June 9, 2018

When I walked out of the theater after seeing “Saved!” 14 years ago, I was conflicted. I’d laughed quite a bit during Brian Dannelly’s satire of evangelical life, but it was often uncomfortable. Was Dannelly a Christian laughing at the extremes of his faith? Or were his attempts to find humor in American religion cynical and mean-spirited? As a rabidly Reformed twentysomething, could I be onboard with a movie that preached loving others without the disclaimer, “but, you know, sin… Read more

June 7, 2018

You will never be perfect. Stop clinging to that goal, because it’s not going to happen. Stop waiting for the perfect time, because it will never arrive. Stop beating yourself up for every mistake, thinking you’re above them, because you’re not. Perfection is unattainable. It will always slip through your fingers. When you meet one goal, another lies beyond it. The more light that shines on you, the more you’ll be aware how much you still need a bath. You… Read more

June 5, 2018

I’ve had people remark that I’m hard on Christians. Whether on this blog, on social media or in conversation, my harshest words are often for professing believers, while I tend to go easy on those who don’t share my beliefs. I’m not going to deny this — and no, I’m not going to use the excuse that “Jesus’ strongest rebukes were for the religious teachers of the day.” I’m not Jesus, and that statement both ignores Christ’s repeated calls to… Read more

June 3, 2018

Communion is sacred. It’s one of two ordinances that Jesus explicitly commanded his followers to observe, the other being baptism. It’s a time for the Body to corporately remember Christ’s sacrifice, consuming the bread and wine (or, if you’re Baptist, grape juice), and thinking on his body and blood, broken and spilled out on the cross. It’s a time of fellowship, reflection and prayer. It’s a hallmark of Christian life. I’ve participated in communion almost every month since I was… Read more

June 1, 2018

I am a product of Christian camp. When I was a kid, one of the highlights of my summer was loading up my stuff in the church van and visiting Michigan’s Lake Ann Baptist Camp (I believe it’s now just called Lake Ann Camp because “Baptist” raise eyebrows). Like most summer camps, it provided an excuse for a week of bog walks, campfires, early crushes and launches from The Blob. Because it was a Christian camp, it also means my… Read more

May 29, 2018

When it was alleged that Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, had counseled women to stay with their abusive husbands and forgive their rapists without going to the police, some were shocked that such teaching could come from Christian circles. When he was asked to resign from his position but still granted an honorary emeritus title, some were stunned that the church could be so tone deaf. (Update: As of May 30, Patterson has been fired and stripped of… Read more

May 25, 2018

Since its release 10 years ago, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” has been a punchline. The term “nuke the fridge” replaced “jump the shark” in the vernacular and jokes about a geriatric Indy abounded. It seemed director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford had lost their magic, turning a beloved franchise into a hodgepodge of bad CGI and Shia LaBeouf Tarzan swings. But here’s the thing: A decade ago, it was a different story. The film… Read more

May 23, 2018

About five minutes into “Camp Manna,” it’s clear that the filmmakers are in on the joke. The film, available on digital platforms June 5, follows a young boy, Ian (Luke Klein), during a summer at a Christian camp. Ian has gone to live with his pious aunt and uncle following a family tragedy, and he’s in no mood for a summer of Bible drills and the ultra-competitive “God Games,” lorded over by the unstable camp director Jack “Cujo” Parrish (Gary… Read more

May 21, 2018

Last week, a young man walked into his Texas high school armed with a gun, killing 10 of his classmates and wounding 13 others. It’s alleged that one of his victims was a young woman who rejected his advances. In April, Alex Minassian drove his car into a Toronto crowd, killing 10. Shortly before his attack, Minassian posted on Facebook ‘The Incel Rebellion Has Already Begun” and applauded another angry young man who killed six in California in 2014, leaving… Read more

May 18, 2018

This is the time of year when I am normally at my movie-geekiest. Usually by mid-April, I’ve already purchased Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Movie Preview and am plotting how to make it to all the big releases each week. This summer, I could barely tell you what’s coming out. Like everyone else, I saw “Avengers: Infinity War” opening weekend, and I’m reasonably excited for “Incredibles 2” and “”Mission Impossible: Fallout.” But other than that? I have rarely given it much thought…. Read more

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