Top Ten Spiritual Films of 2010

Patheos has posted a list of ten spiritually or theologically significant films from 2010. You’ll have to read the  post to see their explanation for why they selected each film, but here’s the list:

As I mentioned  while back, this has not been a big movie year for me. So, I haven’t actually seen any of these films (not even Harry Potter or Tron, though I hope to rectify the latter failure soon). If you’ve seen any of these and would agree that it is “spiritually or theologically significant,” let us know.

Flotsam and jetsam (1/4)

At stake in the fight between Frances and the APA is more than professional turf, more than careers and reputations, more than the $6.5 million in sales that the DSM averages each year. The book is the basis of psychiatrists’ authority to pronounce upon our mental health, to command health care dollars from insurance companies for treatment and from government agencies for research.

So how did Amazon do it? How did they compete with the Mighty Apple, when everyone was predicting they would be crushed by a more sophisticated machine? They used a four-prong strategy.

Luther’s great insight was that obedience to God which springs from faith exhibits itself in the course of our ordinary, daily vocations.

It seems then that this paradox is part of our moral experience. It is inevitable that we will sin. In an important sense we cannot but fail morally and yet we are responsible for our moral failure. On the face of it, there appears only two ways to address this. One is to deny we are responsible for our moral failures. The other is to claim that we can achieve moral perfection. But both claims seem to be obviously false and as such are implausible.

Happy birthday J.R.R. Tolkien!

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born born on January 3, 1892 in South Africa. And, of course, he went on to become a beloved writer, poet, and Oxford professor. To celebrate, here’s is an audio clip of the old boy himself reading the Ring Verse (“One ring to rule them all…”) from The Fellowship of the Ring.



I am a little sad, though, because I just realized that Tolkien’s eleventy-first birthday was in 2003. That would have been a good one to celebrate.


Marilynne Robinson interview on theology and writing

Thanks to Jason Goroncy for pointing out this interesting interview with Marilynne Robinson on theology and theological writing today.


Walter Brueggemann Caption Contest

For those interested in winning a copy of Walter Brueggemann’s An Unsettling God enter this caption contest:

Walter Brueggemann Caption Contest.

Writing tip of the day: composition is a discipline

Composition is a discipline; it forces us to think. If you want to “get in touch with your feelings,” fine—talk to yourself; we all do. But, if you want to communicate with another thinking human being, get in touch with your thoughts. Put them in order; give them a purpose; use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce. The secret way to do this is to write it down and then cut out the confusing parts.  ~William Safire


Flotsam and jetsam (1/3)

Ten years is a very short time. As I reflect on the world in 2011 compared to the world in 2001, I’m less struck by how much has changed than by how much is the same. Terror, war, new technology, economic boom and bust, surprising political triumphs followed by sudden changes of fortune—yup, sounds like the 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s to me. It’s almost axiomatic that any change big enough to shape an entire nation or society happens in long waves spanning generations, not a mere ten years.

Do these findings have any particular theological significance? It is difficult to know why this should be the case. In the Judeo-Christian tradition humankind uniquely is made “in the image of God”. The suite of capabilities that emerged during human evolution is necessary but not sufficient to do justice to this much discussed theological insight.

That’s why, despite all the technology that makes communicating easier than ever, 2010 was the Year We Stopped Talking to One Another. From texting at dinner to posting on Facebook from work or checking e-mail while on a date, the connectivity revolution is creating a lot of divided attention, not to mention social angst. Many analysts say it’s time to step back and reassess.

Biblioblog Top 50 & Biblical Studies Carnival

I’m a little slow on a couple of notifications, but I want to note that the December 2010 editions of the Biblioblog Top 50 and Biblical Studies Carnival are both out.

Congratulations to the Near Emmaus crew for making it all the way to #4 on the Top 50 list! With some new bloggers and many excellent posts, Near Emmaus has done an outstanding job lately.

And, of course, thanks to Joseph Kelly for putting together a really good Biblical Studies Carnival.

A cure for boredom


I’m a New Year’s Grinch

I came to the realization this morning that I’m a New Year’s Grinch. I don’t really like New Year’s that much. It’s not that I mind having some time home with the family – I like that part – but I think it’s seriously overrated as major holidays go.

So, I thought I’d offer my Grinch-list of reasons I’m not a big fan of New Year’s.

  1. Coming right after Christmas, I’m all partied out long before New Year’s gets here.
  2. I’m not a late-night person, so staying up until midnight to watch some shiny ball drop on TV holds no appeal.
  3. I’m not a late-night person, to the fireworks my neighbors insist on lighting off all evening are very annoying.
  4. The football on New Year’s Day is never as good as you hope it will be.
  5. New Year’s resolutions can be very annoying.
  6. It’s not much of a “holiday” because I’m usually prepping for next semester already.
  7. Having almost always been either a student or a teacher, the real “new year” for my family begins on September 1 anyway.
  8. January 1 really just marks the date on which I have to stop struggling to remember that it’s 2010 and start struggling to remember that it’s 2011.

Nonetheless, I thought I’d set aside my Grinchness long enough to wish everyone a happy new year. Thanks for a lot of good comments and posts over the last year. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing the next twelve months have to offer.

I would list my New Year’s resolutions, but as I said above, I don’t really like them very much. I’ve always thought that if there’s something you should be resolved to do, why wait until Jan 1? But, what about you? Did you make any resolutions for the upcoming year? If so, feel free to share them and we promise not to make fun of you too much.