The Top Ten Posts of 2014

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 Sexuality R-rated? It’s an argument as old as time. Well, as old as R-rated movies, anyway. Christians excuse sexually explicit content in the movies they watch because “the Bible is R-rated.” Is such an argument valid, or is it comparing apples to orangutans? This blog post wrestles with the question.

8. The Second Most Important Reason Why Christians Shouldn’t Watch “Game of Thrones”. Professing Christians need to seriously consider God’s warning against the f-word (i.e., fornication) when plopping down on the couch to watch shows like Game of Thrones. This article hints at the most important reason, but its main focus is on a secondary (though still important) issue.

7. Start Supporting Pornography or Stop Supporting “The Wolf of Wall Street”. One of my more research-heavy pieces, this blog post uses some concrete examples—involving Miley Cyrus and Martin Scorsese—to show the double standard many Christians use in evaluating entertainment with pornographic material in them: “We’re living out a twisted version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, where the townsfolk are no longer pretending their ruler has clothes on—they’re actually convinced nothing is amiss.”

6. Legalism, Sexual Sin, and My Experience with Bill Gothard. It was sickening and disheartening to hear that Bill Gothard, an internationally recognized Christian leader, has been accused of gross sexual misconduct. The evidence does not lean in his favor. So how should people like me, who have benefited from some of his work, respond?

5. How I Almost Broke My Marriage. In a guest post, my wife bared her soul and shared about some of her failings, which struck a chord with other women—married and single. A lot of blog-reading moms shared the article on Facebook, bumping its popularity up higher than either Shannon or I expected.

4. When Christians Support Porn. Believers from even just a couple decades ago would’ve been shocked to hear that modern-day Christ followers would not only excuse but also approve of mainstream consumption of pornography. The release of a pornographic DVD this year received high praise from Christian critics, not the least of which included Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. I added my concerns to those of two WORLD Magazine columnists.

3. What About Actors Who Willingly Undress for the Camera? I posted this article a week before the follow-up piece (see item number 10). In attempting to address this issue, I honed in on three examples from Margot Robbie’s acting experiences in one specific movie. She was more than a willing participant, but if you read her accounts from being on set, you discover a dark undertone to her consent.

2. Hollywood Sex Scenes vs. Porn: So What if They’re (Kind of) Different? When you draw comparisons between mainstream entertainment and the porn industry, a common argument thrown at you is that there are obvious differences. At first glance, that argument seems to hold a lot of weight, in part because it is undeniably true. However, a closer inspection shows that these differences actually—and surprisingly—serve to further condemn Hollywood’s use of sex scenes and nudity.

1. Hollywood’s Secret Rape Culture. Sometimes you write something that you expect to be popular, but it isn’t. Other times, you write something that explodes with popularity, taking you completely by surprise. This post is one such example: thus far, it’s the only piece I’ve written on this blog that has gone viral. Of all the pieces of writing I’ve published this year, I’m glad that this received the most attention. It exposes a serious blight on our entertainment that is largely unnoticed, or outright ignored, by the general public, and Christians are no exception. The vital message of this blog post is something I plan on hammering home again and again in the years to come.

Honorable mentions

A few articles that didn’t quite make the cut, but which are equally important to me, deal with similar issues as the articles above:

How to Tell if You’re Treating Actors Like Whores. Yes, it’s possible to watch movies with sex scenes and/or nudity while effectively guarding your eyes and keeping your heart pure. It’s possible to do all that and still treat actors like pawns for your own pleasure. (In fact, it’s almost impossible not to.) This article offers a succinct quiz to help you check how much—or little—genuine Christian charity you show to the actors in the movies and/or shows you choose to watch.

“Sex Scenes in Movies Don’t Bother Me”. It’s an argument I’ve heard way too many times. People who say this are either telling the truth or lying. The thing is, both excuses are inexcusable (with few exceptions). Here’s why.

The Real Problem with Nude Celebrity Photos. After several celebrity nude photos were stolen and leaked on the internet, I mused about the problem beneath the problem—the heart issue that lies under the surface issue. This post became strangely prophetic, seeing as how it hypothesized a scenario that came true a couple months later when Keira Knightley willingly posted a nude photo of herself.