Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do You Look Like a Christian?

Title: “The Wrath of Con”
TV show: Gossip Girl
Company: CW Television Network
Released: May 4, 2009
Location: Season 2, Episode 23: “The Wrath of Con” (18:58-20:36)
Target audience: High school youth
Cultural impact: Christian stereotypes portrayed

“Come on, G, don’t you miss Dior? Prada? Looking fabulous? I mean, for you,” Blair says with her usual air of snobbishness.

“Jesus loves me as I am,” Georgina replies almost with a tone of confidence.

“He would love you more with some styling.” Blair places a long pearly necklace around Georgina’s neck. You can see the slight longing behind her eyes as she gazes at how the jewelry looks on her slim figure in the mirror.

“Think of the fun you used to have pretending to be Sarah and Svetlana...slipping people roofies...outing them to their unsuspecting parents at dinner.” Blair attempts to remind Georgina of her past, assuming that somehow Georgina’s apparent religious beliefs aren’t strong enough to overcome the inward desire to return to those acts of mischief and spontaneity. Georgina fiddles with the necklace around her neck and looks at the floor. Then, she appears to shake off the thoughts that are beckoning her to go along with Blair’s plan. She regains composure and turns to face her challenger.

“Those things don’t call to me anymore, Blair. Look, I made a choice. I let go of the evil so I can find love and happiness with the good. I know it sounds dull, but it’s actually quite nurturing.” Georgina removes the necklace and hands it back to Blair. “Can’t you understand?”

“More than you know.” Blair’s lack of sincerity is obvious in her tone, though she continues with her act of kindness and gentleness.

“I gave up my old ways when I let Jesus take the wheel.”
“That is a Carrie Underwood song, not a life choice.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you if it goes against my beliefs.”
“But when you look at it, Jesus drove you here, right?”
“Actually, I believe his name was Jesús.”
“Not in the cab, in your country-western way of life. You said God would help you find a way to earn my forgiveness. And here it is.”
“So my amends would be to entrap Poppy Lifton...get the money back that she stole, and destroy her in the process?”
“Exactly. If you cut revenge out of the Bible there’s not even enough pages to make a pamphlet.”
“And they shall know I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance on them.”
“How’d you know my favorite passage?”

Does being a Christian mean you can’t have style or fashion sense? Because, if so, let me renounce my faith right now! ... Just kidding. But seriously, why do we have these silly conceptions of what a truly religious person is supposed to look like? Why can’t that person simply be “normal”? Why can’t that person look like you?

What do you think?

By: Heather1

  1. Heather was a student at the Focus Leadership Institute (FLI) this past fall semester and will be going back to finish up her schooling at Evangel University in Springfield, MO. We miss her already as she was an awesome intern for Axis in the FLI Practicum. Every semester, several FLI students are able to spend 96 hours as interns with AXiS and travel all around the country with us ministering to students.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If Only Everyone Were Like This 7 Year Old

This is a great story for this time of year. Hopefully it motivates all of us to THINK and ACT a little differently.

I found the article posted below in a copy of The Costco Connection. It seems like many organizations and companies are coming together and showing how everyday people are making a difference in the world around them. The magazine highlighted twenty stories about people creating change all over the world; but it was the article about a seven year old girl that caught my eye. I hope you are encouraged by this article as I was.

by: Meghan

Gossip Girl -- Analysis of "The Serena Also Rises" from Season 2

Title: “The Serena Also Rises”
Tv Show: Gossip Girl
Company: CW
Location: Season Two, Episode 5
Target Audience: High School Youth
Cultural Impact: It promotes sex, self-indulgence, and manipulation while pushing mature issues on highschool students.

With its high-fashion society, glamorous characters, a life beyond our pocket book, and extremely juicy gossip, it's no wonder why Gossip Girl is so popular among teens! But we need to take a closer look at the not-so-subliminal messages this show is putting out. Not only has everyone of the upper-east side grown to accept gossip in their lives, but their purpose gets wrapped up in power, status, or pleasure, all through selfish motives.

As a female, I have fallen short and bowed to my stereotype that girls gossip. It's not easy to avoid the stories we hear or the power we associate in possessing knowledge over our peers, but it's a damaging act. Soon we fall prey to believe everything we hear. Then we pass it along, only to victimize the subject. Do we ever stop and question the evidence? How many times have we been the initiator of gossip? or the victim?

The episode, “The Serena Also Rises,” is completely saturated with stepping on people to rise to the top. Blair, the Queen Mobster of the High School, feels a threat to her throne so she gets tickets for her friends to a high flutent fashion show her mom is putting on. Regardless of her attempts to buy her friends, they are easily swung to the attention of Serena, who was recently published in the tabloids. Blair goes to every evil measure to sabotage her own mother's show in order to hold onto her power and status. When Serena is invited to the show, Blair moves her seat to the back. Once Serena's front row seat is retrieved, Blair kicks out all the models. In return Serena is asked to model, but Blair replaces her dress. Thanks to little J the show recovers, but Blair goes to any measure to secure her dignity and seek revenge on anyone who will take it (whether on purpose or not).

It doesn't stop there. Dan throws morals behind his back and does anything possible to get a good scoop on one of Manhattan's elites. Charading genuine interest, manipulating trust, and then exploiting his new friend in order to get a story that will get him into Yale. Jenny goes behind her father's back, skipping school, and lies to her boss in order to rise in the fashion world. Serena buys into the lies that watching out for another's feelings only holds back her true potential. Is that what life is about: sacrifice anything and everything to rise to the top?

Whether it be gossip, stealing dresses, buying off your friends, or simply telling white lies to reach the top, is it worth it?

By: Emilie1

  1. Emilie is currently a student at the Focus Leadership Institute (FLI) and will be going back to finish up her degree at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL. Every semester, several FLI students are able to be interns with AXiS and research for us as well as travel around the country ministering to students.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Analysis of House -- Is Karma Real?

Title: “Instant Karma”
TV Show: House
Company: FOX
Released: October 12, 2009
Nominations: NA
Location: Season 6 Ep. 4
Target Audience: High School +
Cultural Impact: Answers the question of reality ... Karma is real.
Scene: 31:45-34:00, 37:15-38:07 and 39:57-40:21

In this season of House, Dr. House is back from the psych ward! Foreman, however, has House's job until he can get his license back. In the mean time, House is "sitting" in on cases giving his “two cents”. In one of the new episodes, “Instant Karma,” a very wealthy businessman has an ill son. For years private doctors have tried to figure out why the boy’s health was so poor. Finally, the father wises up and goes to House.

At first, the team would not take him. Then House and the team become interested in the young boys case. After the typical guess and fail, House figures out what the boy has. House diagnoses the boy with Dego’s disease, a rare disease that causes micro blood vessels in the brain, skin, and GI track to break down. Sadly, there is no cure.

As you can tell by the name of the episode, Karma has a major influence. The businessman believes that his successes in life are the root cause of his son’s health. He opts to forfeit everything that he has in hopes of leveling out the universal balancing scale. When the camera cuts into the room with the lawyers begging him not to sign the final papers because he will lose everything; House cut’s in to enlighten them, “That’s the point! The Billionaire thinks that the gods will treat him better if he’s broke.” Roy, the billionaire father, replies, “There has to be some kind of balance. You can’t have all the good fortune in just one area of your life. It’s not how the world’s supposed to work.” When Foreman tells the man that his son isn’t dying from bad Karma, but of an incurable disease, Roy replies by saying that his son isn’t dying and he’s not going to allow it to happen. Shortly after he signs the papers, his son flat lines.

While Wilson confronts House about trying to keep 13 around, House has an epiphany and figures out that it’s not Dego’s disease. The team starts the boy on a new treatment, and the boy is back to his old self!

In this episode it’s a lot easier to see the worldview that is being promoted. Spiritualism is one of the fastest growing belief systems worldwide. It is the belief that the spiritual realm is all that exist and everything else is an illusion. But my questions are: Who is in control of the scale? Why is the scale unbalanced? What makes the scale balanced? Why does the scale have to balance? Who decides when the scale is balanced again? What is the scale? What is good? What is evil?

Can Karma and Spiritualism answer these questions? Can this belief system give satisfactory answers to the ultimate questions of good, evil, and purpose? Instead of relying on one aspect of reality to answer these questions, could we look to a mixture of both the natural and spiritual reality to give us answers?

By: Jared1

  1. Jared is currently a student at the Focus Leadership Institute (FLI) and will be going back to finish up his degree at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO. Every semester, several FLI students are able to be interns with AXiS and research for us as well as travel around the country ministering to students.

Here are the clips mentioned above. *Warning* There is mild abusive language in the clips *Warning*

Where did 2009 go?

Welp, it's the end of 2009 (almost). We have had some amazing opportunities this year to encourage folks to be active in their lives and in their faith.

This fall semester, we had six interns come to us from the Focus Leadership Institute here in Colorado Springs. They were a great help to us this semester. One of the projects they did was to help research tv shows from this past year. In the next couple of weeks we will be sharing some of their discoveries. We hope you enjoy and will join in on the conversation!