On the Anniversary of His Execution, What Can We Learn From the “First Martyr of Science”

On February 17th, 1600 A.D., Giordano Bruno, a Dominican priest, philosopher, and mathematician, was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition. Among his heresies was the belief in an infinite number of worlds (similar to what physicists today call the multiverse hypothesis). In more recent times, Bruno has become somewhat of a patron saint of atheist and free thought groups, who gather each year at the statue commemorating his death in Rome. Some have even heralded … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Stories and Reformation in Outlaw Country

In God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.Ever since Hank Williams got kicked out of The Grand Ole Opry, country music has been outlaw music. Well, country music has been a big stew of church songs, traditional rural folk tunes, western cowboy, and ruff, unruly outlaw music. But the outlaw mentality has been one of country music’s most prominent and continual threads.Outlaw country, as a genre, came into its own i … [Read more...]

Barna Shock Poll: Christians Still Need Jesus

The Barna Group released a new poll last week in which the proposed question was: "Are Christians more like Jesus or the Pharisees?" Christians get accused of hypocrisy all the time, so why not see if there's some statistical evidence to back up the claim? According to the Christian Post: The findings were derived from 1,008 telephone interviews of which 718 respondents self-identified as Christian from Nov. 11 until Nov. 18, 2012. Respondents who identified themselves as Christian were asked 2 … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Salvation of George Jones

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.The passing of George Jones this past week brought about a storm of nostalgic tribute from NPR and The New York Times and even Russell Moore. And at this point, there isn’t much that can be said that hasn’t been. Jones (or “The Possum”) was one of the most influential musicians in 20th century American Country. His distinct style was … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Tradition, Innovation, and Old Crow Medicine Show

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.I am an unashamed nostalgia-junkie: everything from the music I listen to and the books I read, to the circa 1955 portable record player that serves as the centerpiece of my living room. So naturally, the bands that I love are deeply connected to the past, especially the new bands. The bluegrass / Americana / whatever band, Old Crow … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.As is typical, the Grammy Award show this year had its fair share of ups and downs -- the ups including Adele's standout performance and Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston and the downs being just about everything else. However, what stood out as being particularly strange to me about this year's awards show was that issues of … [Read more...]

Does Capitalism: A Love Story = Christianity: An Economic Revolution?

My first Michael Moore movie was fraught with highs and lows: he does impressive documentary work (when he stops talking), but that covers maybe a third of the movie.  He also highlights good examples of unconventional business practices, but they do not really prove his larger points.One of the especially useless parts was his apparent effort to convince Christians that capitalism is morally evil.  He does this with the following (paraphrased) argument:  Two priests I know (from Flint!) and th … [Read more...]

Grapes of Wrath? The Economy of Relative Feeling

I recently joined a book club, and our next book is, "The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck. Most interesting was the reason for choosing this particular book; the choosers felt, "it would be especially relevant to our time and situation." In other words, they felt the many parallels between our time and the events depicted in the book warranted close consideration.Of course, the title for the book comes from the Christian hymn "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," which uses martial terms to … [Read more...]

TGFF: Thank God for "Friday Night Lights"

In 1988, H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger had just received a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.  He was interested in small town sports, and so moved to Odessa, Texas, for a year-long sabbatical.  Here, at one of the most storied high school football programs in the country, he examined the lives, pressures, tensions, hopes, and dreams of the 1988 Odessa Panthers.  The resulting book, Friday Night Lights, has been hailed by Sports Illustrated as fourth on the list of the greatest sports books of all time, and … [Read more...]