- We've all lost or broken a phone or two. Have you ever pondered the possible spiritual significance of its replacement? Read "Resurrection iBodies."
- Human beauty is often described as being only skin deep. But true beauty runs much deeper. Read “Broken Beauty.”
- I have been puzzled by the humanly-impossible pose of sleeping pet birds, each standing on just one leg with his/her head turned half-way around. How can they sleep like that? Why would they want to? Is there any potential meaning there? Read "Consider the (Dreaming) Birds."
- What if Jesus joined Facebook and Twitter? Many people today don't care what Jesus might do, but they might care what he tweets. Although his tweets might not be what some expect... Read What Would Jesus Tweet?
- How would a certain long-ago uplifting event be viewed from the perspective of modern media sensibilities? How would it be reworked for today? Read "The Ascension (with Rewrites)."
- Some consider it a mere myth, but could an astronomical event explain the mysterious Star of Bethlehem? Read "Star of Wondering." It is one poem among two dozen lavishly illustrated meditations on the meaning of Advent. Read Advent Anticipations: Poems for Meditations.
- What if the account of Creation in Genesis 1 had been described in terms of astrophysics? Read "Mystic Physics."
- Or what if that Creation account had been described in terms of quantum mechanics? And from the beginning to present day what are the possible physics of miracles? Read "Quantum Theology."
- Crosses seen in churches or hanging around necks are smoothly polished wood or shiny metal, but the original was very different! Read "Gilded Crosses?"
- Here are some haikus on spirituality. Read "Spirituality Haikus."
- For numerous other poems about spirituality, read the ones published on Agape Review.
- Biblical studies and theology are full of jargon, from agnostic to Yahwist. For the cause, role, and remedy for jargon’s proliferation in these and other fields, read "Dr. Jargonlove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technobabble."
- Had Jesus been preaching today, would he have said that introverts (not the “meek”) will inherit the earth? Read "Blessed Are the Introverts."
- John the Baptist offended many people in his day and his ministry was cut short. Some might have told John that he needed a little help with his public relations. Read "The Public Relations of John the Baptist."
- Did you know you can study comparative religion through "How many ______ does it take to change a light bulb?" jokes. Read "Light Bulb Theology."
- Tired of end times doom-and-gloom? Take a light-hearted look at the Apocalypse in "The Mark of the Beets."
- If modern advertising had been around in the first century, would the Bible contain ads? Ads something like this? Read "Johnny Baptist's All-Natural Honey-Locust Spiritual Diet Plan."
- Is the old rhyme "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" really true? Sticks, stones, and bullets can kill the body, but words can kill the soul. Read "Confessions of an Ex-Judgment-Slinger."
- How are sermons like Brussels sprouts? What do clowns have to do with church? What is the greatest hardship inflicted on civilized people? Find out inThe Gospel in Greasepaint: Creative Biblical Skits for Clowns, Mimes, and Other Fools for Christ!
Biblical Themes in Movies
(These excerpts were published as part of their respective themes in the massive, multivolume reference work The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception.)
- Who wouldn't like to meet an angel? If Hollywood is to be believed, maybe be careful of what you wish for? Read "Angels and Angel-like Beings (in Film)."
- Can movies tell us the fate of the long-lost Ark of the Covenant? And was it really an uncontrollable megaforce weapon? Read "Ark of the Covenant (in Film)."
- From an enigmatic escvhatological reference in a single verse in the book of Revelation, movies transformed Armageddon into a symbol for "worst parts of the Bible" end-of-the-world scenarios. Read "Armeggedon (in Film)."
- In movies, crosses have been used as torturous execution methods, symbolic spiritual signifiers, and vital tools to slay vampires. Read "Cross (in Film)."
Movie Reviews and Articles
- Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 offer surprisingly profound spiritual lessons when unmasked from their comic-book disguise. No other films have so evocatively explored the downside of being a superhero. Peter Parker, the reluctant everyman messiah, must constantly choose between self-interest and self-sacrifice, choose between his own needs and those of others, choose between his own social life and social obligation, and make all these choices while being misunderstood and unappreciated. Being a superhero never seemed so difficult. Read "Unmasking the Spirituality of Spider-Man."
- In The Matrix trilogy, the Christ figure motif goes beyond superficial plot enhancements and forms the fundamental core of the three-part story. Neo's messianic growth (in self-awareness and power) and his eventual bringing of peace and salvation to humanity form the essential plot of the trilogy. Read "He is the One: The Matrix Trilogy's Postmodern Movie Messiah."
- In the mythology of the very influential The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien employed several Christ figures, the most obvious being the wizard Gandalf. In Tolkien's "fundamentally religious and Catholic" novel, the symbolism of Gandalf's "death and resurrection" scenes was implicit, but Peter Jackson's film versions visually made Gandalf's Christ-figure symbolism more explicit. Read "Middle Earth's Messianic Mythology Remixed: Gandalf's Death and Resurrection in Novel and Film."
- Superman, the original superhero, is a culmination of the great mythic heroes of the past. The hero's journey, a recurring cycle of events in mythology, is described by Joseph Campbell. The three acts in Superman: The Movie portray a complex calling to the superhero's role, consisting of three distinct calls and journeys. Each of the three stages includes the death of someone close to him, different symbols of his own death and resurrection, and different experiences of atonement with a father figure. Read "The Superhero's Mythic Journey: Death and the Heroic Cycle in Superman."
- Want to know more about the relationship between science fiction, spirituality, and cinema? Want to know more about the films The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Time Machine, and The Little Prince? Read "A Prince, Machines, and Stillness: Theology, Technology, and Time in Three Science Fiction/Fantasy Stories Transformed into Film."
- The ultimate antihero messiah for the post-9/11 "War on Terror" era can apparently be found in The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel to Pitch Black. Overcoming evil with evil, unfortunately, seems to be the spirit of the times. Read "Fighting Evil with Another Kind of Evil?"
- Can play and innocence triumph over violence and paranoia? Read review of Toys.
- Blessed are the Gump in heart? Read review of Forrest Gump.
- The legacy of a "scoundrel savior." Read review of Schindler's List.
- Two movies with differently paced parables. Read review of Speed and Little Buddha.
- If you had only one day to live, would you do it with debauchery, despair, or dignity? Read review of Groundhog Day.
- Dracula films refuse to die. Here's yet another reason to grab a stake and a cross. Read review of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- Because of the real-life coincidences surrounding this film, it could be the eeriest movie ever made. Read review of The Crow.
Fiction (Short Stories)
- What if you had to wrestle with your own ghost? Who would win? Read "Ghostslinger."
- Can a lonely young woman, a survivor of abusive relationships, find comfort and even protection with a friendly ghost? Read "Ghostgroom."
- The mysterious Shroud of Turin has provoked controversy for centuries. Many believe it is the authentic burial cloth of Christ. Many believe it is a forgery. What if, however, there could be a final proof beyond any doubt that it was genuine? What if that proof went terribly, horribly wrong for us all? If you were told such a story by a barely glimpsed stranger, would you, should you, believe it? (Download (free) "Immaculate Misconception.") This article is published on Smashwords.com.)
- Suppose you invented a space-time machine with the potential to reveal many secrets of the universe--but also to transform renegade nations and terrorist groups into dangerous superpowers. What would you do? Should you concentrate on the glory and ignore the shadow side of your life's work? Or should you destroy it all to prevent an apocalypse? Read "Time Shadows."
- If you were a Jewish physicist who had discovered time travel, would you want to see the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Would you want to stop it from happening? Read "Apocalypse of Amaziah."
- Is the end of the world really the end? Can there be an astronomical sequel to the book of Revelation? Read sci-fi short story "Revelation II."
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