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The Mission of Self-Justification in Hell or High Water

The Mission of Self-Justification in Hell or High Water

This one comes to us from our friend Jason Thompson.

David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water must be the year’s most unintentionally Christian film. Aimed more at capturing the mood and the cultural atmosphere of rural Texas than it is at making an argument for or against religion, the film ironically succeeds at presenting us with a rich tapestry and various threads of religious iconography, Biblical themes, and a soundtrack (performed partly by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) that not only underscores key plot points, but accurately reflects the inner lives of the conflicted characters, namely a bank robbing fraternal duo hellbent on…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: American Idol

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: American Idol

Welcome to the seventh and final installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own.  If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

Everybody worships … idols. Last time we reached this inevitable and undeniable conclusion, and in it hides the definition of greed.

Everybody worships idols.  At first glance you may disagree, but recall that worship need not involve a supernatural being.  Merriam-Webster defines it as “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem <worship of the dollar>.”  Dictionary.com says it’s “to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Welcome to the fifth installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

Nearing the end of our year-long quest to define greed, today we’re going to explore materialism, a logical result of the phenomena we’ve discussed and debated in Act III: the prominence of narcissistic individualism, the increase in religious “nones,” the build-a-god mentality of personal spirituality, and the rise in moral subjectivity, even among Christians.

To start, let’s all get on the same page: What exactly is…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: You Just Can’t, Okay?

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: You Just Can’t, Okay?

Welcome to the fourth installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

In Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular cyborg is about to kill two innocent civilians in a dark parking lot, when young John Connor intervenes.

“You can’t just go around killing people!” John says to his protector.

“Why?” the terminator responds in his oft-imitated monotone.

“Whattaya mean, why? ’Cause you can’t!”

“Why?”

“You just can’t, okay? Trust me on this.”

We are on a year-long quest to find a collectively applicable definition…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Monster of “We”

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Monster of “We”

Welcome to the first installment of Act Three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here. 

In Act One of this series we discovered that as a society we cannot agree on a collectively applicable definition of greed. In Act Two we examined a half dozen answers to the question Why. Starting today we’ll take a deeper dive into the philosophy and theology of greed, with a look at how America’s long-celebrated individualism has evolved.

In his 2005 book Greed, Dr. Julian Edney…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Recap of Act Two

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Recap of Act Two

Welcome to the seventh and final installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

After establishing in Act One that we as a society cannot agree on a collectively applicable definition of greed, we moved on to examine a half dozen answers to the question Why. Why are we unable to define greed as a way that might include ourselves? Why is it always Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem?

Happiness. We cleared the lowest and most obvious hurdle first….

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Island of Me

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Island of Me

Welcome to the sixth installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

After establishing in Act One of this series that we as a society cannot agree on a collectively applicable definition of greed, we are now exploring a half dozen answers to the question Why.

So … once again … why can’t we define greed? Because we are living in an era of the self, only the self matters, discovering and nourishing it are paramount and accumulating…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Inner Ring

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: The Inner Ring

Welcome to the fifth installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here.

The Showtime series Billions opens with a shirtless man in his underwear, bound and gagged, supine on a hardwood floor. A dominatrix stands over him, one spiked heal on either side of his chest. She squats, just a bit, and urinates on him. His face transmits ecstasy; he revels in the humiliation.

In the next scene we see the man in his elegant office. He’s…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Wealth is Health

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Wealth is Health

Welcome to the fourth installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of this epic, we determined that as a culture we cannot define ‘greed’ and certainly won’t label ourselves as ‘greedy’.

Today we’ll investigate a challenging fourth answer to the obvious follow-up question, Why? The bottom line is this: Accumulating money–income and wealth–is correlated with better mental health for ourselves and our offspring, higher self-esteem, and more confidence.

Let’s start with mental health. A 2013 Gallup survey…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Livin’ the Dream

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Livin’ the Dream

Welcome to the third installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of this greed epic, we determined that as a culture we cannot define the term and, although we’re quick to see greed in others, we refuse to see it in ourselves.

In Act Two we’re examining why we cannot define and admit to greed. Last time we discovered that, right or wrong, in our society money is a proxy for intelligence, so accumulating lots of it can’t…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Bucks are Brains

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Bucks are Brains

Welcome to the second installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of this greed epic, we determined that as a society we cannot define the term. Each of us has an individual definition of greed that does not include us and, as our socio-economic situation evolves, so does our perception of greed, leaving us forever outside its grasp. It’s our life-long refrain, with rotating boogeymen: The other guy is greedy. I am not.

In Act Two we’re…

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Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Don’t Worry, Buy Happy

Everybody Else’s Biggest Problem: Don’t Worry, Buy Happy

Welcome to the first installment of act two of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, you can find them here.

In Act One of the greed drama, we first examined fascinating data that consistently show that, collectively, we channel Bernie Sanders, emphatically believing that greed is a major problem in our nation. But, at the same time, individually it is not our problem. Multiple data sets confirm that a healthy percentage of us admit to anger, lust, laziness and a host of other frailties and vices. But greed?…

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