Now Streaming: One of 2014′s Most Meaningful Thrillers

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I will not mention Terrence Malick when I review As It Is In Heaven. I will not mention Terrence Malick when I review As It Is In Heaven. I will not mention Terrence Malick when I review As It Is In Heaven. I will not... Oh, forget it.To reference Terrence Malick in reviews of films about faith is becoming as common as referencing Flannery O'Connor in reviews of Southern fiction. But that's the power of an artist's vision: Malick and O'Connor both sought to reflect hard truths without … [Read more...]

Discover The Chrysostom Society: Meet Editor and Book Enthusiast John Wilson

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In the early days, they plotted how to kill each other. That may sound like unseemly behavior for a group of celebrated Christian writers. But you can read all about the murderous conspiracies of The Chrysostom Society in their first collaborative literary effort: Carnage at Christhaven. It’s a serial murder mystery — satirical, smart, and subversive — each grisly chapter contributed by a different society member. (It was first published in 1989.) None of them, not even the writers themselves, … [Read more...]

What Breakup Record Cuts Your Heart Open? Readers Respond!


Last week, I invited you to listen closer to Björk’s song “Stonemilker” — the first song on Vulnicura, the Icelandic artist’s brave and beautiful musical chronicle of struggles with (and, ultimately, severance from) a great love.As I marinated in that music, I began thinking about how commonly I hear songs about heartbreak, but how rarely they have that raw, serrated quality of actual human experience.And then I posted a question on Facebook and elsewhere: What breakup songs or breakup re … [Read more...]

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

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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...]