Posts tagged "Anthropology"

Man’s Prosthetic God: Technologies of Glory and the Still-Present Need for Salvation

Man’s Prosthetic God: Technologies of Glory and the Still-Present Need for Salvation

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote some thoughts on identity and freedom, prompted in part by Apple’s iPad Air commercial. So to continue the theme of ads-from-tech-companies, I thought I might also offer just some brief comments on Microsoft’s ad from the Super Bowl, which is begging for religious reflection. (If you happened to be grabbing some wings from the kitchen while it aired on Super Bowl Sunday, be sure to watch it below.)

Here are the lines from the video:

“What is technology? What can it do? How far can we go? Technology has the power to unite us. It…

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The Dodgers Went Swimming (and We Would Too)

The Dodgers Went Swimming (and We Would Too)

Major league baseball, perhaps more other professional sports, has intricacies that are taken very seriously. This manifested itself last week, when various Los Angeles Dodgers players began to celebrate their win against the Arizona Diamondbacks by jumping into the pool at Chase Field, home of the D-Backs. The Dodgers’ victory over the Diamondbacks clinched the NL West, which is a feat worth celebrating, for sure.

There has been lots of talk about the Dodgers’ celebratory actions, of course, most of which seeks to answer the question as to whether or not it’s worth getting upset over, or is it just not worth all…

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Stray Takeaways from Arrested Development Season 4

Stray Takeaways from Arrested Development Season 4

1. Is Arrested Development a Christian show? At the risk of over-criticizing, if it weren’t, they probably wouldn’t have botched the ending the way they did. We all wanted les cousins dangereux to find love at last, but instead we witness a series of falls, especially with Michael and George Michael, up ’til now the show’s everymen/heroes, sinking further and further to pursue their own justification, most notably in a girl who thrives off neglect (see Always Sunny’s “DENNIS System” – but actually don’t). But perhaps the ending is so abrupt and disconcerting because Hurwitz is trying so much to make a point that…

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Short Story Wednesdays: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

Short Story Wednesdays: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

Welcome back! This week for our new short story series, we turn to Flannery O’Connor’s popular and much-anthologized “A Good Man is Hard to Find” – the story of a family vacation gone awry. You can read along by clicking here.

Have you heard the one about the family driving to Florida? Grandmother’s vanity leads to a car accident in South Georgia, they run into an outlaw called the Misfit, and he kills them all. Flannery O’Connor found stories like this deeply comical, and at the same time as serious as anything in the world.

It’s safe to say she was the…

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Wrecking Ralph: Extinguishing the Quest for Glory

Wrecking Ralph: Extinguishing the Quest for Glory

Score one for this year’s winter film season! With a half-dozen movies premiering on Mockingbird’s *must* see list (including The Hobbit, Les Mis, James Bond, Django Unchained…), Wreck-It-Ralph kicks off the winter with a pixelated parable of judgment, love, and identity so potent,  you half-expected to see Martin Luther listed as a guest-writer in the credits. Okay, so perhaps I’m a bit over-enthusiastic in my praise of Disney’s newest in-house release, but when movie critics call Wreck-It Ralph “pixar-esque,” well, we’ve kind of got to take notice.

Perhaps there’s no better world to play out the drama of law-trapped characters than the unforgiving…

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Rise of the Time Lords: A Geek’s Guide to Christianity

Rise of the Time Lords: A Geek’s Guide to Christianity

What do failed stars, Firefly, and engineering specifications have in common? About as random as mustard plants, or misplaced coins. In (sometimes Mbird contributor) Michael Belote’s new book, the hilariously named Rise of the Time Lords: A Geek’s Guide to Christianity, all things geeky, from supply-and-demand to the Theory of Relativity, illustrate the old, Christian story. More than that, all of his illustrations are spot-on: that is, they not only make points, but also they deepen the doctrinal positions that people more than familiar with incurvatus in se – but perhaps less familiar with stellar gravity – already “know.” The theology in…

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The Beautiful Ugliness of HBO: A Conference Breakout

The Beautiful Ugliness of HBO: A Conference Breakout

I don’t wanna just survive. It’s says in these movie writing books that every character has an arc. Understand?…Everybody starts out somewheres. And they do something, something gets done to them and it changes their life. That’s called an arc. Where’s my arc? 

-Christopher Moltisanti, The Sopranos

HBO’s wild success in premium television belies an underlying sophistication in everything from writing, to editing, to photography. Perhaps the network’s most striking accomplishment is how down-to-earth its characters and plotting tend to be, while still retaining their series’ impressively novelistic scale. HBO seems to understand how deep the human obsession with “arced” narratives of…

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I Don’t Do It, But I Believe in It

Image thanks to Nikki.

“McDonald’s of the Soul”: A Few Lessons from Jim Gaffigan

“McDonald’s of the Soul”: A Few Lessons from Jim Gaffigan

Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan has a relatively new and insightful comedy special, Mr. Universe. Are you familiar with Gaffigan or his stand-up? You may recognize him in Flight of the Conchords (or his brief appearances in any number of other sitcoms and movies). If you don’t know who or what I am talking about, his bits on Hot Pockets and bacon are mandatory viewing.

For my money, the highlight of his Mr. Universe special is a bit on McDonald’s. In fact, it inspired me to list a few observations (in no particular order) about Gaffigan’s act and persona that are highlighted by the…

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The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

The Dark Knight Dies and Rises: Sacrifice and Freedom in Gotham

[Spoiler Alert - those who haven't seen it, run don't walk...it's fantastic!]

“All their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest.”   -Ecclesiastes 2:23

“Put your sword back in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”   -Matthew 26.52

Nolan has now traced the Dark Knight’s journey from streetfighter to hero, from hero to villain, and from villain to…recluse. Wayne has died to the world and only holds on to the shadow-life of mourning for Rachel, and Alfred drops more than a few hints that…

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A Problem to Ourselves? Robert Bales and the Astonishing Mixture of Virtue and Depravity

A Problem to Ourselves? Robert Bales and the Astonishing Mixture of Virtue and Depravity

Holy Smokes! Talk about low-hanging fruit. Another unbelievable, doubletake-inducing column from David Brooks in the Times this morning, this time dealing with Robert Bales, “When the Good Do Bad,” in which he articulates the Mockingbird anthropology with remarkable accuracy (and courage), using none other than John Calvin, G.K. Chesteron and C.S. Lewis to back him up. Wild! I’m almost tempted to replace our glossary entry on “anthropology” with a link to this column. Is Brooks becoming the prophet of the age? The one compassionate voice crying in the wilderness of positive thinking and the American inflated sense of self, speaking…

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It’s Gonna Last You for the Rest of Your Life: Sanctification According to Groundhog Day

It’s Gonna Last You for the Rest of Your Life: Sanctification According to Groundhog Day

That’s right, woodchuck chuckers. It’s Groundhog Day! I have a tradition of watching Groundhog Day every year around February 2. Which is convenient, since television stations tend to play the film this time of year. Repeated viewings are also a fitting homage, given the movie’s plot, which has weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) reliving Groundhog Day over and over and over again for what seems like eternity. Each time I watch Groundhog Day I discover new things, and this year, while keeping an eye on what it might say about human nature, the theme of sanctification (that is, the process of becoming…

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