June 14, 2021

With all the attempts Christians have made to gain a foothold in consumer culture, how come there’s never been a successful Christian cereal?  Comedian John Oliver recently lamented that there have been no new developments in cereal in decades (warning: language). And he’s right: Aside from cereals branded for modern movies or TV shows, my kids’ breakfast options are basically what I had growing up. They eat Trix, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles (and they don’t even know who Fred… Read more

June 11, 2021

If you grew up in evangelical circles, chances are you’re familiar with wars over worship styles.  My dad was a part-time worship leader at the church we attended in my teens, and he worked hard to provide a steady balance of beloved hymns and contemporary praise. As a result, he received criticism from all sides. Those who loved hymns grumbled about the drums and guitars. Those who wanted the latest choruses complained when he trotted out the stuffy old songs. … Read more

June 9, 2021

I have been a bit obsessed with the new faith-based Netflix musical A Week Away. Since watching it in April, I have not gone a week without thinking about it.  That’s not necessarily because the movie is good. The mashup of High School Musical and your youth group’s skit night is exactly what you’d expect: cheesy teen hijinks dressed up in squeaky-clean church (camp) clothes. It’s never as angry or offensive as something like God’s Not Dead, but it also… Read more

June 7, 2021

Ten songs into the new Five Iron Frenzy album, Until This Shakes Apart, comes its most cathartic moment. In “While Supplies Last,” lead singer Reese Roper lambastes the hypocrisy of those who profess faith yet reveal their greed, turn a blind eye to the needy and demonize those who don’t fit into their box.  It’s already an angry song, and it steadily builds in ferocity, as if Roper is a kettle about to erupt. After two verses, he explodes, raging… Read more

June 3, 2021

The pandemic isn’t over, but an end appears to be in sight. As we consider post-COVID worship, it might be wise to continue outdoor church gatherings — and not just for safety.  For many churches, outdoor worship services provided a way for congregations to safely gather in warmer months instead of streaming sermons in their living rooms. Particularly for small churches, where social distancing in sanctuaries was not an option, meeting at a local park or setting up a stage… Read more

June 2, 2021

Four years ago, singer-songwriter Derek Webb released Fingers Crossed, an album exploring the emotional aftermath of his marriage’s dissolution and his breakup with Christianity. Last month, he seemed to imply that it may have been less a breakup than a break. Is it marketing? Art? Spiritual grappling? Maybe all of the above.  Derek Webb: Caedmon’s questioner  For those who only knew Derek Webb through his work with folk group Caedmon’s Call, I imagine his deconstruction was a shock. Caedmon’s was… Read more

June 1, 2021

I am a product of Christian culture, but lately, I’ve struggled with unpacking the treasure from the piles of Jesus Junk.  Baptist boy  My parents were not in the ministry, but our family was very involved in the Baptist churches we attended, which ranged from fairly permissive to stereotypically strict. At our first church, my dad served a year as a deacon and signed a form prohibiting us from dancing, rock music and movies; my mom snuck me into The… Read more

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