Friday, March 24, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, which has been one of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking books I've read so far this year. It's a work of theology, but it's far from systematic. It's more a work of spirituality and reflection on true and false selves (I'll be using this piece in my sermon on Sunday). He writes of the difference between the self that God has created, the self that God loves and calls us to be with our unique gifts and identity, and the false self of our own creation that serves our own desires and relies on addictions, possessions, and the opinions of others to give us a sense of value. It ties in beautifully with Ephesians 2:1-10, and pretty much all of what Jesus said.

We've been watching Angel Season 3, which really seems to be when the series comes into its own. The big difference between Buffy and Angel is that Angel is one continuous story over seasons: still battling Wolfram and Hart, still dealing with Darla, still questioning the Powers That Be, and so on. With Buffy, there's a different focus each season with passing comments to what came before it.

And of course, The Sopranos was on. This seemed to be a lower-key episode, but there was a tremendous amount of plot and character development. Carmella has an Emmy-worthy scene at Tony's bedside, the crew is starting to get antsy with each other and starting to make plays for power, and AJ is going to have a huge season. Tony has a strange dream sequence that seems to deal with the afterlife.

This week it's been The Flaming Lips, Matisyahu, Ratdog, and Radiohead.

Around the web, i.ucc, the UCC's newest online community, is up and running. It looks like a hybrid, except it's for hipsters. Or something.