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...]

Columbine, Newtown and our culture of death

Blame it on the guns. No, blame the judges who banned Godtalk in schools, along with most lessons about right and wrong. No, our lousy national mental health care system caused this hellish bloodbath. No, the problem is the decay of American families, with workaholic parents chained to their desks while their children grow up in suburban cocoons with too much time on their hands. No, it's Hollywood's fault. How can children tell the difference between fantasy and reality when they've been … [Read more...]

Hail Marys for Hitch

One of the last things Thomas Peters does each day is face the Cross of St. Benedict that hangs over his bed and say his evening prayers. The sobering final phrases of the Hail Mary prayer have recently taken on a unique relevancy: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." A month ago, the conservative Catholic writer challenged readers of the American Papist website to join him in praying one Hail Mary a day on behalf of the iconoclastic atheist … [Read more...]

Heaven, hell and funerals

Anyone who has lived in a minister's house knows that middle-of-the-night telephone calls often bring bad news. But for many pastors there is one kind of call that is uniquely painful. There are times when the shock of death is easier to handle than questions about eternal life. "It happens like this," noted the Rev. J. Gerald Harris, who became editor of the Southern Baptist newspaper of Georgia after 40 years in ministry. "A grieving widow would call and say with a broken heart and … [Read more...]

Zombies meet Dante at the mall

Kim Paffenroth was 13 years old when filmmaker George A. Romero released "Dawn of the Dead," so he knew he would need parental guidance to see the gory classic about flesh-eating, undead zombies and the shopping mall from hell."I wasn't really a horror movie fan," he said, flashing back to 1979. "But for some reason I bugged my dad until he bought two tickets. He said, 'OK, but I'm not sitting through that thing. Meet me outside when it's over.' "The movie was sickening, disturbing, funny and … [Read more...]

Hellish grudges can kill

The helicopters kept making circles in the air so that the cameramen could keep showing the dairy farms and country roads, the bonnets and wide-brimmed straw hats, the horse-drawn buggies and the one-room schoolhouse framed in yellow police tape.Soon the facts started going in circles as police recited a litany about 600 rounds of ammunition, a shotgun, a semiautomatic pistol, a stun gun, explosives and, later, the killer's sick collection of chains, clamps, hardware and sexual aids. Witnesses … [Read more...]

Hell through the Hollywood lens

LOS ANGELES -- Hell looks really cool, when seen through a Hollywood lens.The good guys in the upcoming thriller "Constantine" do comment on the sulfur smell in the hell edition of Los Angeles and it's a pain coping with all those extra tortured, brainless, flesh-eating demons on the 101 Freeway. But the city still looks like Los Angeles, even after an eternity of hurricane-force firestorms.The other place can't compete, when it comes to entertainment value."The reason why heaven isn't shown as … [Read more...]


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