What’s Your Superpower? or Why Can’t You Bear It?

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? For clarity’s sake, let’s agree to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged definition: “power that is excessive, abnormal, or superior to existing power.” Batman’s superior gadgets don’t count. Given enough money and sufficient practicality, all such gadgets eventually become ubiquitous and thus no longer superior. For the sake [Read More...]

The Redemption of Thor

A few nights before Christmas, Daniel and I snuggled down to watch that holiday classic Thor: The God of Thunder. (I’d post a spoiler-alert at this juncture, but I don’t think your viewing experience will be devastated by the following plot-revelations.) Thor the Movie Odin, the Allfather god, expels his son Thor from Asgard for [Read More...]

War on Christmas Fantasies

No Stable, No Manger “I’m going to the flea market. I don’t want to hear this,” complained my aunt. My uncle, a minister, was retelling the Christmas narrative. He said his version was more accurate. She said he was ruining it. “You’re taking my story away!” My uncle was referencing Kenneth E. Bailey (1–37). Bailey [Read More...]

Jackson v. Tolkien v. Miéville

Who? Peter we know. And John Ronald Rueul we know. But who is Miéville? China Miéville is a fantasy author, who wrote a January 2002 article in Socialist Review called “Tolkien—Middle Earth Meets Middle England.” In it he argues that the Jackson movies vastly improve on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings story. Whereas the books [Read More...]

Dot Your (Dragon’s) Eyes

“Who’s the hero?” asks someone in my writers’ group. “There isn’t one,” I admit. “The father character is slightly less greedy than everyone else, so he’s the one that rescues his grandson from being eaten by the dragon.” We’re discussing my first-born story. I wrote it ten years ago. The words enchant. The plot, well, [Read More...]

Free Association Friday: Catching Fire

Still so stuffed with turkey that you can’t think straight? Standing in line to pay the Black Friday piper? Couldn’t absorb any of my typical gory or grandiose theology? Me neither. Let’s play free-association Friday. Catching Fire, the movie version of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, book 2 released on November 22. Perhaps you’re tapping your foot [Read More...]

Reconsidering Sacrificial Love in Harry Potter

The summer I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5; J. K. Rowling), I’d sworn off theology, biblical studies, even popular Christian reading. After five years in seminary, I was sick of dissecting every spiritual word. I hadn’t enjoyed thinking about God for over a year.  Sitting on the porch overlooking [Read More...]

In Here Be Dragons: Solomon, Bob the Tomato, and Classification

Not much impresses my husband. For example, I am what you might call the lion of laundry in our home. Daniel is grateful. But not impressed. For my part, I gave up trying to impress him a while ago. Well, last year. But you see my point: I could pull a muscle straining for the [Read More...]

Lutherans, Vampires, and First Communion

Up here in Luther-Land Minnesota, we celebrate first communion. Even if we aren’t Lutherans. We aren’t Lutherans. Nevertheless, on Sunday our sixth-graders wedged into the first pews with their well-dressed parents to drink Christ’s blood (John 6:53). The kid behind me was in my class three years ago when I taught third-grade Sunday school. He [Read More...]

What’s the Holy Spirit Doing at Comic Con?

Picture this. A row of inaudible, yet commanding TVs flashes above the stationary bikes. Behind my book, another screen counts down. Between reading paragraphs of this eighteenth-century theology of sanctification—I think my best theology on the elliptical trainer—I catch Whoopi Goldberg on TV. She’s at Comic Con. What’s Whoopi doing at the center of all [Read More...]