Category: TV

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]

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]

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]

Comedy, community and church

I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an…  [more]

The revealing darkness of Game of Thrones

Sunday’s season finale for Game of Thrones included awful, consciousness-searing scenes I can never un-see. A dagger thrust into a chest. A forgiving embrace interrupted by a poisonous death. Misogyny in the name of religion. Suicide. It was a pretty typical episode. I can’t wait for Season 6. As the show’s title suggests, Game of Thrones features kings and kingdoms vying for power and dominance in…  [more]

American Ninja Warrior and spiritual formation

I’ve developed a bit of an obsession in the last few years with American Ninja Warrior. It also happens to be one of my kids’ favorite family television traditions. The American version of what began as a Japanese program is now in its seventh season. The show takes contestants through a series of obstacle courses, presenting challenges requiring agility, quickness and upper body strength. Each stage gets…  [more]

Double jeopardy and the Duggars

For a long time, I didn’t know what to think about the Duggars. As a believer, I wanted to support the family for standing by their ideals. But the baby churning, fairly prudish values and occasionally extreme stances made me uneasy. When I lived in Arkansas, working as a journalist just a couple hundred miles from their compound, I would hear stories about the Duggar family. Nothing that was alarming, but…  [more]

Louis C.K. is not a good person

Louis C.K.’s recent Saturday Night Live monologue drew fire by surmising that child molestation must be really, really fun - otherwise, why would molesters risk so much to keep doing it? He generally survives the outrage that such jokes evoke by being the first to admit his own moral failings. No one in public life today is quicker to point out that, “Yeah, I’m not a good guy. I am not. I wish I was…  [more]

Forgiving Don Draper

Was last night's Mad Men finale everything we wanted it to be? The answer says as much about our theological perspective as it does about our aesthetics. When it comes to serialized television finales, what we viewers seem to want most is a reason to believe in a creator that is benevolent in our own image. We become keenly aware that the fates of characters we’ve followed for years rest in the hands of a…  [more]

Why I think Mad Men is headed for the abyss

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14 From the animated opening credits of the first episode, AMC’s Mad Men has been about holding one’s composure in the face of life’s terrifying abyss. We see a silhouette of a man entering a well-appointed office, which he claims by setting his briefcase on the floor.…  [more]

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