Tag Archives: Music

Owl Post 2-13-15

Owl Post 2-17-12

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The Parenthood Finale

enhanced-30806-1399677093-5It’s a show that has touched my heart and proved that Americans still have an affinity for family values, morality and doing the right thing even when it’s hard.

You won’t see many shows or movies these days that tackle the realities of family life in the gritty, authentic way that “Parenthood” does. For the past six seasons, the Braverman family of “Parenthood” has faced a variety of hardships that require compromise, forgiveness and unconditional love.

Biblical Reasons to Doubt the Creation Days Were 24-Hour Periods

Creation-hands-LR. C. Sproul, who drafted the original Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy, once said, “When people ask me how old the earth is, I tell them I don’t know—because I don’t.”

Contrary to what is often implied or claimed by young-earth creationists, the Bible nowhere directly teaches the age of the earth.

Rather, it is a deduction from a combination of beliefs, such as (1) Genesis 1:1 is not the actual act of creation but rather a summary of or title over Genesis 1:2-2:3; (2) the creation week of Genesis 1:2-2:3 is referring to the act of creation itself; (3) each “day” (Heb. yom) of the creation week is referring to an 24-hour period of time (reinforced by the statement in Exodus 20:11); (4) an old-earth geology would necessarily entail macroevolution, hominids, and animal death before the Fall—each of which contradicts what Scripture tells us; and (5) the approximate age of the earth can be reconstructed backward from the genealogical time-markers in Genesis.

George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance

LUCASFILM-01George Lucas offered a bleak assessment of the current state of the film business during a panel discussion with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, saying that the movies are “more and more circus without any substance behind it.”

However, the “Star Wars” director hit back at critics who said his role in kicking off the blockbuster film business has watered down cinematic storytelling.

‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional procedural

american-sniper-poster‘American Sniper’ exemplifies a new kind of war film: The professional proceduralThere’s no doubt that “American Sniper” is a big hit with the red-state constituencies from which Kyle and many of his fellow service members hail. But the movie — a well-acted, absorbing portrait of Kyle in action during the Iraq war and coping with trauma and dislocation when he returns home — has been a hit with viewers of all philosophical stripes. It may be the first — and last — movie to earn Twitter love from Sarah Palin and Jane Fonda.

The Complete Works: Ranking All 121 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel and Elton John in ConcertBilly Joel is the closest thing Madison Square Garden has to a sure thing — certainly more than the Knicks or the Rangers or the Liberty. It’s been 21 years since Joel released a new pop album, yet he sold out the arena 12 times in 2014 alone, and he’ll play his second (also sold-out) show of 2015 tonight. He has established a standing residency there, like a guy who plays a monthly nightclub gig, except that the club happens to seat 18,000.

Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart

PadmegreenscrshotThere’s something you missed.

I find it odd that one of the most pivotal and mysterious moments in the Star Wars saga is discussed infrequently, and when it is the case is closed. Some time between 2005 and now the greater part of people who’ve watched this movie have all come to the same conclusion, and all that is debated is if they like this course of events or not.

Of course, I’m talking about the end of Revenge of the Sith, one of my all-time favorite films. I haven’t been counting, but I’ve seen this movie 500 times, and I’m still finding new things to consider. The final hour of this movie is densely packed with information, but it doesn’t hold your hand. Where a lesser film would have wrapped thing up with an expositive voiceover, Revenge of the Sith demands that the viewer watches how things unfold, and then asks the viewer to put the pieces together themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone has put them together the proper way, and that leads to a lot of differing conclusions regarding the anticlimax of the movie.

The Catholic Writer Today

old-booksFor years I’ve pondered a cultural and social paradox that diminishes the vitality and diversity of the American arts. This cultural conundrum also reveals the intellectual retreat and creative inertia of American religious life. Stated simply, the paradox is that, although Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religious and cultural group in the United States, Catholicism currently enjoys almost no positive presence in the American fine arts—not in literature, music, sculpture, or painting. This situation not only represents a demographic paradox. It also marks a major historical change—an impoverishment, indeed even a disfigurement—for Catholicism, which has for two millennia played a hugely formative and inspirational role in the arts.

 

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Owl Post 9-12-14

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U2′s Songs of Innocence: Familiar But Surprising, Free But Costly

738aa476The biggest surprise of the launch of U2’s new album isn’t the way it was released—it’s how good the songs are.

It has been five long years since No Line On The Horizon, an album with some great moments but one which also revealed a band in artistic decline. In those five years, they knew they were one more misstep away from irrelevance. The reports weren’t hopeful: a new producer here, a scrapped album concept there. They seemed “stuck in a moment that they can’t get out of”, finally crushed under the weight of their own ponderousness.

Apple Watch: To Wear It Like a Man — or a God?

440633-apple-watchTechnology keeps getting more and more personal. First “personal computers,” which sat on your desk, gave way to laptops, which sat in a rather more intimate position. Now laptops are giving way to tablets and phones, which nestle in your hand and slip into your pocket. And early next year, the Apple Watch will wrap around quite a few wrists, which it will tap gently to signal that a friend is calling or a message has arrived.

On Repeat: Why People Watch Movies and Shows Over and Over

190568.1020.AThe millisecond that Dumb and Dumber clicks into focus on the television screen, something magical happens to me. It can be a terrible day, a stressful day, or a sick day, but within seconds of seeing Jim Carrey’s bowl cut, I’m 10 years old again. The number of movies I have once memorized is small (The Lion King, A Few Good Men, and, inexplicably, While You Were Sleeping), but Dumb and Dumber is perhaps the only one where I have reasonably thought, “I could perform this entire film from start to finish, on my own.” On multiple occasions in college, I think I tried.

Why I Love to Read Non-Christian Book

atonementMy practice of reading goes through phases. There are times where I just cannot get enough of the newest Christian books, and there are times where reading yet another Christian book seems almost intolerable. In some seasons I love to read novels, and in some seasons I can’t stand them. I’m sure any committed bibliophile can identify with the ebb and the flow of the literary appetite.

Getting Married Is Not Enough to Fight Sexual Temptation

ring-2If you follow a certain road away from the city center, it will cross the river and lead you to the surrounding mountains. As it rises and falls with the contours of the land, it will pass cow pastures, dilapidated barns, and neat ranch houses built on family land where generations live side-by-side. Near the end of the road you’ll come to a small, brick church that just last year celebrated its 90th anniversary. The congregation is made of folks who have known each other their entire lives. They have attended school together, married together, reared children together, and even today, worship together. The oldest member was also the first to be married at the church back in 1947. Another couple recently celebrated 50 years together — she agreed to marry him one month to the day after he landed a full-time job — and yet another member could tell you about being a bride at 16.

IN WHICH WE ANSWER THE QUESTION: “WHAT CAN STAR TREK FANS DO TO ENCOURAGE CBS TO RELEASE DEEP SPACE NINE ON BLU-RAY?”

8yrv5uThe one question I get probably more than any other these days – outside of “When will the unaltered Star Wars be released on Blu-ray?” – is this: “Will CBS keep releasing remastered Star Trek series on Blu-ray, including Deep Space Nine and Voyager?” I get this question in one form or another at least several times a week. And the answer is simple: Maybe. I’ll explain in a minute. But the second part of the question is often this: “What can I do to convince CBS to remaster Deep Space Nine for Blu-ray?” That I can answer very definitively.

Owl Post 7-8-14

Owl Post 2-17-12

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Exclusive: Read J.K. Rowling’s new post for the latest Harry Potter ‘gossip’

550w_movies_harry_potter_epilogue_4Can’t get enough of Harry Potter? Then this is for you. Since March, best-selling author J. K. Rowling has been writing original stories about the imaginary 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals for Pottermore, the online home for the world of Harry Potter. 

Rowling shared her latest Pottermore.com story exclusively with TODAY.com. Written in the voice of the fictional Daily Prophet’s gossip correspondent Rita Skeeter, this post centers around the reunion of Harry Potter and his friends at the Quidditch World Cup Finals. Click here for the new Harry Potter Story 

For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story

taylor-swift-red-largeWhere will the music industry be in 20 years, 30 years, 50 years?

Before I tell you my thoughts on the matter, you should know that you’re reading the opinion of an enthusiastic optimist: one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying…it’s just coming alive

Gbj6CRxJustice’ is served with another helping of Superman

Who’s better, Superman or Batman? Zack Snyder doesn’t have to choose a favorite since he’s getting to put both on the big screen at the same time.

The director of last year’s Man of Steel doubles down on A-list superheroes in his follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (in theaters May 6, 2016), teaming a returning Henry Cavill as the big guy in the cape and “S” on his chest with Ben Affleck as the latest cinematic incarnation of the Dark Knight.

Europe Is Starting to Take American Soccer Seriously (Seriously!)

article-2594795-1CC15A9B00000578-590_634x457Did American soccer just win the football world’s respect?

The World Cup is over for the U.S.A. after a heartbreaking loss to Belgium. But that defeat made for what some regard as perhaps the best match of a tournament that has thrilled from the start. More importantly, the U.S. has been called a “world-class team” by the likes of Barry Glendenning, the ever-critical football writer from The Guardian. Glendenning is perhaps not the Supreme Leader of Football (that title belongs to Sepp Blatter), but he is near the epicenter of international football, and he does not compliment teams lightly.

The real story behind the war over YA novels

91o13sPo7VLFew categories of literature right now seem to receive the level of hatred reserved for young adult fiction, which is the subject of nearly endless editorials on its supposed inanity, excessive sexuality, darkness, and girlyness. It doesn’t escape notice that there’s a strong whiff of sexism underlying the wave of YA hate—the genre is heavily dominated by women, and female authors can recount their experiences with sexism first hand.

Coming Out as a Christian

social-mediaI’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live transparently—especially when it comes to my digital life. For as long as I’ve been on social media (I first joined Facebook in 2005), I’ve oscillated between expressing myself honestly and expressing contrived personas that I broadcast on Twitter, Instagram, and everywhere else.

Take, for instance, my well-documented love of Rolling Rock. Anyone who follows me on any website knows I’ve posted endlessly about the famously watery beer for the past three years. My Instagram feed was once a veritable shrine to Rolling Rock. My friends gave me four cases of it for my birthday last year. Heck, my Twitter fan club (yes, it’s still weird to me, too) uses a picture of Rolling Rock as its header image! I know how to advertise my love for a product.

Best Music of 2013 – Things I Found

The_Walking_In_Between_album_coverBen Rector – The Walking in Between 

A friend of mine introduced me to the genius of Rector and he quickly became one of my most played artists of the year. I love all his albums, but this is his newest and it did not let down from the quality I had come to expect. I saw him in concert and he is brilliant live. If you don’t know him or have not hear his music, do yourself a favor and drop what you are doing and go get this!

Favorite tracks:

Ordinary Love, When I’m With You, Sailboat (Honestly the whole thing!)

71kAct3OGkL._SL1500_Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

Very seldom is there an album that comes out these days that I will just listen to straight through, this is one of the few. I have listened to this at least 30 times, all the way through. The lyrics are fantastic and the music will have you humming for days. This is a great band! (Excited to see then in concert in 2014)

Favorite tracks:

It’s Time, Demons, On Top of the World, Amsterdam

Derek Webb I Was Wro#F0A679Derek Webb – I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry and I Love You

Webb had lost me for a while with his music, yet he reeled me back in with his latest album. Honest, real and reminiscent of his past stuff while at the same time sounding completely fresh; he has created something wonderful. This album spoke to me and God used it to remind me of some truths I have trouble accepting. As usual, Webb has tapped into the realities of life and crafted something that reminds you, you are not alone in your hardship or questions.

Favorite tracks:

I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You, Lover, Pt.3, Everything Will Change

0C10D72A-AE28-1A57-5304942B93BA7C5AJohn Mayer – Paradise Valley

I have been following Mayer since he came on the music scene and have mostly enjoyed every single album, but this one captures the magic of his Room for Squares while mixing in all he has learned over the past 13 years. For me Mayer is summer – riding with the windows open through the valleys of Colorado with my best friend and he delivers again with Paradise Valley. This is an album I can turn on anytime and enjoy.

Favorite tracks:

Wildfire, Who You Love, You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down

714-GxzvBpL._SL1200_Sara Bareillis – The Blessed Unrest

Bareillis has a way with lyrics that speaks to my heart like few other artists. I love this album, it is another that I can listen through all the way, almost anytime. I was lucky enough to see her in concert this year and she is amazing. Her voice is one of my favorites of all time. You should not miss this album. (Confession – I frequently listen to “Little Black Dress” on repeat, it’s just that kind of song)

Favorite tracks:

Brave, Chasing the Sun, Manhattan, Little Black Dress, Cassiopeia, 1000 Times, I Choose You

jack_johnson_from_here_to_now_to_you-portadaJack Johnson – From Here to Now to You

Johnson is like an audio Corona commercial and this album is no different. I love being able to turn it on and immediately feel miles from anywhere. This is classic Johnson with some fun new sounds.

Favorite tracks:

I Got You, Washing Dishes, Never Fade, Tape Deck

Jars of Clay - Inland cover artJars of Clay – Inland

I had not listened to Jars of Clay in more years that I can count, so when I randomly came across their new album on iTunes, I was blown away. This is a gritty and authentic album about the struggles of life and faith. I am so thankful for this album and it’s message of hope in the midst of life’s hurricanes.

Favorite tracks:

After the Fight, Reckless Forgiver, Love in Hard Times

OneRepublic-Native-2013-2000x2000OneRepublic – Native

I have always enjoyed OneRepublic but this album captured me. I saw them live and they rocked so many of the songs from this new record as well as their old classics. This is an album meant to be turned up and sung to or danced too. So pick it up and dance it out.

Favorite tacks:

Counting Stars, If I Lose Myself, Feel Again, What You Wanted, Can’t Stop

thecivilwars-1375124398-1375306352The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

I found The Civil Wars earlier in the year and was very excited to learn that they would have a new album in 2013. This album continues their sound and quality. I love the revival of Folk in popular music and they are so talented. Lovely harmonies and heart-rending lyrics, what more could you ask for.

Favorite tracks:

Dust to Dust, Eavesdrop, From This Valley, Sacred Heart, D’Arline

Cover__300RGB-9Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

I found this band because they have a song on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack. Best of all was that, that song was not the only good thing they have done. Folksy-rockish and just plain good. They have an alternative sound that can’t be beat. It you haven’t heard them I recommend you check them out.

Favorite tracks:

Dirty Paws, King and Lionheart, Mountain Sound, Little Talks

My Favorite One-Off Tracks

Wake Me Up – Avicli

Step Out – José González

Lorde – Royals

Sweeter than Fiction – Taylor Swift

Gunger – Beautiful Things & The Earth is Yours

Comment and tell me what you liked in 2013

Owlpost 8-24-13

Owl Post 2-17-12

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The Problem with the Childfree Life:

Ford_Time_Ubrella1Time magazine has stirred up the social pot again, with its recent cover picturing a couple clearly reveling in “The Childfree Life.” In her cover article Lauren Sandler offers a vivid glimpse into the fast-growing world of women “having it all without having children.” She not only lets us see the statistics; she also lets us hear the voices of the women they document. The statistics themselves are dramatic: for example, about one in five American women now bear no children, compared to one in ten in the 1970s. We’re talking about remarkably quick demographic change.

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn’s Fake Accent:

HEPBURN“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By,'” purrs a moon-faced Ingrid Bergman in the now-famous scene from 1942’s Casablanca. Staccato t’s and accordion-stretched a’s lend a musical flavor to Bergman’s lilt. “Early” becomes “euh-ly” and “perhaps” unfolds as “peuh-haps.'”

The grandeur and glamor in her voice, though, is a sham.

You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem?

good-grief-charlie-brownFor all the chatter about the formulaic sameness of Hollywood movies, no genre in recent years has been more thematically rigid than the computer-animated children’s movie. These films have been infected with what might be called the magic-feather syndrome. As with the titular character in Walt Disney’s 1943 animated feature Dumbo, these movies revolve around anthropomorphized outcasts who must overcome the restrictions of their societies or even species to realize their impossible dreams. Almost uniformly, the protagonists’ primary liability, such as Dumbo’s giant ears, eventually turns into their greatest strength.

Enjoying John Mayer’s New Album Does Not Make You a Bad Person:

954867_10151686223176252_1578322741_nI was into John Mayer before he was big. I was into him when he was so small-time; he couldn’t even afford velvet bandanas. His guitar strings were old shoelaces. He was still a kid. He was so small. He didn’t even know what a bandana was. He was still in his mother’s uterus, banging on the walls, screaming to be let out so he could make the world sing.

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal:

Studnet-Debt-1On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren’t there and changed the subject. The topic? Student loans. Unless Congress took action soon, he warned, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double. Obama knew the Republicans would make a scene over extending the subsidized loan program, and that he could corner them into looking like obstructionist meanies out to snatch the lollipop of higher education from America’s youth. “We cannot price the middle class or folks who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class,” he said sternly, “out of a college education.”

When Mentoring Exposes Your Idol of Being Needed:

mentorSharing the gospel is inextricably tied to sharing other aspects of life with those we’re mentoring. Consider what the apostle Paul says: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Biblical mentoring requires engaging the whole person for more than just a scheduled time each week or month. It includes meeting for lunch or coffee, showing up for an important event in the life of the woman you’re mentoring, inviting her to be part of your life or family, serving together, and even enjoying together the seemingly “frivolous” activities such as watching a movie or going shopping.

Owl Post 12-10-12

Owl Post: 2-3-2012

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That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown: Law and Gospel According to Peanuts:

Christmas is fast approaching, so I find myself thinking about the very first—and arguably most famous—of the Peanuts‘ television specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which is already airing on ABC and is available to stream on Hulu. Frankly, this post is long overdue: I have intended to write more about Charles Schulz’sPeanuts and its relationship to the theological categories of Law and Gospel since my previous post on the subject months ago. This time I take a look at Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

SKYFALL: Building a Better Bond:

We’ve always just known that Bond is Bond. James Bond.

Curious then, that Skyfall is not only being hailed by some as the best Bond film ever made, but  it also makes us realize we’ve been watching a trilogy of prequels that set up 007 to become the man we’ve always known. Throughout the last half of the twentieth century,  no matter who played him or what villain he faced, there were certain things you could always count on about him, from the resolute and relentless demeanor to the wry lines and unmatched swagger. However, what we come to realize now in the 21st century is that becoming Bond took a lot of loss, healing, and facing himself in the mirror.

How People Change:

Nick Crews was, by his own admission, a middling father. He enjoyed cuddling with his three kids, but he was frequently away on naval deployments and didn’t stay in touch with them once they went off to boarding school.

Over the years, Crews has watched his children (the oldest is now 40) make a series of terrible decisions. “I bought into the fashionable philosophy of not interfering; letting the children find themselves,” he told Cristina Odone of The Telegraph of London.

The Blessed Union of Two Dead Singletons:

One of the trending articles over at the Atlantic’s website is one entitled, “Single People Should Get to Have Weddings Too.” It’s not the first timethey’ve talked explicitly about the singlehood issue. It talks about the “extraordinary rise of living alone” as “the biggest modern social change we’ve yet to identify,” its liberating appeal, and the trenchant cultural norms standing in its way. Adult lives, Millie Kerr writes, are judged on benchmarks beyond singlehood—marriage, babies, homebuying—which means single people don’t get celebrated. She asks, “When will barometers of celebration reflect the growing number of singletons?”

How Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ Became Everybody’s ‘Hallelujah’:

Pop standards don’t really get written anymore. Most of the best-known standards were composed before the arrival of rock and roll; perhaps something about the new brand of mass-marketed, Ed Sullivan-fueled stardom just didn’t quite jive with the generous old-world tradition of passing songs around the circuit, offering to share.

So when an obscure Leonard Cohen song from 1984 was resurrected in the ’90s, then repurposed and reinvented by other artists so many times it became a latter-day secular hymn—well, that was kind of like a pop-music unicorn sighting.

Is the Student Loan Debt Crisis Worse Than We Thought?

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York delivers generally positive news about the economy with one glaring exception: student loan debt. The amount of debt and delinquencies are climbing, and some experts say the official numbers don’t even capture how big the problem really is.

Jonathan Frakes: Why Roddenberry wanted Riker to have a beard:

The best thing about the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays isn’t the improved video quality, it’s this second renaissance that the series seems to be having. Suddenly, the actors are coming out for interviews and we’re finding out more than we thought there ever was to know. For example, a secret about the Riker beard.

Owl Post 11-28-12

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Purchasing Joy:

Through the weekend that follows Thanksgiving I have been maintaining a page that provides a round-up of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that are of particular interest to Christians. This is something I have done for several years now, yet every year I do it with a bit of a guilty conscience. There are both benefits and drawbacks to publicizing deals like these. On the one hand, it is a means of connecting Christian retailers with people who may be interested in taking advantage of a few pre-Christmas deals, but on the other hand it may just feed the consumerism that is rampant both outside the church and within.

Eating Poorly, Sleeping Well: Mockingjay and the End of Progress:

There are dystopian novel plots that resolve, and there are those that do not. Commercial success demands resolution, which is a great reason why Collins will have to overcome a credibility barrier with adolescents and young adults if she ever wants to match The Hunger Games trilogy’s sales with future works. Peeta?? Come on – all pulp bestselling authors know that the dark, masculine hunter is supposed to win out in adolescent-lit love triangle. Anyone writing a conventional dystopian epic knows that readers like resolution, and let’s face it, Panem’s new government doesn’t seem particularly promising. Katniss fails in her assassination attempt, which honestly changes the prospective climax into a major letdown. Most people seemed disappointed by the ending in some way or another, but it’s also safe to say that the third book is the most honest – since it alone in the series doesn’t have to appeal to anyone commercially (they’re all buying it anyways), Collins is free to present her undistilled vision for her literature. Even in the raw, oft-disappointing power of Collins’s vision of her characters as weak, suffering, or powerless, audiences still try to recover conventional meanings of glory from her work. “Real or not real?”, the poster at left reads. “Tick, tock, this is a clock”, a poster from Catching Fire reads. And yet, there are no deep musing on Time in this trilogy, no thematic explorations of reality in the way those two posters would suggest. Similarly, the clichéd love triangle disappoints many readers at the end, and the naive theme of political revolution takes an obvious backseat to Katniss’s own internal trauma. Whatever Collins is presenting us with, it’s certainly not the easy romance and suspense which drew people into The Hunger Games, and neither can it be described by simple catchphrases which, quite frankly, are more situational and fun for Collins than universal or philosophical points. Instead, it’s the plot itself that articulates her vision.

Newly Unemployed Newlyweds and Billy Joel’s Fiery Optimism:

I’ve recently become fixated on fire – in both its noun and verb form. This preoccupation began when, three days after returning from my honeymoon, ten days into my marriage, I was fired from my position as a first-time 5th and 6th grade teacher. This jarring turn of events has (much like the beginnings of a B-rated rom-com) led to some soul searching. After weeks of crosswords, wedding thank you notes, episodes of Gilmore Girls, and intermittent moments of panic, I’ve landed on Billy Joel’s 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start theFire” as an unexpected spring of inspiration.

Don’t Sanitize the Psalms:

In some churches, if our public worship and prayers echoed what we find in the Psalms we might find ourselves called before the church board for correction. Unlike the stoic legalist or safe churchman, the psalmist expressed the full range of emotions in worship. He felt no need to pretend that he had it all together. He did not limit himself to safe clichés about God.

A Sigh of Relief: The Avett Brothers and Anne Steele Get Honest:

Peace can be uncomfortably paradoxical. I’ve found that a vast majority of the conversations I have during the week beat around the bush–and the lack of substance only perpetuates existing anxiety. Art has proved to be exceedingly helpful, in that it often points me to an inescapable truth: when feeling stuck, the worst possible thing to do is hide. But we want to hide. Nothing about displaying fears and insecurities seems the least bit freeing.

In their new album, The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers continue their wonderfully raw and beautiful articulation of real life.

Previously on Parenthood, Pt 4: It’s Scary, It’s Really Scary:

Remember that I introduced this series of posts by looking at an earlier episode poignantly titled “Everything is not OK ,” a title that spoke to Adam’s relentless positivity in the face of his wife Kristina’s suffering. Since then Adam has slowly come to grips with the realities of Kristina’s breast cancer, but the most recent episode (#7, “Together”) portrays his continued futile attempts to keep everything “under control” as he says: “I’ve got this taken care of.” The thing is, Kristina isn’t the only one suffering. Adam is, too. His attempts to keep everything at work and at home under control/business-as-usual are basically unconscious efforts to distract himself from the pain. Ironically, he is killing himself by doing so.

Do Pro-Life Policies Even Matter?

One of the persistent myths in the abortion debate is that the pro-life movement doesn’t actually do much to help save lives. You’ll sometimes hear this complaint from pro-lifers themselves who have cynically concluded that pro-life legislation and pro-life legislators don’t accomplish anything that matters to unborn babies. On the other side, pro-choice advocates will claim that the pro-life cause is all about controlling women and regulating sex and don’t do anything to reduce the number of abortions anyway. If there is one thing cynics on both sides can agree on it’s that pro-life policies don’t work.

Please check out my new podcast on Trek.fm, Literary Treks. It is devoted to all things Star Trek in literature; novels, comics and reference books. We talk to authors, have book and comic news as well as cover books in-depth. So give us a listen.