Friday, April 04, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I finished Jesus for President this past week, and I don't have much to add from last week. I will mention that people wanting to lump Shane Claiborne in with the emerging church movement are greatly mistaken. This book makes the case for Christianity functioning best as a radical counter-cultural movement. He tells multiple stories about what loving your enemies really looks like, including a few about his and others' experiences in inner-city Philadelphia with muggers and bullies. He makes frequent references to people who want to make Christianity relevant (a hallmark of emerging/emergent philosophy) and argues that they have it all wrong; that instead, when Christians move on the margins and live out among the poor, the outcast, and serve them as disciples, they are truly being what Jesus wants them to be. Claiborne isn't interested in relevance in the sense that he wants to make church forms and theology credible for postmoderns. He's interested in relevance between Jesus' preaching of God's kingdom and what living it out really looks like.

Non-wrestling fans, skip. We ordered Wrestlemania XXIV this past Sunday, and for costing an extra $15, it was worth it. I was a little surprised and miffed that Orton kept the WWE Title (I wanted HHH to win), but plenty of the other stuff made up for it. Shawn Michaels retired Ric Flair in a match that communicated a lot of emotion and saw Michaels moonsault himself through a table. We thought he was legitimately hurt, as it looked like he landed on the corner with his ribs. The Money in the Bank ladder match also featured plenty of "holy crap, is he dead?" kinds of moments. Undertaker and Edge closed out the show with a great match, with Taker keeping his WM perfect win streak intact. The Floyd Mayweather/Big Show match definitely wasn't great. I didn't really care much about it beforehand, and I didn't care during or after either. But all in all, a solid show.

I caught a movie on HBO this week called Idiocracy, starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph as two subjects of an Army sleep experiment who end up sleeping for 500 years. When they wake up, they find that somehow the world is completely populated by morons. Crowds are easily riled up and manipulated by someone yelling or by explosions, a Gatorade-type corporation has taken over the FDA and heavily influenced what people eat, Wilson's character takes an aptitude test that includes questions such as, "If you have one bucket that holds two gallons, and another bucket that holds five gallons, how many buckets do you have?" We also find that Costco has become as big as a city and that most chain restaurants now feature prostitution. Anyway, because of Wilson's high score on the aptitude test (he becomes known as the smartest person in the world), he's whisked off to serve on the President's Cabinet to help them solve the country's problems, among them being a lack of crops due to them being irrigated with the Gatorade-type stuff. This future world is excessive, violent, overtaken by a handful of corporations, and the population has become so incredibly lazy that they're unable to consider what's really happening.
I'm still trying to figure out whether this movie was stupid or brilliant. Or maybe it had to be stupid to be brilliant.

I recently picked up From the Corner to the Block by Galactic, which illustrates a slight shift in their musical philosophy. Lead singer Theryl deClouet has departed, and the band draws in quite a number of guest vocalists and musicians, most of whom are rappers, to create what I've read elsewhere is close to a classic hip-hop sound. The only guest rapper I recognize is Chali 2na from Jurassic 5, but familiarity doesn't really matter as the entire album delivers. The band retains its New Orleans funk sound, and the rap vocals provide a nice compliment for their style.

Around the web, a blog called Emergingrural found the article that I wrote called The Emerging Church in Rural Ohio. Why there seems to have never been a blog dedicated to this part of the "conversation" until five days ago is beyond me, but a quick trip through some other blogs shows that it seems to have started something. I have to say that I'm glad to have been a part of that.