Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Trick question: Which decade has been Bon Jovi’s most successful? If album sales are the sole measuring stick, then the 1980s were surely the band’s high-water mark. But by another measure, sheer productivity, the ’00s have been Jon and Co.’s most successful 10-year-span.

The Circle marks their fifth studio album since Y2K. It also marks their return to rock after a foray into country on 2007’s Lost Highway.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

As has been the case throughout this decade, gritty optimism rules on Bon Jovi’s latest set of arena-ready anthems. The Circle’s first single, "We Weren’t Born to Follow," advises, "When life is a bitter pill to swallow/You got to hold on to what you believe." That sentiment—life is hard, but soldier on anyway—could serve as a thesis statement for this album. "There’s hope, I know/Out on that open road," Jon sings on "Brokenpromiseland." More of the same shows up on "Love’s the Only Rule" ("Sometimes you got to lose to win"). With love’s help, neither "pouring rain" nor "hurricane" nor "wrecking ball" can derail our lives. Want some more? On "Happy Now," the sentiment goes like this: "Been down on my knees/I learned how to bleed/I’m turning my world around."

Speaking of being on one’s knees, we also hear quite a few references to faith, forgiveness and love. "Bullet" condemns greed, war and religiously motivated violence ("How can someone take a life/In the name of God and say it’s right?") before saying, "We need forgiveness/We all need a lot of love/We need some hope"). "Thorn in My Side" alludes to 2 Corinthians 12:7 ("You can test my faith"). "Work for the Working Man" finds a struggling blue-collar worker insisting, "With the grace of God I’ll get us through." The song also acknowledges the reality of the Genesis 3 curse. Jon contemplates the right response to failure by saying, "On the steps of decision/It’s revenge or forgiveness" ("Learn to Love"). Elsewhere in that track he mentions death and judgment ("Halle halle/We’re one breath away/Halle halle/From our judgment day").

Other positive themes repeated throughout The Circle’s 12 tracks include making the most of every moment, restoring lost innocence, and admitting your mistakes.

Objectionable Content

As he ponders the victims of violence on "Bullet," Jon seems to impugn God’s character by asking, "God, are You listening?/Or have You just given up?" That song also perhaps suggests prayer is futile ("I’ll learn to pray/But it’s too late now"). Supernatural aid gets rejected again on "Superman Tonight" ("If somebody sent you/An angel to save you/What would you tell him?/ … That life is just a lie/That heaven don’t exist").

Other isolated problems include a romanticized remembrance of teen sex ("Live Before You Die") a nod toward of rebellious driving ("Fast Cars") and a couple uses of "d‑‑n."

Summary Advisory

Jon Bon Jovi wrote in the band’s blog that the characters in The Circle’s songs "don’t always like what they see, [but] they try hard not to see the cup as half empty." Lyrically speaking, I would say the band’s 11th effort is about three-fourths full. Positive themes about faith and determination dominate. Clearly, the boys from Jersey are still "Livin’ on a Prayer" 22 years after the ballad of Tommy and Gina’s travails topped the charts.

Having said that, though, they’re also harboring some lingering suspicions about God’s character (a theme that has also shown up on previous efforts). At times the band hints that we’re better off trusting ourselves than a fickle deity who may or may not respond to our prayers.

Which one of these conflicting messages comes through most clearly generally comes down to the track you happen to be listening to.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range









Bon Jovi’s 11th studio album hit the charts at No. 1.

Record Label





November 10, 2009

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!