Holy Week Viewing: 7 Films About Jesus

We're about to enter the most important week of the Christian faith. As we commemorate Palm Sunday this weekend, our attention will then turn from the Triumphal Entry to the road to Gethsemane in preparation for Good Friday and Easter. And as such, I find it might be an interesting time to revisit films about Jesus.Over the years, I've come to love movies about Jesus. Cinema gives us the great opportunity to view this beloved story from different angles and through a variety of viewpoints, … [Read more...]

The strange love affair between Christians and guns

This isn’t the first time I’ve addressed this, and I hate that. This post, in fact, is adapted from a now-defunct blog I used to have; I just had to tweak it for the tragedy du jour.I hate that 50 people are dead because one man was filled with hate and had access to a firearm. I hate that this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with this news. Charleston. San Bernardino. Columbine. Aurora. Sandy Hook. All names that strike a chord because of one underlying event: a man with a gun in his … [Read more...]

The Small God of Christian Subculture

A recent article by Leah Libresco at FiveThirtyEight revealed that the number of positive words and concepts in Christian pop music far outweigh the number of negative ones.Reviewing the list of the top 50 Christian pop songs on Billboard's charts over the last five years, Libresco found that there were more than twice as many mentions of grace as sin. The disparity grew with other pairings, including "more than eight mentions of 'life' for every instance of 'death,' and 'love' was seven t … [Read more...]

Why I don’t expect a miracle

This post is part of a weekly series focused on the National Geographic Channel’s documentary miniseries “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.” This post is based on the final episode, “Miracles,” which will air on 5/8 at 9 p.m. I have a hard time with the supernatural.My wife doesn't. One of the things I adore about her is her openness to the spiritual, and her belief that there are things we don't understand that sometimes manifest themselves in our world. She takes issues of … [Read more...]

Who is God?

This post is part of a weekly series focused on the National Geographic Channel’s documentary miniseries “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.” I’ll be tackling the topics of that series from a Christian perspective over the next weeks, posting on Tuesdays. This post is based on the next episode, “Who is God,” which will air on 4/17 at 9 p.m.Who is God?This is the driving question of humanity. It's the reason religions exist. It defines our lives. And it's the hardest question I've e … [Read more...]

Interview: “Sons and Doubters” podcast co-hosts Aaron Hale and Luke Brawner (part 2)

 Welcome to part two of my interview with "Sons and Doubters" co-hosts Aaron Hale and Luke Brawner. In part one, we talked a little bit about the podcast itself and what the duo hope to accomplish with it. But one of the great things about the podcast is listening to Aaron and Luke talk about their own struggles and questions, which season two jumps into with a little more intensity and tension. This part of the interview focuses on the way doing the podcast has changed their faith, and … [Read more...]

“God’s Not Dead 2,” Persecution Boogaloo

First, the good news: "God's Not Dead 2" is almost kind of good. It is, in fact, an easier sit than "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The sequel to 2014's surprise faith-based hit tempers some of its predecessor's angrier tendencies and features characters who look more like people I've actually met.Unfortunately, the film is hampered by the same persecution complex, which robs its main plot of logic and clouds the more compelling stories at its fringes.The film's protagonist is G … [Read more...]

The Road to Easter: “The Passion of the Christ”

It's been 12 years since "The Passion of the Christ" was released to a storm of controversy and a flood of money. Its detractors called it torture porn, and it was accused of anti-Semitism. But believers were moved and went to see it in droves; its $370 million gross was, at that time, the highest ever for an R-rated movie. Churches bused in audiences and hosted free screenings. People left in tears, many saying their lives were changed. This film still stands as one of the most controversial … [Read more...]

The glorious mess of Fox’s “The Passion Live”

Before saying anything else, let's just appreciate this fact: last night, in a time slot usually reserved for Will Forte pooping in a margarita pool, Fox spent two hours observing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.If nothing else, the network's much-hyped, Tyler Perry-hosted musical event "The Passion Live" presented the story with sincerity, reverence and creativity. It didn't attempt to water down or re-invent the story; near the end, Perry talked openly about Christ's … [Read more...]

The Road to Easter 2016: “Easter Mysteries”

When I started this series, my intent was to get away from standard cinematic depictions of the Christ story. I'd seen enough Easter cantatas and church pageants to last a lifetime, and I was interested in films that examined who Christ was and how he affected the lives of his followers, not somber recreations of biblical tales.So it's a bit amusing that the film that affected me most was originally written as a church production and could easily be performed by a congregation with a skilled … [Read more...]