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Cam Newton: “Show Me a Good Loser and I’ll Show You a Loser” – An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Cam Newton: “Show Me a Good Loser and I’ll Show You a Loser” – An Ash Wednesday Reflection

He’s right! Those who accept losing often continue to lose. Raise your hand: Did you lose today? Yesterday? 5 minutes ago? All of us who have tried and failed to be good spouses, parents, employees, offspring, students, football players, etc. know full well. We lose. We do. We all have lost and will continue to lose somewhere. And our attitude about it doesn’t change the fact. Cam Newton couldn’t have said it better. People who become fully aware of their depravity and shortcomings and admit it out loud (and began to accept that they are broken people in a broken world)…

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Super Bowl 50 Prediction “Creed-Bomb”-Style: Can Cam “Take Me Higher”?…or Will Peyton Ride Into the Sunset “With Arms Wide Open”?

Super Bowl 50 Prediction “Creed-Bomb”-Style: Can Cam “Take Me Higher”?…or Will Peyton Ride Into the Sunset “With Arms Wide Open”?

’86 Chicago Bear “Super Bowl Shuffle”, meet the “Carolina Creed-Bomb”. Think photo bomb, except that the “bomber” in this case comes out of nowhere, gets right in your face, and goes full throttle Creed in all their cringe-worthy lyric glory. Panther’s linebacker Ben Jacobs is credited with birthing the creedbomb. He will magically appear in front of players and coaches and do a spot on, full rasp, Scott Stapp impression. Rolling Stone, perhaps unfairly, named Creed the worst band of the 90’s (after all, Nickelback was around back then). Nonetheless, an effective creedbomb must include Eye of the Tiger-level cheesy…

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American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

American Horror Story Taught Me That Jesus Was a Human Voodoo Doll

The math behind the cross is a little confusing. As a kid, I went to church every Sunday and recited: “In dying you destroyed our death, in rising you restored our life.” I’d known since day one that Jesus had died for my sins, but the equation itself—how the death of a man two thousand years ago could be related to me drinking the last ounce of milk and getting in a fistfight with my brother about it—has always been just a little beyond my reach.

Until American Horror Story, that is. For those struggling with the idea of substitutionary atonement,…

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Star Wars’ Finn Awakens: The Troopers, The Traitors, and Me

Star Wars’ Finn Awakens: The Troopers, The Traitors, and Me

 I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw Star Wars: A New Hope. The film came out the year I was born, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch it at the theater. All I remember is an image from my early childhood, a procession of characters down an aisle toward a princess on our TV screen. Even though they didn’t give Chewie a medal, and despite (or maybe because of–I’m still deciding) the existence of Ewoks, I was hooked on these stories populated by characters who were at once iconic and accessible: a peerless warrior packaged…

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The Exact Middle Ground Between Lying to Yourself and Lying to Other People

Apologies in advance for harping on resolutions–low hanging fruit and all that–but I figure we only have another couple days until we hit the sell-by date. Plus, Oliver’s rant was too rich to pass up, esp given the passage from Law and Gospel that follows it (not to mention this post from a few years ago):

“We tend to lower the bar of God’s righteous Law, in the hopes that fulfilling one or a small set of them will be enough to gain the Almighty’s ear. Of course, it’s impossible to keep all of the Bible’s various moral teachings before us at any one time. Selectivity is a foregone conclusion, and the criteria for such selection will always be pride-driven, at least in part. But it is also a defense mechanism, dividing up righteousness into manageable, seemingly do-able parts. Like the Rich Young Ruler who walks away from Jesus in great sadness, we’d certainly like to parse and snip our way into an achievable spirituality—one that doesn’t drive us to the grave every day of our lives.”

Un-Making a Murderer

Un-Making a Murderer

NOTE: I tried not to give spoilers. I did not succeed.

 

When my husband, Alex, noticed Making a Murderer on our ‘Recently Watched’ Netflix, he shot me an all-too-familiar look. It’s a glare mixed with skepticism, disappointment, and a touch of amused confusion at the woman he didn’t realize I was when we married several years ago.

“Really?” he says with a perceptible smile. I pull the blanket up over my face.

“Is this show going to affect you?” – a sentence uttered often from Alex. What he’s really asking: “Is this show going to keep you (therefore me) up all hours of the…

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Five Golden…Themes! What We Loved Writing about in 2015

Five Golden…Themes! What We Loved Writing about in 2015

As we blanket our house with nic-nacs and expensive toys, it’s the perfect time to look back at the things that matter—or the things that mattered—or the things that at least we thought mattered at the time—to us this year. Here are Five Golden Themes for 2015—repeated stories and obsessions that didn’t just creep into the collective cultural psyche, but seemed to define it, for better or worse.

Performancism and Suicide. I had to check and make sure this hadn’t been on one of our previous year-end roundups. I thought surely, with all the times we’ve written about “the epidemic,” this…

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American Horror Story Taught Me That the Will Is Bound

American Horror Story Taught Me That the Will Is Bound

Thesis 3. Although the works of man always seem attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins. – Luther

I think it’s safe to assume that most of American Horror Story’s viewership is not, strictly speaking, Christian, and I wouldn’t make a motion to change that. The show features a ton of sex, drugs, and victims skinned alive, but, by what would seem to be the mark of my kind, I cannot practice what I preach and am currently up to my neck in season five. (So the first piece of evidence supporting the theory of the “bound…

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The Best of the Year in Television 2015

The Best of the Year in Television 2015

Goodness gracious it was a wonderful year for television, the past six months especially. A bunch of beloved series came to a close (Justified, Mad Men, Parenthood, Hannibal), a couple of promising newer ones blasted into the stratosphere (Fargo, The Leftovers), and there was no dearth of quality debuts (Mr. Robot, Better Call Saul). So much good stuff that we had to declare a tie for the top spot.

Seasons that have gotten raves that we’re waiting for the holidays to binge on are You’re the Worst, The Americans, Bojack Horseman, and Jane the Virgin, so they weren’t included below. But…

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We Are the Chosen, And We Are Not Spared: Making Sense of Season Two of The Leftovers

We Are the Chosen, And We Are Not Spared: Making Sense of Season Two of The Leftovers

In an effort to keep his show alive, Damon Lindelof and company are doing a lot of interviews after the finale of their mindblowing second season. This is a good thing, because nearly everyone I have talked to who’s been (ravenously) watching The Leftovers is desperate for more details. (That doesn’t mean the show is doing all that well, ratings-wise. In fact, no one is watching it.) The show has kept a lot of boxes buried in the woods, if you know what I mean. It has kept a lot of reasons carefully undefined.

This is frustrating for viewers, but it…

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With This Ring, I am Dead

With This Ring, I am Dead

I remember one day soon after we married, my husband came home to the apartment I had cleaned and buffed into sparkly brilliance like the new ring on my hand. He didn’t notice, so I had to tell him: “I cleaned the whole apartment! The shower grout too! With a toothbrush!” His smile was friendly, but it didn’t reach his eyes, which were darting about as if looking for an escape route. I think he mentioned something about this not being a prison? And that I didn’t have to go to such lengths? Which maybe would have been a relief…

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It’s the End of the World as We Know It:  The Apocalypse in Popular Culture

It’s the End of the World as We Know It: The Apocalypse in Popular Culture

Part 1

The end is near, and it’s coming to a theater near you, or right into your own living room. I first started paying close attention to the regularity of end-of-the-world scenarios in popular culture—especially in film and television—with the 1998 movies Deep Impact and Armageddon. Both involved the threat of a history-ending meteorite strike (a comet or an asteroid, respectively). Deep Impact attempted a serious dramatic look at the political repercussions and human pathos of an impending world-ending disaster; Armageddon (whose title betrays a serious lack of familiarity with the biblical book of Revelation) was one of those cinematic…

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