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The Place Beyond the Pines: Where Toxic Shame is Met with Apology

The Place Beyond the Pines: Where Toxic Shame is Met with Apology

…the next scene. Cianfrance’s decision to avoid the “poetic justice” route–Jason avenging his father by shooting his killer in the woods–is a profound one: it brings everyone’s attention to Avery’s apology/repentance. The event that Avery couldn’t shake has caught up to him, and he gives up: “I’m sorry, Jason.” Throughout the film, Avery is outwardly perceived as a man who has it…

Un-Making a Murderer

Un-Making a Murderer

…rve and protect us, and when the authorities are the ones inflicting injustice, it makes us want to scream because the world feels so hideously upside down. The filmmakers in Making a Murderer constantly utilize shots of the Avery’s expansive 40-acre junkyard, a wasteland of broken and dysfunctional cars that mirror the broken and dysfunctional landscape laid out before us in the story. But one has to ask what’s really damaged: the Avery’s, “the…

Another Week Ends: Our Dreams, Pixar and Brave Honesty, Lebron Bravery, Why Americans Apologize, Why Ryan Leaf Wants Prison, Why Women Pray More

Another Week Ends: Our Dreams, Pixar and Brave Honesty, Lebron Bravery, Why Americans Apologize, Why Ryan Leaf Wants Prison, Why Women Pray More

…also means that she makes big old mistakes and screws things up. She’s actually not aspirational or inspirational for a good amount of the movie. She’s just kind of making a mess of things. And it’s about finding that true bravery in her heart that gets her to be somebody that you root for, but you actually can see her as someone you want to be more like by the end. If we’ve done our job. 6) Speaking of bravery by way of honesty, a new look at…

Freedom/Slavery according to Johnny Cash

Freedom/Slavery according to Johnny Cash

I have a deep appreciation of Johnny Cash and his music. It’s not that I love country, or that signature “boom-chicka-boom” drum beat. But what I love is how his music speaks to the reality of life. Cash doesn’t sing about idealistic pleasantries- he sings from his heart about the struggles of grief, love, rebellion and death. I believe the song “Folsom Prison Blues,” is the characteristic Cash song….

Finding Our Roots: The Miniseries and the Exodus

Finding Our Roots: The Miniseries and the Exodus

…Image within them. God chose an enslaved people who were an ethnic minority to be the bearers of His redemptive story in history. The Bible was written by oppressed people for people suffering under physical and spiritual slavery. This was personified by the Israelites and has played out for all of humanity ever since. I think it’s miraculous that despite heretical misuses of scripture to perpetuate slavery, so many African-Americans still…

Misplaced Atonement

Misplaced Atonement

…police to deal with our problems. We want the ER doctors to clean up the mess. When in reality, it is you and me, it is we, the sons and daughters who stand in generations of sin, who must fall to our knees in repentance. Slavery has never been fully repented for. If we actually did want to repent for it, I suspect that it would not look like participating in a march. It would not look like shaming people on social media. If we actually wanted…

A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

A 2016 Movie Wrap-Up

…We see white masters urging Nat Turner to conduct a preaching campaign in which he is only to utilize texts stressing submission to those in authority. Parker counters this propaganda as he gives us scenes (one of very few slavery films to do so) portraying the secret slave churches where the liberation stories of Moses and the Exodus prevailed. A genuine law-gospel tension pervades while Parker glorifies the violence in the film without…

Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn’t Free

…For freedom, Christ has set us free.” Yet, for some, unbridled freedom is sure destruction. Which is why Paul continues in the same verse, saying, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Liberty, taken to the extreme, is slavery. This may explain why some church gatherings look more like college parties than get-togethers of the faithful: the understanding of liberty as freedom from moderation or…

Rod Rosenbladt is our Hero

Rod Rosenbladt is our Hero

…vine called “law-gospel-law.” It’s that third point that, if executed badly, results in a lot of the “sad alumni” of Christianity. If Reformation folk execute this badly, the sensitive Christian believer can be driven to a slavery as bad as any slavery done by any totalitarian dictator. If the Ten Commandments were not impossible enough, the preaching of Christian behavior, of Christian ethics, of Christian living, can drive a professing…

At Your Service: Thoughts on Downton Abbey, and Life

At Your Service: Thoughts on Downton Abbey, and Life

…A giggle paired with a kick to my ovaries from the changing table, a vomit-soaked face buried in my shoulder, a whine from a former nonverbal kid that gives way to my current calling card: “Mama.” This is servanthood, not slavery, and my privileged self often has a hard time not conflating the two. I suspect I’m not alone. A life of service is typically seen as something to rise above in our culture: we love the narrative of the waitress who…

New Music: French Style Fur's Is Exotic Bait

New Music: French Style Fur’s Is Exotic Bait

…s. All of that is tantamount to a collective understanding of personhood for men in our country. AND YET, there are parts of the songs that speak of the fiery underside, “each his own question”. This self-defining sense of bravery instead of an exterior definition of bravery and manhood which we try to attain and not create. I don’t know, what did you think? M: I think you are spot-on. It speaks to all the versions of manliness within and…

Innocent Bystanders, Assemble! The Viewer's Perspective in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Innocent Bystanders, Assemble! The Viewer’s Perspective in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

…Iraq/Afghanistan meditation on post-traumatic stress disorder. Other iterations of the MCU, however, fully embrace the ascendant American male, a construct that posits that we can be true heroes if we just show risk-taking bravery. The two Captain America films, for example, are melodramas of American grit and sincerity. We can certainly all be so heroic, though it doesn’t hurt to have hyper intelligence, demigod powers, gamma radiation,…