Christmas, Calling, Carols, and #Ferguson: Jeff Keuss Hosts a Conversation with Rev. Richard Dahlstrom, Dr. Brian Bantum, Anna Miller, and Myself (with Music from Eric Miller)

What can we learn from Mary, the mother of Christ, that can help us understand what is happening in Ferguson? [Read more...]


Looking Elsewhere: Trailering Malick; Burying “The Hobbit”; Christian Bale’s Bible Reading; and More!

This week, in my community of arts-and-faith explorers, conversations have been focused on the joy of Christmas carols, the mixed feelings over a new Terrence Malick trailer, the predictably disappointing conclusion to Peter Jackson’s ruination of The Hobbit, some interesting conversations with the Exodus team, and the traditional year-end challenges of drafting various “Best of 2014″ lists. I’m hard [Read More...]

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Poet Tania Runyan Presents a Christmas Playlist

The author of How to Write a Poem shows us how to make a Christmas playlist. [Read more...]


Andy Crouch, Executive Editor of Christianity Today, Presents a Christmas Playlist

Our guest DJ for some Christmas music: The author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling and Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. [Read more...]

Shannon Polson

Shannon Huffman Polson Presents a Christmas Playlist

A Christmas playlist from the author of North of Hope. [Read more...]

The Bruised Hearts Revue Presents a Christmas Playlist

One of the biggest musical surprises for me in 2014 was the discovery of a local Seattle band called The Bruised Hearts Revue. If you’re a fan of Wilco, Over the Rhine, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, or Neko Case, you’ll hear their influences here. I’d have a hard time picking a favorite cut from the album, [Read More...]

A.S. Peterson Presents a Christmas Playlist

A Christmas playlist from adventure novelist and Rabbit Room editor A. S. Peterson… [Read more...]

Sarah Masen Presents a Christmas Playlist

I began listening to this post’s guest DJ late, and by a rather circuitous route. First, I discovered the writing of David Dark, whose books are among some of my favorite cultural commentaries. Then I began hearing about his immensely talented “better half”: Sarah Dark. Or, as she is better known: Sarah Masen. The name [Read More...]

Chris Willman Presents a Christmas Playlist

I was already a fan of Chris Willman’s work in the early ’90s when he singled out U2′s greatly misunderstood, hastily dismissed album Pop as the #1 record of that year. I was glad to find somebody who was listening closely enough to appreciate the complexity and stylistic audacity of the record. I already knew about [Read More...]

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): First Impressions

If I were struggling with cancer, I suspect this movie would come across as punch in the gut. [Read more...]

Agents of Future Present a Christmas Playlist

Ready for another Christmas playlist? This one’s full of surprises. [Read more...]

Moses and Errin’ — A Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Dear Ridley Scott, My name is Aaron. I’m the brother of Moses. In the Holy Scriptures, when Moses balks at God’s call for him to go and free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, claiming a lack of eloquence, God gets aggravated and assigns me to travel with him, to face Pharaoh, and to act as [Read More...]

A High-Wire Act From the Director of Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Flight

Robert Zemeckis took us back in time with Marty McFly and again with Forrest Gump. This time around, he might as well recycle a famous Back to the Future quote: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” [Read more...]

Over the Rhine Presents a Christmas Playlist

Here now, is what Over the Rhine would play for you if you asked to hear something besides their own extraordinary Christmas recordings… [Read more...]

Coyote Hunting at Christmas: Linford Detweiler Talks About “Blood Oranges in the Snow”

In this, my fourth Looking Closer conversation with Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine, we talked about the stories behind the songs on the band’s third “Reality Christmas” album, Blood Oranges in the Snow. [Read more...]

Alissa Wilkinson Presents a Christmas Playlist

When inquiring of my favorite writers and artists about the Christmas music that means the most to them, I turned habitually to someone I tend to ask for recommendations in almost everything. [Read more...]

Sara Zarr Presents a Christmas Playlist

2014 marked the tenth anniversary of my friendship with YA novelist Sara Zarr. In the decade since we happened to sit down at the same table for a fiction workshop led by author Erin McGraw, Sara has written five of the best-reviewed new YA novels. (She became a National Book Award finalist for her first. Not [Read More...]

Looking Elsewhere: Blood Oranges, Image, Hurray for the Riff Raff, PJ Harvey, Lightsabers, P.D. James, and More.

Here are a few recent distractions and discoveries from elsewhere on the web that gave me fleeting moments of relief from the storms of a Bad News Week. [Read more...]

Ashley Cleveland Presents a Christmas Playlist

Our Christmas Playlist Party continues! Here’s one of the most soulful musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live: Grammy award-winning gospel singer Ashley Cleveland. [Read more...]

Joe Henry Presents a Christmas Playlist

Our first Christmas Playlist Party host? Please welcome Grammy award-winning producer, poet, and musician Joe Henry, whose new album “Invisible Hour” is, at this writing, my favorite record of 2014 and the one I have played most often. [Read more...]

Cinematic States Contest Results: And the Winner Is…

Last week, I invited you to tell us which movie best captures the character of your home territory. The winner would receive a signed copy of the book “Cinematic States,” Gareth Higgins’ thought-provoking tour of the U.S.A. by the way it is revealed through its movies. Whose name did I draw from the hat? [Read more...]