Culture and Education

How to Watch a Movie (3): The 9 Elements of a Hollywood Storyline

Having explored the Bible’s overarching story in the second installment of “How to Watch a Movie,” this third post will delve into the major components of a Hollywood storyline. Drawing upon Brian Godawa’s Hollywood Worldviews, we will explore the nine things you’ll find in (nearly) every Hollywood movie: theme, hero, hero’s goal, adversary, character flaw, [ Read More ]

How to Watch a Movie (2): Hollywood’s Little Stories and the Bible’s Big Story

As I mentioned in the first installment of this series, Hollywood serves as America’s most influential “seminary.” Given cinema’s pervasive reach and its powerful ability to tell stories that are loaded with religious and philosophical meaning, pastors and churches must find ways to help their people be shaped more by the Bible’s narrative than they [ Read More ]

How to Watch a Movie (1): Hollywood, America’s Most Influential Seminary

No offense to professors and pastors, but the most influential philosophers and religious teachers in our nation are its screenwriters, producers, directors, actors, and soundtrack artists. These artist-priests convey their worldviews and dogmas through Hollywood movies, which are unusually powerful and effective media for conveying messages, making impressions, and rousing emotions. They create an imaginative [ Read More ]

How to Get the Most out of an Academic Conference

As I write, I am preparing to attend several academic conferences, including the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Societies, the Society for Biblical Literature, and the American Academy of Religion. (Or, as I call these conferences, “Revenge of the Nerds”). I’ve attended these meetings for more than fifteen years now, starting as a doctoral student and [ Read More ]

How America Lost Its Mind

Kurt Anderson’s Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire is one of the bestselling and most discussed books of the year. In this fast-paced and provocative work of revisionist history and diagnostic journalism, Anderson argues that Americans have recently become untethered from reality and that Trump’s election represents the high point of our collective delusion. More importantly, Anderson argues Americans [ Read More ]

A “Yes” and a “No” to the Most Important Religious Book of the Year

Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option is the bestselling and most discussed religious book of the past year. In it Dreher argues that the past few decades in American life have revealed the extent to which Bible-believing Christians have been decentered socially, culturally, and politically. An increasing number of Americans—including those with cultural power—view historic Christianity as implausible, [ Read More ]