Category: Arts & Leisure

Wes Craven, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a Christian defense of horror

With the death of Wes Craven over the weekend – very likely the only Wheaton College alum to ever go on to direct a horror masterpiece – I’ve noticed a familiar question bubbling up once again in some circles: should Christians watch horror films? I somewhat agree with the affirmative answers others have given: that by focusing on the darkness, there is opportunity to shine a light; that many…  [more]

Is Dismaland as distorted as Disneyland?

“Wish.” “Dream.” “Believe.” These words defined our obligatory family vacation to Disney World a few years ago, largely because they appeared on endless signage, were incorporated into nearly every show and, I suspect, were pumped into our hotel room via barely audible whispers as we slept. So to prove that the cult of Disney had not indoctrinated us, we began using these words as…  [more]

Stephen Colbert’s theology of suffering

Anyone who follows Stephen Colbert as closely as we do won’t be surprised by the religious tenor of his recent interview with GQ, in advance of his Sept. 8 debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The piece covers Colbert’s preparations for the new gig and the evolution of his comic persona, which leads to some provocative observations about the nature of suffering. Colbert discusses most of this in…  [more]

What Pet Should I Get? and the well-ordered chaos of Dr. Seuss

It’s been a summer of suspiciously published books by iconic authors. First came the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman amidst debate over her level of involvement. That was followed by What Pet Should I Get?, a long-completed but never-published book by the late Theodor Geisel – aka Dr. Seuss. Is the belated release of Seuss' work a capstone on his career or a besmirching of a literary…  [more]

Rectify and the question we’re all asking

Rectify is the best show on television you’re likely not watching. Showing on the largely unknown Sundance Channel and plotted at a pace that can generously be called “meditative,” Rectify has never built a large following. Which is a shame, because Rectify picks up the torch from Mad Men in terms of offering some of the most empathetic, honest and truly human character development on television.…  [more]

Parsing the Parallel Bible

“When the reader hears strong echoes of his or her own life and beliefs, he or she is apt to become more invested in the story.” That line, taken from Stephen King’s On Writing, is a timeless truth that applies equally well to nearly every form of storytelling. But it is also a potentially dangerous truth when applied to the story of the Bible, authored by God Himself. Such is the inherent struggle…  [more]

Go Set a Watchman and “company manners”

"Company manners" is that set of cultural armor black people don as protection against racism. The breastplate is made of “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir.” The shield is comprised of smiles and tips of the hat. The armor goes on in the presence of a person whose trustworthiness is questionable. In Harper Lee’s newly released novel, Go Set a Watchman, the…  [more]

Finding forgiveness in BoJack Horseman

The first season of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman ended on a dark note, raising surprisingly existential questions for a pun-filled animated series about a washed-up actor who happens to be a horse. What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to be happy? BoJack – the show and the horse – genuinely wanted to know. Luke T. Harrington explored those themes over at Christ & Pop Culture, finding…  [more]

The human complexity of Her Story

A Christian view of people requires a willingness to be surprised by them. Her Story, a video game about a woman being interviewed by police investigators, emphasized this by forcing me to reckon with a complex character who is simultaneously warm, kind, funny, deceptive and cruel. Hannah, the woman at the center of Her Story, reminded me that human beings are incredibly complex. Scripture informs us that people are…  [more]

Instead of Facebook, a book of faces

A book of photographs titled Face elicits obvious comparisons to the social media giant. The latest from photographer Bruce Gilden, the collection of portraits might be more appropriately titled Mug Shot. If these folks filled your Facebook news feed with selfies, you’d probably be tempted to click the “hide” option. In a world overflowing with Photoshopped and filtered images, Face stops our…  [more]

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