April 18, 2018

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

April 16, 2018

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

April 13, 2018

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

April 11, 2018

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

April 9, 2018

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

April 6, 2018

Spring Break found Joe traveling around Michigan and me taking care of kids and spending some time with my wife, so sadly there’s no CROSS.CULTURE.CRITIC. this week. But we’re planning to be back with a new episode next week, so stay tuned! That said, I had some time off work recently and was able to catch up on a lot of pop culture, so I have some fun, diverse things to recommend for this week’s Five for Friday! Let’s get… Read more

April 4, 2018

Possibly the most prominent figure of the 1960s Jesus Movement, Larry Norman single-handedly started the Christian rock genre. A provocateur who rubbed shoulders with Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and The Who, he had mainstream success even though his songs were about Jesus, and in concert he seemed more concerned with pricking his audience’s conscience than giving them a rollicking show. Today, it’s almost unheard of for a Christian rock star to be embraced by both the evangelical and “secular” worlds;… Read more

March 30, 2018

There is nothing more terrifying than walking outside to find your car is gone, and nothing more humbling than learning you’re to blame. That’s what happened to me one spring morning in 2006. I walked out of my apartment and found a pair of black tire marks in place of my car. I called the police, assuming someone had stolen my Saturn during the night. I quickly found out the truth was more embarrassing. At the time, I was trying… Read more

March 30, 2018

As long as I’ve been part of the church (which is going on 40 years), Christians and pop culture have had an uncomfortable relationship. The church is happy to have movies, music and books that celebrate the faith, but they squirm when art dares to challenge, question or provoke. And what about artists who are blatantly opposed to belief? That’s where Joe and I start talking this week on the latest Cross.Culture.Critic. podcast. Spurred on by a recent conversation he… Read more

March 28, 2018

This month, my son’s kindergarten class celebrated National Reading Month by inviting “mystery readers” to their classroom. Parents could surprise their children by showing up to read a book to the class. I signed up thinking it would be a fun treat for Mickey, and went in last week to read. I wasn’t prepared for how much it meant to him. When I arrived, he immediately ran up and threw his arms around me. In a picture taken by his… Read more

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