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…

Matthew Brake on the Sectarian Review Podcast

Hey everyone! I (Matt) had a chance to be interviewed by Dr. Danny Anderson on the Sectarian Review podcast. Click the link below to listen and feel free to check out the show notes: “Happy New Year to all! We start the year off by exploring how Popular Culture can open up important theological conversations….

2018: Top Five Posts

We’ve now come to the end of our second year as a blog site, and oh what a year it has been! Our contributors have produced a lot of great content (special shout out to Corey Patterson for his regular contributions this year. He just got a gig with Monkeys Fighting Robots that I know…

Waiting for the Endgame, or “What the Heck is Advent?”

By Dieter Stach ‘Tis the season, as they say, and the Christmas spirit is in the air! Lights are going up all over the neighborhoods, Santas are appearing in malls, parents are leaving hair-trails as they tear it all out trying to find the perfect gifts for their children—you know, the most wonderful time of…

“HAPPY!” CHRISTMAS: POSSIBLY THE WEIRDEST ADVENT BLOG EVER

I (Matt) recently had a chance to contribute a piece to our friends over at Sacred & Sequential on the SyFy series Happy!  It’s Christmas themes and overall message make it a perfect if bizarre Advent tale. “As I said, Happy! is an odd little story, but it is a Christmas story, and it captures…

Matthew Brake on the ReligionProf Podcast

About a month ago, I (Matt) had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. James McGrath to discuss the Theology and Pop Culture series. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with James this past year, and I’m excited about some of the volumes he himself is cooking up for the series! Take a listen here!

EXTENDED Call for Papers: Theology and Star Trek (DEC. 15)

Call for Papers: Theology and Star Trek Editors: Shaun C. Brown (shauncbrown@yahoo.com) and Amanda MacInnis Hackney (macinnishackney@icloud.com) Theology and Pop Culture is currently seeking contributions for a potential edited volume from Rowman and Littlefield on the intersection of theology and Star Trek. Essays may focus on any of the television series or films that make…

True Believers: In Memory of Stan Lee

I waited awhile to write this blog. Some of the reason for the wait was out of necessity—I simply had no time. But more importantly, if I had released this blog right after Stan Lee passed away, my voice being one of many voices vying for attention, many of who did a better job eulogizing…

New Release from A. David Lewis: Kismet – Man of Fate!

From the Eisner Award-nominated team of A. David Lewis and Noel Tuazon, along with Rob Croonenborghs and Ghost Glyph Studios, comes the debut collected trade paperback from A Wave Blue World featuring the world’s first Muslim superhero – Arriving in shops nationwide on November 28, 2018 and available online for order now, it’s Kismet, Man…

Call for Abstracts: Theology and Westworld

Call for Abstracts – Theology and Westworld Edited by Juli Gittinger and Shayna Sheinfeld The television series Westworld has garnered significant interest from academics as well as from wide audiences. While many of its themes and plot motifs represent longstanding focuses in science fiction, the treatment of them has stood out as especially creative in a…

Call for Abstracts: Theology and Horror

Call for Abstracts – Theology and Horror Explorations of the relationship between religion and horror are fairly well established. However, this is not the case for theology and horror. Many times explorations of theology and horror involve simplistic readings in which theological concepts or doctrines are spotted within horror narratives and noted as points of…

Cain, Abel, and the Protection of Sacred Knowledge

By Molly Kluck Cain and Abel were first introduced by the DC universe as caretakers and tenants of The House of Mysteries and The House of Secrets respectively (Cain and Abel). Connected to these houses are two horror-themed comic book series named after the houses. The comic book series used the brothers as narrators (House of Mystery Vol….

Black Panther and Theology: Unity and Our Call to Face the World

By Stephanie Pacheco [SPOILER ALERT] As the characters of T’Challa’s Black Panther and Erik Stevens’s Killmonger, take their respective stances, the film personifies two major responses to the historical colonization of Africa: unity versus retribution. The film’s roaring success is in its championing of authentic unity, precisely as we are called to as Christians and…