The Common Good

Culture Watch

Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows, and Mobilizing Kids for Social Justice

1100713-harrypotterjustice2Seeking justice for the oppressed. Working to end the connection of child slavery to chocolate. Helping heal a devastated Haiti. Mobilizing young people to respond to a story of redemption by imaginatively working to build a better world. I think many of us Christians would hope that those words were describing the work of the body of Christ, intent on following the path of Jesus Christ in this world. In this case, they are actually descriptions of the Harry Potter Alliance. That's right -- the Harry Potter Alliance.

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Is Glenn Beck's Departure the Beginning of the End for Fox News?

If you haven't noticed, Glenn Beck -- the vitriolic voice of "reason" and "values" for Fox News -- is gone. Thursday, June 30 marked the end of Beck's controversial career with FOX, but his pandering continues on The Glenn Beck Program, which is broadcast nationwide. While talk-radio remains a favorite medium for right-wing ideology -- and quite successfully at that, considering the top three talk syndicates are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, respectively -- what is more significant is what the ousting of Beck may mean for Fox News.

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8 Inspiring Movies About Social Change

1100629-gandhifilmAh the joy of watching movies in the summer! Of course, there are a number of summer blockbusters coming out that will woo crowds to the theaters, but with the sky-high prices of theater tickets these days, nobody will fault you for wanting to stay home and kick back with a rental. If you're looking for a film that will entertain and inspire you, consider adding some of these excellent films about social change to your online queue. If you have any other films to add to this list, please contribute your favorites in the comments section below. (To read more of my film reviews, check out my monthly column in Sojourners magazine.)

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Worship, Liturgy, and an Introduction to Poet Scott Kinder-Pyle

Scott Kinder-Pyle is a Presbyterian pastor in Spokane, Washington, and the featured poet in Sojourners' July issue.
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Malick's Metaphysics: Creation, Being, and The Tree of Life

When evangelical politicians pronounce on topics like the origins of the universe, the results are almost always awful -- embarrassing, infuriating, unwatchable. When a reclusive, visionary filmmaker like Terrence Malick treats the same subject matter, as he does in his new movie The Tree of Life, one is transported. Which is a useful reminder that the mysteries of creation are best grappled with through art. The book of Genesis, after all, begins not with scientific description or theological argument, but with a poem.

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The Infuriating, Scary, and Ironic Inside Job

Matt Damon's closing words in the Academy Award winning film, Inside Job, are as follows:
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Black Men and 'Jumping the Broom'

In one of my last blog posts on God's Politics, I had some pretty strong opinions on the negative comments made by Bernard Hopkins about Donovan McNabb implying that McN
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Ashley Judd: 'My Christian Faith Demands I Work for Social Justice'

It's noon on the West Coast, and Ashley Judd is scurrying to make a live on-air interview with a National Public Radio local affiliate in Berkeley.
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More Great Summer Reading Ideas

In addition to my summer reading recommendations from the other day, I need to mention a few more.
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A Hymn Celebrating God's Creation

This hymn was originally used for the dedication of the 180 solar panels on the sanctuary of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware where I am the co-pastor.
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