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 →

Book Review: The Ball and the Cross

The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesterton

The Ball and The Cross by G. K. Chesterton (New York: Dover Publications, 1995; originally published in 1910. 178 pp) G. K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and Christian apologist. He is best known for his non-fiction such as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. The Good News? “Have you spread the Gospel?” This question operates as a foundational principle for the majority of Evangelicals. The core purpose—maybe even the only purpose—surrounds converting souls. Family must be Christian. When a child is born, the mission of the parents exists only to bring the child to Christ. Unbelievers throughout the family need the cross. I would venture most awkward holiday conversations emerge from this evangelical mandate. Work does not exist for… Read More →

Book Review: The Kingdom Net

The Kingdom Net by Joseph Castleberry

The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network like Jesus by Joseph Castleberry (Springfield: My Healthy Church, 2013. 312 pp) Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Raised in Alabama and educated at Evangel University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Columbia University (EdD), he has served as a youth pastor, campus minister, church planter, university professor, missionary to Latin America, community development entrepreneur, seminary dean, and college president. He is also the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life (Experience the Life) (NavPress, 2012). A Theology of Work Given my background, I will always have room for books giving accounts on a theology of work. In truth, work can be a nasty environment… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Leftovers: Season 1

The Leftovers Season 1

The Leftovers: Season 1 created by Damon Lindelof (Warner Bros. Television) Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, and Carrie Coon. Dream State Are you a dreamer? Do you spend those hours before sunrise drifting in the lightest sleep states while your mind explores surreal connections between ideas, people, and objects? How about those moments after you’re awake, stumbling to the shower hoping for the cascading water to rouse your slumbering soul? These moments can be confusing. Truth and fiction have little meaning. Your body reacts slowly as your brain works to restore consciousness. You probably have heard funny stories from others about the crazy things you’ve said in these states. For example, my… Read More →

Book Review: Every Good Endeavor

Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf (New York: Dutton, 2012. 288 pp) Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1989, he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Katherine Leary Alsdorf worked twenty-five years in the high-tech industry as an economic analyst and in various executive leadership positions. After her CEO roles at One Touch Systems and Pensare, Redeemer Presbyterian Church recruited her to lead the church’s efforts in marketplace ministry, now called the Center for Faith & Work. Defining Point The year between my undergraduate and… Read More →