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Friday, January 1, 2016

The Truth And Baloney Detector

You may remember my interview of Gary Starkweather, who taught an adult Sunday School class at our church for several years, and also invented the laser printer. If you missed the interview, see https://youtu.be/61-gPwHdYo4. Apparently Gary's fascination with lasers went far, far beyond the printer. The above photo (used with Gary's permission) shows him receiving an Oscar for his behind-the-scenes contribution to the technical success of the first Star Wars film. This award was presented for his part in helping to develop a technique to color scan film into a digital computer for matting several images together (often more than ten frames matted together), which was used for scenes like the light sword fights. The increased efficiency of this digital matting technique was much more cost effective than the old hand cutting and physical matting approach. Way to go, Gary.

One of our WRAP schools [Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project] is Grace Christian School, in Staunton, Virginia. The High School Principal, Brian Fitzgerald, sent the following message to parents before the opening of the new Star Wars film. In it, Brian recommends a teaching tool presented in the WRAP training, called, the Truth and Baloney Detector:

Dear GCS Parents,

How should a Christian approach a film like Star Wars? Thoughtfully. We should be active viewers, being conscious of the ideas coming through the art. We need to teach our kids and students to do the same, learning to detect truth from baloney. And there’s an app for that! Well...a tool.

It's called the Truth and Baloney Detector, and we will be using this tool more often in GCS classrooms. This tool is designed to help us engage thoughtfully with media. It’s easy to pick apart a film and identify everything that’s wrong with its ideas. It takes more humility and discernment to identify truth in these same films. Yet be vigilant in separating it from baloney.  

The Truth and Baloney Detector is an excellent tool to use to talk with your children about the movies they watch, especially if you are watching with them. Our kids are going to watch movies, so let’s teach them how to watch well, with the biblical worldview as their framework. 

I recommend filling out the attached Truth and Baloney Detector together as a family. It may seem like a lot of work for watching a movie, but thinking biblically is necessary work. If we don’t actively engage with our entertainment, what’s the alternative? 

Damon of Athens, a contemporary of Plato, said, “Let me write the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws.” Law enforces a code. Entertainment teaches culture. You can write and implement laws to make people outwardly conform to certain standards, or you could smuggle those same ideas into people’s minds by packaging them in movies that everyone willingly watches. 

Let’s love God with our minds, take captive thoughts that are counter to Christ, and teach our children to do the same.

For your Truth and Baloney Detector, click here [downloaded file].

Well done, Brian! The following link explains how to use the Truth and Baloney Detector in detail. I recommend watching this with your son/daughter before using the tool:  https://youtu.be/WW1_8utGspo

May the Father be with you!