Culture Watch

Administrator 7-22-2008

I've been on a real art binge of late. Reading, watching, listening to, experiencing, and creating as much as I can. Good art isn't just creative, it's generative -- that is, it inspires creative acts in others. It gives us hands to shape the world in new and living ways. And I've been thinking a lot about how much this world we share needs more of it.

Like any other act of love, I believe art is fundamentally contributive, not transactional. It's not an if-you-do-this-I'll-do-that [...]

Tony Jones 7-10-2008

Tony Jones Great GrandfatherThis summer, two friends and I are doing something that seems a bit outlandish (especially for 40-year-old guys). We've borrowed a friend's RV, and we're touring the country to talk about our books. Doug Pagitt (A Christianity Worth Believing), Mark Scandrette (

Gareth Higgins 7-09-2008

Hancock(Spoiler warning--some major plot details are revealed in this article. Stop reading now if you want to see the movie without knowing the outcome. However by the time you've read this article you may not want to see it anyway.)

"Hancock" (the current vehicle for the biggest star in the world, Will Smith) is a superhero story that, on the surface, seems to [...]

John Potter 7-02-2008

Low: You May Need a MurdererLow is a band that defies easy characterization. Over their 15 years as lauded pioneers of the minimalist brand of indie rock they're so closely identified with (they're not crazy about the oft-applied term "slow-core"), the husband-and-wife team of guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker -- plus a [...]

Duane Shank 6-27-2008

Comedian George Carlin died this week. While his humor could often be profane, there was one of his standard pieces that I loved the first time I heard it and have ever since. It was titled [...]

Daniel Ra 6-25-2008

Sometimes it's hard to hear justice at first ...Yet we are asked to diligently seek it ...

When you take your big prize home, be sure to tell me
You won it with your bag of tricks, flicks, and candy

And I'll be sure to tell you, you've done a good job
For making yourself [...]

Jim Wallis 6-17-2008

Father's Day was especially poignant this year with the shocking weekend news of the death of Tim Russert, the long-time and extraordinary host of Meet The Press. I knew Tim a little, mostly from the times I have been on the show or at Washington events that we both attended. Watching Meet The Press is a Sunday ritual for me; one of the very few things on television that I always tape. Tim Russert's unexpected passing broke the heart of official Washington and the [...]

Becky Garrison 6-03-2008

Some days the material writes itself. As reported by The Washington Post , Mary Stevenson's son claims that as his mother penned the infamous poem, "Footprints in the Sand," he seeks any royalties earned from said literary [...]

Eugene Cho 5-28-2008

I don't want to assume that readers automatically know who Steven Curtis Chapman is, but if you've been surfing the Web recently, it's very likely you may have seen the name. Chapman is one of the most visible and influential figures of the Christian music genre. As of 2007, he has sold more than 10 million albums, has nine gold and platinum albums, and won five Grammy awards.

Chapman [...]

Some fun for your Friday: Mark Pinsky, author of The Gospel According to the Simpsons, has reviewed the newly released

Anna Almendrala 5-21-2008

On Christmas Day a few years ago in Dallas, Texas, Socheata Poeuv's parents called a family meeting to tell her that her sisters weren't really her sisters, and her brother was not her full brother. After 25 years of attempting to live a "normal American life," her parents revealed a shocking family secret that would draw them all back to Cambodia, the home they fled and struggled to forget [...]

Logan Isaac 5-13-2008

My fingers have been tapping out of control for more than a month and a half now. Don't worry, though -- I am not falling to the symptoms of my own PTSD just yet. At the completion of the Winter Soldier event, all Iraq [...]

Jarrod McKenna 5-13-2008

If you thought socially conscious music in the mainstream was a thing of the past, turn your ears to what Australia is listening to. A song about justice and reconciliation in Australia was the highest new entry in the charts two weeks ago - starting out at #2 on the Australian charts and #2 after Madonna on the digital track charts - and remains in the top 50. As The New York Times reported:

Gareth Higgins 4-17-2008

I've been traveling lately, and in various hotels and friend's guest rooms, have seen more TV than usual. This sojourn away from my usual ignorance of broadcast television has provided the following dubious delights:

Anna Almendrala 4-14-2008

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 [...]

Gareth Higgins 4-07-2008

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

Becky Garrison 4-03-2008

Following is an excerpt from an interview with Bob Abernethy that will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Wittenburg Door.


GARRISON: When you reflect over your years of doing Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, how would you assess the role of religion in [...]

Becky Garrison 3-20-2008

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 [...]

Becky Garrison 3-12-2008

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.


Wrong.


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

Becky Garrison 3-06-2008

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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