1_Ashley Shelton (Margaret) in Paul Harrill's SOMETHING ANYTHING_Courtesy of Self Reliant Film

Two Days, One Night and Something, Anything: Movies With More Than a Comma in Common

I saw all of the Oscar hopefuls, and none of them have stayed with me as powerfully as these unpredictable, suspenseful, and richly rewarding films. [Read more...]

Rumors of Glory

Bruce Cockburn Plays Psalm-Influenced Favorites in Seattle

Legendary guitarist and songwriter Bruce Cockburn spoke about the Psalms as he moved from song to song during his short, seven-song set on Thursday in Seattle. [Read more...]


Q&O: Galaxy Quest on TV. Best Album of 2015 So Far. Favorite They Might Be Giants Albums.

Are you excited about Galaxy Quest coming to television? What’s your favorite album of 2015 so far? How about They Might Be Giants — what’s your favorite album from their 31 years of recording? [Read more...]

sound and color

Join Me for a Live Podcast Recording About the Best Records of 2015 (So Far)

What’s your favorite record of 2015 so far? Let me know, and I’ll try to make find time to mention it during the live podcast recording of the show. [Read more...]


Madonna, Bettye LaVette, and Joe Henry: Whose Version of “Stop” is the Best?

The new album by Bettye LaVette, produced by Joe Henry, features some excellent test cases when it comes to the subject of cover songs. [Read more...]

And Suddenly… Harrison Ford, Back in Character!

We held our breath. The Lucasfilm logo came up. We cheered. Familiar music. Familiar sights. And then… [Read more...]

This Weekend in Houston: Scott Cairns, Jason Harrod, Doug TenNapel, and Me!

Dear Writers, Artists, Teachers, and Students, HBU’s annual Writers Conference takes place this year on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11. We have some amazing speakers again, headlined by award-winning poet Scott Cairns. In addition to Mr. Cairns, we’re featuring a number of other high-profile speakers, including current Emmy Award nominee Doug TenNapel (see attached flyer for more). To register, and [Read More...]

In Preparation for Mother’s Day: U2, Over the Rhine, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, and More

In 2006, when U2’s Bono guest-edited an issue of The Independent, he interviewed comedian Eddie Izzard, and they explored questions about the influences of their mothers over their own desire for the affections of their audiences. Bono has, of course, sung about this. In “Mofo,” rock’n’roll becomes his surrogate mother — a source of identity [Read More...]

Off-Duty Angel: A Few Thoughts on Easter

I heard this somewhere. It stuck. I think about it often, especially at Easter. I think it’s true. The story goes like so… [Read more...]

Wearing God — Lauren Winner’s New Book is Full of Surprises About God

Did you know that the Bible describes God as a “laboring woman”? How often do you think of God as someone who smells things? Do smells really make a difference for God? If so, what does that mean? How often do you look at a piece of bread and think of God? And while we’re on [Read More...]

How to Get “Let It Go” Out of Your Head: The Hadestown Cure

I’ve spelled out some reasons why I think “Let It Go” caught on, and some reasons why we should question its widespread popularity. I’ve also recommended an alternative. [Read more...]

Looking Elsewhere: MFA Adventures, April Foolishness, and More

From April Fool’s antics to coming attractions, this installment of “Looking Elsewhere” is loaded with goodness. [Read more...]

Smelly Soapbox

Soap A makes your hands smell fruity and fresh. Soap B has no scent at all. Which one makes your hands cleaner? And what does this have to do with movies? [Read more...]

Song of the Sea (2014): A Conversation With Animator and Author Ken Priebe

The Secret of Kells is gorgeous, dramatic, funny, moving, alive with mystery, and bursting with details that continue to emerge viewing after viewing. It’s no surprise that it took so many years for Tomm Moore and his team to come up with another feature-length film: Song of the Sea. [Read more...]

3 Jeffs & the Truth: Foxcatcher

In which three film enthusiasts — all named Jeff — discuss and debate Foxcatcher. [Read more...]

Taylor Swift, Nirvana, Andrew Peterson, and Bob Dylan All Appear in This Headline

Imagine that your favorite band tries on a new sound, or a new look. Imagine that fans are not happy, and they complain about it. Imagine that the band decides to push back… in song. It’s happened before. It’s happened quite frequently, actually. Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan, The Decemberists, and U2 have all answered their fans and [Read More...]

Are Christians “David”? Is Hollywood “Goliath”?

In today’s episode of Sadly, This is Not a Satire… Check out this website promoting David and Goliath, a movie that hopes to attract audiences by condemning “Hollywood” as the Enemy of God. Note, I put “Hollywood” in quotes. Because… who exactly is this looming, powerful giant? I’m not going to post the David and Goliath trailer here: I [Read More...]

An Hour of Wisdom and Storytelling with Joe Henry

Joe Henry, who recorded my favorite record of 2014 (Invisible Hour), was the guest on the latest installment of the excellent podcast “On Being,” with Krista Tippett. [Read more...]

Soundtrack for a Day Job: Great Songs About Hard Times

Songs about this day-job, bill-paying struggle are a dime a dozen — or, rather about $16.99 a dozen in this economy. [Read more...]

Memento or Vertigo? What’s Your Favorite Film About Memory?

The long-running community of friends and colleagues called Arts and Faith has published their latest list of essential films: The Top 25 Films on Memory. [Read more...]

Bruce Cockburn to Receive the 2015 Denise Levertov Award

Wow. [Read more...]