Cosmic Horror vs. Holy Terror: Christians Can Find Value and Meaning in Scary Movies

The nights are getting longer, darker, and colder these days, making it the perfect time to pull out your favorite horror novel or scary movie and get the heebie-jeebies before bedtime. Probably not, though, if you're a Christian. I would suspect that the "horror" genre is one of the most unpopular genres -- literary, cinematic, or otherwise -- for Christians, and understandably so. Many entries in the genre seem to do little else but revel in cruelty, sadism, and gore, e.g., the recent wave of … [Read more...]

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Finding Beauty in the Apocalypse

Earlier this month, the enigmatic post-rock collective known as Godspeed You! Black Emperor -- their name comes from a 1976 Japanese documentary about a biker gang, in case you were wondering -- announced that they'd be releasing their first album in ten years. For many folks, myself included, this was a momentous occasion.During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Godspeed reigned supreme in the post-rock scene. Though other artists (Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Rós) were making similar … [Read more...]

Resisting Facebook is Harder Than Resisting Sex

We all know how addictive it is to grab your smartphone and check up on what's happening in in our Facebook and Twitter feeds. But just how addictive? A recent study in Germany, in which participants were given a Blackberry and told to frequently report how often they were tempted to check Facebook and how often they gave in, revealed that social media was harder to resist other things, including sex. The reason that cigarettes, alcohol and even drugs can be less addictive than using social … [Read more...]

Does Faster Church make for Better Church?

In Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey describes visiting a Russian prison that had its own chapel (a rarity at the time). One of the men in Yancey's party asked the priest, Brother Bonifato, to say a prayer for the prisoners there. Yancey describes the elaborate process that soon unfolded. "A prayer? You want a prayer?" Brother Bonifato asked, and we nodded. He disappeared behind the altar at the end of the room. He brought out another icon of the Lady Who Takes Away Sadness, which … [Read more...]

The “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” and the Challenge of Confirmation Bias

In September 2012, Karen King, a professor of early Christianity and Gnosticism at the Harvard Divinity School, announced that she had discovered a small papyrus fragment in which Jesus referred to his wife. King was careful to explain that the fragment, which she titled the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife", didn't prove that the historical Jesus was actually married, but that it did prove that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.Not surprisingly, King's announcement was met with … [Read more...]

Why are we so mean on Facebook?

We've all seen them. We've probably even participated in them. I'm referring to those conversations on Facebook, often about politics or religion, that quickly turn ugly as people begin sniping and snarking at each other. (And it's not just on Facebook: have you seen a YouTube comments section recently?)Why are we so mean on Facebook? Why do seemingly innocuous posts quickly get ugly, and why are people so quick to fan the flames? Why are we willing … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Christians take on Apple’s “Blasphemous” Logo

When I was in high school, we had a flyer on our refrigerator that listed products associated with Procter & Gamble. We were supposed to boycott them because Procter & Gamble's president had announced on a talk show that he supported the Church of Satan. As it turns out, this case of satanic allegiance was completely false. It seems laughable now that this rumor was able to gain any traction whatsoever, but it arrived during the "Satanic Panic" during which experts and religious leaders ( … [Read more...]

The Televangelists: “Freaks and Geeks” Offers a Thoughtful and Hilarious Look at High School

Each Friday in The Televangelists, one of our writers examines the met and missed potential of television.The history of television is littered with the remains of shows that were cancelled or otherwise mistreated by studio executives, marketing folks, and other suits. One such show was Freaks and Geeks, a high school drama/comedy created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin) that lasted less than a season when it aired in 19 … [Read more...]

Fox News Airs Suicide on Live Television

On Friday, September 28, Fox News viewers got a lot more than they bargained for as they watched footage of carjacker Jordon Romero lead police on a wild chase near Phoenix, Arizona. At one point in the chase, Romero pulled over, exited his car, walked down a dirt path... and shot himself in the head. Fox News had the footage on a five-second delay so they could cut away in case anything bad happened, but in this case, producers didn't cut away in time, and presumably, millions of people saw a m … [Read more...]

90s Christian Music Recovery Group

My latest Internet fixation/timesuck is the "90s Christian Music Recovery Group" Facebook group. From the description: You went to Youth Group in the 90s. At some point, you heard about Tooth and Nail records. In some cases, their bands and others became your life. In some cases, you also were a fan of All Star United. You grew up, and "backslid" into evil secular music. Still, the music of your youth is a part of you. We are here to help you through those times when you remember Plumb and … [Read more...]