When compared to friends and fellow writers C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams seems like an unknown. It’s a shame because I’ve always found his novels—also full of supernatural elements—to be more thoughtful and thought-provoking (theologically and spiritually) than Lewis' or Tolkien’s. Thankfully, Williams has finally received the attention he and his work deserves in the form of a fantastic new biography, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling by Grevel Lindop. … [Read more...]

#KillerSerials: PREACHER, “Monster Swamp,” “The South Will Rise Again,” & “Sundowner”

After a brief hiatus due to travels, tragedies, and holidays, Tony Jones and Ryan Parker are back to discuss the last three episodes of Preacher on AMC. In this episode, they discuss the nature of Genesis and its effect on Jesse, the loss of humility as a preacher's downfall, and Eugene's insight into guilt, forgiveness, and penance. Take a listen after the jump. … [Read more...]

BLOODLINE, Season 2: Confession and the Pasts that Haunt

In my reflections on the first season of Bloodline, I highlighted themes of unresolved grief, guilt, and the desire for revenge. I also argued that Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), the black sheep of the Rayburn family, functioned equally well as a ghost that haunted the family and a sacrificial lamb on which the family projected their fears and failings as he did an actual real, living character. While the second season "corrects" some of my misreadings of Danny's intentions on returning home in the f … [Read more...]

God, Guns, & Family: Why ‘Bible-Believing’ Christians Have no Right to Self Defense, Pt. 2

In my last post I proposed that, against the uniquely American theology of God, guns, and family, the Christian teaching of the New Testament doesn’t allow for self-defense at all. I started with arguments against defending property, which is the easier path, since we know Christianity is anti-materialist. But I want to expand on those thoughts to talk about why Christians also have no Biblically-mandated right to defend themselves or their family using lethal force.First, let’s look at the i … [Read more...]

God, Guns, & Family: Why ‘Bible-Believing’ Christians Have No Right to Self-Defense, Pt.1

Again, we find ourselves in national mourning for horrendous loss of life caused by a man with a grudge and too-easy access to military-grade weapons. The loss is unfathomable, but not unexplainable. We continue to live in a gun-sick society. There is still a pervasive American belief that honors excessive gun “rights” at the expense of the health and safety of our people.I have hope for the future, if only because the demographics are in favor of stricter gun laws. The political will of the … [Read more...]

#KillerSerials: PREACHER, “The Possibilities”

This week, Craig Detweiler (professor of communications at Pepperdine University) joins Ryan Parker to talk about the latest episode of Preacher on AMC. They talk about divine complexities, reading John Muir in a slaughterhouse, and how the series captures the best of Bonnie and Clyde and No Country for Old Men. Listen after the jump. … [Read more...]

If You See One Film on Video this Year, Make It this One

We have an extremely limited view of young people born with disabilities. We use the word “obstacles” a lot with them: “Look at the brave young disabled person overcoming obstacles.”But we don’t often think of them as just being people. Going through all the same personal trials as everyone else. Growing up. Getting an education. Screwing up and doing stupid things they later regret.And we never ever want to think of them as sexual beings. Having the pangs of first love. Learning how to f … [Read more...]

Book Review: APOSTLE

Tom Bissell's book, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, is not only one of the best books written about video games, it's one of my favorite works of nonfiction. So when I saw that Bissell had turned his attention and wit to the apostles, I couldn't wait to read the results. It's as insightful, biting, and funny as I had hoped it would be. … [Read more...]