TO THE LINKS . . .
Here are some great examples of Christian Culture care in the month of November:
Brett McCracken is someone I read consistently for fair and wise insights on books, movies, and general culture. His movie reviews are balanced and insightful, even when I may disagree. What McCracken does NOT do is gush. He is a model of restraint. But gush he did in his blog on Josh Butler's Beautiful Union. And if you think I'm exaggerating, here is McCracken caught red-handed in a full-on gush: "Beautiful Union is simply astonishing. Every chapter is full of mind-blowing biblical insights, jaw-dropping theological connections, and a profound reframing of the contentious dimensions of sex. It’s the Protestant magnum opus on sexual ethics we’ve been waiting for and one of the most important books I’ve ever read. With pastoral care, theological precision, and worshipful joy, Butler brings refreshing clarity to a culture (and sadly, a church) increasingly confused about the meaning, purpose, and ethics of sex. I rarely use the word masterpiece in describing a contemporary work, but it’s absolutely fitting here." At the same time, while most of the reviews on Amazon are 4 stars and above there are a number of one-star reviews on Amazon that pillory Butler for a male-dominated, misogynistic presentation of both the gospel and sexuality. My own reading of him so far is more towards McCracken's. But this is a frank discussion of the act of marriage with a very real attempt to discuss the details of that act as iconic-- a profound picture of the holy. For those who feel sex and the sacred are like oil and water, this is not your book. For those who feel it's time for Christians to reclaim both the subject and the language of sexual intercourse for marriage and spirituality (along the lines of Song of Songs), Butler's perspective will be welcomed. Here's the link to read more: https://www.brettmccracken.com/blog/2023/4/18/read-josh-butlers-beautiful-union-its-an-important-book
LuElla D'Amico has a slightly different take on "Barbie" namely that it is about learning to affirm a wide variety of others. Read her essay on this over at "Christ and Popular Culture": https://christandpopculture.com/the-barbie-movie-and-contemporary-feminisms-likability-factor/
And for those trying to be more thankful this November here is Arthur Brooks on "Four Ways to be Grateful--and Happier." One that I liked is making sure to say thank you to two people each day as you start the day. On days you don't feel like it, Brooks says to make it three! Here's Brooks's advice: "Make a routine of your outward gratitude in a couple of daily emails or texts, sent before you get to work. You don’t need anything overwrought or dramatic, just a few words showing someone that you noticed something nice they did and appreciated it." For the three other ways to become grateful, here is the link (note--you might need a subscription to the Atlantic to read the whole article): https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/11/thanksgiving-gratitude-thankfulness-happiness/676071/
That's it for today. See us in the new year for the next installment of "Inside Culture Care with Pascal and Hume."
Pascal's disclaimer: Hume and I seek to engage a wide variety of media and cultural work in our quest to think Christianly about contemporary culture and how to care for it and make it flourish. This doesn't mean that we (or our church community) endorse or recommend all of the movies, shows, music, books, art, or ideas that we interact with. Our friends at The Gospel Coalition (TGC) have put together a useful guide to help you make wise decisions about cultural consumption. Read through their 5 questions at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/should-i-watch-this-5-questions-for-the-discerning-viewer/