WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

I'm not going to waste much time writing introductions here: The eighth studio album from Switchfoot is, quite simply, a breathtaking collection of songs about life and death and faith and struggle and hope—sometimes all mashed up together at the same time. The first time I listened to it, I was left with the small hairs standing on my arms and tears welling in my eyes. Here's why.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

From start to finish on Vice Verses' 12 songs, Switchfoot frontman and lyricist Jon Foreman invites listeners to ponder a mysterious and messy dichotomy: the jarring reality of a world full of brokenness juxtaposed with a faith that enables us to embrace that brokenness with dignity, purpose and joy.

"Afterlife" detonates the misconception that eternal life doesn't begin until we die: "I'm not waiting for the other side/ … Why would I wait until I die to come alive?/I'm ready now/I'm not waiting for the afterlife." Reflecting on years of beloved relationship (perhaps with a wife, perhaps a sibling), "Souvenirs" cherishes the memories of life lived together and wistfully smiles at how innocent things were in the beginning ("We were wide-eyed with everything/ … You were just a child and so was I/We were so young/We had no fear/ … We had no idea/ … I wouldn't change it for anything").

"The Original" reminds those who feel lost that their lives have unique dignity. Likewise, "Blinding Light" encourages us to reject culture's lies about where our worth comes from ("Hey, girl, be yourself now/Your skin's more than a pinup suit/Hey, girl, don't conform now/No one else got a soul like you"). Foreman also insists that hope can overcome fear, singing, "Deep down there's a hope inside/Brighter than the fears in my mind." "Dark Horses" and "Rise Above" inhabit similar territory as they praise perseverance and determination.

Sounding a bit like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, Foreman's lyrics on the title track reflect on the miracle of birth and the inevitability of death: "You got your babies, I got my hearses/Every blessing comes with a set of curses." The song acknowledges every person's shortcomings ("I got my vices"), followed by wordplay that hints at biblical truth enabling us to overcome them ("I got my vice verses).

The title of "The War Inside" lets us know exactly where humanity's deepest conflicts come from: our damaged, pride-inflated hearts ("Ain't no killer like pride/No killer like I/No killer like what's inside"). The song ends on an upbeat note, however, reminding listeners of the importance of every thought and the power of imagination to envision a better tomorrow ("Yeah, every thought or deed/Yeah, every tree or seed/The big things come from the little dreams/Every world is made by make believe").

"Restless" grasps at our hearts' instinctive yearning for our ultimate union with God in heaven: "I am restless, restless, restless/Looking for You/I am restless/I run like the ocean to find Your shore." Alluding to several verses about heaven in the Book of Revelation, Foreman adds, "Until the sea of glass we meet/At last completed and complete/Where tide and fear and pain subside/And laughter drinks them dry/I'll be waiting/Anticipating/All that I aim for/What I was made for."

"Where I Belong" also ponders the tension of living in a damaged, fragmented world even as we patiently await a better one. "Storms on the wasteland/Dark clouds on the plains again/We were born into the fight," Foreman begins. "But I'm not sentimental/This skin and bones is a rental/And no one makes it out alive." In the face of that reality, Switchfoot is determined to live with passion and purpose: "This body's not my own/This world is not my own/But I can still hear the sound/Of my heart beating out/So let's go, boys, play it loud/On the final day I die/I want to hold my head up high/I want to tell you that I tried/To live it like a song." Then this: "And when I reach the other side/I want to look you in the eye/And know that I've arrived/In a world where I belong."

"Thrive" voices the confession of a hollow man who looks in the mirror and is haunted by what he sees, someone who wants to do more than just survive. ("I try and hide it and not let it show/But deep down inside me I just don't know/Am I a man when I feel like a hoax?/The stranger in the mirror is wearing my clothes/No, I'm not alright/ … I want to thrive, not just survive").

"Selling the News" creatively mixes rap-like rhymes with a sung chorus as the band critiques our culture of consumerism in a world where truth doesn't matter as much as the bottom line. "America listens, the story is told," we hear. "With an eye on the truth as the story unfolds/But the ratings determine if the story was sold/We're selling the news." A bit later, this question: "Substance, oh substance—where have you been?/You've been replaced by the masters of spin." The song concludes with a prophetic observation: "Where nothing is sacred, there's nothing to lose/Where nothing is sacred, all is consumed."

Objectionable Content

None.

Summary Advisory

Good writing—whether expressed in a book, a poem, a movie or a song—helps us see life with clarity. Jon Foreman's lyrical efforts here certainly illustrate that principle. Switchfoot's poetic and profound words on Vice Verses articulate the innermost yearnings of aching-but-hopeful pilgrims trekking together through a broken land … en route to the Promised Land.

And while the songs never mention God or Jesus by name, it's abundantly clear that it's a deep Christian faith that permeates and saturates everything here, woven into the very fabric of the band's musical reality.

The result is nothing short of exhilarating, musically and spiritually.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!