Listening Closer: Bjork’s “Stonemilker”


On Facebook last week, I asked people to share their favorite breakup songs and breakup albums. I’d become enthralled by a powerful new album lamenting the loss of love and of a family unit, and I wanted reference points to help me evaluate it fairly and avoid exaggeration and hyperbole in describing it.My interest in the specific titles posted on my Facebook page — “Coldplay’s Ghost Stories!” “Adele’s 21!” Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘I Am a Rock!’” — was quickly surpassed by my interest in the sh … [Read more...]

Looking Elsewhere: Starring… American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Sundance, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, Fairy Tales, Global Warming, Bob Dylan, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Marilynne Robinson, and More


I'll conclude with a few words about the American Sniper hubbub.But first, here are some of the things that caught my attention on the Wild Wild Web in the last couple of weeks... … [Read more...]

Listening Closer to Joe Henry’s “Sparrow,” The Lone Bellow, and Jessica Pratt


It started back when I learned to diagram sentences. Elementary school weirdo that I was, I loved it.I loved taking a complicated sentence and chalking its various parts on the blackboard until it looked like a tree branch stripped by winter. But unlike the dissected frogs in my science class, diagrammed sentences seemed even more alive when we were finished with them. In a way, I’m still pursuing that strange exercise, for there are profound mysteries living within great songs, just b … [Read more...]

“Our nation was born in genocide…”

June 8, 1964. Photographer Walter Albertin.

I could write and write and write about the Gospel truths spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.But he's the great orator. Let's make a space for him to speak.If you feel weighed down or despairing over the racism rampant in the world today, remember this... “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” If you wonder what kind of difference you can make, remember thi … [Read more...]

Why We Need SELMA

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 9.06.08 AM

We need this movie.We need it for this reason: Wherever Martin Luther King Jr. carried his dream, racists and scoffers assembled.Americans have made some admirable progress since then. But is it over? Was the dream realized?When I praise this movie that was made in celebration of King's dream — guess what happens. The taunters and scoffers assemble.This fellow showed up on my Facebook page, responding to my praise for the film Selma.He continued with his condescending, h … [Read more...]

Do You Hear What I Hear? A New Weekly Adventure in “Listening Closer.”


This week, I begin a new year-long adventure: "Listening Closer."Thanks to the imaginations of the folks at Christ and Pop Culture, I will write about one song every week, opening it up to consider what's inside, where it came from, what it might mean, and why it has caught my attention and stayed on my mind. … [Read more...]

The “Most Christian” Movie of the Year?


To all who claim that film critics rejected Left Behind and God's Not Dead and Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas because of their hatred for Christianity... I give you Selma. To all who get excited at statements like "This was a great year for Christian movies!" and "The Christian movie industry is on the rise!" ... I give you Selma. Observe... … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at Selma: My Review and Some Other Perspectives


Thank God Almighty. Director Ava Duvernay had a monumental task before her, making a high-profile motion picture focused on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, with a cast of famous names. What's more, the closer the film has come to release, the more the headlines have shown us just how much we need a Great Film about Dr. King's vision. Even great directors would probably have disappointed us. Think of Spielberg's Lincoln: Hey, I loved it, but I acknowledge that it had weaknesses, just as h … [Read more...]

Overstreet’s Favorite Recordings of 2014: Part Two


As I said in Part One of my Favorite Recordings of 2014...Oh, wait. You didn't see that? I recommend you start by reading my long, long list of "runners-up" albums that I enjoyed in 2014. For each one, I've linked to a favorite track or two.Okay, are we all caught up?As I said before, I've organized my listening experiences into three categories. You might call them "Good," "Great," and "Greatest" — but that makes me uncomfortable. It takes so much time and attention to have any s … [Read more...]

Overstreet’s Favorite Films of 2014 [v. 2]


This year's Favorite Films list accomplishes several things for me:1)It reminds me that — for a variety of reasons (including the fact that I'm working full-time and going to school, and the fact that Seattle is getting major releases much later than New York and Los Angeles) — I have not yet found opportunities to see many of the best-reviewed films of 2014.A few of the films I am still eager to see includeNational Gallery Mr. Turner Song of the Sea Into the Woods … [Read more...]