Get A(n Extra) Life

Later this year, I'll be presenting a paper on the ethical/theological/moral implications of video games.  As luck would have it, a public discussion over whether or not video games qualify as art broke out in on-line and print media over the past few months.  Film critic Roger Ebert oppossed this notion while arguments for it appeared in readers' comments to his posts and in video game publications like Kotaku.com and Game Informer.  Writer, professor, video game addict Tom Bissell's latest bo … [Read more...]

Yes They Are…

Pop Theology contributor Richard Lindsay and I were talking about reviews of mainstream films that feature gay and lesbian couples in lead roles and how reviewers often argue that these films aren't about homosexuality or homsexuals but rather about human beings.  These reviews clearly hope to allay potential viewers' fears about these films being "too gay."  Their emphasis on the humanness of their gay or lesbian characters is somewhat condescending in the process.  So I'll say this straight aw … [Read more...]

The Kids are Definitely NOT All Right

It might be slightly twisted of me I know, but I love it when a film disturbs me.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good inspirational story (maybe not as much as the next person), but there's something about being physically, intellectually, or morally unsettled that, to me, is a potentially more rewarding experience.  Though I don't do much of the new horror films very well (torture porn's detachment from any semblance of reality is troublesome to put it lightly), I am intrigued by Asian shock c … [Read more...]

Shake It

Heather Hendershot's Shaking the World for Jesus:  Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture is one of several recent books that provides an insightful analysis of evangelical Christians' relationship with popular culture.  Like her contemporary, Daniel Radosh, Hendershot also takes a sympathetic approach to the topic, recognizing that evangelicals make significant meaning out of their interactions with and consumption of popular culture, while also being highly critical of its theological and c … [Read more...]

Dreaming Life

There have been few recent films that I have anticipated as highly as Inception.  Thankfully, it did not disappoint...except for one thing. … [Read more...]

A Free Market of Faith

In her book, Brands of Faith, Mara Einstein argues that religion is a competing commodity in a larger marketplace.  James B. Twitchell takes this notion closely to heart and runs with it in his book, Shopping for God:  How Christianity Went From In Your Heart to In Your Face.  He argues that denominational differences have less to do with dogma and more to do with packaging and advertising...or lack thereof.  Throw non-denominational megachurches into the mix and the picture becomes even cle … [Read more...]

Leading and Belonging

What could we possibly learn from the LeBron-athon that took place over the last two weeks other than professional sports stars are narcissistic and our popular culture couldn't care less because we can't get enough of sports? If we scratch the surface, I think we can learn, or be reminded of, a little more. … [Read more...]

The Power to Unite and Divide

At times, many of us have reacted to a professional sporting event as if it were a matter of life and death.  For professional soccer players in Colombia during the '80s and '90s it was.  The recent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, The Two Escobars, focuses on Pablo Escobar and Andres Escobar (no relation) and their drastically different views of and impacts on Colombian soccer.  Not only is the film ripe with discussion material for sports and religion/theology, it is one of the best documentaries I … [Read more...]