Category: Leadership

Do you eat or dissect media? 3 more questions to ask during movies

Media watching -- dogs with food on TV

Last week we started on the journey of how to process media.  I offered 2 questions that have been very helpful to me.  CLICK HERE for those questions.  Another critical element for me has been my attitude.  How do I approach TV, movies, music, etc.?  When I employ a positive, critical, discerning, teachable attitude, I find I learn exponentially more from that piece of media.  When I learn more I experience more.  When I experience more I learn more.  There is something redeeming to be found in almost everything.  It’s like listening to speakers or learning from professors.  Whether the speaker or professor is good or bad, we can learn.  Even from a terrible speaker we can learn what not to do, or how we don’t want to present.

Now this doesn’t mean we should watch anything and everything.  Certain things have no positive value and can actually hurt us.  Certain elements of media can have disproportionate effects on us.  We each are wired a little different.  Some of us have special sensitivities to specific elements (violence, crime, language, sex, etc.) and we should limit our intake of media that include them.  Some media’s redemptive value is limited because of how dark they are.  The difficult part is to figure out which these are.  (I probably err on taking in too much…OK definitely err on that side!)  There are some great websites that give info and ratings and include the exact content and why it got its ratings.  Here are some of them: Common Sense Media  Kids in Mind Movie ratings  Plugged In   Parent previews

What is the biggest mistake we can make while watching TV?  It’s one that I make regularly.  (but a little less than I used to)  It is taking everything in with no engagement and not involvement and no evaluation.  It is using TV as an escape, to numb the mind.  When I find myself “deserving” to watch a good chunk I am looking to the TV for something it cannot provide.  I also find it way easier to watch questionable stuff when I am looking for comfort and mindless entertainment.  Now this is not to say that TV can’t be recreational or relaxing.  There is a subtle difference but it’s a big one.

3 more questions that can help in processing a movie or show or entertainment:

  1. What was your favorite scene/part/song? Why?  What do you think was the writer’s, producer’s, composer’s, author’s, etc. favorite part?  Why?
  2. What was this movie’s message/summary in one sentence or less? (what was it trying to communicate?) Why do you think it said this?  Do you agree with it?
  3. What part/character do you most identify with? Why?


Do you have any questions that have been helpful as you watch?



2 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN WE WATCH A MOVIE (or The Bachelor or really anything)

eyes pic 5 -- kid with glasses on

I am a movie buff.  I love watching movies, in the theater or at home.  I am easily impressed.  After college I moved to Virginia Beach and knew 3 local people total.  So I would go to the high school football game on Friday night (for my job with Young Life) and then after see if any high school guys wanted to hang out.  Usually they didn’t because I was new and starting a new chapter at a new school.  So then, alone, I would go to Blockbuster and rent several movies for the weekend.  Later that year I received a Blockbuster Gold Card in the mail.  Cue the choir singing.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t request it.  You can only earn it.  By doing what you might ask?  Renting 100 movies in one calendar year.  Yes, you heard that right.  100 movies.  That’s 2 a week…EVERY WEEK!  If you miss a week, then you have to rent 4 the next week.  The perks were great:  every movie I rented I got another free, no rewinding fees (haha), 4 hour movie reserve privileges, and much, much more.  I know for those of you under 25 this doesn’t make sense but that was the grind.  We had to travel to a store to rent a physical movie.  And for those of you over 25 you’re wondering if I had any type of life.  Don’t worry.  I didn’t.  I was a recluse.  And became a big fan of movies.  But I watched them all the wrong way.

With all my recent posts about The Bachelor and love and soulmates, I thought it might be good to talk about How should we watch The Bachelor?  Or movies?  Or videos?  Or really any media?

What do we do with it?     Swallow it whole.

What should we do with it?   Eat the fish.  Spit out the bones. (first heard from Tim Elmore)

If I’m honest, most of the time I want to watch TV to escape or relax or zone out and I simply ingest it all.  I swallow it all down with little consideration for its message or legitimacy or effects. What should I be doing?  Let me offer these 2 questions that have revolutionized my movie and TV watching:

1.  What did that say?

2.  Is that true?

For question number 1, we want to ask what messages did this movie/TV show/video/etc. communicate?  Was it subtle or explicit?  Was it intentional or by happenstance?  Then for question number 2:  are these messages true?  There are lots of other questions to ask and ways to evaluate and process media but these two are simple, easy to remember and have helped me become a more responsible steward for what I take in.  Another question that follows is:  SO WHAT?  What does this mean for my life and the world?

These are fun questions to discuss over a cookie skillet after an action movie.  You should see college dudes get asked this question.  It’s beautiful.  They squirm a little bit, have a look of confusion, mumble for a minute and then usually come up with something insightful.

For those of you who are people of the Christian faith, these quotations have been helpful to me:

“We must listen to God’s Word and God’s World.”  –John Stott

“We must read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.”  –Karl Barth

I would update Barth’s to the Bible in one hand (first) and then our iPad in the other (after).  Through the process of writing this post I was challenged and convicted about my media ingestion habits.  Usually I just mindlessly take it all in.  I’ve discovered this is my default.  What’s yours?  How do you watch TV?  How do you watch movies?  What are your media habits?

Next week:  Are you making a life-changing mistake while you watch TV?



The True After the Rose Confession by Susan Kehoe

Bachelor gif olivia winning

Happy Easter Monday!  This is a banner day.  Not just because death was put to death but also because this is the first guest post ever!  Meet my dear friend and one of my favorite people in the world Susan Kehoe.  Here’s her reply when I asked how people can connect with her:

Insta: @suzznews or Twitter: @susankehoe or my blog:

Gold.  Pure gold.  Now you understand one of the many reasons that so many people love Suz so much.  She’s hilarious.  Onward.  Here’s her post:


I confess: I used to hate the Bachelor. Now, I don’t miss a week and have been a faithful Fantasy League player for the last 5 seasons. I’m not sure which confession is worse.

In the post-college “I’ll do anything to make friends” phase of my life, I pretended to like the Bachelor to meet girls my age and have something to talk about. I hid my eye rolls and annoyance at the fake romance, but began to be secretly invested in these “journeys” and soon it became must watch TV.

I watch for the drama, train wrecks and cool filming locations, all fully understanding it’s just a game. I get that it’s totally absurd to date dozens of people at the same time and expect helicopter rides and private concerts on every date. All of that is part of the deal when you turn on the TV on Monday nights. It’s “After the Rose” that bothers me most.

Bachelor you tonight vs you tomorrow

We know the odds are stacked against the new happy couple; it’s hanging in the air in the live studio audience that only 16% of final couples “make it.” We want to believe the best for them, but we fear that all the yacht rides, dinnerless dinners on the beach and snorkeling trips won’t replace the need for real connection. So what do they need? Same is true for every couple:

  • Time together. A seasoned family counselor said it’s a must to date someone at least a year before engagement, through all four seasons. Our lives and jobs have busy and slower times and even our brains go through changes throughout the year. Plus, you need to spend a Christmas and birthday with them!
  • Intimacy. True intimacy only comes from repair, and repair comes from tough times together, or so said our pre-marital counselor, and we couldn’t agree more. When we’ve been through hard times, we trust our partner and when we encounter more bumps in the road, we look back to previous hard times with a sense of fondness because we made it through!
  • Death. Okay, hear me out. Jesus says in John 12 that a seed must first die to produce more seeds, that “anyone who loves their life will lose it.” Tim Keller draws upon these words in his book, “The Meaning of Marriage.” He says we fight so hard to keep that new love, the butterfly feeling, but the truth is, the best comes after that love fades away and we develop a deeper, richer, committed love comes after the “thrills” have died away.

I want the very best for Lauren B, Ben and heck even Jojo, Caila and every other girl that wanted that final rose. I just don’t think they have “won” or “lost” yet. If the goal is a long term, committed relationship, let’s not pretend they have arrived. Private islands don’t deliver that, years together do.



7 Reasons you watch the Bachelor

Bachelor Ben

With the Bachelor finale airing tonight, I have been wondering what the draw is for this show.  Why do we watch it?  Why is it so compelling?…even for a curmudgeon like me.  A couple thoughts from the last couple of weeks:

–Twins competing for the same guy?  That’s good for the family dynamic.  That won’t make you insecure.  For the rest of your life.

–Does the rose ceremony remind anyone else of the tribal council from Survivor?  With only one person voting.  Sorry, you’re off the island.  Extinguish your flame. (of love)

–Did Ben really tell 2 gals he loved them?  In the same episode?!  I’m clearly no expert but that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.

–Caila’s departure was one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen.  Olivia’s wasn’t much better.  It is brutal to have feelings for someone but not have them reciprocated.

–Several gals said “I can’t believe the way he makes me feel.  I’ve never felt this way.”  Does that mean that he is the “one”?

“One thing’s for sure. When you’re on the Bachelor, you may not catch the man of your dreams, but chances are you’ll catch something!”

Had some help from some great friends Susan, Caroline, and Sara this week.

7 Reasons you love The Bachelor:

  1. You are hardwired for love. We desire it.  Plain and simple.  At its core, this show promises the discovery of true love, that one person we were meant to be with, our soulmate.  We all want that and hope for it.
  2. You want to see trainwrecks. It makes us feel better about ourselves.  When people breakdown, go crazy, break under pressure, seem desperate, do weird things, etc. we say to ourselves:  “I’m better than that.  I would never do that.”  It’s the same principle as Jersey Shore.  (which I have to confess I watched from start to finish—no hate mail please).
  3. We see ourselves in the Bachelor/Bachelorette.  We wish we were the B/B having our pick of all these attractive, exciting people fighting for our attention.
  4. We see ourselves in the contestants.  We want to be chosen. We want to be the one that someone picks.  We want to win someone’s heart.
  5. It’s funny and ridiculous. Mindless entertainment.  Even though it’s crazy unrealistic.
  6. You like competition. This is the romance version of a sporting event.  You get to root for your favorite, complete with underdogs, front runners, “hated” players, etc.  It even has Bachelor Fantasy leagues!
  7. You want to see heartbreak. There is something strangely compelling about seeing grown men and women cry after not being picked.  We’ve all been in that situation.

It all comes down to tonight.  How can you choose between 2 people you love?  We’ll find out tonight.  We won’t be able to tear our eyes away from the screen.  Maybe we’ll just have to poke them out.

Next week:  7 more reasons you watch The Bachelor


3 more reasons we don’t have a soulmate

Bachelor soulmate kids

To believe you either “click” or you don’t is a self-limiting belief.  This can cause us to miss someone who could be an incredible spouse in the quest for a soulmate.  We hit the road at the first sign of trouble.  When problems or difficulties arise, we think “Well, this must not be the one.  Adios.”  Belief in a soulmate kills the motivation to work for a successful relationship.

Valentine’s Day was this past weekend.  It has been one of the lonelier days of the year for me over the course of my life.  Sniffle, sniffle [Laugh nervously] sob sob.  But it has not been without its shenanigans either.  When I lived in Virginia Beach in the late 20th century, one of my roommates Ryan and I went to attend a dressy Valentines party in Norfolk.  It didn’t start till later so we decided to get a drink at place called Crackers in an artsy area called Ghent (not far from the party).  We both ordered fancy drinks—I believe I had an oatmeal cookie martini and Ryan a special chocolate fusion one.  So we were tasting each other’s martinis and telling jokes and laughing.  It was dark in the restaurant.  The waitress said something about is this your first valentine’s day together and we said “actually, yes it is.”  We had just become roommates that fall.  Pretty fun right?  But then after she walked away we realized that she had the wrong idea.  As we looked around we also realized that it was all men in this establishment, on Valentines dates with other men.  Classic.  The best part?  This is one of my best Valentines dates.  One of those where you have to laugh so you don’t cry.  Enough of that.  Such is the story of my life.  Onward.

Bachelor soulmate man pillow

3 more reasons we don’t have a soulmate (the first 4 reasons from last week):

1. If we had a soulmate, this would suggest we are not a complete person on our own.

The message of needing someone to “complete” us is:  You are not sufficient.  You are not enough in yourself.  This is a fallacy.  Truth:  You are a complete person.  The one who allows your soul to come alive is actually your Creator.

2. Scientific improbability (Article:  Science says finding your soulmate is almost impossible)

a.  If soulmates exist, the chances of actually finding that person are slim to none. “In other words, you better damn well hope fate brings you together, because probability suggests you’re not going to meet this person on your own.”

b. “Let’s suppose you lock eyes with an average of a few dozen new strangers each day. (…definitely a generous estimate.) If 10 percent of them are close to your age, that’s around 50,000 people in a lifetime. Given that you have 500,000,000 potential soul mates (people around your age living in the world), it means you’ll only find true love in one lifetime out of 10,000.”  I sure hope there’s not only that one person, somewhere in the world.  Happy searching if there is!

3. Relationships are not about getting; they’re about giving.

“The “soulmate” idea suggests that marriage is all about me, that I need to find someone who understands me perfectly, who makes me happy.  Instead, marriage should be about finding someone you can make happy.”  –Eric Metaxas  In the Bible, husbands are told to lay down their lives for their wives, to actually die for them. This is a far cry from searching for that one person who “completes” us.

So to sum it up:  We don’t have that one soulmate yin to our yang.  But before you curse me and shake your head at my unromantic-ness, I do believe we can become that one person.

Next week:  How to become someone’s soulmate