Tag: culture

Reality Check . . . Confusing Real Life with Fiction

In our media-driven culture, the lines between reality and fiction are blurring. According to speaker and writer Phil Cooke, “. . . it’s growing more and more difficult to distinguish real life from our favorite characters in books, movies, and television programs.

“There’s growing evidence that younger viewers in particular have difficulty understanding the difference.”

One study showed that 40% of the students participating believed popular movie versions of historical events were more accurate than factual historical essays on the same subject (Andrew Butler).

And social media only intensifies the impact of the confusion.

Phil shares, “A recent survey discovered 32% of Millennials believe more people were killed under the Bush administration than under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.”

So what about gaming? Phil cites Nottingham Trent University researchers who discovered that “gamers can become so immersed in fantasy that they become unable to distinguish that from the real world.”

Even C. S. Lewis recognized the importance of real life experience and the risks inherent with overindulging in fantasy. In the context of marriage, he says, Our experience is colored through and through by books and plays and the cinema, and it takes patience and skill to disentangle the things we have really learned from life for ourselves.” —Mere Christianity

Maybe it’s time for a reality check.

How many of our own personal values have been influenced by media’s 24/7 cultural conversations? Are we making decisions and choices based on truth or fiction . . . reality or the “reel” world?

Weigh in at feedback@mastermediaintl.org.

The Best Story Wins

Exec. Prod. Ralph Winter (left) on the set of “The Promise”

by Ralph Winter, Producer (X-Men, Captive, The Promise)

Storytelling—it’s all around us. It’s in a courtroom, it’s in politics, it’s in our business, it’s in religion. It’s history. It’s what we’ve done around the campfires in teaching younger generations about life through stories. It’s cultural. It’s what we do at dinner when we have friends come over. It’s in movies and TV and social media. It’s in Instagram. The power and persuasiveness is front and center—and the best story wins.

Sometimes the kind of things we do are not even on the faith community radar—but Mastermedia is there to support and understand what’s going on. I spend about 8-9 months a year on the road away from my family, and it’s people who pray for me and support me who keep me going. People like Buster Holmes and other friends, like my wife and my church community . . . people who hold me up while I’m doing this at a great distance, trying to make movies that have significance.

That’s one of the reasons to encourage and care for the filmmakers among us who are really “prophets” of the culture. In his book, Culture Care, my friend Makoto Fujimura says that believers who work in media walk in two different cultures—the secular and the faith community. They need encouragement, prayer, and people who understand what they’re going through as they prophetically try to show what the future is about.

In some ways, these filmmakers are like missionaries. They’re learning a new language and a new culture, and their values are different as they walk the border between two cultures. Let’s encourage our filmmakers as they’re doing that and being the prophets for this generation.

Star Wars’ Spiritual Legacy

Why has Star Wars endured for four decades? It’s simple—story.*

“On May 25, 1977, director George Lucas forever altered the cinematic landscape by introducing theatergoers to an exciting galaxy far, far away. He gave us Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, two lovable droids and arguably the greatest villain of all time in Darth Vader. This film went from a niche genre to being in the mainstream. Indeed, everyone knows about Star Wars now.”

Good Stories Transcend Generations. 

“The Star Wars narrative unpacks the far-reaching struggle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire for control of the galaxy through the respective journeys of numerous characters.

“The Scriptures . . . also unpack dozens of smaller stories, but they are all pointing towards one—the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.”

Good Stories Accurately Portray What We Value.

“Values like courage, friendship, heroism, sacrifice, loyalty, redemption and hope are all evident in Star Wars—and all are rooted in the Scriptures.”

“Hope drives the narrative of Jesus, the son of God who took upon our sins that we would become reconciled to God. Hope in Jesus is never misplaced hope; it is mighty and lasting and reassuring.”

Good Stories Capture Our Imagination.

Why does Star Wars generate new fans year after year? It deals with big ideas: life and death, how we should live, and how to make a difference or have an impact in a sweeping conflict.

“The overarching story in Star Wars can be traced back to Genesis 1 . . . good versus evil. Unlike Darth Vader, who let go of his hate and saved his son from the Emperor, Satan, our enemy, will not release his seething disdain for those who cling to the saving, supernatural power of Jesus. His days are numbered . . . .”

A Force for Good

“Forty years ago, audiences watched as [Luke Skywalker] emerged as a new hope for the Rebel Alliance. Christ followers have a hope too. He’s not a fictional character . . . . He shaped all of the galaxies, and He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).”

“This man Jesus is not a new hope . . . He is the only hope.”

*Highlights and excerpts from Relevant Magazine 5/25/17