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Transformers: How Toy Marketing Shaped the Identity of a Generation.

What did you play with as a kid?

How did what you played with reflect your personality?

What story-lines or mythologies dominated your play?

What do you make of the idea of “the myth that entered history?”

Embracing Your Inner Nerd

Do you have an “inner nerd?”

Why do people tend to stay in like-minded groups?

Are we created beings or just a product of a random genetic mix & socializing experiences?

Live Interview with Avi Abrams

Avi Abrams' blog, Dark Roasted Blend is in the top 500 of Technorati's ratings. He receives 50,000 hits per day and over a million per month.

Part 1 of the Interview with Avi Abrams.

Part 2 of the Interview with Avi Abrams.

Here are some questions for you to share your thoughts on (leave a comment):

Do you blog? What does blogging do for you?

How is blogging affecting the media landscape?

Is blogging helping to increase the general public's consciousness of spiritual issues & ideas?

Returning from the Rainbow Nation

HIV/AIDS Africa Introduction plus Short Film

HIV/AIDS Africa Part 1

HIV/AIDS Africa Part 2

Do you have any personal experiences in the battle against HIV/AIDS?

How can we help people struggling in Africa when they are separated from us by distance, culture, politics & economics?

How does knowledge of the depth of suffering of people in Uganda, South Africa & other parts of Africa personally affect you?

Serious Gamers Salving Serious Suffering

Throughout history and across cultures, games have held a prominent place in human society.

Why are games so important to us?

Coaxing Shrek to Eat Johnny Depp

Some questions you can comment on are below as is video of the original presentation. So toss in your two cents!
What draws us to adventure, fairy-tale & legend?

Why do our lives seem so distant from these stories?

Are there dimensions of life that can be better understood through legends & fairy tales?

Is it possible that there is a spiritual world infusing the material world, much like the things of nature infuse the things of man?

Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper & Other Church Choirs.

Here is the intro video, followed by the presentation video, the slides (click to expand) and some questions for conversation. Please leave comments with your thoughts on this topic. Following the questions, there are several extra video and text items not included in the original presentation, to further develop the topic.

Intro Video featuring Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath & Alice Cooper:

Video of the Presentation:

Can artists known for their lyrical & theatrical depictions of evil, effectively reinvent themselves as prophets & saints?

How do you think the hard-core fans of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath & Alice Cooper feel about band members expressions of Christianity? How do you think traditional Christians feel about it?

Is the kind of Christian faith expressed by these unlikely adherents more or less palatable to you than what you’ve experienced in the past?

Extra Stuff:

After Forever performed by Black Sabbath (with an aging Ozzy givin' 'er despite being very ill):
After Forever (Black Sabbath) Lyrics:
Have you ever thought about your soul - can it be saved?
Or perhaps you think that when you're dead you just stay in your grave
Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?
Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?

When you think about death do you lose your breath or do you keep your cool?
Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope - do you think he's a fool?
Well I have seen the truth, yes I've seen the light and I've changed my ways
And I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days

Could it be you're afraid of what your friends might say
If they knew you believe in God above?
They should realize before they criticize
that God is the only way to love.

Is your mind so small that you have to fall
In with the pack wherever they run
Will you still sneer when death is near
And say they may as well worship the sun.

I think it was true it was people like you that crucified Christ
I think it is sad the opinion you had was the only one voiced
Will you be so sure when your day is near say you don't believe?
You had the chance but you turned it down now you can't retrieve.

Perhaps you'll think before you say that God is dead and gone
Open your eyes, just realize that he's the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate.
Or will you still jeer at all you hear? Yes - I think it's too late.

Alice Cooper & the Muppets:

"I was trying to make the point that you don't have to buy into it. I was trying to make the point that, Hollywood tells you, ??If you're 15 and you haven't been laid yet and you're not high all the time, then there's something wrong with you.' I think that's the worst message that you can give a kid. He's got all his life to deal with that. Why are we forcing him into all these heavy things when he's 14? Well, it's because it makes money. That album in particular was saying, ??Don't buy into it. You don't have to.' In fact, you're the hero when you don't buy into it. Now, for Alice Cooper to be saying that, it obviously makes people that were Alice Cooper fans before kind of take a step backwards and say, ??What a minute! This is the same Alice Cooper that was selling sex, death, and money!' And I'm like, ??Exactly, but I'm not him anymore. Now Alice . . . there's a change of heart. There's a change of what I believe. Now I'm telling you, with more authority, that you don't have to buy into that.' And when they say, ??How dare you!' I go, ??Well, you know, I'm not going to sell as many albums doing this, but I don't care about that. The fact is, there may be some kids out there that listen to that and go, ??Wow, good. The pressure's off. Now I don't have to go try to get laid every weekend. Or I don't have to try to get stoned just so I can be part of the guys. I can be like Alice. I can do what Alice does.' And really, it's not what I'm saying, it's what Christ said! I'm just trying to echo what He would want you to do. But it's funny that I have to use the Alice Cooper character to get that point across.' - Alice Cooper (HM Magazine Interview).

Iron Maiden Interview:

“The usual question I’ve been approached with is people coming up to me and going, ‘How can you play Number of the Beast?’ Well, ’ang on, it’s a story. If you look in the Book of Revelation it tells you about all that, all that grief, all that business. And that, by the way, was a song written from a nightmare that Steve had.
“And my opinion is, well look, one of the greatest tricks the Devil ever pulled was making you think he didn’t exist, and I can tap people on the shoulder and say, ‘I’m not glorifying him -- if I was then I wouldn’t be Christian.’
“Because I understand, and most Christian people understand, that sin is the Devil’s domain, and the ultimate sin is death, but we have a way up, and that’s where your faith and your Christianity comes into play. Sometimes I’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about my faith, and what I feel, and maybe that’s the way the good Lord’s working with me.
“To still be able to be in such a great band, where people think we’re demonic or Satanic, most people that know and have a modicum of sense and intelligence knows that not to be true. It doesn’t take an Einstein to listen to the records and listen to the lyrics of the songs to know what’s going on." - Iron Maiden Drummer Nicko McBrain ( interview).

Spiderman 3: "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society" - Mark Twain.

You can view the spiderman trailer, and the conversation-starter presentation below. The slides are also below (click to expand) and there are several questions to stir your thoughts & comments.

Here are some discussion questions to help stir your comments:

Do you have a “dark side”?

How does pride manifest itself in your life?

Why is it so hard to be emotionally “naked” in front of other people?

What do you think of the following perspective on these themes:
“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.” - Jesus Christ paraphrased in “The Message. Matthew 10:39”

(To expand the slides to the left to full size, just clik on them).

Designer Labels Destroying Babel

View the presentation, explore the questions posed on the slides (click to enlarge) and share your thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment below.

Seven Kids & a Slaughterhouse: The Legacy of Kurt Vonnegut

View the video of the presentation, read the slides (click them to enlarge) and add your thoughts by clicking 'comments" below.

Pray Off the Playoffs.

I failed to record the presentation for this topic, but you can still view the intro video clip, look at the slides (click them to enlarge), read the comments and leave your own comments on this topic below. And make sure you listen to the Don Cherry Meets Jesus story from the presentation too!

Amazing (dis)Grace: The Rebirth of the Slave Trade.

Amazing Grace Trailer:

Amazing (dis)Grace Presentation:

You'll find the trailer for Amazing Grace above along with the presentation at The House Cafe and the slides from the presentation (which will enlarge when you click on them). Please post your comments below.

Here are some quotes to stir your comments:

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

“The objects of the present life fill the human eye with a false magnification because of their immediacy.”

“I continually find it necessary to guard against that natural love of wealth and grandeur which prompts us always, when we come to apply our general doctrine to our own case, to claim an exception.” 

- William Wilberforce.

You can help put an end to modern day slavery. Find out more at The Amazing Change.

W.A.S.P.s: White Anglo Saxon Protestants meet Worried African Suffering People.

Here are the slides for the presentation (click to enlarge).

(There will be a delay before your comment is posted).

Here are some questions to spark your comments:

Do you have any relationships with people who are really struggling ... even suffering?

Have you ever been immersed in a culture that’s very different from your own?

Why should we care about people living half a world away?

Where do you tend to engage issues of suffering?: