Monday, March 31, 2014

Captivated: finding freedom in a media captive culture {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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Captivated Movie Review
Recently, my husband and I began leading the young adult Bible study at our church, and my husband decided to start off with the book of Colossians. While I believe one of the main themes of this book is the preeminence of Christ, it was the verse in chapter 2 verse 8 that really stuck out. I thought, what a perfect verse for young adults who are either attending college, looking for that perfect mate, or just trying to find their way in this big, wide world. I decided to memorize it myself because it's such a great reminder for people of all ages who are trying to live as Christians in an anti-Christian culture.
The timing couldn't have been more perfect!
Media Talk 101 sent members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew a copy of their Captivated DVD, a documentary which was created to help people find "freedom in a media captive culture." Guess what verse is on the DVD cover? Yep, Colossians 2:8. (If you have your Bible handy, look it up!)
We can't escape screens. They surround us 24/7. Consequently, technology is here to stay. It's not really bad in and of itself, is it? I don't think so, in fact, it can be quite a wonderful thing. I wouldn't be writing this review without it, but boundaries are a must if we want to keep ourselves from drowning in the Sea of Media. The Captivated DVD is the perfect tool to educate yourselves and your children about the dangers of becoming media and technology addicts.
Founded by former youth pastor, Phillip Telfer, Media Talk 101 is a non-profit organization that provides multiple resources from a biblical perspective for equipping adults and young people with the tools needed for media and entertainment discernment.
The Captivated DVD is a production of Media Talk 101 and is the winner of several prominent awards. Phillip Telfer wrote, produced, and co-directed this 107-minute, high quality documentary that is about media's impact on our culture and the increasing need of discernment in not only our choices in media and entertainment but how much time we are devoting to them. While the documentary isn't necessarily anti-media, anti-entertainment, or anti-technology, it opens up our eyes to the fact that people of all ages have become distracted from the things of God and consumed by the things of the world.  

In his documentary, Phillip Telfer sets out to answer several questions regarding modern media (computers, video games social media, TV, music, cell phones, etc.). He uses several methods such as history; interviews with authors, speakers, doctors, and pastors; and personal testimonies to uncover the truth about the dangers of becoming captivated by one of the number one stumbling blocks to our growth as Christians - media and entertainment consumption. These methods are strategically weaved throughout the film, but for the review's sake, I will touch on each of them separately below.
The film starts off with a milestone in communications - the telegraph! Yes, Telfer will take us back in time to the mid 1800's where you will learn a few interesting facts about the telegraph and the role that this new "technology" played in the Titanic tragedy. You will also see how the telegraph paved the way for what we know today as the Internet. Your eyes will be opened to Hollywood's history, how its moral code has dramatically changed over such a short period of time, and about the development of the current rating system for motion pictures. The historical aspect of the documentary is fascinating, and my family really learned a lot!
Did you know that in a typical home there are more TV's than toilets? How about more TV's than kids? More than ever before, children are able to "shut out" parents and adults by way of a constant stream of some form of media. Don't be fooled. This media is not meant to be neutral. Whether we like it or not, there is an agenda, and sadly, our choices in entertainment show that we as a culture lack a true fear of God. We desperately need help from other brothers and sisters in Christ to navigate this "digital landscape."
In the Captivated DVD, many prominent people, a few of which were familiar to me, contribute their professional input on the subject of media and entertainment consumption and offer advice to help us view everything in the world through a biblical lens. They also call parents to action to help their children find freedom from unhealthy media addictions. Below, you will find a list of all contributors in no particular order - I hope I didn't leave anyone out!
  • Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
  • Joe Schimmel, Founder, Good Fight Ministries
  • Kevin Swanson, Director, Generations With Vision
  • Major Phil Willis, U.S. Army Chaplain
  • K.P. Yohannan, President, Gospel for Asia
  • Melissa Henson, Parents Television Council
  • Maggie Jackson, Author and Journalist
  • Kirby Anderson, Director, Probe Ministries
  • Ray Comfort, President, Living Waters
  • Dick Rolfe, CEO, The Dove Foundation
  • Bob Waliszewski, Director, Plugged In
  • Phil Chalmers, Author and Speaker
  • Dr. Ted Baehr, Founder, Movieguide
  • Al Menconi, Author and Speaker
  • Dr. David Murray, Professor of Theology
  • Raul Ries, Calvary Chapel, Golden Springs
  • Dr. Dimitri Christakis, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Dr. David Walsh, Author and Speaker
  • Dr. Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries
  • Mark Bauerlein, Professor and Author
Such a broad variety of knowledge was discussed within the topic of media and entertainment consumption that I find it difficult to summarize it all into one paragraph. I think it will be easier to list some of the nuggets of wisdom you will hear in order to whet your appetite a bit. In this documentary, you will learn about:
  • child brain development and the effects of modern media
  • impact of violent media
  • effects of multi-tasking
  • physical impact of media on our bodies
  • impact of video games in the home
  • what percentage of kids have a crippling addiction to video games
  • literal meaning of the word "amuse"
  • how healthy eating, exercising, and limiting technology helped children who were diagnosed with ADHD
  • why things are getting worse in the TV/movie industry
  • where you will find the empty philosophies of this world
  • how media fosters escapism and the false sense of accomplishment
  • benefits of limiting media
  • unbreakable link between what we see and hear and what we do
  • importance of spiritual leadership in the home
Famous quotes are sprinkled strategically throughout the film, too, which adds a nice touch. My favorite one is, "Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your house." David Frost
Personal Testimonies
In the film, real people share how their addictions to media negatively affected their lives before they found freedom.
  • One young woman describes her addiction to Facebook which had become an idol for her.
  • Another describes the impact her addiction to loud music had on her life, and how Jesus freed her.
  • One large family shares the incredible benefits of their media fast.
  • Teens who spend a year at Shepherd's Hill Academy tell about the positive changes in their lives due to no social media and lots of hard work.
  • One lady tells of her crippling addiction to Farmville and how getting sick was her wake up call.
  • One young man testifies to the importance of really having to work at something and getting true joy and satisfaction from it. Before his media fast and becoming a Christian, he listened to horrible music and filled his thoughts with ungodly things.
  • Another tells of his media fast for a month and how he learned to forage. He didn't realize how much TV impacted him until he eliminated it. Now he has more time to forage, play the guitar, spend time with his family, etc.
Some of the testimonies are extreme cases, but I think all of us can relate somewhat to the alluring nature of media and entertainment. I love how inspiring each testimony is and how each person helps viewers realize that life is so much fuller when Christ captivates us!
There are over 2 hours of extras which include extended interviews, a word from the producer, a promo for Gospel for Asia, and a movie trailer. The extended interviews by Dr. David Murray, Mark Bauerlein, Phil Chalmers, Dr. David Walsh, Joe Schimmel, Kevin Swanson, Raul Ries, and Dr. Jeff Myers are just as wonderful as the interviews included in the film. Do not skip these!
My family and I watched the DVD together and then talked about it afterward. I really appreciated my oldest son's candidness regarding entertainment and media consumption and sharing how even when you have parents who are diligent in this area, falling into temptation can still be a problem. Even though none of our family members are true addicts, media is a part of our everyday lives. This DVD truly is a great reminder to keep media in its proper place and to use it for good. It's even inspired us to schedule a media fast for our own family.
Though intended for adults, this documentary has been approved for all ages. Even my 8-year-old was able to sit through the entire thing. I highly, highly recommend that you watch this with your family as I did with mine. It's creative, informative, and very well done. Do a favor for yourself and your family. Find out if you've been captivated, and take the necessary steps to break the chains of media consumption. Restore peace, joy, and freedom in your home before it's too late, and choose to be captivated by Christ! You can watch over 15 video clips of the Captivated DVD to see if it's right for your family. They're the reason I wanted to review this DVD!

You can purchase the Captivated DVD for $16.95 (free shipping), and right now there is also a special offer going on: if you order 2 DVDs, you get the second one for only $5! One to keep and one to give away.
To read what other Crew Members thought about the Captivated DVD, click the banner below.

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Twitter: @CaptivatedMovie
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