Book Review: Fire Sermon

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

Fire Sermon: A Novel by Jamie Quatro (New York: Grove Press, 2018. 224 pp) Jamie Quatro holds an MA in English from the College of William and Mary, and an MFA in fiction from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, The Kenyon Review, VQR, and Agni. Her debut collection, I Want to Show You More, gained critical acclaim and Fire Sermon is her debut novel. Quatro teaches in the MFA program at Sewanee, The University of the South. She lives with her husband and four children in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Hooked on a Feeling What’s the theological significance of a feeling? What weight should we place on those gut instincts—the emotions that… Read More →

Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 2

Crashing Season 2

Crashing: Season 2 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Artie Lange, George Basil, Lauren Lapkus, and Jamie Lee. Christians of a Particular Background For Christians of a particular background, life as a twenty-something represents a reckoning. The belief system around which life operates through school and youth group begins to crack and fissure. The world changes. Simple and straightforward answers blend into a gray stew. What used to be obvious about the way things work—the way we ought to live—transitions as novel ideas and new people enter your life. These conflicts shoot Christians in a variety of directions, like a centrifugal force pummeling Christ followers with unbearable g-forces before they fly away. Some Christians bear down… Read More →

Book Review: Barabbas

Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist

Barabbas by Pär Lagerkivst, translated by Alan Blair (New York: Vintage International, 1951. 144 pp) Pär Lagerkivst was the author of more than 35 books and was renowned for his versatility as a poet, dramatist, essayist, and novelist. In 1940 he was elected one of the 18 “Immortals” of the Swedish Academy, and in 1951 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1974. Starring in Your Own Story Every minor character in someone else’s story is the protagonist in their own story. The best stories show character depth for everyone because we all lead our own stories. When a film, television series, or novel falters, it tends to unravel in these tertiary characters. The love interest’s… Read More →

Film Review: Silence

Silence

Silence written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, directed by Martin Scorsese (Paramount Pictures, Cappa DeFina Productions, CatchPlay, EFO Films, R, 161 min) Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, Issei Ogata, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Yoshi Oida, and Yôsuke Kubozuka. Searching for Rootedness Is there a way for a tree to find roots in a swamp? And if not, is there a way to discover meaning and life without the particular landscaping strategy that includes this tree? Martin Scorsese raises this question in his divine masterwork, Silence. The central challenge to the Christian faith emerges in its application, like an arborist planting trees everywhere. If Christianity is true, should it not apply to all people and all… Read More →

Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 1

Crashing Season 1

Crashing: Season 1 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, Artie Lange, and George Basil. The World Probably Doesn’t Need Another Autobiographical Show about a White Guy, But I Need this Show I know. I know. The autobiographical comedy based on a comedians’ point of view possesses no critical addition to the cultural milieu. Much like the rise of anti-hero drama in the 2000s, the autobiographical comedy has many reference points, chief of which emerges in the acclaimed series Louie highlighting the life of Louis C.K. And yet, Crashing, the vehicle for Pete Holmes’ rise into the comedy world resonates with my life to a point where I am glad it airs, despite its well-tread… Read More →

Book Review: Silence

Silence by Endo

Silence: A Novel by Shūsaku Endō, translated by William Johnston (New York: Picador, 2016; originally published in 1969. 256 pp) Born in Tokyo in 1923, Shūsaku Endō was raised by his mother and an aunt in Kobe, where he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of eleven. At Tokyo’s Keio University, he majored in French literature, graduating with a BA in 1949, before furthering his studies in French Catholic literature at the University of Lyon in France between 1950 and 1953. Before his death in 1996, Endō was the recipient of a number of outstanding Japanese literary awards: the Akutagawa Prize, Mainichi Cultural Prize, Shincho Prize, and the Tanizaki Prize, and was widely considered the greatest Japanese novelist of… Read More →

Film Review: The Witch

The Witch

The Witch written and directed by Robert Eggers (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, R, 92 min) Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, and Lucas Dawson. Real-Life Horror: The Salem Witch Trails 1600s New England provides fertile ground for the horror genre. Ever since grade-school lessons of early American history, the perilous nature of settlement coupled with the puritanical views of the earliest European immigrants equal paranoia and poorly weighted justice. Mention witchcraft in conjunction with early Americana and the Salem witch trails come to mind. Ask the average person about this historical event and the likely response would link to innocent people (mostly women) paying the ultimate price when a paranoid community… Read More →

Book Review: Liturgy of the Ordinary

Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. 184 pp) Tish Harrison Warren writes regularly for The Well, Her.Meneutics, and Christianity Today. She is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, serving at Resurrection South Austin. After seven years of campus ministry with InterVarsity at Vanderbilt and the University of Texas at Austin, she now works with InterVarsity Women in the Academy & Professions. Turning the Ordinary Extraordinary Consider your average day. What did you do? In my day job, we work with clients to define a DITLO, short for “Day In The Life Of.” These exercises intrigue for a handful of reasons; they allow for people to… Read More →

Book Review: You Are What You Love

You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016. 224 pp) James K. A. Smith is the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin College. With a background in philosophy focused on French thought, Smith engages as a public intellectual and cultural critic. In addition to his published books, Smith has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Christianity Today, and The Hedgehog Review. A Divided World We live in a divided world. The obvious unpacking of this statement surrounds divisive politics or schisms between worldviews. But, our experiences are divided even at a metaphysical level. In other words,… Read More →

Book Review: Art in Action

Art in Action by Nicholas Wolterstorff

Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980. 250 pp) Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has also taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. He has received numerous fellowships and serves on the editorial boards for Faith and Philosophy, Topics in Philosophy, and is the general editor for the Supplementary Textbook Project of the Christian College Coalition. In Pursuit of Art One of my most favorite classes as an undergrad explored the philosophy of art. Why do we pursue art? What constitutes a work of art compared to just work? How… Read More →