Nathan Schneider


Recommended Resource: Plugged In

Our family has recently instituted family movie night. We typically order a pizza and gather around the tv to watch a classic Disney movie or a newly released animated film. On those nights where we’re uncertain of what we’re going to watch, it’s helpful to have feedback that tells us what’s great about a movie and what to be cautious about.

That’s the thought behind Plugged-In, a Focus on the Family website designed to help parents choose the right movies to watch with their children. The site reviews other forms of entertainment as well, such as music, television shows and video games. In addition to the media reviews, you’ll also find articles on discerning what media is right and age-appropriate, pieces of information concerning trends in youth culture, and advice on how to sift through media.

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What our family has found most helpful is that it allows parents to know what to expect in movies and other forms of entertainment so that they are better prepared to discuss the themes and messages of entertainment with their children. With Plugged-In, movie nights become a time of family discussion and family learning.

Check it out and make sure you’re informed about what your children are consuming.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

Other resources helpful for media discernment:


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“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16



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The Stories We Hear

In The Stories We Tell, Mike Cosper argues that we are made to hear and tell stories, namely because God is the ultimate Storyteller. All movies, television shows, and novels are mere shadows of the greatest and truest story of all: the story of God (Creation – Fall – Rescue – Restoration). What Cosper also argues and what’s worth considering is the liturgy of entertainment. Media is not neutral, but is designed to elicit response from emotion pull. To make his point, he quotes James Smith:

One of the things that liturgies do is to visibly narrate a story about what really matters. . . . Perhaps one of the more prolific examples . . . is found in the work of Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of a wide range of films (and more recently television dramas) that draw upon and present the ideals of Americanism . . . . Though I can’t offer a complete analysis here , I raise the case of Bruckheimer in order to suggest that, once again, a space (namely the cinema) that we might have considered neutral or indifferent (or perhaps eagerly affirmed as “good” and “creational”) is formative in a liturgical sense: here we have moving icons dancing across the screen bathed in the affect of a calculated sound track, staging a story with implicit visions of the good life that, over time and because of their covert nature, seep into our imagination and shape not only how we see the world but also how we relate to it, how we orient ourselves within it, and what we ultimately are working toward (Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 109– 10).