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Every summer, moviegoers flock to theaters to either watch the world end or to witness the struggles of those who were left behind in the aftermath of Armageddon. From localized disasters like those found in “San Andreas” to the complete annihilation of Earth as in “The Knowing,” people love to see destruction rendered in high tech CGI. Moviegoers also look forward to watching the struggles of the survivors of those disasters such as in “I am Legend” and unexpected hit “A Quiet Place.” People like to watch destruction. That is clear to anyone who has ever scrolled through internet videos. There is an awful lot of shaky cam footage of car wrecks, tornadoes and explosions among the many clips of cats being frightened of cucumbers. Why are we so fascinated with disaster? Why do we pay money to watch filmmakers imagine the end of the world?

Shawn Robbins, the chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, feels that the post-apocalyptic and disaster movies are so popular because they are the “definition of escapism.” “These types of films are often viewed as pessimistic glimpses into the future, which is certainly one valid interpretation, but they can also be self-reflective in a positive way,” he said. “It’s easy to see post-apocalyptic and dystopian film settings as part of our inevitable doom, but we can also take them as lessons and parables because, at the heart of any good story, the human condition is explored and challenged.”

Some have suggested that disaster and post-apocalyptic movies offer the same sort of catharsis that the ancient Greeks found in the performance of tragedies. Others claim that the popularity of both disaster and post-apocalyptic movies does not have to do with destruction as much as it has to do with survival. In most films in those genres, there is a person or small group of people who manages to live on despite the odds. We like the idea that humanity, or even we personally, could survive the utter destruction of the world as we know it. Still other people have said that the popularity of dystopian movies is due to the morbid fascination all humans seem to have with death and destruction. After all, most people’s reactions to watching something violent or disgusting is to either watch it again or tell a friend to watch it.

Which answer is the correct one is uncertain, but there is no doubt that disaster and dystopian films will continue to remain popular and a cornerstone of the summer movie season.

Chris Armstead, a worship leader at East Cobb Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia and a group of his friends took over a Georgia, Chick-fil-A when they broke out in a spontaneous flash mob singing “Every Praise,” right before sitting down to eat.

Chick-fil-A customers were moved by the faith-filled performance, with many pulling out their cameras and joining in song. So far, the video has bee shared on Facebook more than 239k times and has generated over 11 million views.

Many people took to Facebook to react to the performance saying it was “refreshing” and “beautiful” to see the restaurant in worship.

One person said, “I needed this today! It made me cry and smile all at the same time. Best stress relief yet. Listening to true worship…”

Another person wrote, “I felt the touch of God on Facebook. Thank God for people who are not ashamed to show that He is the most high. We need more of this happen…”

Some other comments included:

“That was awesome. Not ashamed to own our God. Bless them for blessing others.”

“What a witness to the young people there…way to take it to the streets guys…”

“This is the way we are supposed to live! Praising God and loving each other!”

See the electrifying viral performance below.

512px-Tim_Tebow_in_the_dugout

Tim Tebow is one of the best known football players on Earth. He helped the Florida Gaters win two national championships, won the Heisman Trophy and led the Denver Broncos on what has been called a miraculous run. Unlike many other famous players, however, Tebow’s fame does not stem from his record on the field. Instead, he is best known for his Christian faith.

Tebow became famous for kneeling to pray before games in a stance that became known as “Tebowing” and was imitated by both sincere believers and in open mockery. His openly Christian and pro-life beliefs made him an easy target, but Tebow continued to use his platform and fame to live out his faith. He has spoken about his faith on social media, to fans and even to complete strangers in airports.

With Tebow’s departure from the football field, many of his critics hoped that Tebow and his outspoken faith would fade into the background. Instead, Tebow may be getting a second shot at stardom this time on the baseball diamond. Tebow is currently playing for the Class Double-A Rumble Ponies in Binghamtom, New York as, unsurprisingly, number 15, and he recently earned a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game. This sort of success has led to speculation that Tebow might be promoted to Triple-A or even the major leagues.

Tebow’s fans are ecstatic about the thought of their favorite player taking center stage in professional sports once more, but Tebow himself has kept his own opinions on a possible promotion quiet. Instead, he has focused on continuing to improve his baseball skill by “really trying…to make some tweaks and changes to be able to lock into those fundamentals, and try to improve and continue to stay focused on the process that [he has]since [he] started this endeavor.”

Tebow’s advice to young athletes, however, shows that he may care more about the outcome of his baseball career than he has let on. “I would say if you have a dream and you’re passionate about something, then don’t be afraid to go and live that out,” he said. “There will always be naysayers and people that want to bring you down, but let your passions speak louder than the critics will ever speak. Listen to your heart, and let that be something you pursue, because in life, the greatest thing you’re going to regret is not failing, it’s going to be not trying.”

Tebow has certainly lived up to those words and has impressed many with his improvement on the baseball field, but stardom is not what Tebow is chasing. “If I’m not remembered for baseball, that’s OK,” he said. “If I’m not remembered for football, that’s OK, too. Actually, it’s fine if I’m not remembered at all. What I want is to serve God by helping people who are less fortunate. That’s what’s important, not playing a sport.”

Tebow has lived out those words through events such as the annual Night to Shine. Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine provides boys and girls with disabilities a prom night that is centered on God’s love. The most recent prom was attended by 90,000 teens from 537 churches in 17 countries and run by a small army of 175,000 volunteers. Many of the attendees become lifelong Tebow fans.

Whether Tebow will have  a second career in major league sports is uncertain, but the attention his minor league career has received makes one thing very clear: neither Tebow nor his beliefs are going to fade quietly into the background.

 

MarioLopezAAFeb09Hollywood has long been known for being rather hostile to faith. Christianity especially is treated by many as a sort of dirty little secret. Other people in the entertainment business, however, refuse to allow the status quo of Tinsel Town to silence them. One of those who continues to live out his faith despite the cold reception to his beliefs in Hollywood is Mario Lopez.

Lopez, an actor and popular E! News host, recently spoke out about what it is like for Christians who work in the Hollywood dominated entertainment industry. “[Faith] is alive in me,” Lopez said. “It’s not really as prevalent [in Hollywood] as I think it should be.” Lopez also mentioned the hypocrisy that is common in Hollywood. Though “diversity” is a common buzzword today, Lopez noted that Hollywood only embraces some forms of diversity. “They don’t embrace diverse thought,” Lopez said. Instead, there is the expectation that everyone in Hollywood thinks “the way the Left does entirely.”

As such, it is unsurprising that Hollywood was baffled by the recent success of independent, faith-based movies such as “I Can Only Imagine” and the flop of the star-studded “A Wrinkle in Time” that removed almost all of the original book’s Christian references. “The films that have come with a spiritual aspect [manage] to be very successful,” noted Lopez. “I think little by little, it’s making an impact.”

Bart Millard, the writer of the song “I Can Only Imagine” and subject of the hit film of the same name, commented that the anti-Christian forces in Hollywood were “scratching their heads wondering what in the world has just happened because [the success of the faith-based film] came out of nowhere…to them.”

As for Lopez, he remains an outlier in Hollywood and seems to have no intention of hiding his faith away simply because others in Tinsel Town disapprove. He recently traveled to Israel to be baptized in the Jordan River. He posted a short video documenting his baptism and said that the event was “moving.” One can only hope that outspokenly Christian celebrities such as Lopez encourage other Hollywood Christians to stand up and refuse to be cowed into hiding their faith. Maybe then, Hollywood will begin to truly embrace diversity including diversity of opinion.