Friday, April 20, 2007

Pop Culture Roundup

Inside the Organic Church provides some good insight on various emerging churches around the U.S. and England, but one seems misplaced. The author seems to be stretching by including Mars Hill, Grand Rapids. The evaluation of each church concludes with three general learnings for other churches to apply to their own settings. For Mars Hill, #2 suggests to consider mid-sized malls for your facilities and #3 suggests to produce your own DVDs to help communicate to younger generations. How many churches have the money and/or resources to pull either of those off? The book spends so much time criticizing megachurches for their overspending and flashy production (the chapter immediately following Mars Hill lifts up a church using a sheet for a projection screen as a rejection of such flash and preciseness), and then offers these suggestions? Make up your freaking mind. Don't get me wrong. I like what I've seen and heard from Rob Bell and crew, but they don't seem to belong on this list. Otherwise, it's still a good book. There's a really good chapter focusing on a church's use of film clips during a sermon and how that relates to Neibuhr's Christ and Culture.

There's a lot of distrust brewing on The Sopranos. This week's episode had different characters reflecting on what being the boss is like. Johnny Sack having cancer was pretty sudden, although it helps move along Phil stepping into the boss role in New York. A few different people get Tony to continue contemplating his own place as boss, which seems to be the running theme of these last episodes. I'm gonna call it and say Christopher gets whacked by someone from New York. It'd satiate Phil's desire for retribution and it'd eliminate Tony's current object of suspicion. But David Chase doesn't like to do the "neat and tidy" thing, so what do I know? Meanwhile, Entourage was a little weak. To sum up: Turtle yells at a girl for criticizing his skills as a dog owner and Ari shows integrity and heart by sticking up for Lloyd. It just didn't seem to move forward at all. At least when "nothing happens" on The Sopranos, we've actually witnessed some character development or some other more subtle plot points. That's why it's such a great series. But Entourage is less clear that the little things mean something.

Music-wise, here's my semi-annual plug for Pandora. This week I've been listening to my Gov't Mule station and my Rob Dougan station.

Around the web, here's a game where a monkey kicks a ball. And is Alanis Morissette making fun of the Black-Eyed Peas, herself, or both? You be the judge.