The Common Good

Culture Watch

The Year of Living Biblically: Interview with Author A.J. Jacobs

In church one day, my pastor asked us to raise our hands if we believed in what the Bible said. The right answer seemed pretty obvious, and the whole congregation and I raised our hands. Then he asked us to raise our hand if we had read the Bible in its entirety. Touché, Pastor Sean. Touché.

In his latest book, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as [...]

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Charlton Heston: Complex Icon

Charlton Heston died this weekend at age 84, following Roy Scheider and Richard Widmark as the latest in a series of powerful cinematic actors to pass away -- although Heston was probably best known to a younger generation as the old guy who walked out of a Michael Moore interview in Bowling for Columbine. His was an ambivalent life

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Edwidge Danticat Describes a 'Death by Asylum'

A few of us around Sojourners have been reading award-winning Haitian-born writer Edwidge Danticat since she published her first novel Breath, Eyes, Memory in 1994. Ten years later we were thrilled when she sent us a lovely vignette,

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Sojourners Article Subject Becomes Independent Film

In March 2006, Sojourners editorial projects intern Celeste Kennel-Shank wrote a great feature article for us titled "Green Hair, Grey Hair" about the D.C.-based project "We Are Family" started by Mark Anderson. Now, for the first time on the independent screen, one of our articles has inspired a movie! Read the description below about the new film directed by Katrina Taylor and produced by [...]

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A Giant Religious Rummage Sale

When I interviewed Phyllis Tickle for Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church, she reflected on the seismic changes she sees occurring in contemporary Christianity. "Evangelicalism has lost much of its [...]

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Struggling With a 'Purple State of Mind'

When I got an invite to attend a screening of the documentary, Purple State of Mind, I went in expecting to see a blue state v. red state dialogue/debate with some quest to find political common ground.


Instead, I was treated to an honest and humorous dialogue between Craig Detweiler and John Marks, two former college [...]

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Carrie Newcomer's Songs for Change

On Jan. 22, 2008, I headed down to Joe's Pub in New York City to celebrate the launch of Quaker singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer's CD The Geography of Light. Newcomer's lyrics, grounded in her faith formed by a Midwestern sensibility, reminded me of

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Who Should Win the Oscars

As I wrote here last week, this year's Oscars, which take place on Sunday night, seem to have caught a cultural mood in cinema that's worthy of reflection

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My Thoughts on "Souled Out"

It's true: the religious radio/TV waves are still pretty crowded with 24/7 programming that proclaims a less-than-integral understanding of the Christian gospel and its social implications. But on the bookshelves, thankfully, it's a different story.

Another recent treasure is E.J. Dionne's Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right. I recently participated in an online discussion of the [...]

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The Moral Pulse of the Oscars

The Oscars are a little under two weeks from now - with the threat of the writer's strike leading to an unexpected interruption of one of the most surreal nights of the pop culture year now gone. Rich and famous folk slapping each other on the back, handing out gold statuettes for works of art that many of us haven't seen. It has always surprised me how the winning speeches rarely seem to mention the films that have [...]

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