"Sister Wives": Are We Really Loving to be Watching?

“Creepy, wrong, and fascinating.” So went a friend’s description of TLC’s new reality show, “Sister Wives.” Its episodes follow Kody Brown, a polygamist who adheres to a small, fundamentalist strain of Mormonism. Though normally keeping to the shadows (polygamy is, for the time being, still illegal), Brown and his merry band of spouses agreed to a program that films their nearly every move.The show presents a now common theme in family-centered reality shows. The family you watch will contain m … [Read more...]

Podcast #97: A New Leaf

After a bit of a hiatus, the podcast returns! Now a twice a month, more casual affair, every episode we'll simply get together and talk about popular culture. What will we talk about? Whatever happens to be on our minds. It's that simple!This week:Violent video games and the Supreme Court Mid-Term Elections and a fickle public Halloween and scary media Brette Favre, Randy Moss and ethical sportsmen The Rocky Horror Picture Show & The Rocky Horror Glee ShowClick here to listen!We … [Read more...]

Dexter: We Are All Serial Killers Inside

"We are all good and we are all evil."It's not exactly sound Biblical theology, but neither is it totally false. After all, many protestant Christians affirm both total depravity and common grace. But somehow I don't think that's how the writers of  Showtime's Dexter intend the statement to be taken. Dexter after all is a crime dramedy about a forensics specialist with the Miami PD who has a particularly gruesome late night hobby: serial killing. This theme, that we are all good and evil, is a … [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...]

Podcast #96: Embracing the Idiot Box

This week, Rich and Ben take some time to discuss the new fall television season, including several new and returning shows. They discuss The Event, Glee, My Generation, The Office, Community, 30 Rock, Outsourced, and more! What's good, what's bad, and what's in between? And what do all of these shows say about our culture? Listen and find out.Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you c … [Read more...]

Can a Christian Survive "Survivor"?

Survivor gets written off a lot simply because of its' genre. Because it's often mentioned in the same breath as Big Brother and various other shows in which the prize is seemingly awarded to the most talentless and morally bankrupt contestant, Survivor gets a bad reputation.Really, though. This show is great.I've been watching Survivor for something like 7 years straight, and each year I'm stunned by just how consistently entertaining the show is. The kicker is that it's not entertaining in … [Read more...]

How I Met Your Mother: "Friends" With a Conscience

Last week, in order to use an illustration, one of my profs quietly admitted to having watched a few episodes of Friends, and joked that none of us had to admit to it if we didn't want to. I admit to it freely: my wife and I have seen every single episode at least 3 times, most of them many more than that. I honestly don't think there are a lot of church folk in Generations X, Y, and Z (that's "millenials", but it didn't flow) who would be embarrassed to make the same admission. It's a great … [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...]

RetroPost: 4 Ways to Watch Television and Build Community

Editor’s Note: RetroPost is a weekly repost of an older Christ and Pop Culture that has some relevance to current pop culture events or releases.This Week: There are so many returning favorites and intriguing new programs this fall season, that it's possible you'll find yourself spending some significant amount of time watching television throughout the week. Here's an article about how to leverage those television programs to benefit your relationships.Television has a bad reputation when … [Read more...]

RetroPost: "Shark Week" and the Coming of Christ

I've been fascinated all week by the Discovery Channel's 21st annual Shark Week, particularly by these amazing creatures and the mysteries of their actions. On one show I recall the amazing display of Great White Shark aerial attacks, as these giants of the deep launched themselves out of the water to feast upon seals swimming on the surface! I've been equally amazed at the divers, researchers, and scientists who swim with these incredibly dangerous and unpredictable monsters of the sea.The m … [Read more...]