Friday, January 09, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

When I picked up the book The Missional Leader, I did it at the expense of the two books I'd been tag-teaming: Peter Rollins' The Fidelity of Betrayal and Jurgen Moltmann's The Crucified God. I've been spending a lot more time with Rollins, just because his material is less dense and, at the present time, more compelling to me. Rollins continues to make his case for God not being a commodity to be owned, nor something to be objectively understood or studied. To do this, he studies texts such as Exodus 3, where God answers the name question with "I Am Who I Am" or, alternatively, "I Shall Be There However I Shall Be There." Later on, Rollins gets himself into a bit of trouble when he reads the church back into Jesus' parable of the mustard seed by arguing that, since birds are elsewhere portrayed as enemies of faith, this could be a parable warning against the institutionalization of God's kingdom. So it's not a complete win, but it does give a lot to think about.

We watched Jumper this week, in which Hayden Christensen plays a kid named David who discovers an innate ability to "jump" to anywhere in the world. After using it at first to rob a bunch of banks and make himself financially comfortable, he heads back to where his high school crush ended up for college--a magical place in Ann Arbor--to try to win her over. Soon enough, David discovers that there is a group of fanatics trying to eradicate guys like him, and so he spends the rest of the movie 1) running from them, 2) fighting them, or 3) saving the girl from them. This was a passable action flick, but Christensen needs more of a personality.

We also saw Waiting this week, a comedy chronicling the daily shenanigans of a crew at a fictional restaurant called...Shenanigans. Ryan Reynolds and Justin Long play best friends - Reynolds the smart-aleck comedy guy, Long more of the heart as he realizes how long he's been working as a server while other former classmates have earned their college degrees. We also get Ana Faris, Dane Cook, Luis Guzman, and David Koechner among others as other employees. There isn't really a tidy ending, although we do still get a sense of clarity from Long's character, which perhaps is all some might want. There's a lot of crude humor that might turn some viewers away, but there are plenty of general truths concerning restaurant life that are portrayed very well.

The new season of Scrubs began this week, with back-to-back new episodes. Dr. Kelso has retired (though they've kept him in the cast as one who hangs out in the hospital cafe) and has been replaced by Dr. Maddox, played a little erratically by Courtney Cox. I'm not sure what to think about her character yet...she's sweet and helpful and charming, but will then drool at the thought of a patient with a lot of insurance. They're trying to play both ways with her, and I haven't decided if it's working yet. She also fired The Janitor, but I'm guessing they'll find ways to keep him around, too. I've read that this is really the final season. Three of the main actors are leaving regardless, and I don't think rotating new characters in (especially since J.D., who narrates the show, would be one they'd need to replace) would work so well.

This past week I saw the music video for "Shiny Toy Gun" by the band honeyhoney. It's a good Over the Rhine/Regina Spektor sort of sound, and the video itself is fun, too. Here, see for yourself:


Ryan Kemp-Pappan said...

I enjoyed the hell out of "Waiting." The bit about getting folks to look at your genitals was funny. Amazing at what I find funny.
I loved "The Crucified God" by Moltmann.

I want to pick up the new Rollins book. I find it a little funny that Rollins writes about the non-commodification of God and sells the idea in a book. I am not hating, just saying.

I am looking into coming your way [ordained to the UCC]. I am looking to where I shall land denominationally.

Anonymous said...

The Crucified God, awesome book. Where is God in suffering? He is suffering with you... Sum'pascho (Suffering with in Biblical Greek) from which compassion is derived, now there is the ontological essence of being, struggle, mercy, suffering. In traditional scholastic theology, (Roman or Eastern) God the Father did not suffer it was Christ who suffered, but as Moltman points out, this is not Biblical. The Father feels what the Son feels. To stand up to dictators, to suffer, to derive meaning from a life of pain is a gift of grace. To live with Christ, to love, is to suffer, but it is not something we can do naturally. Only God's power can draw love, power and meaning from our suffering, otherwise, suffering simply destroys faith completely. Don't ask God for suffering, ask instead for the courage to love those in the darkness. Ask for the strength to draw meaning and love from the suffering that Christian love must bring. True love is the greatest wisdom. I studied a little philosophy, and I thought I was vastly superior to what I was in my Bible belt days. I thought the Bible was kids stuff. I have come to learn that the Bible, especially the Psalms, the Prophetic writings, Lamentations, is so much richer than the works of philosophy. The wisdom of love is greater than the wisdom of philosophy. So, what can we all do to love better?