putting aside religious considerations and looking at how science-based research alone can help us see porn as a serious “public health issue.” According to Fight the New Drug, porn’s damaging effects can be felt in three spheres.

First, porn use damages our minds. Porn use is addictive. Just like alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and the like, sexually charged media triggers a release of dopamine into the brain. Over time, this chemical response trains our brain to seek more and more enjoyment from whatever caused it. That being the case, porn physically changes our brain. It actually rewires—and damages—our brain so that we need more and more stimuli in order to receive the same amount of …

Dehumanizing Actors for Our Entertainment

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It’s been called “the most infamous sex scene ever.” The film in which it is found was banned in several countries. The scene is said to have “scandalised [sic] the…movie-goers who actually got to see it.” But no one was as scandalized as Maria Schneider, the young actress who starred in the scene (and the movie). For decency’s sake I won’t give any specifics, but I will quote from an interview with Schneider (linked to above) so we can better understand the trauma she went through. (Note: the article contains a risqué picture.)

“That scene wasn’t in the original script. The truth is it was Marlon [Brando] who came up with the idea,” she says.

“They only told me about it before we had to film the scene and I was so angry.
“I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that.
“Marlon said to me: ‘Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie,’ but during the scene, even though …

A Breeding Ground for Lust

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Does pornography celebrate marriage? The question might cause you to snicker. And for good reason. The porn industry depicts sexual perversion, not sexual purity. Onscreen acts include fornication, adultery, sadomasochism, ménage à trios, and orgies (to name a few).

In contrast with the cheap thrills of porn, the Bible celebrates the act of sex within the context of the covenant of marriage. Husbands are encouraged to drink deeply from the well of conjugal relations (Pr. 5:15-19), and couples are told to enjoy sex often (1 Cor. 7:3-5). Both the Old and New Testaments prohibit sexual activity outside of marriage (Ex. 20:14; Pr. 6:24-35; Matt. 5:27-30; Eph. 5:3), for such acts are a denial of the God who made us and are damaging to one’s own body (1 Cor. 6:18-20).
As Christians, we believe sex is more than a physical act: it is a mystical union that ties two beings together, even if there is no love or commitment involved (1 Cor. 6:16). The monogamy provided in marriage points us to th…

INTERSTELLAR (2014) – Film Review

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As a fan of Christopher Nolan, and of science fiction in general, I was intrigued to see what the revered auteur would bring to this particular genre. Would his storytelling genius wow audiences once again? Would this movie become my favorite sci-fi film of all time (as I dared to only slightly hope)?

In anticipation of the experience, I enacted a self-imposed media blackout: I decided that I wouldn’t watch any trailers for Interstellar or read any critical reviews before seeing the film for myself. I wanted to step into the theater with as little knowledge about the future as the astronauts in the movie. The fewer preconceived notions I harbored, the less likely I was to be disappointed—and the more likely I was to be satisfied.
So, what to my wondering eyes did appear? Let’s take a look. As a reminder, I rate movies based on three criteria: morally objectionable content (C), artistic merit (A), and my personal opinions (P).
CONTENT (C): 9 out of 10 Let’s be honest: one problematic…