Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pop Culture Roundup Redux

I didn't think that this post got a fair shake since I originally posted it Thursday night and then did the meme Friday morning. There's some good stuff in this one. Enjoy.

I picked up Scot McKnight's The Real Mary after deciding that I needed some fresh material heading into Advent. McKnight is very clear that he's gearing his book toward evangelicals, and for the particular purpose of reclaiming Mary for the Protestant tradition. As such, he argues against Catholic positions that downplay or eliminate, for instance, her capacity to sin or her sexuality. Moreso, he argues against the sentimental creche scenes where she sits pious, quiet, and submissive. McKnight points out that by accepting God's role for her, she was taking a huge social risk far beyond a few rumors: a single-mother household carried a lot more stigma and socio-economic difficulty back then. He also points out how the political language of the Magnificat might have sounded to Herod had he heard it. As such, McKnight comes away with a picture of Mary who is gutsy, who has true faith, who sings about the overthrow of earthly kingdoms. That's a lot different from the starry-eyed picture we get in "Breath of Heaven." My one gripe is that he seems to try a little too hard to re-create her thoughts in some Biblical passages, which in itself creates a romanticized picture of Mary, albeit one different from the ones he argues against. My other gripe: if you're wanting to depict the real Mary, you probably want to find a Middle Eastern woman to model for your cover.

Recently, Gordon Atkinson, perhaps better known to blog readers as Real Live Preacher, was informed that his book of same name was being "remaindered." That is, the publisher has decided to discontinue printing it and to remove it from the warehouse. So RLP decided to buy up the remaining copies himself for a measly amount and sell them himself. This way, he reasons, he has total creative license back, and every copy that people order now will include some sort of personal touch: a note, a used Spurs ticket, a pressed flower, etc. He can do whatever he wants. So if you haven't purchased one of his books yet and are interested, they'll now be cheaper and include a special personal treat. So head over there if you want.

This past week I caught a rerun of Scrubs on Comedy Central that has stuck with me. In this episode, obviously from the most recent season, something tragic happens. I won't give it away if fans aren't up to date, but there's some interesting theology that happens during this particular story arc. That's not even why I mention it, though. In this episode, people are dealing with the aftermath of the tragic event, and Dr. Cox decides that he's going to take 20 minutes each day just to sit in the break room and rest. The problem is that people keep coming to him with emergencies and questions, so he never really gets a chance to do this. He rants and complains about it until Dr. Kelso says, "Give me a break...I've been watching you for 20 years and I know how much you secretly love being needed." I think that pastors can learn something from this scene: when we're in our most swamped moments, is there a possibility that deep down somewhere we're enjoying being needed so much?

Next week while I'm on vacation, Gov't Mule is going to be up in Cleveland. I wish I knew someone who likes the same freaking music that I like...

WWE Monday Night RAW is also going to be in Cleveland next week. The one guy I'd go to see it with has a "real job" that he needs to "do" to "support his family." Whatever.

Around the web, here's the website where I "Simpsonsized" myself.