Classic Billy Graham, at 95 years of age

The Rev. Billy Graham has been worried about the state of America's soul for a long, long time.So it wasn't surprising that -- when preaching what could be his final sermon -- the 95-year-old evangelist looked straight into the camera and talked about sin and tears, repentance and salvation. And the cross."Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times when I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God," said … [Read more...]

‘The Exorcist’ — Taking incarnate evil seriously for 40 years

In the middle of a New York Magazine dialogue on heaven and hell, damnation and salvation, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia offered this theological zinger: "I even believe in the Devil."The Devil is a major player in the Gospels and faithful Catholics know that, he said, before adding: "Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history."The principalities and powers of elite America were shocked, shocked by his confession. But one veteran Hollywood scribe pounded out a … [Read more...]

That Superman debate: Moses or the Messiah?

Without a doubt, it's one of the most famous and magical incantations in American pop culture."Look, up in the sky!""It's a bird!""It's a plane!"The last line in this mass-media chant is, of course: "It's Superman!"However, whenever a major product is released in the Superman canon -- such as "Man of Steel," which grossed $113 million on its first weekend -- many fan boys and scribes will immediately begin arguing about two other potential identities, symbolically speaking, … [Read more...]

Making a case for the common hymnal

There was a time when the faithful in the heavily Dutch corners of the Midwest would not have been able to sing along if the organist played the gospel classic, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."True, some may have recognized the hymn that Mahalia Jackson sang at the 1968 funeral of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., since this was the civil rights leader's favorite: "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, … [Read more...]

Zombies are US, 2013 edition

It seems to happen whenever Steve Beard hangs out with friends -- especially folks who don't go to church -- talking about movies, television and whatever else is on their minds."It may take five minutes or it may take as long as 10, but sooner or later you're going to run into some kind zombie comment," said Beard, editor of Good News, a magazine for United Methodist evangelicals. He is also known for writing about faith and popular culture."Someone will say something like, 'When the … [Read more...]


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