Category Archives: Deeper Meaning and Themes Behind TV shows and Movies

How to Be Pop Conscious

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Original air date: Monday, March 28, 2016
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In this episode, we celebrate the completion of 100 episodes!  HOORAY! So we’ll look at what it means to be Pop Conscious and how one might go about attempting to live a Pop Conscious existence every day. We’ll take a look back throughout two years of shows to find the recurring themes, the standouts, and the takeaways. Join us as we share collective pop culture memories, surprises, and inspiration from unexpected sources and offer tips to find more!

Malayna’s Notes:

We’ve had guests!  Total # of Guests:  33

Guests that have been on twice:  Sherry Hursey, Rev. Kelly Isola, Dr. Tanya Cochran, Rev. Ogun Holder
Authors: (with links to their episode or one of them, in some cases…)

  1. Sunil Yapa
  2. Dr. Scott Bowman
  3. Ogun Holder
  4. Kelly Isola
  5. Dave Zaboski – illustrator
  6. Sezin Koehler
  7. Tanya Cochran
  8. Cindy Wright
  9. Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo
  10. Kelsey Timmerman
  11. David Mezzapelle
  12. Charles Holt
  13. Adam Chester
  14. Erika Eleniak!

Actors: (with links to their episode, perhaps a different one if they’re listed above, those multi-talented kids….)

  1. Erika Eleniak
  2. Sherry Hursey
  3. Maggie Wheeler
  4. Charles Holt
  5. Lucky Yates (Voice Actor)
  6. Erin Fitzgerald (Voice Actor)

Writer/Producer

Tara Hernandez

Musicians:

  1. Adam Chester
  2. Bennett Quintard
  3. Kevin Fisher
  4. Daniel Nahmod
  5. Harold Payne

Ministers:

  1. Molly Rockey
  2. Shad Groverland
  3. Ogun Holder
  4. Kristin Powell
  5. Evelyn Foreman
  6. Kelly Isola

Scholars

  1. Tanya Cochran
  2. Scott Bowman

Coach

  1. Dreambuilder Tracy Williams
  2. Michele Coles

Surprisingly personal episodes

The Body Image Shift

Electronic Communications, Real Feelings – Four Agreements

Inner Mean Girls

Exploring Depression

Spock Tribute

Outlanders, Outliers and Outcasts

These links take you to the show info, but for images and notes, search this here blog!

For more from us:

Read Malayna’s Companion Pieces – Galleries on Beliefnet

Check out our THINK UP article on LinkedIn or Going Beyond Behind the Scenes on LinkedIn

Read our article,  on Unity.org: Three Steps to Being a Conscious Consumer of Pop Culture

And please, keep up with us on Facebook  or Twitter !

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Prosperity Perspectives Illustrated

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Original air date: Monday, February 15, 2016
Recently Featured in Unity Worldwide Ministries Newsletter, The Path!
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We get a lot of our ideas about how prosperity is supposed to look from TV and movies, but we can also find great metaphors that illustrate the prosperity principles that make our lives richer now. Join Malayna and Michele as they talk about their studies in prosperity from a spiritual perspective, and the books, music, TV, and movies that illustrate an approach to prosperity that is in alignment with our values, hearts, and dreams.

Malayna’s Pre-Show Notes:

TV   –  Elementary –  A Burden of Blood – aired 14 January 2016

Det. Marcus Bell is studying for the sergeant’s exam not because he wants to be a sergeant, but because he wants to make more money to help care for his mother.  While Joan Watson and Sherlock help him study, they keep including things he insists won’t even be on the exam.  They finally give him a test case to solve, which he does.

EW recaps: When Marcus figures out the case, Sherlock reveals that it was a real case and that Marcus was responsible for bringing the wanted man in. Sherlock and Joan wanted to show him how indispensable he is as a detective. On top of that: The wanted man had a $40,000 bounty on his head, so Sherlock gives Marcus a check, signed to his mother, for $36,000 — he had to take a 10 percent finder’s fee, after all.

SO – he mistakenly looked to his job as his source of income.  He did what he was good at – being a detective.  AND his creative and clever friends found a way by thinking out of the box. 

Characters that lose all their millions and make it back again – All My Children, Adam Chandler and Palmer Cortland

In Real Life – Straight Outta Compton – Ice Cube and Dr. Dre — got fame and money for their talent and skills, lost the money, but used their talent and skills to make the money back, and more.  And changed the world!

Ideas:

We are walking in the Kingdom, it’s all already ours, but our own limiting beliefs are in our way.  The feast is set before us, but our eyes are closed.

Enoughness – Garden of Eden as the Amazon Rainforest

Money is energy, we worship with it what we love.  Would we treat it differently if we thought of it as love notes?

Scare City

4T – Tithe of your talent time and treasure (based in 12 step program)

MOVIES

Jerry Maguire (1996) – Show me the money!

Brewster’s Millions (1985) Richard Pryor and John Candy

For more movies, books and music, continue…

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MLK Day – Great Show!

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Living Into the Vision of MLK – click to listen now from our archives at Unity Online Radio or download the podcast from iTunes!

To celebrate the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malayna and Stacy have invited a friend from our well-spent youths in Unity as a guest expert! We’ll talk with Dr. Scott Bowman, Criminal Justice Professor and Social Justice Advocate, about how we can depict MLK’s vision in entertainment and media, how we are all still called forth to make new choices to reach for it, and where we’re seeing it become reality. From Straight Outta Compton to Black-ish, to The Force Awakens, join us in raising our vision higher!

Dr. Scott Bowman = Texas State University Criminal Justice Professor, Social Justice Advocate with a minor in Religious Studies, he has published scholarly works on the subjects of race, crime, and juvenile justice including as the editor of two volumes of the books – Color Behind Bars – Racism in the U.S. Prison System – Racial over- and under-representation in the U.S. prison system is not simply “black vs. white.”  HE KNOWS THINGS!

MLK’s Vision = from “I Have a Dream” speech – “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

And from his book Strength to Love :  “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Check out these links for more info about things we discussed:

Black Lives Matter

The Daily Beast article by Jen Yamamoto “Racists Urge Boycott of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Over Black Lead…” Oct 19

Within Our Lifetime – Take Action to End Racism

Now listen!  ; )

Lessons From Scrooge and the Grinch

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Click here to listen now from our archives … or here to go to the iTunes podcast.

The busyness of the holiday season may cause us to feel Scroogey, Grinchy, or just overwhelmed and grumpy. We’ve got ideas to keep us all focused on what’s really important. Using the Advent theme of faith, we’ll look at some ways to keep the season fun, authentic, imaginative, treasured, and heartfelt. Nonsense and tomfoolery included.  

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This image from amc.com shows two grumpy Jim Carrey depictions.

With that as our description and starting place, I feel, and this is Malayna here, that we did some good work!  I’m not just feeling Scroogey and Grinchy but at least four-of-the-seven-dwarfsey. Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey and Sneezy.

So we looked at what it was that made Scrooge so grumpy.  He was afraid of not having enough.  We’ve all felt that. But we can turn it around and instead decide that what we have is enough, be grateful for it, invest it wisely and release it lovingly. Doesn’t that feel better?  Scrooge felt better when he made authentic heart-connections that weren’t about money, but about sharing and just being together.

The Grinch was grumpy because he didn’t understand what everyone was so giddy about. He was annoyed because he had no connection to it and no investment in it, so he sought to destroy it.  But what he learned was that it wasn’t about the stuff, but the FEELING.

SO if YOU find yourself thinking “F That”…! Use this handy mnemonic device instead and remember that faith is just about what we choose to believe.  Faith is always at work, and we can choose how to direct it-– negatively or positively.  So let’s choose these:

F Fun with Friends and Family First
A Authenticity, Attention on what’s important,
I Imagination, Intention, Interaction, Investment
T Time Together,  Talent, Treasure,
H Heart, Home, Hope

When you act from these ideals, it doesn’t matter if you even buy anyone gifts or cards. In fact, we give you permission NOT to spend a dime.  If you do spend money, don’t do it out of obligation. Use a little imagination and maybe choose to invest your money in something you want to support–like a friend’s business, or a community project, maybe something that supports a charity. You get the gist!

Here are a few friends we’d like you to check out:

Jenny Hahn Studio has artistic gifts that uplift and inspire. Prints and pendants and 2015 ornaments (oh my!) – http://www.jenspaintings.com

Geeky Teas has geeky tea blends, fandom inspired gifts, British goods, (and it’s also a cat rescue.) – http://geekyteas.com/

Whimsical Forest has geeky baubles like The Mortal Instruments & The Twilight Saga mini book charm bracelets, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone mini book charm, Twilight mini book charm, Dr. Who inspired goodies,  Pirates of the Caribbean inspired Mermaid’s Tears necklace, I solemnly swear that I am up to no good bottle opener key rings, and a Deathly Hallows necklace!  http://whimsicalforest.storenvy.com

AND we talked about some movies that fit with the topic, of course – here are just a few about awkward family gatherings:

  • Four Christmases (2008) – Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn
  • Christmas Vacation (1989) – Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo
  • A Christmas Story (1983) – Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin

And a few more with the keyword “Faith”:

And here’s the theme song to help you remember to keep the F.A.I.T.H.!

 

Spiritual Educators and Fairy Godmothers

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From our companion piece on Beliefnet.com. Click to view and read how each symbolizes what we discussed!

Spiritual Educators and Fairy Godmothers – click to listen NOW!

Original air date: Monday, September 28, 2015
Episode Description:

As Stacy returns from the Spiritual Educator’s Retreat for the Unity Southwest Region, Malayna has been celebrating ways of being a godmother. Join them as they explore similar roles and archetypes in fiction, and in life, that can offer kids a wider support system. Whether you’re a “Sparent” or part of the “Auntie Brigade,” an uncle, grandparent, Big Brother, or Sister, you can positively influence a child’s life without even trying. As volunteers or involved family members, we can all make an even bigger difference in their lives and ours. Tune in for inspiration!

Malayna’s Pre-Show Notes (and lots of ’em!):

GOOGLE

Spiritual Educators

  1. Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education – csee.org/ “Building character, transforming culture”
    1. For over 100 years, we’ve helped educators assist students in developing congruence between their inner and outer lives. We know that the quest for meaning and purpose in life, and grappling with important questions, lead not just to greater satisfaction in life, but also to greater health.
    2. CSEE is not affiliated with any religious organization and does not promote a specific religious belief through our programs.
    3. Character Development [Moral Education, Ethical Education]; Community Service / Service Learning; Grief, Death, Crisis in Schools; Interfaith Understanding; Honor Systems [Codes / Councils]; Spiritual Development; Leadership Development; Teaching the World’s Religions
    4. We keep a comprehensive calendar of events for all major religions in several formats
  1. Spiritual Education – Living Wisdom School – https://livingwisdomschool.org/what-does-spiritual-education-mean/
    1. based in teachings of Yogananda, The original Living Wisdom School in Nevada City, California offers children a rigorous academic education in a safe, beautiful rural environment. Sister schools are in Oregon and Washington.
    2. The purpose of spiritual education is to fulfill the divine potential of children, and to prepare them for life by giving them the tools they need to keep on learning throughout the many experiences that will come to them.
    3. By teaching children kindness, concentration, will power, strength of character, truthfulness, and other higher qualities, life is made richer.
    4. Education, rightly understood, is expansion of awareness.
  2. Category:Spiritual teachers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Spiritual_teachers
    1. Spiritual teachers fall into several subcategories: Shaykhs or Sufi teachers, Gurus (including Hindu Gurus, Sant Mat Gurus, and Sikh Gurus), Buddhist teachers, including Tibetan Lamas (which is really simply the Tibetan word for Guru), and Mahasiddhas, who may be claimed by both Buddhist and Hindu There are also many Western spiritual teachers, some claim a spiritual lineage from the East and some do not.

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School of Life – Always in Session!

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This is the first slide of our companion piece on Beliefnet.com to go with our episode called The School of Life.

Listen while you click through the rest of the slides in this slideshow!

The School of Life is Always in Session !

Awesome August on Pop Conscious

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Original air date: Monday, August 03, 2015
Episode Description:

Malayna welcomes Sezín Koehler to discuss cultural identity and the pop culture transcending it. Sezín is of mixed descent and is a Huffington Post blogger, novelist, and Third Culture Kid who has lived in 13 countries and 18 different cities. Her pop culture fandom ranges from mermaids to Maleficent, Gilmore Girls to Guardians of the Galaxy, Labyrinth to Love, Actually, and Hannibal to Harry Potter. Her spiritual beliefs are just as diverse and expressive. Join us as we explore pop culture’s global influence and how it inspires our lives, whatever our cultural influences may be!

Original air date: Monday, August 17, 2015
Episode Description:

These terms are familiar to anyone who has traveled, as both Malayna and Stacy have recently, but they are also ideas that can be used in connection with summer’s end. Whether it means beginning a new school term or reflecting upon your career and life goals, we’ll examine pop culture depictions of these concepts. Join us in looking at the destinations we choose, how we make departures from our routines to get there, and how to know if we’ve arrived. Travel outward and inward with Pop Conscious!

Original air date: Monday, August 24, 2015
Episode Description:

We are all in the school of life, so as summer ends, we’re beginning to gear up for getting down to business! Whether in school, work, or just life, our business may include classes, writing assignments, deadlines, and tests to determine if we’ve “made the grade.” In so many ways, school never ends. So join us as we look at pop culture expressions of schooling, and find fun ways to keep learning about ourselves!

Original air date: Monday, August 31, 2015
Episode Description:

If you had to learn everything you knew about the world and its people from movies and TV, what would you know about prayer, ritual, and sacred celebrations in other cultures and lands? What could you learn from their depictions? And would they be accurate? These are the questions we’ll try to answer and discuss in our Pop Conscious preparations for Unity World Day of Prayer. Tune in for our recommendations of alternative spiritual observances with pop culture flair!

Pop Conscious in July

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Pop Conscious Topics from July 2015

Pop Conscious topics from July 2015

Spirited Advertising and Pop Culture – with guest co-host Michele Coles

Inspired by Michele’s visit to the creatively playful Duck Tape Festival, we talked about how Summer’s animated features, Minions and Inside Out seem ominpresent in advertising and merchandising. Then we looked at advertising aimed at kids, and the rise of action figures.

Then we made it spiritual too!

Looking at advertising with a critical eye can tell us about our culture today and help us experience nostalgia of days past. But looking at ads with your third eye, or through a lens of spiritual awareness, can help you see what’s important to you and what isn’t, and maybe even understand what’s important to someone else. In this episode, Malayna Dawn and Michele Coles will discuss how to use Unity principles to make the most of what we can’t avoid! We’ll talk about how to be in the world, but not of the world, play with what’s fun, and ignore what isn’t useful.

Unity Youth and Rewriting History

Throughout the past few weeks, Stacy has been busy in her role as the Southwest Unity Region’s Teen Consultant, overseeing Uniteens Camp and then accompanying our older teens to the International Youth of Unity event at Unity Village. Malayna has been reminiscing about her own youth in Unity, and thinking of movies and TV shows where characters get to do it all again. If you could go back, would you do things differently? What might we learn from such forays into our imagination? Can it make life better today? We’ll explore these questions this week on Pop Conscious!

Busting the Lone Hero Myth – with guest co-host Michele Coles and companion piece on Beliefnet.com (coming soon…)

There is a certain individualistic ideal which seems to tell us that it is possible, maybe even preferable, to do it on your own—whatever it may be. But if we look closely at our favorite heroes, most of them have backup—sidekicks, family, love interests, butlers, and the like. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! He wasn’t alone after all! Join Malayna and team member Michele Coles as they scan pop culture for supposed heroic loners and their sidekicks or support teams. Then we’ll bust the myth and refine the ideal of individual empowerment to include supportive connections, because we know that “oneness” doesn’t mean being alone, but joined in Unity!

Sci-Fi Spirituality of Firefly and Serenity – with returning guest Dr. Tanya Cochran!

When you’re a fan, you have a passionate reverence for the subject of your fandom that is not unlike a spiritual experience. We welcome back our favorite scholar-fan, Dr. Tanya Cochran, to share insights found in the TV series Firefly and it’s follow-up film, Serenity. We’ll look at the resonance we find in the archetypes of the crew members and how belief plays a huge role in this space cowboy adventure by Joss Whedon. And we can’t forget the fans. There’s not a power in the ‘verse that can stop us!

Hear Dr. Tanya’s previous visit from June 2015 when we discussed Channeling the Devotion of Fandom !

Exploring REEL Transformation

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It’s the book we wish WE had written!  Reel Transformation was actually written by Unity minister Cindy B. Wright, who does a great job of tying together some of our favorite things: The Hero’s Journey, movies, transformation, spirituality and Unity.  Returning team member, Michele Coles, will join Malayna in sharing our favorite parts of the book, and thinking of other pop culture we can work into the pattern of Reel Transformation. Join us!

Channeling the Devotion of Fandom

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FB Banner Scholar 6-1When people are fans, they are passionate, devoted, and engaged. It makes fandom the perfect vehicle for riding a wave of devotion to create a more engaged life—one in which passion informs all the choices we make. We welcome author and scholar Tanya R. Cochran, who will tell us how she has channeled her passion for the works of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams into her career, and as a means to deepen her inner journey. Join us and learn to follow your inspiration!
We so enjoyed our talk with Dr. Tanya Cochran!  We touched the work shown above, but also spent time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which featured heavily in her dissertation, and the latest controversy surrounding how Black Widow is portrayed in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.
If you’re not well-versed in the works of Joss Whedon, check out our companion piece on Beliefnet.com, “The Spirit of the Whedonverse“!
Here are a few excerpts from Tanya’s dissertation:

p 26 – But little has been written and published about finding God where we might least expect — in songs by Eminem, in sitcoms such as The Simpsons (1989 – present), in films such as Crash (2004), or in teen horror/action/science fiction/fantasy/comedy/dramas with campy titles like Buffy the Vampire Slayer .

Detweiler and Taylor { A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture -November 1, 2003} argue that Jesus himself set the precedence for ‘shaking things up‛…[he] flipped the script on people’s understanding of power, life, and religion’ (8).

And flipping the script is exactly what Detweiler and Taylor intend to do by claiming that ‚God shines through even the most debased pop cultural products‛ (8). I was skeptical of their claims at first, but as I more fully realize what story it is that I find myself in, I take their words more and more to heart. My experience tells me I must.

Pg 27 – No more guilt, only critical curiosity. This whole person sees striking and moving metaphorical connections between the Bible ’s Gospel and Buffy ’s “good news.” This whole person makes meaning for herself that deepens and enriches her religious, spiritual, and academic experience. She hears a universal tune humming through both obvious and obscure texts.

P221 – Mark 9.15: “As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him” (New American Standard Bible). Wonder, a state in which one wants to learn more about something. The people are amazed by this person, curious about him. They want to know more.

I want to know more even as I believe that Jesus, as God, is infinite. And because he is infinite, he cannot be fully known. To know more is to know that knowing never ends. To know is to seek, to wonder about him, to wonder of him.

This seeking, this wondering is a conversation, a dialogue with truth and love embodied. There is no monologue. Monologues lead to guardianships. Dialogues, however, lead to searches, to journeys, to paths of wonder. Years ago when I was swallowed by intellectual crisis and depression, I could have chosen any one of many paths. But if I had chosen any other journey but the journey of wonder, I may not have ended up here at this moment because wonder gives birth to ever – increasing wisdom.

We also talked about our shared love of J.J. Abrams works, which include the much beloved TV series Alias, Lost  and Fringe.

And there is plenty more to talk about!  We’ll have to have Dr. Tanya back!