Jesus and Captain Ri

By Dr. Michael Chung Years of abuse against women in the name of conservative theological beliefs are shaking complementarianism. Prominent citizens like President Jimmy Carter and author/speaker Beth Moore have vocally announced their exodus from the Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination that highly espouses patriarchal/complementarian values and beliefs. Houston Chronicle journalist Robert Downen, in a…

Call for Papers: Theology and Margaret Atwood

Since the recent success of the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood—who has always enjoyed an enthusiastic “fan base” and coterie of admiring readers—has gained a renewed prominence and her work has entered into a kind of renaissance as readers (re)discover her extensive catalogue of writings, including novels, essays, short stories, poetry, and other edited…

Call for Papers: Theology and LOST

Due Date for Abstracts: August 1, 2021 Few commercial television series in recent memory had such a lasting impact on its viewers as did the TV series “Lost” which aired 2004-2010, and although the series is now over a decade old, it is still available on streaming services and its themes are still relevant, perhaps…

Analyzing Religion in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X #3

Hello friends! Again, I wanted to link another chapter of David Canham’s ongoing blog series over at Sequart about Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X series, which kicked off his current run on the X-Men. David presents another terrific analysis of the religious themes in Hickman’s work. Here is an excerpt: “Cyclops asks two…

Call for Papers: Theology and the Riordanverse

Editors: Nathan E. Fleeson and Carolyn M. Jones Medine 2020 marked the 15thAnniversary of the publication of the first book in the Percy Jackson series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, as well as what Rick Riordan claims will be the last in the series, The Trials of Apollo: The Tower of Nero. In those…

Comics Review – Chronicles of Faith: David the Shepherd

By Danny Anderson As a consumer of art, I generally agree with Franz Kafka when he wrote “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us.” I don’t take this to mean that we should avoid books we like. Rather, we should learn to appreciate art that challenges us…

WANDAVISION and a Biblical Approach to Processing Grief

By Christopher Cummings Appearances are deceiving in the new Disney+ drama WANDAVISION. Set in the aftermath of the latest Avengers movie, Wanda Maximoff and her android beaux Vision enjoy domestic life in the suburbs of New Jersey… despite Vision’s heroic death several years prior.  Unbeknownst to Wanda, she’s using her supernatural gifts to avoid her grief…

Book Review: Theology and Prince

Recently, my friend Dr. Jeremy Perigo agreed to review Theology and Prince (part of the Theology and Pop Culture book series) for the American Academy of Religion‘s Reading Religion book review site. Here is a snippet of Dr. Perigo’s review: “This collection of essays will quickly become an essential starting point for future Prince scholars….

Theology and Horror: Answering the Concerns of the Critics

Guest post by John W. Morehead As a co-editor with Brandon Grafius of the new volume Theology and Horror: Explorations of the Dark Religious Imagination, I was asked to submit a post to help bring attention to our new work. I will use the opportunity to respond to tendencies that at times see a disconnect between…

Analyzing Religion in Jonathan Hickman’s Powers of X #3

As many of you who follow this website know, I have sporadically been linking up to a blog series (by David Canham) from our friends at Sequart about Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X series that launched the current X-Men era at Marvel Comics. The series is full of religious ideas and symbolism, and…

WandaVision and Toxic Self-Care

By Danny Anderson [Spoilers (if that’s even still possible)]. Over the last two months, I was sucked into Wanda Maximoff’s hex like everyone else. Many other people have, or will, write about the gripping meditation on grief that WandaVision provides. Still others (with far more patience than me) will spin out of Wanda’s alternate reality into…

Integral Ecology, Wisdom, and Faith: Raya and the Last Dragon on Radical Solidarity

By David Armstrong  Western society seems to be skeptical about our collective ability to find common cause just now. Yet this disbelief also comes at a time when a united human phronema is most needed to address global threats to our human flourishing and even existence. The coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and the devastating inequality of wealth and…

Anti-Life Justifies My Ignorance: Evangelicalism and the Pandemic

By Matthew Brake Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis billed itself as “The Day Evil Won.” The evil New God Darkseid had finally attained the long sought for Anti-Life Equation, a macguffin that gave him the power to control and subjugate the minds of others. In Morrison’s story, Darkseid’s coming is heralded by a “Religion of Crime”…

Grief, Loss, and Love Persevering in WandaVision

By Rev. Sam Blair [SPOILERS!!!!] If 2020 taught us anything, it was to expect the unexpected, and then to have those expectations shattered as well. Even so, I would not have guessed that a Marvel series would begin a national discussion about grief and grieving. And yet, here we are, memes and all. I work…

Call for Papers: Theology and Protest Music

Editors: Dr. Heidi M. Altman (haltman@georgiasouthern.edu) & Jonathan H. Harwell (jharwell@rollins.edu) Theology and Pop Culture is currently seeking contributions for a potential edited volume of essays on theology from various faiths connected with protest music of various popular genres.  Essays should be written for academics, but avoid jargon in order to be accessible for the layperson.  Women…

IT’S A SIN and the Church’s Response to Shame and Suffering

By Rev. Christopher West “He lies there all day, dying of shame.” So runs one of the most startling lines in Russell T. Davies’ latest television drama, It’s a Sin. The series is based on his own experiences and losses, and it follows three eighteen-year-olds – Ritchie, Roscoe, and Colin – as they move to London…

Religion and Ethnicity in Antiquity, The Mandalorian, and Today

By David Armstrong The emerging consensus in studies of the historical Jesus, Paul, his letters, the Gospel, and the New Testament more generally is that these figures and texts belong squarely within first-century Judaism, and that our notion of “Judaism” in antiquity cannot be reduced to the modern concept of “religion.” For all ancient peoples,…

Shameless: The Poverty of Sin in the Absence of God

By Andrew D. Thrasher Shameless. Such an apt title. Running eleven seasons spanning over ten years, Shameless has captured aptly the habitus of American poverty. It is marked by systemic poverty and the struggle to survive. It is marked by manipulation of the system, the brokenness of love, and the habitual dispositions of sin. Shameless captures the…

Analyzing Religion in Jonathan Hickman’s POWERS OF X #2

Those of you who follow this blog regularly know that I’ve been providing links to a series of blogs by David Canham over at Sequart analyzing religious themes in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X series. The following is an excerpt from the latest entry in the blog series: “X-Men stories often deal with…

V for Vendetta and Abraham Joshua Heschel in a Post-Trump America

By Matthew Brake When an immoral leader leaves office, it’s too easy for his detractors to breath a sigh of relief in the hopes of “going back to the way things were.” And for the moment, that’s fine, but we must do the hard work of asking about the conditions that allow such a leader…

The Pastor of Cobra Kai

As she often does, our friend Rev. Leah D. Schade at the EcoPreacher blog has written another great blog on a piece of pop culture–the hit series Cobra Kai! Rev. Schade specifically points out how the series does an excellent job of accurately portraying a mainline Protestant pastor: “He didn’t turn into a Bible-beating, gay-hating,…

Analyzing Religion in Jonathan Hickman’s HOUSE OF X #2

David Canham has been working on a series for our friends at Sequart analyzing the religious ideas and symbolism in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run. David has a really great piece looking at the theme of reincarnation in the character of Moira MacTaggert. David does an excellent job analyzing the characters and comparing the form of…

2020: Top Five Posts

2020 was certainly a tumultuous year. I’m proud of all of the contributors to the blog, especially those who contributed something timely to the circumstances we found ourselves in, whether concerning the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, or the rise of of conspiracy theories in our national discourse. I wanted to highlight the most…

Matisyahu’s “One Day” and the Burden of Hope: An Advent Reflection

By Danny Anderson This semester, I taught Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, the story of young, Hasidic Jew, Danny Saunders, and his journey to an orthodoxy that still engages the world outside his Hasidic community.  In an attempt to explain that dynamic to my mostly Catholic students, I brought up the example of Matisyahu, the hip-hop-reggae-human beatbox…

The Code of the Elves: A Primer for Joy

By Jake Doberenz In the 2003 Christmas classic Elf (I think I can call it a classic now), the elves have about perfected a recipe for joy. Elf, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell and Zoey Deschanel, depicts the elf-raised human Buddy as he ventures into the wild world of New York City. Buddy, raised…

35% Holiday Discount on Theology and Pop Culture Series

Happy Holidays everyone! Rowman and Littlefield is running at 35% discount on its books during the holiday season, and that includes in-stock print titles and ebooks for the Theology and Pop Culture series. I’m not sure if it works with pre-orders (like with our upcoming Theology and Horror title), but it definitely is good for…

Call for Papers: Theology and Dystopia

Call for Abstracts: Theology and Dystopia  Edited by Scott Donahue-Martens and Brandon Simonson From the Greek dus- (“bad”) and topos (“place”), dystopia as a genre is often characterized by its use of post-apocalyptic and totalitarian imagery. Dystopia stands in contrast with its counterpart utopia, an equally far-off yet disparately ideal world. Both dystopian and utopian worlds abound with…

Sports and Play in Christian Theology

By John Tucker Sport is a major preoccupation of the modern world. It consumes the time and energies of millions of people around the globe. It shapes the identity of individuals, communities, and nations.[1] For many participants, it operates much like a functional equivalent of religion, giving them a way to interpret and understand the…

Conspiracy as Evangelical Liturgy

By Danny Anderson An Opening Salvo Though too few media outlets cover it, there is in fact a sober and intellectually serious strain of Christianity in America. Revenue imperatives will probably always drive the media to focus on what historian John Fea refers to as the “Court Evangelicals” and other bizarre artifacts from the fringes of…

The Films of Wes Anderson and a Time for Everything

By Joshua Hollmann and Honor Students of Concordia College New York Wes Anderson is a designer of cinematic worlds of meaning. I recently taught the seminar “The Movies and Meanings of Wes Anderson” for the Fellows Honor Program at Concordia College New York. The course is related to my forthcoming book Theology and Wes Anderson for the…

LUCIFER and the Female God

By Princess O’Nika Auguste Lucifer ​is one of my favorite current television shows. It has everything that someone could want: humor, horror, magic, romance, and action. ​Lucifer ​focuses on Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil himself, who has abandoned his role as Ruler of Hell because he is bored and unhappy. He also leaves Hell to defy his father, God….

Watchmen and 2020 Politics

Hello everyone! Recently, I was invited by John Anthony Dunne to join him on The Two Cities podcast to discuss HBO’s Watchmen series. The podcast is about 48 minutes. We discuss the original Watchmen graphic novel and the politics of the Cold War, the Watchmen TV show’s intersection with our current political climate, and we…

Halloween (2018) in the Age of #MeToo

By JR. Forasteros Is there a more-maligned genre than horror? When master of horror fiction Stephen King won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, a Yale professor complained, He is a man who writes what used to be called penny dreadfuls. That they could believe that there is any literary value…

Calling All Saints: We Need a Lent for Halloween

By Danny Anderson Growing up a low-church Protestant, I had a tragically shallow liturgical education. When I moved to New York City in my mid 20s and first saw Catholics with ash on their foreheads on that particular Wednesday, I was utterly confused and thought I had wandered into an episode of The Twilight Zone.  For…

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…

Analyzing Religion in Jonathan Hickman’s POWERS OF X #1

Hello Everyone! Our friends over at Sequart are doing a blog series analyzing Jonathan Hickman’s current run on Marvel Comics’ X-Men, starting with the House of X/Powers of X series that kicked it off. We previously posted a link to the analysis of House of X #1 here. The writer, David Canham, gives a thorough…

Blade Runner, Ex Machina, and the Moral Circle

By Haruo Gomes To put it simply, the moral circle is the people we care about. Our understanding of it is usually based on William Lecky’s History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne. William observes that “at one time the benevolent affections embrace merely the family, soon the circle expanding includes first a class,…

Call for Papers: Religion and Horror Comics

While many genres offer the potential for theological reflection and exploration of religious issues, the nature of horror provides unique ways to wrestle with these questions. Since the EC Comics of the 1950s, horror comics have performed theological work in ways that are sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, but frequently surprising and provocative. This volume will…

Rape and Consent in Genesis 34 and RED TENT: Part Two

By Princess O’Nika Auguste [Click here to read Part One] Was Dinah Raped? Alice Ogden Bellis, in her book Helpmates, Harlots and Heroes: Women’s Stories in the Hebrew Bible, discusses a debate between three scholars: Meir Sternburg, Danna Fewell and David Gunn. These scholars debated about whether or not Dinah was raped. Gunn and Fewell…

THEOCON Goes Virtual! Sept. 19!

Hello friends! If you follow this site, then you may have seen some posts about an event called TheoCon in the past. TheoCon is an all day event where people come to discuss the intersection between faith, philosophy, and popular culture! Founded by Rev. Shayna Watson in 2018, this is TheoCon’s third year in existence….

THE BOYS and the Gods of Mass Media

By Camilo Lehnebach Bravo Stories are part of human nature. We tell them because that’s the way we can share our experiences and knowledge, and honestly, it’s the easiest way to communicate with each other. When you don’t know what to talk about with someone, you tell them what you did during the day, how…

Call for Papers: Fantasy, Theology, and the Imagination

Call for Papers: Fantasy, Theology, and the Imagination Edited by Austin M. Freeman, Andrew D. Thrasher, and Fotini Toso  In the world of High Fantasy, authors create fictional worlds that often reflect human religiosity and theological themes in new and creative ways. Through theological and religious analyses of high fantasy and fantasy series, the editors…