Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

Having dealt with the challenge of Religious OCD, I’m constantly amazed at how little attention the subject gets in either in  the media (including movies and television) or in the faith arena. This post isn’t an actual endorsement of Ali Greymond’s program (which I haven’t been through) but I certainly thinks she makes some interesting points about a subject that warrants more attention. Let there be light. More on this soon.

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

From my in-box (I hope it helps some people): Pornography has reached epidemic proportions in our nation, with more than 28,000 people watching porn every second. Its effects on families is leaving everlasting damage, resulting in broken marriages and a lack of interest in child-rearing and family life. The wives of sex addicts have it particularly difficult, as research shows 70 percent could be diagnosed with PTSD. Matt Fradd, whose book The Porn Myth was a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon, is partnering with Cardinal Studios to release STRIVE, a new series aimed at giving men the tools they need to kick their porn habit.
“Too many lives, marriages and families have been torn apart by pornography,” said Fradd, who has spoken to millions of individuals over the past decade about the detrimental effects of pornography. “The No. 1 question I get is, ‘Yes, I get it’s bad, but how do I quit? What exactly do I need to do?’ This is precisely what STRIVE addresses. It meets these men where they are with an experience unlike anything that has existed.”

Cardinal Studios became the perfect home for Fradd and STRIVE, having already built a successful movement of men through their RISE challenge with Chris Stefanick, which began in early 2018. STRIVE walks men through a step-by-step plan to quit porn for good, using powerful videos and live interaction with Fradd and others throughout the series.

“We’ve seen amazing fruit from the RISE challenge over the past year, and we knew we could take the best of what it offered in terms of film, technology, community and accessibility, and take it up a notch with STRIVE,” said Chris Cope, director of Cardinal Studios. “Men will journey with Matt Fradd every day, not just in the videos and content, but within the online community, and through weekly interactive live streams. This ability to learn from each other takes everything to a new level.”

“The goal of STRIVE is to help men break free from porn and bring them into community, not just for the 21 days, but in local or video small groups after the challenge,” said Fradd. “Accountability is key and we’re providing the platform to make that a reality. We know that with this unique blend of inspiration, technology and brotherhood, STRIVE can change countless lives.”

The STRIVE online program will initially be run a handful of times this year, the first beginning on March 27, 2019. Men can register at

Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith and media:

More tossed salad and scrambled eggs? I always loved Frasier — particularly the show’s ability to combine insights about life with deft character development and sheer hilarity. In fact, I was such a fan that during my years working in Hollywood, a pitched an idea for a sequel series to Chris Maul at Grammnet (Kelsey Grammer’s production company) when it concluded way back in 2004. From what I hear, it doesn’t sound like their moving toward digging up my little idea but if they want to go in a different direction, I’m here. My idea is not for a multi-camera sitcom but for a lighthearted mystery drama ala Monk. Hopefully, like the original Frasier, the premise and characters would offer some opportunities to present reasonably cogent insights about life.

Log Line: Frasier as Columbo

 Concept: Depressed by yet another love gone ridiculously wrong and unfulfilled by his new radio call-in gig, Dr. Frasier Crane – whom we learn actually minored in criminal psychology — accepts an offer to go to work for the Chicago Police Department as a forensic psychiatrist.


Dr. Frasier Crane

            The character we know and love from two classic sitcoms moves into the drama arena (ala Lou Grant).  Now, a forensic psychiatrist who insists on becoming more involved in police investigations than his job description calls for, Frasier puts his knowledge of human behavior to use in solving murders.  He’s good at it too – a bit more of a chip off the old block than his (late) detective dad ever realized.

Lt. Shirley Holmes

            The no-nonsense African-American female cop whose cases Frasier is routinely assigned to.  She believes hard evidence and leg work – not “pop psychology” – are the keys to solving crime.  Still, she hates to admit just how often Frasier is right.  She doesn’t find her name humorous and is thus unamused by Frasier’s repeated use of the line “Shirley, you can’t be serious.”  Frasier and Shirley develop a kind of Mulder-Scully/X-Files relationship.

Sgt. Griff King

            Shirley’s young investigative partner is star struck by Frasier – whom he considers to be a celebrity – further exasperating the senior detective.  Frasier, of course, eats up his adoration.


Capt. Dan Mahoney

            The head of the detective squad is an old-fashioned – and honest – police commander.  To him the bottom line is that Frasier, despite his idiosyncrasies, is proving to be an asset in solving murders.

The Episodes

  1. “Frame of Mind”

    Frasier’s mentor, a renowned psychiatrist, murders a patient who was threatening to expose their affair while pinning the crime on another severely disturbed patient – who actually cooperates by confessing.

  1. “A Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste”

    A street mime who often performed in front of Frasier’s apartment is shot dead with a silencer. 

  1. “Method Actor”

    A movie star takes his preparation for the role of a Chicago serial killer more than a bit too far.

  1. “Final Draft”

     A world-famous, but fading, mystery novelist steals his protégé’s ingenious plot twist — which he actually uses to do in the young writer.

  1. “How to Frame a Guilty Man”

    Frasier suspects, but can’t prove, that a popular TV anchorman killed his wife – until a detective with a vendetta against the newsman plants evidence against him.

  1. “Mercury in Retrograde”

    A TV psychic murders the executive who was about to cancel his show – and then leads police to the supposed killer.

  1. “Her Worst Nightmare”

     A shock jock’s obsessed groupie literally dreams of his girlfriend’s murder – as it happens.  When she reports her dream to the cops, she becomes the prime suspect. 

  1. “Abra-Cadaver”

     A magician commits murder while apparently on stage doing a show.

  1. “The Freudian Slip”

     A lingerie mogul murders her partner then attempts to divert Frasier’s suspicions by flirting with him.

  1. “You Have a Friend in Frasier Crane”

The woman who Frasier followed out to Chicago hoping to marry seeks Frasier’s help when her fiancé, a well-known politician, is charged with killing his ex-wife.

  1. Mind Game

     Frasier is called in to determine whether a TV pitchman’s bizarre behavior after being nailed for killing his wife is result of insanity or cold-blooded manipulation of the legal system.

  1. Burying the Hatchets

     When media mogul Ben Hatchet dies in an ironic accident involving a hatchet, he leaves a will that stipulates his fortune will be divided equally by his surviving family members one year after his death.  And suddenly  Hatchets are dropping like flies — victims of bizarre “accidents.”

  1. Crepes of Wrath
    A master chef commits murder when his lover threatens to leave him for another chef — and take his recipes with her.

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

1. The Hollywood Reporter notes that DC’s Vertigo imprint has cancelled controversial plans to launch Second Coming, a satire comic book pairing Jesus with a superhero named Sun-Man. The book’s co-creator (that’s “creator” with a small “c”) Mark Russell doesn’t blame DC.  He says he asked for the rights back and they gracefully agreed.

2. HR also reports that the CBS pilot Evil has cast Katji Herbers (Westworld) as a skeptical forensic psychologist who works with the Catholic Church to investigate possible miracles and cases of alleged demonic possession. About that title, I get it when it comes to supposed demonic possession. But, if miracles from God (a definite good thing) are to be a focus too, wouldn’t a better title for the show be something like Extraordinary Occurrences. Just a thought — or, better yet, ditch the demonic possession angle and reboot the old NBC/Pax drama Mysterious Ways.

Will Dumbo fly for a new generation? We’ll find out on March 29 when the new live-action version opens in theaters. A lot of talent is attached here, including legendary director Tim Burton (Alice In Wonderland, Big Fish, Batman Returns) and a cast that includes Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Danny DeVito (Matilda, Batman Returns) and Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice, Batman).

 Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11