Spotlight; the Oscar Winner…of What?

Top Box Office Revenues of 2015 Movies

Movie                                       Total Revenue 2015                 Number of Theaters

1. Star Wars                             $926,508.00                                       4134

2. Jurassic World                    $652,270.00                                        4274

3. Avengers                             $459.005.00                                        4276

4. Inside Out                           $356,461.00                                        3946

5. Furious 7                             $353,007.00                                        4022

6. Minions                               $336,045.00                                        4311

7. The Hunger Games           $281,723.00                                        4175

8. The Martian*                     $228,387.00                                        3854

9. Cinderella                           $201,151.00                                        3848

10. Spectre                             $199,850.00                                        3929

15. The Revenant*                $171,749.00                                        3711

21. Mad Max Fury Road*     $153,636.00                                        3722

42. Bridge of Spies*                 $72,264.00                                         2873

44. The Big Short*                    $68,688.00                                        2529

69. Spotlight                             $39,478.00                                        1212

Hollywood is a curious place.  What exactly is the purpose of the movie industry?  How is success measured?  Do certain results represent the thinking of the country and or culture? Is Hollywood just agenda driven?

There are a myriad of answers for sure.  I find the statistics above interesting.  Listed are the top 10 money making movies of 2015.  In the top ten only one was nominated for best movie by the Academy of Motion Pictures. What does that mean?   It appears that the mainstream of the culture is not going to movies the Hollywood elites believe are the best the industry produce.  Apparently, success for the Hollywood Academy is not measured by ticket sales.   Only one nomination made it into the top ten revenue producers and the winner for best picture was 870 million dollars behind Star Wars at number sixty-nine.

There is a whole lot of fodder for discussion for sure.  For me, I very curious about the winner for Best Picture and why so few people have taken the time and money to see it.  How and why did it garner the coveted Oscar for Best Picture?

Spotlight is a two hour investigative documentary about the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church uncovered by the Boston Globe in 2001.  The words investigative documentary eliminates about 100 million right off the bat.  The words Sexual Abuse account for the next 700 million. The question asked very early in the movie is, “­­­­why the silence?”  One of the actors answers, “the guilt and shame.”

I have been working with this issue directly for ten years now.  Spotlight does a good job of once again exposing the truth that sexual abuse is a rampant plague of evil at catastrophic levels across this country.  When the credits roll at the end, the movie lists over 600 cities where sexual abuse was identified just in the Catholic Church institutions.  The tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall issue which is in way exclusive to the Catholic Church.  It is everywhere.  The movie ends with phone calls streaming into the Globe offices from hundreds of survivors.

To put this issue on the big screen and bring awareness to the evil that is all around us is commendable.  I want to believe that the Academy of Motion Pictures selected the movie based on the message because the acting is average at best. However, I am skeptical that the sole purpose was to shed light on the culture and expanse of sexual abuse.  I sensed that the real motivation was to disparage the Catholic Church in the name of compassion.

What I have learned clearly is that it is time to move past the Awareness issue.  EVERYONE knows this is going on.  It was no surprise to the church and it is no surprise to anyone everywhere today.  Awareness is not the issue anymore.  The issue is how to address the healing process.  Money and court settlements are not the answer.  Tearing down institutions to garner revenge or gain monetary restitution will never heal the brokenness in the soul.  The wounded need the open arms of loving healers.  Survivors that know the pain, know the struggle, know the shame. I believe the institutions are neither equipped nor interested in walking into the mess sexual abuse creates.

Healing takes a survivor, finding the healing themself, then walking one on one daily with another survivor for as long as it takes.  The enemy has the high ground on this and is not going to relinquish it.

I have experienced and witnessed the healing…I will not lose hope for others.


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Happy Birthday Joree

Joree 2-01   Do you remember what you were doing in 1991?  In our family our daughter Jaimee was 14,  son Jeff 12, and daughter Julee 7.   The Silence of the Lambs and Beauty and the Beast were two top movies.  A cease fire ends the Persian Gulf War.  The Soviet Union breaks apart and the Chicago Bulls beat the Lakers for the NBA championship.  And on January 17, 1991 Joree Jeanine was born and six months later came to live with the Harbecks.   She had a winsome smile, a captivating giggle and unending joy.

In 25 years, not much has changed for Joree.  She still has the smile and the giggle and never ending joy.  Joree has influenced more people than we will ever know.  I do know that she has helped me walk through many years of brokenness and pain and taught me what it means to be dependent.  For that, I will be forever grateful.  Happy 25th Birthday, precious Joree.

.Joree 22Pray for Joree and Jillian and I.  We have found a home for Joree and in the next six months she will be transitioning.  It is a group home just 15 minutes from us.  We will be able to visit anytime and even bring her home for a weekend now and then.  It is an answer to prayer.  The transition may take some time as there is a lot of red tape to manage, but we know this is the place.  Thanks for thinking of us and your prayers.



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I miss my Friend…

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God; who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets the prisoners free.

I spent today with my friend Richard.  We have been friends for almost seven years now.  The day I met Richard he was in the back of a class I was teaching.  He challenged me on several of the points I was making in class and my first impression was I was in for a challenge.  His thought provoking questions and subsequent long conversations about the nature of God, the confusion of life, and the struggle to be whole led us down the road to a genuine friendship.

Richard is serving a two year sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections in Tucson.  It has been almost three years since I last saw him.  He went back to prison last January.  When he completes this sentence in December of 2016, it will mark twenty eight years Richard has spent in custody.  He’s fifty two.  It all began when he was just nineteen.

It was good to see him come through the door.  He came across the room and we embraced like old friends do.  For the next four hours we caught up, we cried, we contemplated all the what ifs, and we laughed.  I was the first visitor Richard has had this sentence.

Some people may wonder why Richard can’t seem to get his act together. They ask me, “how many times does he have to mess up before he gets with the program?”

I hear others remark, “It’s obvious he has no understanding of personal responsibility; no desire to change his behavior; maybe prison is just where he belongs.”

Those are all pretty natural responses I suppose.  They are also pretty easy to make from where we sit.  I just know that my friend is my friend and I am proud to call him my friend.

I have a difficult time grasping twenty eight years in prison.  I really can’t understand what it must be like for Richard.  In some ways he has been institutionalized.  He knows all the ins and outs of the prison culture and how to survive it.   He sees the corruption and despair every day.  He battles the loneliness.  I don’t’ know what it’s like to see your friend walk out the door to freedom while you remain behind.  I have never experienced loneliness at that level.

The four hours went by quickly.  We talked about struggles from the past.  We laughed about things we did working together.  We discussed the future and direction for the rest of his time and beyond.  We waved good bye through the glass.

There are a whole lot of things one could think and say.  All I know tonight…is that I miss my friend.


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The Moral Law does not change.

18week 18 Week Old Baby

So now we hear that we have been selling body parts.  The video hit the airwaves and in just a few days the apologists for Planned Parenthood defended the practice by saying, “no laws were broken…there was nothing illegal done…this was a group of people with a vendetta against abortion…there’s nothing to see here”.

If the verbal gymnastics by the supporters of child murder was not so horrific it would be comical.  Will the line they have crossed this time call the supporters of life to the front line or will this go away in a couple of news cycles and life just move along unaffected?

Will moral law trump government opinions passing for laws ever re-establish itself in this country?  I have my doubts.  It is not surprising that Planned Parenthood has moved down the slippery slope to this demented level.  What is discouraging is the lack of dissent by the public in general.  There is no outrage from the news organizations, instead weak attempts to deflect the behavior by attacking the messenger.

Let’s reframe this.  Let’s suppose that the government determined that for the sake of the society at whole it would be beneficial to begin murdering two year olds in order to secure healthy body parts for research and development.  One would like to believe that there would be an outcry so loud on the part of every human that a practice of that nature would be declared absolutely and totally unacceptable.

So, in that case, moral law would trump government law.  And yet history has shown that just such behavior was legislated by authorities and the public did nothing in response.  Men performed experiments on children and adults and murdered them in the name of science.  They were not breaking any laws.  So, millions were discarded while millions did nothing. Judgment followed.

I graduated from high school in 1973 the same year that five people decided that murdering children would be the law of the land in this country.   We are forty years down the road.  We have lost over 50 million of our fellow citizens.  Now we are selling the murdered children to the highest bidders.  Where is the outrage by those that have the power to change law and practice?  Will there be any changes? The moral law has not changed. Murder will always be unacceptable.

This country is deteriorating faster than any time I have witnessed in my sixty years.  Why?  For the simple reason that we as a nation have abandoned obedience to the moral law.  For what reason?  So man can be in charge of his own life.  There is only one remedy for the downward spiral…repentance; a complete change in direction.  Murdering children for any reason must end and respect for human life restored.  Without that, there is no hope.  The crack began forty years ago. Today the foundation is collapsing quickly.  Stay in the fight, but recognize that judgment is coming…soon.

Pro-life supporters gather outside of a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis July 21. They held the demonstration after the release of two videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the method and price of providing fetal tissue obtained from abortions for medical research. (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review) See ABORTION-NEWVIDEO July 22, 2015.

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Hastert, Duggars, Jenner….ancient history…

See how this works.  Less than two weeks since the headlines read, “Josh Duggar molests sisters”… “Dennis Hastert pleads not guilty in child molestation case”… “Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner”.

The entire nation is being manipulated by headlines and thirty second sound bites.  The foundation of the culture is being replaced. Incredibly, the transformation goes completely unnoticed by the masses while the few that speak out in disapproval are considered kooks and weirdo’s; dinosaurs from another age.

The media is formulating public understanding by daily massaging the narrative.  Dennis Hastert, The Duggars, and Bruce Jenner are ancient history already.  They served the purpose of indoctrinating the public to the new worldview.  No longer needed to emphasize the mission, they are discarded as old news. Today will be another story, another issue to report on for a few minutes or with a sensational headline. But, it is more than influencing “public opinion”. The foundation of stone that has been right and true for four hundred years in this county is being replaced with sand…more like water so rapidly there isn’t even time to ponder the change and develop a response.  It’s a Blitzkrieg.

It does not take much effort to live in today’s society.  One doesn’t have to spend time thinking, reading, or listening. It’s all done for us.  Entire worldviews are portrayed in moments and perceived by the culture as truth.  Acceptance by others is the absolute and membership in the status quo the objective. The consensus of popularity and the absolute of “feelings” is the standard. This new worldview foundation began over a hundred years ago in the classrooms of this nation.  It is being populated by only a few but the power of current technology disguises the numbers.  It is deception at the highest level. Just a few in positions of power and influence are now controlling the minds and hearts of millions.

BUT, life is not lived in sound bites and headlines.   Dennis Hastert, The Duggars, and Bruce Jenner have not moved onto the next headline. They are living the daily fallout of the headlines. The shame isn’t replaced over night with happy feelings.  Living the truth takes hard work.  It takes discipline.  It takes obedience to difficult standards that preserve a culture.  That foundation is gone.  The country is being herded intentionally to a place where it cannot stand.

It is up to us kooks and weirdo’s to go out today and refuse to allow the culture to eliminate our foundations.  We must go out and live the truth without fear.  It will not be with headlines or sound bites.  It will be by spending time one on one with others today and every day.   Foundations must be protected.  We will not win this battle in the media.  We will not win this with programs, the shame is too great.  We must walk, one with another.  We must know the truth.  We must think and respond to the lies with courage.  No time to rearrange the deck chairs while the ship is sinking.

The truth rests in the hands of the Wounded Healer.  He is the forever foundation.  We must shore it up

.Jesus Hands

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Josh DuggarDennis Hastert at WheatonJep RobertsonWhen these cases of sexual abuse come to light there is an underlying thread that weaves through all of the dialogue.  The word is mentioned but rarely addressed in any depth.  Without question perpetrators and survivors will go to incredible lengths and intentionally sacrifice time, relationships, money, and reputation to keep the secret.

The media races to the front and describes the perpetrators as evil, unscrupulous, manipulating, monsters.  The survivors are viewed as innocent, quiet, vulnerable, lambs.  Once the two sides in the story have been identified, the mudslinging begins and lost in all the rhetoric is the reason for the secret.  Why do men and women choose to abuse?  Why do survivors choose silence instead of speaking out?  Why do communities refuse to step into the aftermath for either party?  What is so powerful that paralyzes the entire world on this issue?  Shame.

Shame is the gut wrenching feeling of absolute helplessness and loss of hope. It is not simply the sense of guilt from wrong doing.  It is a mental, emotional and physical condition that convinces the mind that a person has no value.  It is a feeling that aches so deeply in the heart that a person weeps in a prison of solitude.  It wreaks havoc on the body while searching to find answers for the pain.

Shame is intense in perpetrators and survivors because it honestly identifies the character of evil present in this world.  Sexuality is the most powerful force in every human being as well as the most personal characteristic.   When it is exploited by any means it instantly damages the core of every human being; the person’s value.  The damage is inflicted in a moment of time and it lingers in the heart for the rest of life.  It may remain silent or dormant or unnoticed or addressed, but it is there, the seed of doubt is ever-present.

As the years pass, the lie that one has no value takes on a life of its own.  The lie is validated by failures or additional mistreatment.  The lie intensifies and the fear of what others will think, how others will respond takes over. Shame is relentless. Safety mechanisms and behaviors are put in place to keep the secret hidden.  Later after a period or lifetime of “normal” behavior the secret finds its way out.  Perpetrators and survivors run for cover. Communities respond to the horror with outrage and disgust. The power of Shame disables everything for a moment as everyone attempts to manage the feelings.  People watching from the outside, who were never victimized by someone, or never harmed anyone themself sexually ponder the stories and share the shame vicariously.  Anger rises and contempt is spread in all directions. Not long after disclosure, when the emotion settles down, and there is time for rational thought, the shame clouds roll back into the community. The fortress of silence remains until the next story comes to light.

My self-worth defines me. My desire to be accepted, loved, and noticed drives all of my thinking.  I want to be liked, valued, and accepted.  Whenever that value is questioned, and or injured I experience shame.  When the most valuable piece of my being, my sexuality is compromised the shame wins every time.

Shame leads to destructive behaviors, depression, and pain.  Sexual abuse will never go away.  Evil will not allow it.  Addressing the shame is a necessity for survival. Rebuilding value from years of suppression takes a lot of time and compassion.  Until we face the truth and act upon it, the issue will surface now and then in the public eye and then return to the darkness.  It will not be healed with programs or institutions.  It is healed when one walks with another one at a time for as long as it takes.  When value is affirmed in anyone shame and its powers are diminished.  Seek out a survivor or perpetrator and walk with them…for as long as it takes…one at a time.  Restoring value is worth it all.

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Kelly, Duggars, and Fox News answer the call…

Duggars on Fox NewsI was wrong!  Hats Off, Kudos, YaHoo, Way to Go to Megan Kelly, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and Fox News for the courage to put on prime time the truth.  I wrote just this week that these stories rarely receive any coverage other than for the political motive to smear someone or satisfy an agenda.  Well, Megan Kelly’s interview knocked it out of the park. A wise man wrote, “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

The Duggars answered critics about the choices their children made and they answered honestly, clearly, and with reverence. They shared the caring process they painstakingly followed for both the perpetrator and the victims.  They demonstrated the success that is capable and the hope there is for healing by refusing to keep an issue silent within their family.   It was inspiring to hear.  Having been in this work and hearing this story over and over, very rarely do you hear that there is movement toward healing.  The incidents are not addressed head on and stay silent.  Silence is not an answer, an excuse, nor a strategy. It is so encouraging and refreshing to see what can be done.

This must not end here.  Speaking out more will begin to break the cycle, the bondage, and the destruction that the silence of abuse renders this country.  Thank you Duggar family and Megan Kelly.  Keep it up. If you haven’t seen the interview, I recommend you go to the following address, watch it and share it with all your friends. Megan has another interview with the Duggar girls this evening, June 5, 2015.


Holding onto Hope…

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