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."


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!"


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.

Track Review

It's almost never a good thing to be a bad man in a Carrie Underwood song.

Why, you ask? Because Underwood has a habit of making sure such villains get what's coming to them. And so it is again in her latest hit. The mid-tempo, modern country ballad "Church Bells" starts out sounding like a fairy tale, but it concludes as anything but.

White Dresses, White Picket Fences

Oh, things have a promising start here, to be sure.

A pretty-but-poor country girl named Jenny ("Broke as h---, but blessed with beauty") soon beguiles a wealthly businessman ("She caught the eye of an oil man dancing/One summer night in a dime store dress"). And it sure looks as if happily ever after is in the offing, with wedding bells (hence the song's title) soon chiming away: "She could hear those church bells ringing, ringing/And up in the loft, that whole choir singing, singing/Fold your hands and close your eyes/Yeah, it's all gonna be alright."

Or not. Because, well, happily ever after almost never makes for a "good" country song, right?

Empty Bottles, Closed Fists

It's not long before her rich husband's dark side emerges, one fueled by the bottle. "Everyone thought they were Ken and Barbie," Underwood narrates. "But Ken was always getting way to drunk." From there, the song takes a more ominous turn into domestic abuse. "Saturday night, after a few too many/He came home ready to fight."

Jenny tries to hide the evidence of her husband's abuse when she goes to church: "It was all bruises, covered in makeup/Dark sunglasses/And that next morning, sitting in the back pew/Praying with the Baptists."

But Jenny, whom Underwood describe at the outset of the song as a someone who "grew up wild, like a blackfoot daisy," is about to dish out some abuse of her own. The permanent kind.

"Jenny slipped something in his Tennessee whiskey/No law man was ever gonna find/And how he died is still a mystery/But he hit a woman for the very last time."

The Problematic Satisfaction of Vengeance

Underwood rightly suggests that alcohol-fueled domestic violence is a terrible thing. But then she does what so many movies and songs have done before: trying to right a horrific wrong in an even more horrific way.

In the process, "Church Bells" both glorifies murder and minimizes it, because the song suggests that her spunky heroine's rich, violent husband had it coming … and that she got away with it.

When asked about the revenge thread that has woven through a number of her songs and albums over the years, Underwood has repeatedly said, essentially, that it makes for good drama, that it's a fantasy, not reality. It's just a story that provides a certain kind of narrative satisfaction when a bad guy gets what's coming to him and when his victim gets away with the crime.

Still, in a world in which violence and vengeance make headlines frequently, I'm not as certain as Carrie Underwood is that all of her listeners can discern between fantasy and reality as cleanly as she believes they can.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range









Peaked at No. 2 on the country chart.

Record Label

Arista Nashville




April 11, 2016

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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!