admin's blog

Memorial Remarks for My Mother, Vivian Turnau (April 16, 1937-March 22, 1991)

First of all, we—my brother and his family, and me and my family—want to express our deep gratitude for all the love and care you have shown us over this past week. We’re very touched. Honestly, it’s been overwhelming to be on the receiving end of so much compassion, sympathy, and friendship: a fountain of grace. And because we see you all so rarely, the temptation for Carolyn and me is to spend quality time with each and every one of you until we collapse from exhaustion.

Thoughts on Popular and Elite Culture as Art

A couple of days ago, Alastair Roberts (for whom I have the highest respect) and I got into a Twittercation. More of a thoughtful, good-natured Twargument. (Sorry—too long on Twitter, I’ll stop…the tw- thing, not Twitter). The argument was over a Wall Street Journal opinion piece about how people are taking popular culture too seriously nowadays, when actually, it’s formulaic, shallow, too accessible, and can never aspire to be Art (with a capital-freaking A).

"Jessica Jones," Moral Debt and Self-Contempt

[WARNING: REALLY, REALLY SPOILERY]. Last night my wife and I finished watching Jessica Jones on Netflix. Killer writing and great performances all around.

Why Christians Should Engage Popular Culture: Worship and Bridge-Building

The following blog post is a short talk I gave at Highfields Church in Cardiff, U.K. for their "Face the Word" program they hold occasionally on Sunday evenings where they explore contemporary issues from a Christian perspective.

January 2015

Angels, Culture, Worship, and the Image of God - An Open Letter to Joe Martin

A week or so ago, I was in Cambridge lecturing for the Christian Heritage Summer School of Apologetics. I delivered 10 lectures and 3 workshops on "Engaging Popular Culture and Imagination." I had a blast. I particularly enjoyed the discussion generated by Q&A time. One question stumped me (it doesn't happen often). It was asked by an older gentleman who, as I got to know him, was as full of gentleness and wisdom as he was in years. His name is Joe Martin. He worked with L'Abri back in the day, and those folks are generally worth your attention.

Livin' for the Applause-plause

In the aftermath of the Bieberpocalypse (or at least the significant meltdown of his cooling tower #2), I was thinking about why some celebs go off the rails, diving into self-destructive behavior like lemmings (note to Canadians: I know that lemmings don't actually do that, but it's a metaphor, OK?). I don't think it's just that celebs are stupid, though some undoubtedly are. I think it has to do with the structure of celebrity as a cultural construct. It's got some lethal ingredients mixed in there.

Hipsters vs. Nerds

I was at the pub the other night, talking with a friend, and somehow we got onto the subject of hipsters, and what the Christian take on hipsterism is. I was totally shooting from the hip (not -ster), but the comparison that came to mind was hipsters versus nerds. They are so alike, but so different.

They are alike in that they occupy the same kind of cultural space. They gravitate towards eccentric cultural works that they dub "the awesome." You know, little-known bands or anime serials, things like that.

Random Thoughts on Dragon*Con, Fandom and Spirituality

Dragon*Con 2013 cosplay parade. Chewie makes a friend.

I haven't blogged in a long time. Got busy, time passes, no self-discipline bloggerwise, etc. But I did want to mention one of the biggest revelatory experiences I've had in a long time: attending my first fan convention. It was Dragon*Con 2013 in Atlanta at the end of August. It was just soooooo different from anything I had experienced up to that point.

The Problem with Pilgrimage

My family and I (sans my eldest, busy at university) returned recently from a trip to Israel. My wife teaches Old Testament at our local Christian school and has been bugging me to go for years. The opportunity to go in a way that was affordable finally came up (thanks to some friends who live in Tel Aviv), so off we went for a week, just before Easter. When we returned, friends and students have asked, "So, what was Israel like." And I always answer, "Beautiful and weird." It wasn't the most fulfilling spiritual experience of my life. It wasn't transcendent.

Syndicate content