For Your Halloween Pleasure

This month's theoblogger question at Patheos, in honor of Halloween is, "Are Demons Real?"  There are some good contributions from ministers, professors, students, and bloggers alike.  I responded from a pop-culture point of view.  Just as interesting are the conversations/reactions that readers posted in response.  Follow the link after the jump and get in on the conversation! … [Read more...]

Filming Revolutions: Film History as Church History?

After the jump, check out a video of my presentation at the Theology After Google conference last week in Claremont, CA.  Below the video is a link to the other presenters' videos.  More will be added throughout the weekend.  Enjoy! … [Read more...]

In Defense of AVATAR: Or Why Mark Driscoll Just Doesn't Get It

Yesterday, a friend directed me to an article about a recent sermon by Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church) in which he called Avatar  "the most demonic, satanic film I've ever seen."  Check out my response after the jump. … [Read more...]

The Earthquake in Haiti, God, and the Arbitrariness of Life

By now, most people are just as familiar with Pat Robertson's interpretation of the Haitian earthquake as they are with the natural disaster itself.  Yesterday, I came across two other theological responses to the quake, one by Al Mohler that is almost as offensive as Robertson's and another by Paul Raushenbush that is somewhat more appealing to me.  The responses to Raushenbush's response are just as compelling as the article itself, as many non-religious readers responded with vitriol, … [Read more...]

Some Thoughts on Broadcasting Worship…

While re-watching Frost/Nixon, I was struck by one of the opening lines of the film.  Reflecting on the whole experience of interviewing Richard Nixon, James Reston, Jr. (Sam Rockwell) says of David Frost (Michael Sheen), "He understood television better than any of us."  I've been thinking more and more about the church in the digital age lately and wondering what the church could understand and do better. … [Read more...]

Michael Vick: On Judgement and Participation

Whenever pop culture icons exhibit bad behavior...behavior that would ruin the careers and lives of us average folk...the social commentators inevitably talk about how America is a forgiving culture.  As time passes, society will forgive and forget, or at least the most recent scandal will occupy our attention.  When the news story broke about Michael Vick's involvement in a dog-fighting ring over a year ago, I thought that this would perhaps test the bounds of popular forgiveness. … [Read more...]

Anthea Butler on Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

Religion Dispatches has an interesting article up this morning entitled "When the Gods Die:  Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett Take the 70s With Them" by Anthea Butler.  Butler is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester and teaches in the areas of African American religious history, American religious history, and women and gender studies.  Follow the link after the jump. … [Read more...]

R.I.P. K.o.P.

Unless you're working the night shift and have just woken up for work, you probably already know that Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop, died earlier this afternoon of a heart attack.  Since his passing, the cable news networks have been debating his place in music history:  who is greater Elvis, The Beatles, or Michael Jackson?  This is a fruitless debate.  What matters is that he was an incomparable entertainer whose influence cannot fully be measured just yet.  At the same … [Read more...]

Pamela Blotner

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting a local artist, Pamela Blotner, works in sculpture, drawing, and illustrations.  Hopefully, she'll be offering some courses on religion/spirituality and the arts at the Graduate Theological Union through the Center for Arts and Religious Education in the near future.  She occasionally teaches at Pixar as well.  Check out some of her work after the jump. … [Read more...]

Conversations With Barry Taylor, Part 3 & 4

Here are the final selections from my interview with Barry Taylor.  In these videos, he discusses the fading sacred/secular divide in popular culture as well as atheistic sacrality and contemporary art.  Good stuff. … [Read more...]