Category: Arts & Leisure

Lamenting the loss of video-game worlds

It is not uncommon for Christian leaders to criticize people who play video games for wasting their time trying to save fantasy worlds rather than engaging the real one. But what happens when the line between the fantasy world and the “real” world isn’t so clear? Writing for The Atlantic, Will Partin recently chronicled how some of the biggest game worlds have been shut down, never to be…  [more]

Megadeth’s snarling, paranoid Dystopia

Keepers of the thrash metal flame can breathe a raspy sigh of relief with the release of Megadeth’s Dystopia. After 2013’s Super Collider, an odd concept album gone awry, Dave Mustaine and company have returned to their blistering roots. The subject matter may seem metal enough, but a closer look at Dystopia reveals a very different perspective than is often found in the genre. While the “whole…  [more]

The X-Files: myth-making that matters

In the ancient world humans concocted elaborate myths, often in an attempt to explain the unexplainable or to galvanize a certain tribe around a shared fear of the unknown. Storytelling helped people understand everything from natural phenomena to human behavior. C.S. Lewis held a strong belief in the power of myth, which he shared with friends J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and others. Christianity,…  [more]

The overlooked virtue of Marie Kondo

It seems like a lot of people respond to Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of organization in the same way I did when I first heard about it: with a mixture of attraction and repulsion. Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, encourages methodically purging and organizing different categories of objects. Her recently published second book, Spark Joy, asks an important question about that…  [more]

The Hateful Eight’s missing man of sorrows

The Hateful Eight is at once one of Quentin Tarantino’s most formally accomplished pictures and his most thematically thin. It’s a gloriously filmed, cleverly structured, 70mm extravaganza, but beyond an ample portion of hate and violence, Tarantino is unable to fill the wide screen with many substantive ideas. Some have argued otherwise, saying that the movie — which gleefully watches a random…  [more]

Serial, Making a Murderer and the true-crime trend

Truman Capote first published his book In Cold Blood as a four-part serial in The New Yorker, beginning in September of 1965. The groundbreaking work outlined the grisly murder of four family members in rural Kansas and became one of the most popular true-crime books of all time. In Cold Blood elevated the genre of nonfiction crime stories and took readers on an intimate journey into the minds of killers. In the five…  [more]

The Oscars’ fear of a black planet

It’s become an unfortunate annual tradition to grouse about the lack of diversity among the nominations for the Academy Awards. In fact, the affront has become so expected that earlier this week The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore did a bit called “A Preview of Upcoming Black Oscar Snubs.” Sure enough, yesterday’s announced Best Picture nominees did disappoint. It’s a very white, very…  [more]

That Dragon, Cancer and finding grace in grief

On the morning that Ryan Green’s son Joel died, Ryan and his pastor went out to the parking lot of the palliative care facility and wept together for 20 minutes. That Dragon, Cancer, a video game created by Ryan, his wife Amy and their friend Josh Larson, tells the story of Joel’s battle with terminal brain cancer. Knowing the end, that Joel “loses,” might dissuade some from playing the game,…  [more]

David Bowie and the passing of a Blackstar

When I was about 13 and consumed with self-doubt, desperate faith and a terrifying search for purpose, I found a world of adventurous, Jesus-focused music that was far off the pop radar. I dived head first down that rabbit hole, leaving most mainstream music behind. There were a few artists, however, who stayed with me during my sojourn. David Bowie was one. The first full-length rock album I bought with my own…  [more]

The continued shame of college sports

Today marks the College Football Playoff National Championship, featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Clemson Tigers. As an avid sports fan, my thoughts about college sports are mixed. On the one hand, I recognize the good of physical activity, the engaging challenge of competition and the community and identity provided by college sports. On the other hand, many thinkers, including Taylor Branch, have…  [more]

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