U2 360

If any of you, like me, had tickets to U2's second leg of their American 360 tour, then you were sorely disappointed to hear about the cancellation due to Bono's surgery.  Yet, last week's release of their DVD, U2 360 at the Rose Bowl, the recording of last Fall's record-setting concert, should help ameliorate that pain and tide you over until the dates are rescheduled next year.  After the jump, check out mine and Richard Lindsay's review of the concert and the DVD. … [Read more...]

Bearers of Bad News

I have always admired and deeply respected army and hospital chaplains for their emotional and spiritual strength and their ability to stand with those who mourn during the sacred time and space of loss.  The same could be said of those who must bear the actual bad news of the death of a loved one to the family and friends they've left behind.  The other critically acclaimed "war movie" of 2009, The Messenger, focused on such a task and was, in many ways, more compelling, for me at least, than i … [Read more...]

Play for that Money

This summer will mark the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and by then, David Simon's newest series, Treme will have come to  close.  Its twenty episodes will serve as a fitting reminder of the devastation that that storm, and the ensuing floods, wrought on countless lives, a devastation that continues to plague many lives even today.  Perhaps the series will return the tragedy to our public consciousness and remind us of the vulnerability of the poor and marginalized in our own co … [Read more...]

The Kids are Creative…

"All children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."  --Pablo PicassoI came across this quote in, of all places, this week's Sports Illustrated.  Yesterday, I finally got around to watching Son of Rambow (2007) and found the quote and the film to be a perfect match.  The film revels in child-like creativity while revealing the forces, both religious and secular, that seek to squash that creativity and individuality. … [Read more...]

BRANDS OF FAITH: A REVIEW

Mara Einstein argues, in her book Brands of Faith:  Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age, that we live in a culture of "planned obsolescence."  This is hard to deny given the frequency with which, for example, Apple releases new iPods and iPhones.  Yet she turns her attention to the effects that such consumerism has on religion.  Einstein reveals that the sacred has become more secular through intense commercialization and marketing.  On the other hand, though she doesn't write as extensively a … [Read more...]

Painfully Precious

Last weekend, I finally got around to watching Precious, a film deserving of all the critical acclaim heaped on it since its release.  Check out the review after the jump. … [Read more...]

Witnessing a Confession

I looked forward to reading Tony DuShane's Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk because I felt like, according to the blurbs on the back, it would give some insight into a somewhat secretive religious group, Jehovah's Witnesses.  This coming-of-age novel, while not necessarily full of specific, insider info on the theology and practices of Jehovah's Witnesses, does provide insight into how problematic extremely conservative social and theological worldviews, especially with regard to sex(uality), … [Read more...]

Atoning for Trouble

"If forgiveness is not important, what is?"  This is just one of several theological questions that the film Troubled Water raises.  Released on DVD here in the states as part of the Film Movement project, it offers up an engrossing narrative and an interweaving structure that keeps viewers hooked until the end. … [Read more...]


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