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Idol Chatter

“Scrubs” Finds A Witness

posted by kris rasmussen

I blogged recently about rediscovering NBC’s long-running sitcom Scrubs. I have enjoyed connecting once again with goofy resident J.D. and the caustic Dr. Cox as they face each day’s ups and downs with a great deal of wit and, occasionally, a little wisdom. Last night’s episode reaffirmed that this show, now in its fifth season, is getting its second wind.

Building off of the episode from two weeks ago, in which Dr. Cox struggled with his ambivalent feelings about God and religion, last night’s episode had Cox once again facing a question of faith. This time it involved a patient in need of a life-saving operation . The problem? The patient is a Jehovah’s Witness–and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions using someone else’s blood, nor do they believe in storing their own blood to be used for medical procedures.

At first it seemed that Dr. Cox would not honor the woman’s request to forego the surgery, but then, to everyone’s surprise, he announces his decision to respect the woman’s beliefs–even if he doesn’t agree with them. He even attempts to prevent the patient from being transferred to another hospital that will operate on her.

On a side note, the show was even more humorously poignant because Dr. Cox’s journey of personal growth and enlightenment didn’t end there. The episode also found him wrestling with issues of intimacy, when he realizes he finds it too uncomfortable to kiss his toddler son as a sign of affection. Not to worry, Dr. Cox eventually comes to realize there are other ways to express himself and be the loving, demonstrative dad he never had when he was young.

Moving Mountains

posted by burb

Can movies change how we behave as a society? An opinion piece by Maria Dibattista in Sunday’s L.A. Times argues that they can–except for the movies that set out to do that. She adds the Oscar-nominated “Brokeback Mountain” to a lineup of “problem films” like “Gentleman’s Agreement” (anti-Semitism), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (racism), and “Wall Street” (corporate greed),which are affecting and powerful in the theater but turn out to be powderpuffs when it comes to real-world impact. “If “Brokeback Mountain” changes the way we think and act about homosexual relationships,” DiBattista writes, “that change won’t come from seeing two men throbbing with love for each other.”

From this remove, it’s difficult to gauge whether “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” really changed America’s attitude about race, or showed how our attitude toward race was already beginning to change. Hollywood is a generally a pretty conservative place, as any industry would be that places such large bets on what the broad audience will pay for. Officially an independent film, “Brokeback” is a major release with major stars who took the risk of sucking major face. All the principles, among them Paramount Pictures, probably felt secure in their wager that filmgoers have already accepted homosexuality. Its presence, if not its success, in other words, has probably more to do with “Will and Grace” than the bravery of the filmmakers.

So can movies change how we behave? Maybe not. But they are a good indicator of how we’ve changed already.

Grammy Time!

posted by dena ross

I love Grammy time. Although, I usually care less about the winners than I do about the performances, I decided this year to make some predictions for selected categories that are relevant to Beliefnet (or that I just wanted to sound off on). Please keep in mind, this list is non-scientific and not based on record sales or anything except my own personal love and hate of various artists. Oh yeah, and they don’t reflect the opinions of Beliefnet, yada, yada, yada.

Album of the Year

  • “The Emancipation Of Mimi,” Mariah Carey
  • “Chaos And Creation In The Backyard,” Paul McCartney
  • “Love. Angel. Music. Baby,” Gwen Stefani
  • “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb,” U2
  • “Late Registration,” Kanye West

My pick: I think my co-workers would start throwing things at me if I went up against U2. So I’d have to choose “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.” For my own safety…

Who will win: “Late Registration,” Kanye West. Why? Because Kanye controls America.


Best Gospel Performance

  • “Be Blessed,” Yolanda Adams
  • “Looking For You,” Kirk Franklin
  • “I Call You Faithful,” Donnie McClurkin
  • “Lift Him Up,” Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Choir
  • “Pray,” Cece Winans

My pick: This is a tough one, since this catagory is chock full of talent–more than any of the others. I’d have to go with “Looking For You,” Kirk Franklin. I really feel this should be Kirk’s year.

Who will win: CeCe Winans. Why? Because she’s CeCe Winans.


Best Rock Gospel Album

  • “Until My Heart Caves In,” Audio Adrenaline
  • “Higher Definition,” The Cross Movement
  • “Day of Fire,” Day of Fire
  • “Truth Is Fallin’ In Tha Streetz,” Fresh I.E.
  • “Dichotomy B,” Grits

My pick: By far one of my favorite albums–including mainstream albums– of last year was Day of Fire’s self-titled debut. This is how Christian rock should be done.

Who will win: “Until My Heart Caves In.” Because Audio A will be retiring later this year. It will be a pity win.


Best Rock Song

  • “Best of You,” Foo Fighters
  • “Beverly Hills,”Weezer
  • “City of Blinding Lights,” U2
  • “Devils & Dust,” Bruce Springsteen
  • “Speed of Sound,” Coldplay

My pick: “Beverly Hills,” Weezer. I’m rooting for the underdog here.

Who will win: “City of Blinding Lights,” U2. Why? Because the people in the Recording Academy who decide the winners want to go to heaven–they’d be stupid to vote against God’s favorite band.


Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album

  • “Lifesong,” Casting Crowns
  • “All I Really Want For Christmas,” Steven Curtis Chapman
  • “Redemption Songs,” Jars of Clay
  • “Hymn,” Out of Eden
  • “Healing Rain,” Michael W. Smith
  • “Live Wire,” Third Day

My pick: I want to say, “Live Wire,” because Third Day really knows how to rock (sometimes).

Who will win: “Lifesong,” Casting Crowns. To CCM enthusiasts, Casting Crowns is the hottest thing in Christian culture since those WWJD necklaces–which by the way, even Jesus hates.

You can watch the Grammys tonight at 8p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

The Burb Tolls for Thee

posted by burb

Death by Suburb,” a new book by David Goetz, is written as a wake-up call to Christians who have become defined by the size of their house, dress, car and megachurch. It’s a bell worth tolling, even if his vision of the suburbs is a little clichéd. And while his eight toxins of suburban life could apply to farmers and Donald Trump as much as any denizen of the ‘burbs, his “Eight Reasons to Know If the Suburbs Are Killing Your Soul” hits nicely on the dangers of spiritual complacency in the splendor of suburbia.

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