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About Tim Peoples

I am a writer from Southern California interested in nerd culture, literature, religion, and Hawaiiana. I'm grateful to be a contributor here! I tweet at @tpeopleswriting.

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    Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

    Living and Dying with Rich Mullins: Reckless Raging Fury

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music. See part 1 here.

    You don’t often hear a singer downplay the next song on the setlist; you don’t often hear a chapel speaker downplay his achievements. But Rich Mullins was no ordinary singer, and he was therefore no ordinary chapel speaker.

    After a monologue that starts at the 17 minute mark in the video below, Rich tells the assembled students of Wheaton College that…

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    Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

    Living and Dying With Rich Mullins: I Believe What I Believe…

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins’ death in a car accident at age 41. To commemorate this occasion, I am writing my memories of his music—not so much music criticism as memoir-via-music.

    I didn’t know the signs.

    Rich Mullins sang “Creed” as I and the rest of the retreat’s super-secret Prayer Team revealed ourselves first in a passion play and then in a sign-language performance. I flubbed my way through the signs, and I told myself—I remember this, though I admit it might be a little too on-the-nose to be true—that it was fine that I didn’t get the…

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    Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

    Chill, dummy—It’s Only Life or Death

    The first time I saw an audience simultaneously discomforted and reassured was at a P.O.S concert. After he sang one of his new songs, “Wearing a Bear,” he explained that the goofy dance he did at the end was for the day of his death (#ripPOS). He had done a different dance at every show because he wanted his tribute to be thousands of fans doing various goofy dances and posting them to social media.

    P.O.S is the stage name for Stefon Alexander. As P.O.S, Alexander has released 4 punk-infused hip-hop albums and has achieved prominence in the underground rap community—especially…

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    The Post-Millenials, or Generation X at the End of the World

    The Post-Millenials, or Generation X at the End of the World

    I do not read Revelation regularly. I’m scared of it. Not of the actual text, mind you — I’m scared of being overwhelmed by half-remembered theological positions and theories about eschatology. I’m skeptical that anything in the text is meant to be a prediction — thief in the night, etc. — but I’m neither biblically sophisticated nor spiritually courageous enough to actually read and contemplate what “the end of all things” does or should mean to me. Essentially, I’m stuck in a state of indecision and irony (i.e., my position is I don’t have one). My prophet clearing the way in…

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    Something for Almost Nothing: A Confession

    Something for Almost Nothing: A Confession

    All day I thought about the questions I would ask MC Lars and Mega Ran, two of my favorite rappers. I had already contacted both via social media and requested an interview, and both were game despite some obvious barriers (noise, crowd, other fans, merch sales). I thought, fruitlessly, about the interview questions at work, during the long drive to LA, and in line for admission, drinks, and finally merch and chatting. I observed Lars and Ran, the way they spent a lot of time on each fan. My interviews would be just fine, so long as I had some…

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    Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

    Moana Leads the Way Home (and to the Horizon)

    One of the more attractive elements of grace-based living is that it removes (in doctrine, anyway, if not always in practice) the pressure to discern every decision correctly. Both the roughing-it-through-the-grind and seeking-the-horizon are both valid and acceptable approaches to life. This stance contrasts with FOMO-driven media in both the general and Christian spheres. Such movies, books, sermons, etc emphasize the importance of striving over settling. Persistence involves driving forward toward goals, not simply making it through.

    Mbird contributors (and, I think, readers) have diverse views on theology and practice, but we are mostly united in our skepticism of the ever-striving-forward…

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    A Grace Too Powerful to Name

    A Grace Too Powerful to Name

    Mike Birbiglia has touted his ability to make any awkward situation more awkward, but I think I win. Not long ago, I reply-all’d to a church discussion an a-propos-of-nothing question about how to take hold of grace. I immediately regretted it, because it was an unanswerable question. I know that divine forgiveness is, in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words, “a grace too powerful to name.” It can’t be summed up in an email.

    Sometimes, though, it can be expressed in a song. The latter quote comes from “It’s Quiet Uptown,” a pivotal song in the musical Hamilton wherein the titular character mourns the death of his…

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    A Review of A Woman’s Place [From a Man’s Perspective]

    A Review of A Woman’s Place [From a Man’s Perspective]

    Oftentimes evangelicalism, from the average parishioner’s perspective, is not so much a steady worldview as a collection of silently predetermined ideas. One of the more pernicious assumptions that many (though certainly not all) evangelicals share is that women are…limited? It’s really tough to nail down, partly because it is not universal. My first thought is Mark Gungor’s obnoxious video series Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, in which he ascribes disproportionate men in leadership positions to women’s “spaghetti brains” and uses a high-pitched whine to portray the female side of a conversation. Or the offhand references to Love and Respect,…

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    Hollywood Teaches Us How to Be Good Friends: A Much-Belated Review of The Intern

    Hollywood Teaches Us How to Be Good Friends: A Much-Belated Review of The Intern

    I inwardly sighed last week when my wife suggested that we watch the 2015 Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway comedy The Intern on HBO Now. One has to admit there are problems with the film’s setup.

    Robert De Niro plays Ben Whitaker, who is a retired, widowed, 70-year-old who spent 40 years climbing the corporate ladder at a telephone book publisher. He applies for a “senior internship”* offered by a hip start-up, About the Fit, which has set up its open-office, iMac- and MacBook-heavy workplace in the building where Ben’s factory used to make the now-obsolete phonebook. Ben gets assigned to the company’s…

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    UnREAL Season 1, Part 2: Death by Suicide, Death to Self-Pity

    UnREAL Season 1, Part 2: Death by Suicide, Death to Self-Pity

    This is part two in a series on UnREAL, a Lifetime drama returning for its second season on June 6. You’ll find part one here. Mega-super-nuclear-option spoiler alert: the following discloses the ending of the show’s first season.

    Reality TV often has an ambience of controlled insanity. The contestants act in violent, conniving, or erratic ways, and one can legitimately wonder how many are (a) truly acting or (b) truly mentally ill. In the latter category, were they chosen because of their illness by cynical producers? Are the producers exacerbating antisocial behavior in mentally ill contestants, or are the producers (probably pleasantly) surprised? The uncertainty is…

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    UnREAL Is Uncomfortably Close to Reality

    UnREAL Is Uncomfortably Close to Reality

    This is part 1 of a multipost series on UnREAL, a serial drama on Lifetime that is returning for its second season on June 6. Spoiler alert, but you’ve had a year to enjoy this one…

    I am that guy who hates reality shows and wants you to know about it—out of sincere concern for the genre’s effect on intelligence and a subconscious need to broadcast my superiority (eg, this sentence). I would like to tell you, therefore, that the serial drama UnREAL, about the production of a fictional reality show, is appealing because it holds a mirror to bad art….

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    Welcome to [Long Philosophical Conversations and Nauseating, Horrible Deaths in] Jurassic Park!

    Welcome to [Long Philosophical Conversations and Nauseating, Horrible Deaths in] Jurassic Park!

    I’m currently reliving my childhood love of dinosaurs via (a) my son, who asks thrice daily when we can go to our local natural history museum, and (b) Universal Studios’ marketing. I last read Jurassic Park when the movie was released and The Lost World when it first hit the nice mall’s Waldenbooks. I had fond memories of both, so I revisited both books via Audible late last year. I was shocked, amazed, and disgusted throughout both books.

    Blah blah blah, the movies aren’t as good as the books, you might say mockingly. The difference, though, is not in missing characters but rather the whole tone…

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