Friday, July 09, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

I read Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead by Sara Miles this week. I loved Take This Bread, so I was really excited to get her follow-up. This is largely a collection of stories about people whom Miles has met through her work at the food pantry that she organizes: addicts and those recovering, ex-cons, the poor and homeless, the mentally ill, and a chaplain at an inner-city hospital, among others. She intersperses these stories with some commentary on Jesus' call to serve, which she takes at its most literal, radical meaning (hence the title). This commentary includes some critique of the church, and well-meaning-yet-overly-cautious liberals in particular get the brunt of it. She repeatedly expresses that the food pantry is literally open to anyone and everyone, which she contrasts with programs that place heavy restrictions and entry requirements on people either before considering or even while helping them. Through these stories, she shows how the food pantry transforms people, rather than expecting people to transform first. This is one of the big takeaways: grace open to all, and the change that comes through it.

Because I'm inevitably coerced into seeing each one of them in the theater, I saw Eclipse this past week. It...didn't suck. There was more action and mayhem in this one, it was shot better, the acting was much better. We got back stories of two of the vampire characters, as well as the wolf tribe, which I thought helped deepen the movie as a whole. A major theme in this one is that Bella is still wanting to be turned into a vampire so that she can be with her perfect, beautiful, beautiful and perfect dreamy OMG Edward forever. A half-dozen or so characters make well-reasoned arguments why she should reconsider, but of course her love for Edward is like you know OMG eternal and stuff. The movie has a darker edge that I liked, and aside from Bella and Edward's relationship in general, I liked it. Seriously, I found every scene with just the two of them to be incredibly soul-sucking, no stupid vampire pun intended.

Summer always inspires me to break out more of my jamband music. The past week has featured heavy doses of Widespread Panic in particular. They just had a new album come out, although I haven't picked it up yet; I hope to soon.

Here's Widespread Panic performing "Action Man:"