Friday, June 24, 2005

Pop Culture Roundup

This week I've been glued to a book entitled Why Men Hate Going to Church. If you can handle a certain amount of generalizations about what a 'real man' is, this book is for every oldline Protestant church to read. NOW. One attempt at the book's thesis statement might look like this: The church is currently a haven of old people, women, and children who hear a message of safety and non-change and about falling in love with a guy named Jesus. For these reasons (among others) this is not a place where the typical man wants to hang out. The author also goes to some length to argue that despite feminist claims to the contrary, the church is largely a women's institution. To illustrate this point, list off programs in your church and ask 1) who they might best be suited for and 2) who participates in them. The counterargument could be made that men need to learn to be more sensitive or something along those lines. The book's answer: the sensitive men are already there, and other men don't feel like joining them. The book serves as an indictment of a church that plays to sensitivity and feelings, which are important but which don't largely appeal to the typical man. Gifts are being wasted and turned away as a result. I'm still trying to digest everything this book proposes and in the near future hope to write up something more extensive. But this has to be one of the most compelling books I've read this year because, at least where I find myself, most of it is true.

We saw Batman Begins yesterday. We almost didn't because we went to see a matinee at a small town theatre on a Thursday afternoon and their policy is that they need five patrons to show a movie. Well, two more came in after us and that was close enough. To make it five, one of the workers sat in the back. Now, I'm having a hard time trying to decide if I liked this better than Tim Burton's 1989 classic. Batman Begins isn't as dark, but there's plenty of brooding and an awesome cast. The script couldn't have been written better. It boasted a healthy dose of character development (something at which Schumacher's outings were pathetic) and Christian Bale plays it very well. Plus the Batmobile is much cooler. The only thing I worry about now is the possibility that this is the first of three and the next movie might be attempting to challenge Jack Nicholson's legacy. I don't know if they should go there.

Tonight I might wander over to the annual Alivefest to see Reliant K and Switchfoot. I'm as interested in some of the paraphenelia they usually boast as I am in the bands. Last year I had to restrain myself after seeing some of the t-shirt messages they had onhand. Perhaps a review of this will be in order later as well.

Around the web, check out Real Live Preacher's analysis of the front pastors put up. It's quite good.