My message for Lance Armstrong: It's more about trust than forgiveness

The recent furor over Lance Armstrong's "confession" to Oprah Winfrey has been analyzed every which way. People are wondering if it's appropriate and even necessary to forgive such a public figure. Media guru Phil Cooke offers his perspective on why, for Lance Armstrong anyway, it's not about forgiveness; it's about trust. As a working film producer and media consultant to some of the largest and most effective nonprofit and faith-based organizations in the world, Phil is an expert in how messaging comes across to a discerning and often critical public. 

Phil's most recent book is Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media. This article originally was published on

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Forget Oprah: Some of my Favorite Things

When Oprah Winfrey was doing her talk show, she became famous for giving scores of things away. She gave away cars, trips, trinkets, and even counseling sessions with Dr. Phil. On several shows, she highlighted her favorite things and they were all something material, something that could be given away. 

Since this is a blog about ideas and how we express ideas, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things this week in no particular order. Some of them will be quotes, some references or allusions to idea-makers, but all of them will hopefully entertain, enlighten, and even brighten your day. Of course, these are my favorite things, not necessarily yours, nonetheless, welcome to a little bit of my world.

1—"In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant." Malcolm Muggeridge wrote the previous sentence and let me recommend his work. In many respects, the way he has articulated his faith journey, which took him around the world, is still something I return to often. He is imminently quotable and I just finished his autobiographical works entitled Chronicles of Wasted Time, which made me lose track of time, which is the sign of good writing.

2John Lynch on Grace—I am not sure anyone articulates the message of grace better and I believe if we understood, grasped, and experienced more of the truth of this brief message, we’d all change. This idea understood and expressed effectively will change us all. 

See the brief video here:

3The Influence of Francis Schaeffer  Did Francis Schaeffer get everything absolutely right? No. He’s human and he’d be the first to admit it. But, for me, his example and his legacy has been remarkably impactful. Perhaps, this is just one of the better anecdotes: A Life of Humility - Blog by Randy Alcorn. If you’re convinced after that anecdote to read more check out True Spirituality and/or No Little People (they are not the most famous of Schaeffer’s works, but again, these are my favorites).

4‘Oh my Heart,’ by REM—My favorite band just released their best work since Automatic for the People. I have the CD virtually memorized by now and this song captures my own memory of being in  New Orleans after Katrina, my love of music, and the ache in my own heart for people I want to see more than I get to. This video comes with a bonus intro from Michael Stipe about what happens when art suddenly clicks. See it here:


5Christopher Nolan films  I am a Batman fan and have been all my life. When I was very young (less than 7 years young), I went to an auto show with my uncle and sat in the Batmobile and I was hooked; so when Christopher Nolan took over the helm, it was manna from heaven (Tim Burton was great, but Joel Schumacher’s version(s) made me cringe and get angry). In addition to the Batman films, though, Nolan has also done Memento, Insomnia, and Inception. Dark Knight Rises is currently filming, they added Anne Hathaway (strike up some heavenly choir) and others to the mix. Anyone want to have a Nolan film festival? I am willing to host if you bring the snacks and drinks?

So, we’ll see how this goes. Again, these are some, not all, of my favorite things. Feel free to check them out.


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Oprah's New Prophet is Dwight Schrute???

I like the show the Office. I like Rainn Wilson who plays Dwight Schrute. He is hilarious. I like Oprah. But I can't stand the false doctrine that Oprah and Rainn promote.  

I wrote my book, Why Trust Jesus? and the book co-authored with Josh McDowell, "O" God for Christians!  Sadly, some of my peers have bought into a "social gospel" so much that we often feel apathetic to speak out against religious pluralism.  The Baha'i faith that Rainn holds to may seem open minded and inclusive, but in reality is very exclusive. For example, teachers of the Baha'i faith deny the doctrine of the Trinity. They are "intolerant" of it.

Now, in my book, I commend Oprah for reaching out to the poor. That's a good work. James, in chapter one, refers to taking care of orphans and widows as "pure religion." But religion is not the "gospel" and it won't take anyone into heaven. The so-called "New Spirituality" and pantheistic books that Oprah has endorses like Eckart Tolle's The Power of Now and Rhonda Byrne's The Secret are selling just as much as the books of New Atheists. We might not watch her show, but this woman has influence.  Watch this video of Oprah and Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schute), If you were sitting in a chair next to Oprah, how would you respond? What would you ask her? How would you present the true Gospel?

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Ugh. Seriously, Oprah?

A friend brought to my attention yesterday the fact that Oprah's program today will be about how normal porn is for women. From the trailer on her web site and the comments posted in response, it would appear that the goal is to encourage women to celebrate their sexuality by using pornography and erotica to ignite their sexual passion.

Below is an article that I wrote for The Curator earlier this year. What do you think?

Until last week, I had never heard of Sasha Grey; but, apparently, her star is on the rise. According to the May 14, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, this 21-year-old is the “adult industry’s reigning princess of porn.”

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Review: Precious

I really wanted to like Precious. Everyone is talking about it this awards season as the movie to beat. It’s been a festival favorite. Oprah produced it, etc…

And it is definitely a good film. But it’s certainly nothing like “the movie of the year.”

Precious is the story of an obese, illiterate 16-year-old black girl in Harlem with a lot of problems. Her mother abuses her in every sense of the word. Her father rapes her (and gets her pregnant twice). She is HIV-positive. Her firstborn child has Down syndrome. And the list goes on… Her life is bleaker than you can possibly imagine.

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Invisible Children How it Ends Video

Invisible Children to be featured on OPRAH TODAY!

There are moments in life when you truly feel alive. Today, May 1st 2009, I feel alive.

After days, thousdsands of miles, countless phone calls...e-mails, outbursts of anger and excitement....blood, sweat, and tears...the seemingly impossible has happened. The last city to be "RESCUED" was Chicago. The figures we had called out to lend a voice to the senseless war in Northern Uganda were: President Obama or his wife Michelle, Vice President Biden, Bono, and Oprah. The woman has spoken, and Oprah is now filming the founders of Invisible Children to be aired on her show today...

My friend Jay said it well on the live feed from the office this morning....This has nothing to do with celebrities. It has everything to do with the voice of the "small" people. And it has everything to do with the range that these voices need to travel. Northen Uganda and the Congo deserve every possible effort we can muster up. Every piece of attention of anyone who will listen. The days of indifference need to end. This pandemic of carelessness has no room inside the walls of the human heart. And somehow it's even larger than that. It's about taking care of each's about looking out for each's about going against every modern tendency that leads us away from each other. The technical age can divide us - or it can bring us closer. It's up to you. We have chosen to use it to unite with one voice to broadcast the strories we so rarely hear. The world really is flat...and it is now possible to have a neighbor across the seven seas. 

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We Need OPRAH for this one!

At Invisible Children, we have always been about making the most out of our "talents". Watch this short video - and remember, we are doing this in front of HARPO STUDIOS in Chicago to persuade OPRAH to come out and give a voice to the war in Northen Uganda! 

check out what's happening live:

Great Expectations

After a long discussion of what we were in the mood to watch last night, my husband and I decided on the Duchess with Kiera Knightly.  It was a good movie and even my husband, who doesn’t like period pieces, appreciated it.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, the film is based on the true story of the Duchess of Devonshire in the late 1700s. It follows the plight of the bourgeoisie women of the time. I will refrain from saying a whole lot more because I hate it when people ruin movies.  The reason that this movie stood out to me was a quote from Knightly’s character right after she gets married.  Her new husband grabs a pair of scissors to cut her out the elaborate dress she is wearing that she designed.  He gripes as he snips away at the different layers that he doesn’t understand the lengths women go to with their clothing.  She responds by saying that maybe that is because clothing is the only way women can express themselves because they can’t in any other way.
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Here We Are Now, Entertain Us


This past week, Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church in Seattle became the #1 downloaded spiritual/religious podcast on iTunes.

That's #1 over not one, but two Crest-white Joel Osteen podcasts; and #1 over the queens of the substance-less, marshmallow hugs of 'new spirituality' Oprah Winfrey and Marianne Williamson. 

The last time a group from Seattle overthrew well-heeled millionaires peddling bubblegum was in 1992.  On January 11, 1992, Nirvana's Nevermind usurped Michael Jackson for the #1 spot on the Billboard charts and, in the process, toppled the spandex-and-make-up monolith that was hair metal and power ballads, and ushered in the last truly great musical revolution.

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