Friday, February 22, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I finished Becoming a Pastor, and the full review will be coming forthwith. In the meantime, I started The Lost Apostle by Rena Pederson this week, which focuses on the mention of Junia as being "outstanding among the apostles" in Romans 16. Pederson is on the hunt for more contextual information about her, as well as some historical background on the lack of emphasis placed on her. She drudges up some of the usual culprits, the chief of which being anti-egalitarianism in the church. In the very first chapter, Pederson explores what it meant to be an apostle and whether Junia could really be considered one. Some argue against her being considered an apostle, arguing that it may have been used as a more general term ("messenger") in her case. For my own part, the entire argument on either side assumes a special group of people known as The Apostles proper, which seems to be rooted more in church tradition. While we have the Twelve set aside, there are allusions in scripture to other apostles, all charged with the task of proclaiming "the message." So yes, Junia was as much an apostle as anyone else. So good for Pederson for sticking up for her and all that, for another revealing of the church's historical sexism (actually, some of the quotes from Big Important Historical Church Guys are pretty infuriating), and for some good analysis of the time period.

We watched 3:10 to Yuma this past weekend, which was just an excellent movie. Christian Bale plays an underachieving rancher who agrees to help transport a notorious criminal played by Russell Crowe. The two strike up an odd relationship along the way. Both characters are portrayed with a lot of depth. Bale's character is on a journey of redemption of sorts as he struggles to provide for his family and to earn his older son's respect. Crowe's, meanwhile, shows flashes of kindness and sympathy, particularly as he learns more and more of Bale's story. We also get a random Luke Wilson sighting, which I just thought was cool just because it's such a different role for him.

Non-wrestling fans can skip this paragraph. Coffeewife let me order WWE No Way Out this past Sunday, which was somewhat predictable, but I enjoyed the journey. Undertaker and Triple H won the two elimination chamber matches. There were maybe two others in the Smackdown match who would have been believable winners, and it just felt like Triple H was overdue to be back in the title hunt. The one surprise was Cena not winning back the title from Orton, and while Orton told a fun story as the chicken bad guy who kept trying to get the match stopped, I thought the ending (slapping the ref to get disqualified) was lame. That's not the kind of thing I want to pay $40 to see, know what I mean? Oh, and we got Floyd Mayweather breaking a returning Big Show's nose. So that must be this year's Wrestlemania celebrity tie-in/publicity stunt. It was a pretty solid event, even if I did see some of the finishes coming. I have to say that being able to watch the past two pay-per-views at home might quickly spoil me. But really, I bet I order Wrestlemania and then that's it for a while.

I watched probably 10 minutes of American Idol this week, the night the guys performed. During the recap of their performances, I was able to conclude that half of them have the same voice and dress style and that makes it easier to not give a crap. There was a certain "jump the shark" quality to last season, anyway.

Around the web, I'm going to let a little political bias through and channel Nelson Muntz: "Ha ha!"