Andy Whitman on The Innocence Mission

Paste's Andy Whitman is joining the latest wave of love for The Innocence Mission, upon the re-release of their marvelous Birds of My Neighborhood.Have you seen the winning entries to my "Describe the Innocence Mission's music" contest? … [Read more...]

John Wilson on The Gospel of Judas

John Wilson of Books and Culture has just posted a few thoughts on The Gospel of Judas. Last week, as we have done for many years, our small group met for a seder in Holy Week. One of my friends asked me about the Gospel of Jesus, whether it is the sort of thing that is likely to challenge the faith of many people. The best response for anyone who wonders about it is to read The Gospel of Judas and Robinson's book, too. (The stories about the Gospel of Judas don't begin to capture its essential … [Read more...]

Three new first-impression reviews: T Bone Burnett, Over the Rhine, Innocence Mission

THE TRUE FALSE REPORT I've just posted three new, short reviews on the Looking Closer music page. T Bone Burnett's The True False Identity Over the Rhine's Live from Nowhere, Volume One and The Innocence Mission's re-mastered version of Birds of My Neighborhood. And, what's more...THE WINNERS of the "Describe The Innocence Mission's Music" contest. … [Read more...]

Have a JOYOUS Easter!

Notice I didn't say "Have a Happy Easter."Happiness is based on temporal things.A chocolate egg can make somebody happy, for a while.Happiness is about feeling good.Joy... joy is based on something everlasting. It is the sensation of realizing something transcendant and sure, something that lifts us up out of our daily distractions and duties to comprehend something of God's glory.If you don't believe in Christ's resurrection from the dead, you may find some happiness along … [Read more...]

Smashing! "Live from Nowhere" is Over the Rhine at their live best.

Isn't it wonderful when a live audience knows how to be quiet?It doesn't happen much anymore -- musicians casting such a spell over the audience that they can put down their instruments mid-song and let the vocalist's voice resonate without any violating whistles or noises from the crowd.But it happens on Live from Nowhere, Volume One, the new live collection from Over the Rhine."This is our loungey Christmas show," says Karin, and then dedicates "Fever" to a couple on a date in the … [Read more...]

GetReligion on "United 93."

Reviews of United 93 are starting to come in. GetReligion is commenting on the TIME article, and if you scroll down to the comments you'll see the links I posted there that refer you to Jeffrey Wells and David Poland.I'll probably be linking to the best reviews pretty regularly, since I haven't yet made up my mind about whether I'll be seeing it and reviewing it.At this point, I'm leaning toward avoiding the film. Not because I think it's an evil thing. I don't. But personally, I don't … [Read more...]

“The True False Identity” and Author Photos

Today was a good day.Today, I purchased five general admission floor tickets for the T Bone Burnett concert in Seattle, which will take place on Sunday, June 11.And I listened to his new album for the third time.And in what is promising to be a very, very good music year, it's going to be hard to beat this brilliant piece of work.The True False Identity is dark, dark, dark, and enthralling. The man has been through the wringer, and you can feel it in every world-weary … [Read more...]

Looking Closer Classic: "Mystery and Message"

Not much to blog about today, as I've been sitting at home and at a top-secret Seattle coffee house all day working at condensing all of my thoughts about the wonder of movies into a book. As I wrote, I kept recalling things that I learned from one man: an art photographer and English instructor named Michael Demkowicz. No one taught me more about art than "Mr. D." … [Read more...]

The Christian Faith of Pin-up Betty Page

The New York Daily News has a feature on the buzz-generating new film about the famous pinup girl Betty Page, starring Gretchen Mol.And finally someone has noted whether or not The Notorious Betty Page deals with the fact that Page's Christian faith played, and continues to play, a major role in her life. (I linked to another article a few weeks ago that addressed Page's current professions of faith, but now we know that aspect of her life made it into the film.) A life-long Baptist, Page … [Read more...]

If You Believe in The Gospel of Judas, I Have Some Magic Sandals to Sell You.

If you believe the stories you're reading in newspapers about the Gospel of Judas, let me buy you a subscription to The Weekly World News.GetReligion joins the parade of bloggers pointing out the obvious for the masses who seem determined to flaunt their gullibility.Here's where the fun starts: Before I criticize the ridiculous ignorance of the media in covering this very old story, let me offer a critique of the church. If Christians knew anything about their history, if they knew … [Read more...]