Friday, July 28, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I started Moltmann's The Crucified God this week. I'm not rushing through this, because it's a really rich text. Moltmann's central message so far seems to be that however the church adapts to culture in practice, it must retain the message of the cross at its core. It wasn't until I started reading this that I've begun to fully appreciate the context out of which theologians such as Moltmann, Barth, and Bonhoeffer write. Their thoughts were conceived in Germany in the midst of or shortly after World War II and the Holocaust, so naturally one of their primary concerns is how the church acts and reacts in the surrounding society. They witnessed firsthand the problems that arise when the church takes in too much uncritically from its environment, with destructive consequences.

We went to see Clerks II last weekend, Kevin Smith's return to the Askewniverse...or whatever...and it was just really funny. Some of the content is not for the faint of heart, but that's typical Kevin Smith. Here we find the clerks ten years removed from their original adventures, and we get classic Smith-ish dialogue on what constitutes 'starting your life,' Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars, some religious commentary, and a few nods to previous Smith films. You should see it just for the big dance number. Yes, there is one.

Firefly should have lasted a lot longer. It's original and it had a great mix of characters. But FOX's thing seems to be that if it doesn't immediately take off it's not worth saving. Then again, they let Arrested Development go for as long as it did...meh, exception to the rule. The series lasted a short 15 episodes or so (three of which never even aired), and I found myself craving more. Surely Joss Whedon at least made an attempt to get a channel like Sci Fi to pick it up. Regardless, fans were given a tiny bit of satisfaction with the feature film Serenity last year, which we watched last night. The movie seems very much geared toward people who know the show. There's a good 2-3 seasons worth of material that got crammed into it, and Mrs. Jeff and I were both upset that main characters died...then again, Whedon tends to do that.

This week I recommend a few specific songs rather than albums or bands. The first is RobinElla's 'Little Boy,' a bluegrass ballad with minimal accompaniment - a very sweet tone and message. The second is Jurassic 5's new single 'What's Golden,' and you have to watch the video for added effect.

Around the web, you NEED to visit and click on the 'Billboards' link. You have no choice. DO IT.