07 Sep 2016

Podcasts in Review

I’ve fallen into a routine of listening. Not to background music, not even to audiobooks—although I enjoy both—but shorter form podcasts. These present information in an episodic and serial manner, which can be completed without as much fear of getting lost in either the length or the breadth of the material. As I’ve formed the routine, the podcasts have lined up naturally for me in basic time slots and order. These podcasts are not all

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
11 Jan 2016

The Revenant | Movie Review

The marketing materials for “The Revenant” have pitched the movie as a Canadian-wilderness revenge drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who gets smashed around by a gigantic bear. And while that’s all entirely accurate, “The Revenant” aspires to be something more – a haunting glimpse of alien northern landscapes untouched by human hands, within which a lone survivor must come to terms with both his own mortality and his own insignificance. In the capable hands of director

John Ehrett 0
11 Dec 2015

Gospel of the Lord | Book Review

Gospel Studies exists as a relatively neglected field that has long taken a back seat to the study of the Historical Jesus or perspectives on Paul. Yet—argues Michael F. Bird—this realm of study stands ripe with opportunities for research and theological growth. To begin addressing the historical problem of how the life and teachings of Jesus became the fourfold gospel accounts of the New Testament, Bird offers The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early

Jacob Prahlow 1
16 Nov 2015

Spectre | Movie Review

“Spectre” is a frustrating film to review: in its attempt to provide a resolution to the last several films, it has one hand in the best of modern James Bond (“Casino Royale,” “Skyfall”) and one in the worst (“Quantum of Solace”). Here, Bond (Daniel Craig) continues his journey into the modern era: MI6 is planning to launch a giant global surveillance program, while villainous organization Spectre (headed by an enigmatic figure allegedly from Bond’s past)

John Ehrett 0
15 Oct 2015

Go Set A Watchman | Book Review

Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscience.1 In reading the long hoped for follow up to To Kill A Mockingbird, one is struck by similarities and differences: similarities in setting and characters, differences from how we expected those characters and settings to turn out. Despite some minor quibbles (noted below), Go Set A Watchman presents a good companion piece for To Kill

Jeff Reid 0
07 Oct 2015

Everest | Movie Review

Having dabbled in entry-level rock climbing in my preprofessional life, I’m fascinated by movies exploring the subject. I was nowhere near proficient: just hiking up Colorado’s 14,000-foot Mount Elbert was an unforgettably grueling experience. Needless to say, I have great admiration for those who face the savage physical test that is Mount Everest. Such a feat, however, carries with it extreme risks to life and limb. “Everest” depicts the 1996 disaster that claimed the lives

John Ehrett 0
25 Aug 2015

Courtship in Crisis | Book Review

As I thought about writing this book review, I realized that I couldn’t write it as only a typical book review. Every so often books are published that represent significant paradigmatic evolution within a culture or discourse. Courtship in Crisis: The Case For Traditional Dating by Thomas Umstattd Jr. is one such book. I feel this post could reasonably be titled “How Courtship in Crisis Has Changed The Christian Matrimonial Discourse as We Know It.”

Justin Megna 2
20 Aug 2015

Bullet Points and Worldviews

Late last week, I found myself embroiled in a long online conversation with an acquaintance over my review of the recent film “Straight Outta Compton.” The movie, which charts the rise of controversial rap group N.W.A., is a well-made biographical drama that raises challenging questions. It also, as one might expect given the subject matter, contains a good deal of content that will be off-putting to certain viewers (and is undoubtedly inappropriate for audiences beneath

John Ehrett 2
22 Jul 2015

Review: Finding Your Way Back to God

Finding Your Way Back to God Dave Ferguson & Jon Ferguson Multnomah Books, 2015 $22.99 His name was Chris. For many years, there was a book he hated. He said it was the worst book he ever read! One day he told this to the Executive Officer (“XO”) of his Marine Corps unit. This is the story. Before a long holiday weekend, Chris’s unit commander called for every Marine to have their personal vehicle inspected

Chris Casberg 1
15 Jun 2015

Jurassic World | Movie Review

You can keep your “Avengers” sequels: aside from the forthcoming “Star Wars” reboot, this was far-and-away my most anticipated film of the year. (For reference, I watch the original “Jurassic Park” at least twice a year and saw it in 3D during the 20th anniversary rerelease). That said, it is a truth universally acknowledged that “The Lost World” was a bit of a letdown and that “Jurassic Park III” was an outright debacle. So does

John Ehrett 1
10 Jun 2015

The Anthropology of The Avengers: Age of Ultron

This article is not so much a film critique as it is an attempt to extract some ultimate meaning from this popular flick.  I do not attend the theatre as often as I would like or can afford, but when I do I find myself constantly trying to perceive applicability to real life from what I see on screen.  I am fascinated and beguiled by the world of visual narrative, and I believe we are

Joseph Green 2
05 Jun 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road | Movie Review

I have never seen a film quite like this: a hyperkinetic, utterly relentless aural and visual onslaught that somehow never runs out of gas. George Miller’s postapocalyptic action spectacle is a thrilling summer movie if ever there was one, and demands to be viewed on the largest screen possible (if it’s between this and “Age of Ultron,” see “Fury Road”). The aesthetic is almost indescribable: a grungy ultra-saturated color palette coupled with outlandishly stylized dieselpunk

John Ehrett 2
14 May 2015

Ex Machina | Movie Review

Artificial intelligence is clearly the menace of the cinematic hour. The old menace posed by the Skynet of the “Terminator” franchise has taken on additional credibility in the era of “big data,” which offers the possibility of algorithmic analysis on a heretofore undreamt-of scale. Alex Garland’s recent thriller “Ex Machina,” however, trades guns for words and explosions for psychological turbulence, raising fundamental questions within a deeply intimate context. “Ex Machina” opens as Caleb Smith (Domhnall

John Ehrett 0
17 Feb 2015

The Skeletons in God’s Closet | Book Review

If you’re an even somewhat aware follower of Jesus in today’s post-Christian culture, then you’ve all but certainly encountered bizarre caricatures of God and Christianity hurled like spears at the faith by critics and detractors. Well-known English actor Stephen Fry recently went on a tirade against God in a now-viral television interview. Ricky Gervais’ 2009 comedy The Invention of Lying interprets religious belief as an emotional panacea, an outlandish lie we tell each other and

Chris Casberg 3
05 Feb 2015

The Church According to Paul | Book Review

The Christian church is facing a crisis. It is losing face, hemorrhaging influence in the public sphere of Western civilization, churches decline in membership, and increasing swaths of people are not longer interested in what Christianity has to offer. This apparent decline is not a new trend to be sure—and stems, at least in part, from the ecclesiastical shift which began during the Protestant Reformation—but it is no less concerning. In order to address these

Jacob Prahlow 0
02 Feb 2015

The Ironic Conservatism of “Transparent”

Most of the reviews I write deal with blockbuster movies, since that’s the type of film I know most readers will be seeing. That said, I also try to make a point of engaging with art that falls outside the domains with which I’m conventionally familiar. Since I happen to already be an Amazon Prime subscriber, I thought I’d give “Transparent” a look (particularly given how much I enjoyed Amazon’s “Mozart In The Jungle,” which

John Ehrett 1
28 Jan 2015

Covenant Children Today: Physical or Spiritual? | Book Review

Baptism. Until you’ve looked into the issue, it might seem like one of those odd topics that some people love to discuss, but in the end the answer you land on isn’t super important. At least that’s what I had thought. Recently though, I decided that Baptism was a topic that deserved a closer look. Towards that end, I borrowed a couple books and got to reading. The first of these books was Alan Conner’s

Jeff Reid 4
19 Jan 2015

American Sniper | Movie Review

Clint Eastwood’s biographical study of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle – a sniper credited with over 160 confirmed kills, the most in U.S. military history – will likely be remembered as the “Saving Private Ryan” of the Iraq War. This will undoubtedly seem high praise for a film which just opened in wide release: “American Sniper,” however, not only offers an exceptional character study, but brilliantly captures the conflicted cultural ethos surrounding a war to which

John Ehrett 2
11 Dec 2014

Theology After Vedanta | Book Review

Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology offers an important step forward in comparative studies, laying a foundation for a fruitful (re)reading and (re)working of theological conceptions in our pluralistic context.

Jacob Prahlow 2
27 Nov 2014

Genesis of the Dead | Book Review

As a PhD student, I read a lot. I read for work, school, and fun—hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages each week. Very rarely, however, do I encounter a book that is uproariously funny. Even rarer are books which are simultaneously hilarious and theologically sound. C. T. Casberg’s Genesis of the Dead: A Zombie Comedy of Biblical Proportions, however, fits this bill perfectly. A joy to read, Genesis of the Dead is both side-splittingly-funny and theologically

Jacob Prahlow 0