Donald Miller and the Myth of Isolated Worship

So, Donald Miller wrote an article about why he doesn’t go to church much. You can read it here. I was surprised by how much I didn't agree with it, given the way his earlier works blessed me when I was in college (especially some of the moving things he has written about needing community). In essence, for this article Miller took some of the worst cliches and cultural trends of American life that contribute to our consumeristic view of church and handily bundled them all together in one art … [Read more...]

Doctor Who’s Doctrine, Part 8: Christianity and “Whomanism”

Before the 50-year anniversary of “Doctor Who” on Nov. 23, Christ and Pop Culture is exploring the sci-fi series in Doctor Who’s Doctrine. Part 1: Mad Man with a Box Part 2: Genre Roots Part 3: Exterminating Evil Part 4: The Trip of a Lifetime Part 5: Music for a Mad Man Part 6: Those Complicated Companions Part 7: The Episode I Never Want to See Again Could the Doctor be an intergalactic Jesus? Consider the following: 1. He is a timeless being; 2. He is known across the univers … [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...]

Studios are Selling Man of Steel, But Should Churches Be Buying?

 While Man of Steel producers are hoping that they've got another blockbuster on their hands, apparently they've been pitching to one somewhat surprising audience in particular. CNN's Eric Marrapodi reports: Warner Bros. Studios is aggressively marketing "Man of Steel" to Christian pastors, inviting them to early screenings, creating Father’s Day discussion guides and producing special film trailers that focus on the faith-friendly angles of the movie. It seems they're not just trying … [Read more...]

A New Gospel-Inspired Peace in Honduras

I've been to Honduras, I think, four times in my life--twice that I can remember and a couple of trips when I was an infant. It's where my parents were born, my mother grew up, and a majority of my extended family still lives. My mom still goes back regularly to see our family in the capital city of Tegucigalpa and I'd love to take my wife there one day to meet them as well. It's a beautiful country with a rich culture and generous people. Of course, to me the best part of Honduras is my family, … [Read more...]

Do Kids Need Their Own Noah’s Ark To Learn About God?

Whether or not you believe in the historicity of the story of Noah’s Ark, it’s likely you have not run into a church that takes the Ark as seriously as San Antonio's Cornerstone Church. Cornerstone is a megachurch that recently welcomed more than 28,000 visitors to its new children’s building, aptly named “The Ark,” which features a two-story ship built inside the church, with life-sized versions of human and animal passengers such as giraffes, elephants, lions, and ostriches, many of them powere … [Read more...]

So Rob Bell Wrote Another Book about God—Some Thoughts before Actually Reading It

Article originally posted at Derek Rishmawy's Reformedish blog, A couple of years ago, Rob Bell wrote a little book about Heaven, Hell, and all that God stuff. You might have heard of it. If you haven't, don't worry about it—he didn't say anything new. (Or necessarily very good. I'll be honest, even though I was a Bell fan in college, I was pretty disappointed with that last book.) In any case, it kicked off a little bit of a crap-storm in the Evangelical world. Well, actu … [Read more...]

Every Song I Ever Wrote Was Written for You: Belle and Sebastian

If you take everything out of your life, then what’s left? If you get rid of all your friends, stop listening to all music, through necessity, then what comes out of that void? What comes out of the silence?—Stuart MurdochLast week released an hour-long documentary about the making of Belle and Sebastian’s beloved album If You’re Feeling Sinister. The documentary is the latest in their Pitchfork Classic series looking behind the scenes at notable albums.The documentary i … [Read more...]

A Christian walks into a Church for Atheists…

In recent years, there has been something of a trend in some unbelieving circles to not throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to religion. While atheists disparage the supernatural aspects of religion, some are beginning to see value in its other aspects, such as its ability to build community and support structures for people, or to encourage people to approach life more contemplatively and selflessly. Perhaps the most famous recent example of this is Alain de Botton's Religion f … [Read more...]

How Crowd Funding Mimics the Early Church

Poor social media. It’s received a lot of blame for relational difficulties in our day. The very tools that are supposed to help us connect can also put distance between us.Most commentary on the matter pushes us from one end of the spectrum to the other: either abstinence is espoused to avoid the misuse, or entrenchment is sanctioned to embrace the benefits. I see these tools as neutral -- it’s our misuse that’s the trouble. So I was encouraged to read a recent NPR report of a positive use o … [Read more...]