Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a lost man. A middle-aged financial planner with two kids and an unfaithful wife named Wendy (Laura Linney), he lives an uninspiring life in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s a life that appears on the surface to be managed, yet not long after we’re introduced to the Byrdes in the Netflix series Ozark we find them on the run, fleeing to the rural backwaters of the Missouri Ozarks. In a decision that… [more]
Despite its slasher trappings, Happy Death Day is more fantasy film than horror flick. Sure, some viewers might jump when an attacker in a baby mask kills medical student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) after her late-night birthday party. But when the scene cuts to Tree back in her bed, beginning anew the day that just ended, we know we’re in the realm of wish-fulfillment. Happy Death Day doesn’t want to scare us as much as it wants to… [more]
The Star Trek franchise has long been a place to try new things and imagine the future of humanity—and of television. In the 1960s, it broke ground in terms of diverse casting and depicting interracial romance. In the 1990s it introduced black and female captains. The franchise also imagined technology that would come to be; early flip-phones were designed to mimic the original series’ communicators, while contemporary tablets look a… [more]
Thor: Ragnarok will be remembered as the goofy Thor installment, thanks to a zany middle section set on a psychedelic planet named Sakaar where Jeff Goldblum, sporting blue eyeliner and space pajamas, presides over a gladiatorial tournament. And while those scenes are enough to recommend the movie, I wouldn’t want to overlook a rich and theologically resonant narrative thread that involves Thor’s home planet of Asgard. Asgard—a… [more]
It’s not unheard of for me to cry while jogging. Something about the endorphins and just the right track mixed with a bit of exhaustion can prove to be an intoxicating concoction. If you find me nearing the end of a five-mile trek, just drive by blaring the closing minutes of Sigur Ros’ “Glosoli,” and you are sure to get me all puffy-eyed. Recently I went running after a particularly good Sunday at church. So many things… [more]
For the last year, a part of me has been stuck in the Stranger Things story. Stranger Things opened a new world for me, and I’m not just talking about the “Upside Down”—the dark and evil abyss that swallowed young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) in season one. Certain pieces of art feel like a privilege for a generation to take part in, and Stranger Things has been like that for many of us. My heart was moved by the fierce… [more]
It’s rare that the first lyrics of the first song on a new album are enough to keep me listening straight through. But Tyminski’s “Southern Gothic,” from the album of the same name, has done just that. Blackbird on the old church steeple Spanish moss hanging in the setting sun Every house has got a Bible and a loaded gun We've got preachers and politicians Round here it’s kinda hard to tell which one Is gonna… [more]
There are simply too many cop shows. We are all familiar with their stereotypical plotlines: a crime is committed, detectives search for clues, and after a red herring or a car chase, the bad guy is brought to justice. Is it possible to find a series that feels new instead of toilsome? Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, subverts cop-and-robber motifs to instead offer a rich and authentic look into the lives of a close,… [more]
One way of summarizing the distinctive Christian teachings that emerged 500 years ago with the Reformation is through a collection of Latin slogans known as the “five solas” (from the word sola, meaning “only” or “alone”). In regard to how salvation is achieved and received, the solas answer: sola Scriptura: “only by Scripture” sola fide: “only by faith” sola gratia: “only by… [more]
The world of folk and fairy tales can be a harsh one. Whether you read the classic tales of the Brothers Grimm or modern adaptations by authors like A.S. Byatt and Kate Bernheimer, these stories are filled with neglect, abuse, starvation, murder, and more. This has caused some Christians to reject the genre altogether, but I think folk and fairy tales are exactly the sort of stories we should be reading. As C.S. Lewis argued, “Sometimes… [more]
Glenn: Obey the (righteous) laws of our country? Absolutely. But nowhere in the Bible do I see a command to blind obedience to a nation's flag or creed.
Andrew Shields : Few early readers of the bible were in a position to choose their civil leaders, so this is a hard topic.
Kester: When we take this body broken, we mourn for all the broken bodies, from Brussels to Birmingham to Buchenwald. When we covenant to share in his suffering, we also covenant to share in the suffering of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin. We acknowledge the Communion that we share with this victim of violence and, through him, with every victim of violence.
Malachi Moore: As Christians, I think we can do well when we recognize the great while in no way minimizing the unGodly.
Andrew: If we are to preserve human-human interactions, we need to look much deeper than the comfort of our living rooms and further ahead than today or tomorrow.
Keith: Christians identify “offense” as a clear eject point from which they disengage from an experience or conversation, especially when dealing with art and culture.