Stop being political! That’s the comment I often see when someone posts their opinions about current events on social media or brings up war, the economy or social justice in public conversation. People plug their ears and plead for them to stop talking about the things making our world so contentious. It’s understandable. Right now, American culture is particularly toxic, and politics are at the center of the storm. The political realm runs on power and position, things antithetical to… Read more

For many comic book geeks and movie fans, this weekend’s release of “Avengers: Infinity War” is one of the most anticipated cinematic events in their lifetime. Some comic book lovers have waited their entire lives to see Marvel’s lineup on the big screen, and those, like me, who have been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Tony Stark put on his Iron Man armor ten years ago, are anxiously awaiting the culmination of this series (well, the beginning… Read more

While I think encouragement is one of the greatest gifts you can give a person, there’s a thread of it in today’s Christian culture that I find troubling. It’s an encouragement that guarantees that if a believer has enough faith, God will heal them from all maladies, protect them from all harm and give them the victories they want. I see it in Christians who say “don’t speak it” when someone worries about a trouble coming in their life —… Read more

It’s the mid-1990s. I’m in my high school journalism class, writing movie reviews because the thought of interviewing other students is too intimidating. I’m the only male in the same class of about 10 girls for three years; I’m too scared to talk to them, so I revert to working on a computer in a back room. I graduate high school with one signature in my yearbook. . . . It’s 2003. I’m in my early twenties, and my best… Read more

Welcome to the nerdiest episode of CROSS.CULTURE.CRITIC. yet! A little peek behind the curtain: When we record, Joe and I usually try to turn out at least two episodes a session so that we can record every other week and still release weekly episodes. We often set out with one heavy episode and one fun one, but last week we sat down to do two kind of serious ones. If you listened to last week’s episode, you know it kind… Read more

Be yourself. That’s advice we give to everyone. Whether they’re trying to find a date, a friend or a job, our words of wisdom are: “Keep being who you are…don’t let anyone change you…just step into the room, be yourself and let everyone else deal with the consequences.” I have spoken those exact words to friends for years. I understand why we say this. There’s nothing worse than compromising your beliefs and passions to get people to like you. It’s… Read more

It’s mid-April in Michigan and yesterday I had to drive through an ice storm. This wasn’t a few drops of sleet. It coated trees, left icicles hanging from branches and knocked down power lines. It wasn’t a freak cold snap, either. Two weeks ago, I woke up and there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground. Aside from one or two brief flirtations with the sixties and sun, the weather since Thanksgiving has been gray and cold. My… Read more

You almost didn’t get to hear this week’s episode. About halfway through recording, Joe had to take a break. I paused the recorder and, when he returned, I suggested that maybe we junk what we’d recorded and start something new. I just wasn’t feeling it. But that wasn’t really the truth. The truth is that the episode had revealed an internal prejudice and I wasn’t feeling comfortable with my motives anymore. What I had thought would be a funny riff… Read more

Come Sunday,” premiering April 13 on Netflix, does what I’ve long asked for in movies about faith: It observes Christian doctrinal disagreements with intelligence, grace and love. It just happens that the protagonist’s stance is one that many believers consider heresy.   In an age where movies about faith  — including “I Can Only Imagine” and “God’s Not Dead 3” — seem to debut every week, “Come Sunday” is easily one of the more skillfully made. And yet, its main… Read more

In September, my son started kindergarten. Every day, Mickey gets on a bus, which takes him about a mile or two to his school, where he spends the day. He loves it. He’s met some great friends, has turned into a great reader, and two weeks ago was named Student of the Month for his class. Mickey attends a public school, which in these days sometimes feels like an anomaly in Christian circles. Many families at our church homeschool their… Read more

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