The Civil Wars Transform Conflict Into a Captivating Work of Art

Recently, there has been a lot of press about the upcoming album by the mesmerizing duo The Civil Wars. Set to release August 6, The Civil Wars is coming out amidst an indefinite hiatus for the band due to "irreconcilable differences" and tension between Joy and John Paul. The album has been streaming on iTunes this week free, and if you have not had a chance to listen, I would encourage you to pull it up and check it out. It's personal, relatable, and captivating.I saw The Civil Wars in … [Read more...]

The Burka Avenger: Can She Save Western Entertainment as Well?

Watch out evildoers, there’s a new superhero in Pakistan. The Burka Avenger made its recent debut on Pakistani TV, and she’s not your average superhero.  An intelligent schoolteacher by day, an enemy of injustice by night, the Burka Avenger stands for peace, education, and women’s rights.Haroon Rashid, a Pakistani pop star, invented the Burka Avenger to offer children a role model that counteracts the religious and political injustice in Pakistani society.  As Rashid tells NPR in a recent int … [Read more...]

The Magical Worlds of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Left Behind’

This month brings fans one fantasy franchise’s new covers, and the start of production of another franchise’s film remake. But the backstories of both franchises are more alike than we may think.Once upon a time, specifically the late 1990s, these franchises fought. One was set in a world of good wizards, a dark lord, non-magical citizens, and a global battle between light and darkness. It won over bestseller lists. This surprised readers, because this series was by a Christian thriller nov … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Musical Stylings of the Film Mud

Earlier this month, my wife and I got the chance to see Mud, a film by one of my favorite directors, Jeff Nichols. Mud is a Huckleberry Finn-like narrative set on the banks of the Mississippi in small town Arkansas. Told through the lens of fourteen-year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan), who, along with his buddy ‘Neckbone’, finds a boat in a tree on an island in the middle of the Mississippi. Living in that boat is a man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) with crosses in his boots to ward off evil spirits … [Read more...]

How Church Softball is the Ultimate Jesus Juke

For the past five years, I've participated in a sport where old men go to pretend they're still athletes. Granted, there are dudes out there who still got game, and there are occasionally young guys who come out to play who aren't over the hill, but for the most part, it's guys in their mid-30s to mid-40s who have sedentary office jobs and run, jog, and do athletics once a year. The sport is church softball.Church softball is kind of hard to explain. It's not really that different from a … [Read more...]

Derek Webb Was Wrong and He’s Sorry, But Why?

Derek Webb has released the title-track to his upcoming album, I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry and I Love You. You can watch the video below. It has a message!Though the message is striking, it's not, in actuality a huge departure from Derek Webb's previous offerings. Webb has always been a blatant sort of fellow, the kind of musician that writes music with a mind to convince and change minds. When Derek writes a song, typically, you know he's got a point to get across.So what's the point of … [Read more...]

Why Was Pope Francis’s Statement on Gay Priests Misrepresented?

Pope Francis gave a rare interview July 29 in which he received and answered a number of questions from the international press corps, with topics ranging from Vatican bank to Curia reform to women in the priesthood to his handling of recent scandals involving Church officials. If you’ve tuned in to the news cycle, though, you’ve probably only heard one thing about this interview: Pope Francis has apparently come out in favor of gay clergy.Were this actually the case, it might be one of the b … [Read more...]

When It Comes to Mainstream Media, Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

by Kara Bettis My endearingly small home state of Rhode Island only supports one statewide newspaper. With the digital uprising of blogs and backpack journalism, The Providence Journal is dying a painfully slow death with little redemption in its future. Should the local church notice or care? After all, aside from Fox News’ faithful following in the Bible belt, there is a clear war between the Christian community and the national news media. Although the occasional skewering of evangelicals i … [Read more...]

The Candy Crush Saga Addiction

The first time I played Candy Crush Saga (henceforth, "CCS"), I was hooked. Maybe it was the concept—a Bejeweled/Candy Land hybrid. Or perhaps it was the candy—I’m all about sweets. But my fun came to an end when I got stuck on Level 50-something—and it looked like I would need to buy some extra boosters to move forward. Frugality won out over sweets in this instance, and I decided my candy crushing days were done.Gaming analysts would say my stint as a candy crusher was due to something … [Read more...]

The Church Failed Millennials, Just Not In the Way You Think It Did

If you hadn't already heard, millennials are leaving the church in droves leaving many church leaders scratching their heads as to what to do about it. Rachel Held Evans came out with a piece on stepping into the gap to explain why they are leaving Apparently it struck a nerve; it was shared over 170,000 times. Speaking as the voice of a generation, she raised issues like our exhaustion with the culture wars, poor handling of teaching on sexuality, gay marriage, science and religion, and … [Read more...]