Monday, March 31, 2014

Various Responses to "Noah"

Trevin Wax of The Gospel Coalition collects a few responses to the new "Noah" movie. The movie and its reception are a revealing tale of the philosophy of Christian film and storytelling, as well as theology and the arts.

It’s a movie that’s made waves among evangelicals (pun intended), but let’s be honest: we’re not all in the same boat here. In fact, I struggle to remember any film that has drawn so much praise and criticism from churchgoing Christians.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

TGC's "Divergent" Book Review

The film Divergent comes out in theaters tomorrow. It's the first of a trilogy of dystopian teen novels from a Chicago-based author Veronica Roth, who grew up in a posh northwestern suburb of Chicago where I served coffee during my time in grad school. 

The first special thanks offered by Veronica Roth in the acknowledgements section of her debut novel is gratitude to God and his Son. In the next sentence, she uses terminology most Christians would consider profane in expressing her thanks to her agent. This is the sort of contradiction that characterizes Roth’s New York Times-bestselling “Young Adult Dystopian” series comprising Divergent (2011), Insurgent (2012), and Allegiant (2013). The contradiction carries on through the stories and confuses what otherwise could have been an edifying, even Christian, message.

You can read the rest here.

Will I see it? I'm not sure. As I've written before, I enjoy dystopian stories, and I'd like to see a post-apocalyptic portrayal of good ol' Chicago. But, given this review and my hope that dystopian stories don't become a fad (we still have The Hunger Games), I may wait for a few more recommendations.

But hey, at least it's not Twilight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Faux Outrage on the Internet is Numbing Our Souls

A rare insight about social media culture from Tim Challies.

" . . . when we are outraged about every little matter, we lose our ability to be outraged about the most important matters. When we respond with outrage to every little offense, eventually we become hardened to the things that actually matter. If everything is outrageous, nothing is outrageous."

You can read the rest here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Bible: MAV (Minimalist Art Version?)

Graphic designers and all visual artists could appreciate this.

A Presbyterian pastor who moonlights as a graphic designer, Novak describes his Minimum Bible as a "visual diving board" into the text of the Old and New Testament. Composed of 66 minimalist posters, the project is Novak's attempt to distill each book of the Bible into a single symbolic design.

In addition to encouraging people to think more deeply about the Bible, Novak hopes that the Minimum Bible might inspire some increased design awareness among Christians. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Un- Millennials

I am a millennial, and I've read a lot of blogs and editorials, from in and outside of the Church, that either encourage or depress readers (but never a combination thereof).

But this isn't an article so much about millennials as it is about social (and pending economic) change. And it's a bit spooky, to say the least. Socio-cultural change like this can't come from one factor alone (e.g. technology/social media).

Read it over here and tell me your thoughts.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Fun: Spring Forward Fail

Here's a humorous reminder from the Skit Guys to set your clocks forward tomorrow night.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

7 (Tongue-in-Cheek) Steps to Go on an Internet Fast

Good ol' wisdom from Jon Acuff:

Step 1: Go online crazy
Step 2: Write a blog post about taking a digital fast
Step 3: Start a Twitter countdown
Step 4: Go offline
Step 5: After a week, go back online
Step 6: Share the valuable lessons you learned while on your digital fast
Step 7: Return right back to your pre-digital fast amount of online consumption

Read his explanations here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

A prayer for Ash Wednesday. HT: Scotty Smith.

     My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashesJob 42:5-6
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sinPsalm 51:1-2
He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healedIsa. 53:5
     Dear heavenly Father, on this Ash Wednesday, accepting my mortality, and acknowledging my need, has never been so easy, life-giving, and freeing For you resist the proud and give grace to the humble, and I relish all the grace you freely give us in Jesus.
I am so grateful that it was according to your “unfailing love” and “great compassion” that you completely blotted out my transgressions, for I had no other appeal or hope. I trust only, and fully, in the finished work of Jesus, for the “washing and cleansing” from all my sins, that I desperately needed and still need. I have peace with you, only because Jesus took the punishment I deserve.
Father, during the entire season of Lent, I pray you will intensify my awe of Jesus’ cross; that I might genuinely repent of the ways I continue to under-believe the gospel, run to broken cisterns, and love so poorly.
It’s only because of my standing in Christ, that I can fall on my face before you—deeply convicted of my sin, but without the burden of my guilt.
It’s only because you’ve declared me righteous in your sight, that I declare myself needful of your grace—to change me, heal me, and free me.
It’s only because I’m certain you’ll complete the work you began in us, that I gladly submit to the present work of your Spirit in me. O, for the Day when we’ll be as lovely and as loving as Jesus. Hasten that Day, Lord; hasten that Day. Until then, make me more humble, grateful, and generous. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ trustworthy and worship-worthy name.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Learning Multi-Ethnic Worship

My church just finished their annual missions conference, where we learned, among other things, wonderful stories about how God is working through our missionaries across the world. So, yeah, I should have posted this earlier. There are some very insightful and wise thoughts here, that apply not just those seeking to produce multi-ethnic worship services, but to the heart of worship itself.

Luther once said,  “After the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”[1] Yet it often seems this secondary treasure causes some of the greatest division in churches – especially those comprised of multiple ethnicities. After all, a myriad of cultures and ethnicities guarantees a myriad of preferences that, frankly, people don’t want to give up.