Tag: faith

Outtakes . . . from “iGods”

Excerpt from the book iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives
by Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., Professor of Communication, Pepperdine University

The triumph of Google raises key questions of authority. Who decides what matters? Will God still serve as a norm when our questions are answered by “Googling”?

Arguments about facts can be sorted out at the touch of a button. Does “I saw it on Google” become a twenty-first century equivalent to “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it”?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” —Matthew 7:7

Seeking has always been an essential (and costly) part of the Christian journey. But search engines make seeking seem like such a quick and immediate process because the complexities are completely hidden.

So how might the surrender of our search function alter our hearts and minds? If Google seems to give us what we want, will we build in enough time and perspective to even consider what we need?

I wonder what happens when we outsource searching. How do we decide what matters and what to pay attention to?

How do you decide? Share your approach at feedback@mastermediaintl.org.

Can Films Appeal to Faith and Non-Faith Audiences?

160712 emedian miracles from heaven_photo

Kylie Rogers and Jennifer Garner in “Miracles from Heaven”

“For some filmgoers, hearing a movie described as ‘faith-based’ makes it a must-see. But just as many others find the term a turn-off,” suggests Associated Press entertainment writer Sandy Cohen.

Sandy observes that to reach beyond the Christian audience, “. . . some producers of faith-based films are ramping up the star power and tamping down the evangelical messages.”

Hollywood has a long history of biblical blockbusters—classic films like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Mel Gibson’s 2004 epic drama, The Passion of the Christ, and the current Affirm release, Risen, to name just a few.

But some of the more recent faith-based films seek to engage more than just the Christian audience. The Blindside, starring Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock, Paramount’s Captive, released last fall with David Oyelowo, and the 2016 spring release Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, are all based on true stories and include a faith perspective, but are not “religious.”

“Audiences flock to well-made films that deal with stories of optimism and renewal, even if there is suffering and there is loss,” says Maria Elena de las Carreras, a professor of international cinema at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. “That was true in classic Hollywood cinema and it’s true today.”

Professor de las Carreras recognizes that marketing a film as faith-based means nothing if the content doesn’t speak to religious audiences. “It’s a label, but it’s not magical. It doesn’t guarantee box-office turnout,” she said, citing Paramount’s 2014 big-budget biblical film, Noah.

Alex Ben Block (BlockandTackle.biz) shares Ms. de las Carreras’ view, noting that producers who want to see their faith-based fare appeal to broader audiences can’t obscure religious themes too much “because as soon as you try to make it more viable, you alienate the core audience.”

The challenge for filmmakers seeking to reach the “faith market” is finding the balance between engaging nonbelieving moviegoers without alienating believers.

Making Work Meaningful


by Susana Zepeda Cagan
Sr. Director of Talent Development & Studio Relations, Fandango/NBC Universal

meaningful-workI struggle at times in my work to find meaning in the day-to-day. The stalled projects, long meetings, endless emails and phone calls pile up like noise or a cloud covering the real work I feel called to do. And like many of you, I ask, “Is this what I should be doing with the time I have Lord?”

My friend, Jaki Granger, gave me a book years ago written by Pastor Lloyd John Ogilvie. He wrote a prayer that I read on days like this, and I’d like to share it with you. May it lift you up as it does me and realign your days of struggle . . .

“When I Need Meaning in My Work”

Gracious Father, who has given me life, bless me today in the work I will do. I praise You for work that can be done as an expression of my worship of You. I bring the meaning of my faith to my work rather than trying to make my work the ultimate meaning of my life. With that perspective, I seek to do everything to Your glory. I pray for mental alertness, emotional stability, and physical strength to achieve excellence in all I do.

Thank you for Your companionship in tasks great and small. It is awesome to contemplate that You who are in control of the universe have placed me in charge of what You want to accomplish through me.

Fill me with Your grace and make me a cheerful person who makes others happier because I am with them. Make me a blessing and not a burden, a lift and not a load, a delight and not a drag. It’s great to be alive! Help me make a difference because of the difference You have made in me.

Sometimes my long days of work and my nights of too little rest run together. I need You. I praise You for Your love that embraces me and gives me security, Your joy that uplifts me and gives me resiliency, Your peace that floods my heart and gives me serenity, and the presence of Your spirit that fills me and gives me strength and endurance.

I dedicate this day to you. Help me to realize that it is by Your permission that I breathe my next breath, and by Your grace that I am privileged to use all the gifts of intellect and judgement that You provide. Give me a perfect blend of humility and hope, so that I will know You have given me all that I have and am and have chosen to bless me this day. My choice is to respond and to commit myself to you.

I thank you for the attitude change that takes place when I remember I am called to glorify You in my work and to work with excellence to please You. Help me to realize how privileged I am to be able to work, earn wages and provide for my needs. Thank you for the dignity of work. Whatever I do, in word or deed, I do it to praise You. Amen.

Excerpts from Praying Through the Tough Times, by Lloyd John Ogilvie