Friday, May 26, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson on someone's recommendation...I think it was my dad. The book is told from the perspective of an old pastor quickly approaching the end of his life. He wants to tell his 7-year-old son about his life, his failings and dreams, and his hopes for the boy's future. It is set around the turn of last century. He tells a lot about his father and grandfather, who were also pastors, and who came down on opposite sides on a lot of things, in particular the question of war. The war around that time was the Civil War, and there is a lot of back and forth between the two about whether Christians should engage in it. Here, it comes down to abolitionism vs. pacifism. But mostly, what comes across is the love that the narrator has for his son. This is what drives him to tell any of it in the first place. He worries the most about whether his son will remember or know him after he's gone. It's a great read.

Well, we saw The Da Vinci Code last night. I'm more looking forward to the new X-Men movie, but my wife wanted to see this dumb thing and with the week I've had (I've been pretty cryptic about that, haven't I?), getting out and doing ANYTHING was fine with me. So we made a date with my parents and saw it yesterday. It was...okay. They had to fit a lot into a 2-hour movie, so we jumped from one clue to another with little time to ruminate and discover each secret with great flare and aplomb. Instead, Langdon solves everything in five minutes or less and we're onto the next step. I haven't read the book in a while, but certain parts of the movie (most notably the scene where they explain the actual Da Vinci code) reminded me, even amplified for me, what a bunch of crap the theory really is. But in the book, it's a more fun bunch of crap. The movie wasn't so much. And again, Somalian children are starving, so everyone calm down.

We're still on
Angel Season 5. We haven't made much progress through it because last week was spent elsewhere. I've seen most of this season already (the only season for which I can say that). I keep going back and forth about whether this season 'feels' the same as the others. I know it seems like I'm waffling whether putting the gang in charge of Wolfram and Hart was a good move for the series. There's more polish now...not as much scrimping to do things In The Nick Of Time, because they have all technology and spells at their disposal. It's not as raw. Of course, Angel actually struggles with that, because in the midst of having all these resources he has to keep the law firm's evil clientele happy. So I guess this week I don't like the storyline as much. Next week could be different.

I'm thinking about expanding my
Chill Out collection. Not only is it great to put on during get-togethers, but it's great for background during meditation or putting on the church's sound system while setting things up during the week. Ah, the advantages of being the sole pastor in a small church where you're left alone on some weekday afternoons.

iMonk offers a commentary on the writings of Bart Ehrman. I've seen his Lost Christianities and Misquoting Jesus and own his Lost Scriptures for reference purposes...but have been skeptical of him in this Da Vinci Code/Gospel of Judas day and age where he's become so popular. Apparently he has some real cred and isn't out to Destroy Faith As We Know It...or at least doesn't profess to do so. The Monk's take, anyway, is that he wants to raise the questions, and that they're good worthwhile questions that Joe Pewsitter has probably never considered. That notion is old hat to me. What I'm more interested in is Ehrman's approach. Elaine Pagels deals with many of the same issues in her treatment of the Gnostic Gospels, and her sympathy for other 'lost Christianities' shines through as you read her. Similarly, the titles of Ehrman's books sound sympathetic, even conspiratoral. Is that just to get our attention, or will we be up for another Dan Brown-ish Quest For The Truth? Read the Monk's take, and I guess to know for sure we'll have to pick up one of Ehrman's books.