Review

Julie Polter 04-04-2013

Whether you're preaching the Bible, teaching it, or reading it on your own, there are always new facets to be revealed. Here are a few books that may refresh your perspective.

Jung Pyo Hong 04-04-2013

Truth Speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture. Westminster John Knox

Julie Polter 04-04-2013

Novels to stretch the mind and heart.

Elizabeth Palmberg 04-04-2013

The Woman Who Died A Lot. Viking Adult

Min-Ah Cho 03-14-2013

From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart: Rekindling My Love for Catholicism. Ave Maria Press

Mary Kate MacIsaac 03-14-2013

Making Friends Among the Taliban: A Peacemaker's Journey in Afghanistan. Herald Press

Andrew Wilkes 03-14-2013

The Economy for Desire: Christianity and Capitalism in a Postmodern World. Baker Academic

Bible, Gender, Sexuality calls us to a more honest dialogue about scripture's meaning for us today.

Julienne Gage 02-11-2013

Restless Fires: Young John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68. Mercer University Press.

Aimee Kang 02-11-2013

The Cry of Tamar: Violence Against Women and the Church's Response. Fortress Press.

Tobias Winright 01-08-2013

Sacred Acts: How Churches are Working to Protect Earth's Climate. New Society.

Will O'Brien 01-08-2013

Unto Us the Sun by Aimee Wilson. Self-released.

Julie Polter 01-08-2013

ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God's Heart. Zondervan. / Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious. Beacon Press.

Gareth Higgins 01-08-2013

Here's my list of the best films released in 2012.

Jim Forest 11-27-2012

The Catonsville Nine: A Story of Faith and Resistance in the Vietnam Era. Oxford University Press

Andrew Wilkes 11-27-2012

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. SmileyBooks

Brandon Hook 11-09-2012
Courtesy of Andrew Bird's Facebook page.

'Hands of Glory' sees the indie star engage with stripped down blues and country tunes. Courtesy of Andrew Bird's Facebook page.

If you were overwhelmed by all that election business, you might have forgotten that October just happened, and with it came a new release from one of my personal favorite musicians, Andrew Bird.

Hands of Glory, Andrew Bird’s latest record and companion to March’s Break it Yourself, is the product of a pair of recording sessions prompted by an immense response to Bird’s “old-time” sets on recent tours.

Reinterpreting songs from Break It Yourself and featuring covers of classic country tunes, these “old-time” performances find Bird and his full band playing to a single microphone with an entirely acoustic setup.

Drawing inspiration from these sets, Hands of Glory features two brand new original tracks, a new interpretation of “Orpheo Looks Back” from Break It Yourself and covers of Van Zandt, the Handsome Family, Alpha Consumer and others.

The results are fantastic.

Brandon Hook 11-08-2012
Photo from the official 'Lincoln' website.

Abraham Lincoln surveys the battlefield in the new film 'Lincoln.' Photo from the official 'Lincoln' website.

Abraham Lincoln was a storyteller, so it’s fitting that his story has been hashed out on the silver screen — without vampires.

And to say that it simply was “hashed out” would be an injustice to director Stephen Spielberg and everyone who contributed to Lincoln, a film that will be remembered as much for its beauty as the iconic character from which it gets its name.  

I’m not going to lie (pun intended), even though Lincoln is one of the most important figures in American history, I was hesitant about seeing a movie with the potential to be a two-and-a-half hour history class.

But I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Despite its length, the film drew me in and held my attention — even as a millennial growing up with the Internet, which I’m convinced has significantly chipped away at the already small attention span I have.

Brandon Hook 11-02-2012
Photo by Andy Sheppard/Redferns

Kevin Read, Chuck Criss, Judah Dadone, Jacob Hyman and Nicole Mourelatos of Freelance Whales. Photo by Andy Sheppard/Redferns

Freelance Whales’ performance on Wednesday was a bit like my experience with Hurricane Sandy: One minute was jubilation at the prospect of no work for two days, and the next minute was a mellowed out restlessness, presumably from staying inside for too long.

That is definitely not to say that the performance was by any means terrible or disengaging. Rather, it simply means that the group from Queens meandered through most of their current catalogue, which consisted of the poppy, upbeat Weathervanes and the recently released, mellow, ambient Diluvia.

For popular catchy songs like “Generator ^ First Floor,” “Hannah,” or “Ghosting,” the crowd was quick to nod their heads, raise their hands, and sing along.

Brandon Hook 09-26-2012
Mumford & Sons new album, Babel.

Mumford & Sons new album, Babel.

“Are Mumford & Sons as big in America as they are here?” my English friend asked me a year ago over a pint at a pub on High Street in Oxford, England.

“Uh … yea,” I replied, astonished that their popularity was even in question. “They’re huge.”

Turns out that English friend is Marcus Mumford’s cousin, and he eventually got to see how big they are in the states, spending this past summer in Arizona and scurrying over to Colorado for their show at Red Rocks. (I know I’m jealous.)

But has that popularity and success translated into a decent sophomore album? Absolutely. One way to avoid the perilous “sophomore slump” that plagues many musicians and bands these days is to stick to your guns. And that’s exactly what English quartet Mumford & Sons did with their second album Babel.

 “The idea was always, ‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’” producer Markus Dravs told Rolling Stone.

And that’s almost exactly what audiences get on Babel. It’s as if Mumford took all the good things from their first record, Sigh No More, and channeled them into Babel.

Who blames ‘em? Their foot-stomping, banjo-plucking signature folk-rock sound has sent them to the far corners of the earth and back. It also shot Sigh No More up to platinum status, selling five million copies and nominating the band for two Grammys.

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