Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings movie (the one where Batman and Uncle Owen fight over the freedom of the Israelites) was prohibited from release in several North African countries. Not because of the quality of the film (I can only dream of a day when movies are not allowed to be released because they are terrible). But for several reasons, including historical inaccuracies and depicting God in human form.
Now it looks like movie fans in North Africa might have the chance to be disappointed by this film, just like I was.
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone
Teenager gets bitten by a spider. Gets super powers. Learns a lesson in responsibility. It’s a story we’ve seen before. After all, it’s only been ten years since Tobey Maguire first slipped on the spandex and went swinging through the streets of New York. I love the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man movies So did we really need a new Spider-Man origin movie? No, we don’t. But if Amazing Spider-Man is the movie we get, then you won’t get any complaints from me. Because this is a great movie. I’ll even go as far to say I prefer it to the original trilogy. And that’s a big call.
Scenes From A Multiverse is a webcomic that can go anywhere and everywhere. Absurd and unique universes are playgrounds waiting to be frolicked in. Which provides the author, Jon Rosenberg, plenty of room to play with ideas. Which also provides him plenty of opportunities to look at things such as religion. The genius of the setup is that he can explore the inconsistencies and fallacies that he sees in religion, without actually looking at a particular religion. Sure, we know he’s making comments about Christianity and other faiths, but he does it in a way that brings us to question our logic, not just assume he’s having a go. I don’t always agree with Rosenberg. And I don’t always agree with his logic. But I appreciate being given the opportunity to think through my beliefs and examine the logic behind them.
Ever since I started buying comic books digitally, I’ve been going through a lot of iTunes credit. So I’m always on the lookout for discounted iTunes cards. There’s this site I check out that keeps a record of who is selling these cards at the cheapest rate. When I’m running low on credit, I pull up the site, find out who’s got the best discount, then go shopping. But even though I’ve seen the price on the website, even though I’ve checked out the stores catalogue, I’m always a bit apprehensive when I walk up to the counter. What if I got it wrong? What if they’re not really on sale? Will I look like an idiot when I ask for the discount and there isn’t one? Although I’ve been promised the discount, I’m never sure I’m going to get it until I hand over my money.
God has promised me, through his Word, that the death of Jesus has paid for my sin and that if I believe in Jesus, I’m going to heaven. But how can I be sure? How do I know that Jesus really has deal with my sin? How can I know that God actually will follow through on his promise and let me into heaven?
A number of years ago, there was a show called John Safran’s Music Jamboree. Each week, John Safran would take his signature sense of humour and journalism and look at the world of music culture. In one of the episodes, Safran looked at one the most exclusive night clubs in Melbourne and wondered what it would take to get nine 18 an 19 year old males through the door. Watching from a surveillance van across the road, the first attempt was a miserable failure. The bouncer didn’t even open the door before telling them to be on their way.
But Safran had a plan. The next night he called the club up and told them to expect a big name band from the US to rock up. That they should be prepared for them and put their name on the list. How would these young men manage to convince the club that they were famous enough to let in? They would dress up like Slipknot, a 9 piece metal band, well known for wearing overalls and masks. And it worked. Not only did they get in, but they got given a private room and gave out autographs to fans.
Now I know I’m not good enough to get into heaven on my own. But what, if like these young men, I could get my name on the guest list? What if there was a name that could get me into heaven? A name that would guarantee me entry? Well there is such a name. And that name is Jesus.
Here is a post from my Formspring page that I thought might be helpful. I’m no longer using Formspring for questions these days. Head on over to my Tumblr if you have a question that you’d like to see answered on Pop Culture Christ.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying they ‘feel as though God’s calling them’ in a certain direction. How can I ‘hear’ from God about big life decisions, like whether to go to bible college or change careers?
The language of calling to specific roles or directions is not something we find in the Bible. What we do find is a calling to godliness. “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) God calls you to live a life that brings glory to God. And because we believe that God is in complete control over this world, we know there is nothing we can do to disrupt his plans for salvation in this world. So what decisions should we make in life? Well, in some respects, it doesn’t matter. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. In everything you do, bring glory to God. So make decisions that honour God. If both your choices bring glory to God, then choose the one you like best. Because God will use you no matter what. We are free to choose.
Because God has freed us to choose, we should be careful when it comes to “listening” for God’s call. He doesn’t promise us he will speak to us and direct us in this way. What he has promised is that if we listen to his Word, the Bible, we will know how to be one of his people and how to live like one of his people. As long as we follow this direction, we are free to live and make decisions as we choose.
Have you ever sat in church or had a conversation with a Christian and wondered when they stopped speaking English? One second they’re speaking perfectly normal, then all of a sudden they start using strange words and you’re wondering if this is what Swahili sounds like. Just like any other group of people, Christians have their own lingo. Words and phrases that we use that are particular to us. And there’s usually nothing wrong with those words. But sometimes we forget to explain what they mean to the new guys. Or even worse, we use them ourselves without ever learning what they actually mean. Every now and again I stop myself and ask “What does this actually mean?”
I can’t hear the word “holy” without thinking about the old Batman TV show from the 60s. Each week, Batman and his youthful side-kick Robin would fight the colourful criminals of Gotham City. And each week Robin would exclaim some variation of his catch phrase – Holy Fate Worse Than Death – Holy Mechanical Marvel, Holy Diversionary Tactics. It just wouldn’t be Robin if he didn’t use the word “holy” so often you’d think he was getting a commission. But what does the word actually mean?
Luck is a word that I use a lot. It’s part of my everyday speech. Like me you probably use some of those phrases on a daily basis. But have you ever thought what the word luck means? What are you really saying when you use the word luck? Is the word luck anti God?
So, Justin Bieber has a song called Pray. How about that? The Bieb has gone on record to discuss his Christian faith and there’s a bit of controversy going on at the moment about some of his convictions that have come across in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. So it was bound to happen that Bieber’s faith would be reflected in his music. Pray is Justin Bieber putting it out there and sharing his prayer life with the world.
And now I have some questions.
So when is he going to let me in on it? When is he going to present me with a folder full of which decisions I need to make to end up where he wants me? I don’t care if he uses visions, dreams or skywriting, I want God to tell me what to do. Otherwise I’ll end up doing the wrong thing and seriously ruin God’s plan for my life. I just don’t know what to do.
Ever feel like this? Ever feel like you just don’t know what to do with your life? Well Kevin DeYoung wants you to stop over thinking and stop waiting for a sign. He wants you to Just Do Something.
At Church, we’ve been going through a series called “A Faith Worth Believing”, preaching on some of the objections people have to following Jesus. Last Sunday, I preached on the topic “How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell?”. I used Luke 16:19-31 as my text. I was suffering from a bad dose of the flu, so my delivery may be a bit off, but I think God’s Word, the Bible, still comes through.
A couple of months ago, I reviewed the first issue of Sword of My Mouth from IDW. I liked it, but I felt that the price point was a bit too steep for me to keep picking it up. But what if it was cheaper? And I didn’t need to go into the city to hit up my “local” comic shop? What if the whole thing, all 6 issues were put up online, page by page, for the low price of US$6 for the whole thing? Now that’s my kind of value. #2 is completely up, so it’s time for a new review.
Shortpacked is a webcomic that quite often deals with Christianity and Christian pop culture. In a comic this week, we see one possible interpretation of the virgin birth. It’s pretty funny, but I’m glad it isn’t true. It would throw all kinds of things into chaos if Jesus wasn’t sent to earth on purpose. Instead he was promised from the start that he would come to deal with sin. You know you were expected when the entire creation was created for you and by you (Check out Colossians 1:16).
Still, pretty funny!
Starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry
This movie should be bad. It has an overused plot (character magically changes ages because life would be better if they were young/old), the latest teen heart throb (High School Musical’s Zac Efron), and a need to seriously suspend all kinds of logic to make the plot work. And in the opening scene, it looks like all our fears are going to be realised. Efron is playing basketball with his shirt off, then joins the cheerleaders in a bit of gratuitous dancing. Yay for fan service. But I’m not a pre teen girl, so my eyes are rolling.
Yet somehow, the makers of 17 Again take all of these limitations and take what by all rights should be an awful movie and make it fun and enjoyable. Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming either.
I’m putting together a list of modern songs that mention Jesus, God or Biblical themes. They have to be by artists who release their work in the secular music world (ie not songs that you can only buy at your local Christian bookshop). The aim is to have one big list that people can go to when looking for secular songs about Jesus etc. It’s also one big list of article ideas for me. The song doesn’t have to revolve around Jesus – a single mention will do.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
By Christian George
Every week or so, I walk into the book shop at College and browse the new release section. The staff helpfully display all the new books in one place. I have a book allowance that I don’t have to pay for, so I have a policy of grabbing what ever looks like it might be remotely interesting and adding it to my “To Read Pile”. Sometimes this can be risky as I end up with a book that I have no interest in and struggle to finish. Other times I can discover pure Gold. I’m very glad I picked up Godology.