Meet Hollywood’s next Jesus—possibly. According to Deadline, Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play the role of Jesus Christ in an upcoming movie called "Mary Magdalene." Rooney Mara will play the lead role. This biopic doesn’t sound like a typical faith-centric Bible movie, though: Deadline says the film is “an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history.” Talks with Phoenix are still on going, but he is currently the filmmakers' first choice. Discuss
Christopher Ward Jr. has been legally blind since he was born, suffering from an optical nerve condition that only lets him see objects extremely close to his eyes. The 12-year-old recently had an opportunity to try the eSight electronic glasses, which captures live video with tiny cameras, and then plays them on tiny screens in front of the eyes, essentially, restoring normal sight. The video of him seeing his mother for the first time recently played on ABC News. As you can imagine, people were moved—especially when they found out that the high-tech glasses cost $15,000, and Ward's family couldn’t afford them.
His mother set up a crowdfunding campaign on the site YouCaring.com, and within days, not only did they raise the money needed for the glasses, but an additional $10,000 (which will be put into a trust fund for Ward), too. Well done, Internet. Discuss
Paul Rudd will play an Ivy League linguistics prodigy, a professional baseball player and a spy—all in the same role. The actor is set to star in the adaptation of the book The Catcher Was A Spy, which tells the true story of Moe Berg, who went from Princeton, to the Major League to a CIA-like organization, just as America was entering into WWII. But, just because it’s Paul Rudd, don’t expect a straight-up comedy. The script, which is billed as a thriller, is being written by the scribe behind Saving Private Ryan, Robert Rodat. Discuss
Scientists at the University of Oxford have confirmed what anyone hanging out at Central Perk has long known—having friends is better than some painkillers at making you feel better. According to the new research, published in Scientific Reports, individuals who have lots of close friends have higher pain tolerances than people who don’t, and being around them provides a more-powerful-than-expected endorphin rush. Researchers explained to The Telegraph,
One theory, known as 'the brain opioid theory of social attachment', is that social interactions trigger positive emotions when endorphin binds to opioid receptors in the brain. This gives us that feel-good factor that we get from seeing our friends.
The endorphin effect is so intense, that the team found that being with a friend group is a more effective painkiller than morphine itself. The only other treatment that comes close, is putting The Rembrandts' “I’ll Be There For You” directly into your ears. Discuss
Take a trip back to 1989 in this trailer for Southside With You, a movie about the first date between Michelle and Barack Obama. The film, which was produced by John Legend, releases in August. Discuss
Belief in God and regular prayer may be on the decline in the United States, but praying for supernatural healing is still almost a universal experience. A new study conducted by researchers at Baylor University found that 90 percent of Americans have prayed that God would physically heal them or someone they know. The author of the study was shocked by how high the number is. Jeff Levin explained to CNN,
Outside of belief in God, healing prayer might be the most ubiquitous religious practice that there is. This might be one of the most prevalent forms of primary care medicine, and I don't say that lightly … There's this hidden substrate of spirituality in this country, and by asking these questions, it uncovered something always there that was bubbling beneath the surface. This is not a marginal or minor expression. This is pretty ubiquitous.
Beyond the experience of simply praying for healing, more than a fourth of all Americans say they have prayed by “laying on hands”—actually placing their hands on someone else (or vice versa) while intervening for God to heal. Discuss