The Hunger Games: What Counts as Ethical in a World Where Kids Kill Each Other on TV?

In the postapocalyptic America (renamed “Panem”) of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, children and teens are compelled to fight each other to the death on national television. Except for the first-person female narrator and the hint of a love triangle, The Hunger Games bears little resemblance to everyone’s favorite sparkly vampire clan, yet Collins’s trilogy for young adults—The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay—has been hailed as the next Twilight because of not only its significant … [Read more...]

Glee's "Grilled Cheesus": Is Religion Beyond Reason?

The writers behind Glee understand that faith and spirituality is a deeply profound and personal concept. They understand that each person struggles with questions of faith and that those questions must not be trivialized or stifled. They get that many of us find a need to pray to a higher power, to believe in something bigger than ourselves, and to devote our lives to something great. That's why they thought long and hard about a storyline to open up the episode with and provide a context for … [Read more...]

The David Bazan Interview: Coming to Terms with Doubt

Last September, David Bazan released an album of ten songs equal parts resolute and rollicking. His was an achievement, a truly great rock record in every sense of the word. The buzz surrounding Curse Your Branches was that as the title suggests, Mr. Bazan, a longtime outlaw of the CCM scene, had cursed his branches. I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Bazan last week about that album, his "breakup" with God, and his thought and faith at present.Christ and Pop Culture: You made public … [Read more...]

"Hipster Christianity": Did You Know that You're a Hipster?

Currently, as I type this article, I am sitting in a dimly lit coffee shop with books next to me sipping on my mocha, listening to Sufjan Stevens play over the house stereo. I am wearing a slightly tight fitting retro 8Os tee, Dickies shorts, and black chucks. Tomorrow night I will be going out with friends to drink imported beer and talk about the plausibility of theistic evolution. The church I preached at on Sunday morning was full of people with tattoos (including the guy behind the … [Read more...]

Why Christians Need Extra Lives

Are video games a waste of time? Furthermore, is thinking, writing and reading about video games a waste of time? Is there really anything to be gained by dedicating a significant amount of time and effort to playing, analyzing and discussing works which are part of a medium which is constantly changing, outdating itself, and shocking the general public in new ways?Well, yeah. What we're witnessing in video games is a medium coming of age before our eyes. It's no wonder, then, that the medium … [Read more...]

What Reading a Digital Bible Does to Your Mind

When Nicholas Carr wrote "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" in The Atlantic in the summer of 2008, I was totally unaware. I didn't even know that kind of question would be asked, and I wasn't really interested in such things at the time. I was just a designer who wanted to play with his son, make pretty graphics, and avoid losing any digits in the big paper cutter at work. Fortunately, he expanded on his interesting thesis in this year's The Shallows; I immediately recognized myself in his early … [Read more...]

Novel Theophany: Megan Whalen Turner’s Fictional Pantheon

About ten years ago, I encountered The Thief, the first volume in Megan Whalen Turner’s young adult fantasy series about the neighboring countries of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia (thus far comprised of The Thief, which won a Newbery Honor in 1997; The Queen of Attolia; The King of Attolia; and A Conspiracy of Kings, just published this past spring). The novel struck me at the time because of the author’s skill in withholding information from the reader while using a first-person narrator (not an en … [Read more...]

My Friend, the Atheist

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina, Levin and Vronsky share a deep but often tense friendship. They despise the likes, dislikes, and various life choices the other has made. Each has gone his own way regarding living conditions, social status, and worldview. Tolstoy describes the friendship as one only possible with friends from childhood.Reading this passage on the DC metro several summers ago, I immediately thought of my own old friendships. Several of them date back to before high s … [Read more...]

An Inconvenient (Biblical) Truth

A November 2009 “Who’s Next” column in Christianity Today hailed Jonathan Merritt as “The Green Baptist.” While still in his twenties, Merritt has accomplished much, bringing into being the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative and developing a successful writing and speaking career, all while attending seminary. His first book, Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet, is an effective distillation of his core message: we should care for creation because it is God’s. … [Read more...]

Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like: The CaPC Interview

Stuff Christians Like is a new book by blogger and first-time author Jon Acuff. The book is an expansion of the website of the same name which has graced the internet since 2008. The SCL book, like the blog, is a freeing look at our funny family of faith, even those less-than-flattering problem areas. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to mark the occasion by asking Jon a few questions. Enjoy!What are the limits of satire?I don't think there are clear cut black and white limits. … [Read more...]