Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: ‘The Keepers’ and the Dark side of Christianity

Few shows have provoked as much rage in me as Netflix's "The Keepers."I started watching Netflix's seven-part docuseries on Labor Day and finished it this past weekend. As a fan of true-crime podcasts and television shows, I found myself riveted by each part of this murder mystery, but also chilled and enraged at its depiction of Christianity perverted by lust and power. It's essential viewing, but it's not for the weak at heart. Righting the wrongs of "Making a Murderer" "The Keepers" is … [Read more...]

The Story of God: Chosen

Season two of "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" debuts Monday, Jan. 16, at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on the National Geographic Channel. Once again, I'll be writing about it here each week from a Christian perspective as a preview. The first episode of the season deals with "The Chosen One." Given its topic — chosen people in various religions — I initially assumed that this first episode would deal with the central figures of various faiths. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha. But it takes a differ … [Read more...]

Popcorn in the pews

When I was in my twenties, my friends referred to the movies as my second church. I could be found there probably as often as I could be found at my regular house of worship, and I probably extolled some films with the same fervor I used when talking about doctrine.When I was asked to participate in the Patheos symposium on nontraditional worship, I was surprised that churches that meet in movie theaters were considered "nontraditional." It's been pretty common in my neck of the woods for at … [Read more...]

Interview with Amanda G. Stevens, author of the Haven Seekers series

There's enough bad Christian art out there and more than enough snarky writing about it — much of which, admittedly, I've been guilty of. Lost in that discussion, however, are the Christian artists who are producing strong work and working to change the cultural conversation. This is the first part of what I hope becomes an ongoing feature on this blog: conversations with these artists and discussions about how Christian art can grow and improve. Full disclosure: I'm friends with aut … [Read more...]

Bread and wine

I've taken communion hundreds of times since I first grabbed a stale cracker and thimbleful of grape juice from an usher at the age of six. I've taken it by candlelight with family on Christmas Eve and with friends at a wedding. I've served it to a stranger during summer camp. I've eaten the bread in our youth center while learning about Passover, and I've sipped the cup while running the soundboard during Sunday service. I've dipped bread in a chalice of wine with other congregants, the pastor … [Read more...]

He-Man, Simpsons and things the church banned

When it was announced last week that McG would direct a film adaptation of the beloved '80s cartoon "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," my reaction was fairly muted.Part of the reason for that is that I'm almost 40; I'd be worried if I was overly excited about yet another cartoon from my childhood being resurrected. My 4-year-old son has recently discovered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- which I was obsessed with as a kid -- and I often find myself laughing about how stupid that … [Read more...]

The church must pay attention to the Oscars’ diversity problem

It's old news by now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a diversity problem. The pasty-white nominations for this year's Oscar ceremony have been the non-blizzard, non-Trump talk of the nation for the past few weeks. Will Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the ceremony, Chris Rock is rewriting his monologue, and the Academy has announced changes to begin righting this wrong.I've been party to many conversations recently where people can't grasp why an all-white field of … [Read more...]