The First Church of Baseball

Officially starting last Sunday, but going full-swing this week, millions of people across the country will start going to church for the first time this year. Having taken a five-month sabbatical, they will finally return to worship at the altar of home plate. For the next seven months (hopefully) faithful congregants will participate in a variety of traditions from the opening hymn of the National Anthem to a eucharist of beer and peanuts to the closing hymn of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" … [Read more...]

Meet a Failure

It's hard to tell what lesson(s) the makers of Meet the Robinsons are trying to bestow on their audiences, but I imagine each of the seven screenwriters had their own intentions. This Disney release lacks all the humor and originality of more successful recent animated installments like the Toy Story or Shrek series. I went anticipating such humor and perhaps a message for the kids but found neither. In fact, they could have kept showing the old Disney shorts like Boat Builders that preceded … [Read more...]

Spying Redemption

I can only imagine that the race for best foreign language film in this year’s Oscars was down to the wire.  Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth took home three Oscars for makeup, art direction, and cinematography, but failed to take home best foreign language picture.  This went to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, a brilliant German film about the State Security agency in East Germany in 1984.  Many viewers might quickly draw parallels between the Stasi's spying and in … [Read more...]

Warriors of God…

~Reviewed by Mary M. DaltonThe documentary feature Jesus Camp generated a lot of buzz in some festival circles last year and won the top prize at SILVERDOCS: AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival 2006 (one of the most highly regarded documentary festivals in the world). It was an auspicious launch for an unpretentious film, which went on to land an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. An Inconvenient Truth, another of the most important films of 2006, actually won the Oscar … [Read more...]

Apocalyptoprah

Oprah has made her newest selection for her book club. You can read the details here:Oprah's latest book pick: gloomy 'The Road.'This is one of the greatest books that I have ever read and certainly one of last year's best. I felt the same way about McCarthy's 'No Country for Old Men' when I read it (I am also eagerly awaiting the film version to be released later this year), but he has truly one-upped himself here. His gut-wrenching post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his young son's … [Read more...]

Childish Things: A Second Opinion of Little Children

~Reviewed by Daniel Skidmore“God helps those who help themselves.” Although not a biblical saying and, in fact, can be seen as opposing a Judea-Christian theology, this statement has merit. With this idea of working with God to bring about a better future for the world and for ourselves, I want to re-examine the movie Little Children. … [Read more...]

A Good Samaritan…

~Reviewed by Wendy Arce“Just like a bird without a feather – I am lost without your love.”In spite of advice received to the contrary, I saw Craig Brewer’s latest film, which is no doubt as controversial as his first. In both Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan, my inner feminist cringed at the sight of stereotypical gender roles, images of violence against women, and the portrayal of women as sexual objects. However, in spite of my knee jerk reaction to their marketing scheme, Black Snak … [Read more...]

Spirituality in Popular Music

~by Alan AckridgeFor most of the latter half of the 20th Century, a significant portion of the Christian church opposed popular culture. However, beginning in the 1980's, politically paralleled with the rise of the "moral majority," Christians have stopped shunning culture and have again attempted to shape it. Some of this effort has yielded better results than others. Christian Heavy Metal, Rock, and Rap have had their own particular kind of success and occasionally "cross over" appeal; … [Read more...]