Responses to Christianity and the Social Crisis: An Introduction

Walter Rauschenbusch's classic text, Christianity and the Social Crisis was recently re-released to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The new edition contains responses to each chapter from academics and religious folk ranging from Jim Wallis to Phyllis Trible. A group of seminary students and I decided to write responses of our own to each of these sections over the next month or so. Keep an eye out for updates to this on-going discussion. We begin today with an introduction by Tripp Fuller, … [Read more...]

Battlescars

The death toll of suicide bombers and the weekly body count/injury report of the war in Iraq has become the soundtrack to the majority of news reports over the past five years. While we are almost daily informed of death or injury, we do not hear the details of these tragedies. The church I have recently been attending mentions the wounded and dead from the war during the prayers of the people, but only as a collective group and not individually. James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano of The … [Read more...]

HBO: Homogenous Box Office?

The new television season is fast approaching. Week one of the NFL is nearly in the books, so along with the anticipation of Sundays and Monday nights, I am looking forward to a host of new and returning programs like Heroes, Friday Night Lights, Bionic Woman, Pushing Daisies, and Lost to name a few. However, HBO has a new series that intrigues me entitled Tell Me You Love Me. HBO got a bit of jump on the fall lineup as the first episode aired last night. For such a progressive network, HBO … [Read more...]

Are You Ready for Some Football?!

To help celebrate the upcoming NFL season, which starts in just a few hours as the Saints visit the NFL Campion Colts, Bob Costas devoted his weekly sports journalism show on HBO, Costas Now, to, you guessed it, football. The hour-long program was composed of four excellent interviews with San Diego Chargers running back Ladainian Tomlinson, NFL Players Union President Gene Upshaw, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and NFL Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell and a panel discussion with Phil … [Read more...]

The Ultimate What If…

Films are the great hypothetical (forgive the Shaquille O'Neal analogy). We can easily ask of any character in a film, “What if I was in that situation?” Thus, one of the many benefits of a more inquisitive filmwatching is a greater sense of empathy for "the Other."  Such filmwatching also leads us to examine our own lives further and can potentially help us for future difficulties. A new film, Right at Your Door, directed by Chris Gorak (who worked on Minority Report, Lords of Dogtown, … [Read more...]

Better Late Than Never…

I am speaking here of both my review of God's Warriors and the program itself.  I did not finish the series until tonight, having been out of town over the weekend and the DVR failing to record the Muslim episode until Saturday night.  Despite Christiane Amanpour's assertions to the contrary, this series seems to be more of the sensational journalism that already fills our news channels.  However, this is not to say that some good did not come from these programs, specifically the fact that … [Read more...]

The Religions Will Be Televised…

This week, CNN is devoting 6 hours of its prime-time programming to a discussion of three major world religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights from 9-11 pm ET, CNN corespondent Christiane Amanpour will host a series of documentaries called God's Warriors which focuses on God, politics, and the global fight over religion and power. Tonight, Amanpour appeared on Larry King Live to introduce the program and discussed religion with King and leaders … [Read more...]

$40 Million: Take Two

WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS POST UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE, $40 MILLION AND TWO MOVIES. It seems like the NFL knows no end to controversy with the Michael Vick dogfighting case being the latest in a long first year for commissioner Roger Goodell. As we wait for Vick's decision of whether to go to trial or enter into a plea bargain, I have been thinking about this case, especially in light of William C. Rhoden's book, $40 Million Slaves. Far from justifying Vick et al's heinous … [Read more...]

$40 Million and Two Movies

Lately, I have been putting together a syllabus for a course I want to teach on sports and theology, religion, spirituality, ethics.... I have not figured out an appropriate title just yet, but the essence of it will speak to the reality of sports as a field ripe for the discussion of justice, race, gender, etc. Recent scandals in all levels of sport will provide interesting case studies, and the sports sections of both cable television and newspapers will provide primary source material. … [Read more...]

Life on Pause…

Last fall I eagerly awaited the release of Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep. I was intrigued by the artistic creations shown in the film's trailer. However, upon seeing the film, I felt as if all these cardboard cutouts ran their course rather quickly in the film. In the end, they seemed to serve as filler for a poorly made film. Recently, however, I came across another romance/drama/comedy that promised a venture outside the ordinary. Where The Science of Sleep overflowed with … [Read more...]