Marie Kondo: Tidying Up and Spirituality

By Kim Anderson Okay, I admit it. This is an unpopular opinion. But I have a love-hate relationship with the KonMari Method. Marie Kondo has become the guru of home organization in the last couple of years, even gaining her own Netflix series, Tidying Up: with Marie Kondo. Now that’s notoriety. For those of you not…

Vision: Altered Carbon and Westworld

By Stephen Garner ***A version of this article previously appeared in Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice, 25, 1 (18 July 2018), and is used here with permission from the author and the journal.  “We aren’t meant to live forever. It corrupts even the best of us.” – Quellcrist Falconer, Altered Carbon (Season…

Like Tears in Rain: Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner, and Being Fully Human

By Leah D. Schade In honor of Rutger Hauer, who played the Replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner, our friend Rev. Dr. Leah Schade (an avid fan of the Blade Runner franchise) has written a piece in memory of Hauer: “What Hauer captured in this character was the full scope and depth of human emotion.  From…

The Lion King, Re-imagining Righteousness, and Religious Pluralism

By Andrew D. Thrasher, ThM The Lion King, a film known for its powerful songs and story line, has had a major impact across generations since the original animated film was released in 1994. A few years ago, after beginning to teach world religions, I watched The Lion King and was struck by the theological pluralism…

“I’m Alright”: The Sovereign Expressivist Self in Lucifer Season Four

By Charles Hackney and Amanda MacInnis-Hackney In 2018, after three seasons, Fox Network announced the cancellation of the television show, Lucifer. Based on the work of Neil Gaiman, the show was about Lucifer living in Los Angeles, the owner of a nightclub, and living the playboy lifestyle. Lucifer became a consultant to the LAPD, working…

Rick and Jesus and Morty

By Sarey Martin Concepcíon A comedy sketch on the Inside Amy Schumer show presents two white women in their 20s discussing an epiphany over fro-yo. The redhead says to the brunette, “So I was texting while I was driving the other day, and I ended up making a wrong turn that took me directly past a…

The Horns and Wings of Maleficent

By Jamie Armstrong We have all heard the story of Sleeping Beauty, a story in which a young, beautiful princess named Aurora is cursed to die on her sixteenth birthday, by an evil fairy named Maleficent.  Now, according to most theologians, evil isn’t really a thing of God.  God is the only one who can…

Fleabag: An Unexpected Theological Text

By George Tsakiridis As some of you may know, I am currently writing a book for the Theology and Pop Culture Series entitled Theology and The Americans. Because of this, I’m binge watching the series (more than normal). After finishing the sixth season, I took a break from The Americans this week to catch up on…

Made In Our Image: A Comparison of Adaptations of Jesus Christ and Spider-Man

By Matt Griffin “Listen Jesus, do you care for your race?” –Jesus Christ Superstar In 2011, as Sony Pictures began planning its first reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise, they signed a licensing agreement with Marvel Entertainment about requirements for the new take on the character. These included many of Spider-Man’s signature traits: his real…

CFP: Theology and the DC Universe

Over the last several years, scholars have demonstrated the saliency of popular culture as a site for the academic study of religion, in areas including video games, science fiction, film, and comics. The study of religion and comics is flourishing with several monographs, edited volumes, and articles having come out in the last several years….

CFP: Theology and Batman

Editors: Matthew William Brake and Rev. C. K. Robertson, Ph.D. In 2019, Batman turned 80 years old. First appearing in Detective Comics #27, that famous title hit #1000 back in March. Since his debut, Batman has been a cultural force across multiple medium, whether in the comics that spawned him, the 1960s campy television series, the…

Wealth, Status, and Privilege in Aladdin

By Corey Patterson The long awaited live film adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin hit theaters last month and fans have not been shy about voicing their opinions. Some disgruntled moviegoers claim Will Smith’s CGI Genie doesn’t compare to Robin Williams’ rendition, while others bemoan the vast number of scenes from the original script. Personally, I found the film…

Call for Papers: Jinn and Comics

Volume Editors: Matthew Brake and A. David Lewis This book will be the first in the Claremont Press Religion and Comics series and will bring a wider understanding of Jinn and their representation in comics and graphic novels to a broader audience. The Jinn may be perhaps the most popular Westernized version of (pre-)Islamic cosmology, although many…

X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Everything You Need To Know

This week sees Dark Phoenix landing in cinemas. The movie is so highly anticipated that you’d need Colossus to handle the weight of expectation. It may look like just another comic book flick to the outside world, but fans know the significance of this particular entry, and its impact on Marvel’s big screen exploits in…

Ariana Grande and a Female God

By Elijah Keay “Blasphemy!” is what many Christians are saying concerning Ariana Grande’s song, “God is a Woman.” What makes this worse for some, is that the song and video are infused with images and lyrics that promote feminist messages to its listeners. It’s a song that promotes female empowerment and a disregard for the…

Good Omens and Transformational Eating

By Dr. Meredith J.C. Warren When Good Omens premiered on Amazon Prime at the end of May, the religion and Bible academic twittersphere was delighted. I got a couple of messages from friends and colleagues urging me to watch the first episode — not that I needed much prompting. The early scene depicting the Fall…

15 Million Merits and Human Flourishing

By Elijah Keay Black Mirror When I watched the first episode of Black Mirror, I thought I’d never watch another. I was so disgusted by the gruesomeness of the plot that I missed the point of what the creators of the show were trying to convey. Now, after a few months and a few more…

Faith, Hope, and Love in Daredevil: Born Again

By John Markle In September of 1986, American comic book writer Frank Miller published arguably one of the most well-composed comic books of all time, Daredevil: Born Again. In Daredevil: Born Again, a continuation of Miller’s earlier Daredevil issues, Matthew Murdock, known by few as the heroic Daredevil of Hell’s Kitchen, goes through a spiritual…

Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Creation Care

By Danny Anderson Today, DC comics will bring one of its classic horror characters to its new streaming television service, DC Universe. Swamp Thing will join Titans and Doom Patrol on the fledgling network, adding its unique brand of ecological terror to the network’s growing collection of superheroes. The release offers the theologically-minded fan an…

Call for Papers: René Girard and Pop Culture

This is a call for abstracts for an edited volume in the Theology and Pop Culture series published with Rowman and Littlefieldand edited by Ryan Duns and Derrick Witherington. We are looking for papers that engage and apply the theological insights of René Girard to contemporary culture. Topics Might Include: Mimetic theory and contemplative or…

The Apocalypse and Pop Culture

Hello friends! As many of you who have followed the site know, there are a number of really cool books in the queue for the Theology and Pop Culture series (as George R.R. Martin tells his fans, I promise you, those books are coming!). One of the forthcoming books is on the topic of Eschatology…

Game of Thrones – The Wall

Hey everyone! A few days ago, the good people over at Other Worlds sent me a video that I think is fitting both in light of the Game of Thrones series finale tonight and in light of the times that we are living in. The video discusses the themes of Otherness, love of neighbor, and…

Avengers Endgame Review

Hey everyone! At this point, Avengers: Endgame is well on its way to dominating box office records, so no doubt many of you have seen it. Danny Anderson of the Sectarian Review podcast invited myself and Nathan Gilmour of the Christian Humanist blog on to discuss our takes on the movie, the character arcs, as…

The Power of Shazam And a New Kind of Family

By Corey Patterson Many longtime DC Comics fans were ecstatic to finally see the beloved Shazam in his self-titled film this year. It’s the breath of fresh air the DC Cinematic Universe needed after the life to the stagnant DC cinematic universe. The box office numbers have been less than stellar (discounting Wonder Woman and Aquaman),…

ΘeoCon: Call for Submissions 2019

Hello All Theology (and Religion in general) and Pop Culture Lovers! There is no doubt that pop culture mediums have challenged and inspired us in the best of ways. ΘeoCon welcomes you to the place where theology and morality meet pop culture and where faith meets fiction. In a comic-con style venue, ΘeoCon will offer…

Debriefing the Batman Conference

Hello friends! A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a conference at Bowling Green State University celebrating the 80th anniversary of Batman. It was a very fun conference. I presented twice: once on the depiction of evil in Grant Morrison’s Batman run, and on Joker and Nietzsche. While there, I was able to…

The Feminine Christ

By David Tassell Christian culture has had a knack for finding its story of the salvation of the world through the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ mirrored in myriad other stories. These “Christ-types” often have less to do with authorial intent, and more to do with recognizing how the story’s pattern seems to…

The Bardo, Purgatory, and the Soul Stone

By A.G. Holdier In a matter of hours, fans will learn the fate of Thanos, his victims, and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the grand finale to The Infinity Saga. While it’s been almost a year since the Snap (and two more MCU films have since been released) we’ve enjoyed essentially no…

“Sometimes Dead is Better,” Even at Easter?

By Danny Anderson Is it going too far to call Pet Sematary an Easter movie? Hear me out. First, let’s admit up front that Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s 2019 adaptation of Pet Sematary doesn’t explore the depths of human grief that it’s source material does. Stephen King’s 1983 novel is a classic work of…

Fan Theories, Eschatological Anxiety, and Avengers: Endgame

By Rev. Samuel Blair Our popular culture has had a long love affair with the end of the world. The word “apocalyptic” is commonly used in reference to something being cataclysmic and destructive, but in Biblical literature it referred not to “end of the world” doomsday scenarios, but to revelatory passages where the veil of…

Easter Arrives Early: Lenten Reflections and Redemption in Queer Eye

By Katherine Billotte-Kelaidis The third season of Netflix’s Queer Eye dropped the first Friday of the Eastern Orthodox Lent. So, after going to the Akathist to the Theotokos, I came home and put on Queer Eye. Then I engaged in some very un-Lenten conduct: I binged.  By the time I was done, I had not only watched…

When Did Magneto Become Jewish?

By Alana Vincent It’s 2019. We all know that Magneto, the longest-running and most recognisable X-Men villain, is Jewish. More than Jewish, he’s a Holocaust survivor—the most Jewish sort of Jew.[1] It’s worth interrogating exactly when, and how, and why, Magneto became Jewish. When the character was first introduced in 1963, he was a fairly…

How to Train Your Dragon and The Hidden Good Creation

By Corey Patterson The third and (most likely) final installment to the How to Train Your Dragon film franchise is another heartwarming addition to the series. The film highlights the dragon riders’ new calling as dragon liberators. Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless the Night Fury, and the rest of the crew travel from island to island in an…

Signifying and Scripturalization in Xena: Warrior Princess

By Princess O’Nika Auguste Xena: Warrior Princess is a fantasy/historical fiction action and adventure show that aired on television from 1995 to 2001. Xena is a spinoff of Hercules the Legendary Journeys. Xena and Hercules both are based on Greek mythology although they divulged into other forms of mythology and history including Christian mythology and Christian…

Who Has a Problem with Evil? Halloween, Fascism, and Theodicy

By Danny Anderson Ted Bundy is once again having a moment.  The current interest in his story can be traced to two new productions: Netflix’s four-part documentary series Conversations with a Killer, and the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile which recently premiered at Sundance and stars Zac Efron. The critical conversation around the Efron…

Comics and the Art of the Cliffhanger

By Pastor Will Rose When the weather allowed, I rode my bike to Wrightsville Beach Elementary School. On the way to school I would stop at a convenient store and spend my lunch money on the newest Uncanny X-Men comic book on the spinner rack. When I was younger, I loved the action and the…

Captain America: Exemplar of Truth and Love

By Stephanie Pacheco Unique among the crop of super heroes, Steve Roger’s (aka Captain America’s) commitment to truth makes him the most Christ-like. His humility and love of the “other” draw this out even more as he converts enemies to his side and never places himself above them. The inevitably remaining struggle in Cap’s life…

Captain Marvel and a Theology of Abuse

By Corey Patterson The upcoming Captain Marvel film from Marvel Studios has gotten the entire comic book world talking more than ever about the character. The film directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, are charged with the task of introducing this important comic character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also tying her story into the…

Review: The Green Lantern #3: Hal Meets God?

Anyone who knows me (Matt) knows that I am a HUGE Grant Morrison fan! As such, I have been following his new Green Lantern run with interest. Issue #3 in particular seems relevant for conversations about Theology and Religion. Thankfully, our regular contributor Corey Patterson has written a review of the issue for Monkeys Fighting…

Call for Abstracts: Theology and Neil Gaiman

Theology and Neil Gaiman Edited by Zachary B. Smith This is a call for abstracts for an edited volume in the Theology and Pop Culture series published with Rowman and Littlefield and edited by Zachary B. Smith. We are looking for papers that explore religious and theological themes in the books, short stories, non-fiction essays,…

Atypical, Vanier, and Exemplification

By Shaun C. Brown The Netflix show Atypical follows Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a high school student with autism, as well as his parents, Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Doug (Michael Rapaport), and his sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine). Though his family had previously decided that Sam would live at home after graduation, keeping his job at…

Harry Potter and the Holy Trinity

By Corey Patterson My wife has been re-reading the Harry Potter books — a tradition she’s stuck too for the greater part of her adult life. This die-hard Potternerd is not content to simply watch the Harry Potter weekends every October and December. To her, a true fan must embrace the medium from which the magic originally…