Showing posts from April, 2021

Chronological “Snubbery”: On the Proper Reading Order for The Chronicles of Narnia

Those who purchase a book set of The Chronicles of Narnia today might assume the content of the series is in the same format as it was when C. S. Lewis first wrote it. That assumption, while understandable, is inaccurate. For the length of C. S. Lewis’s life (and decades beyond), his seven books from the world of Narnia were arranged so that readers would go through them in the order in which they were published. In 1994, however, the books were reordered and renumbered. The seven separate installments, as they were originally written and released, progressively develop the world of Narnia. As such, the rearranged book set unfolds the overarching narrative in a jumbled fashion. It ends up revealing information to the first-time reader in a slapdash manner. At several key narrative points, the current book order tips its hand to the reader before it even makes its play (so to speak). The argument in favor of this new arrangement is that the books are now in a more chronological o

Men, Be Brave and Bold—not Macho or Milquetoast

In the NFL, an average game lasts about three hours. Take out all the commercials and you have only an hour of game time. Remove all the time between plays and you end up with an eleven minute game. Of course, for individual players, the play time is even shorter. A quarterback, for example, can hold the ball in active play for fewer than 120 seconds. And yet, even though actual play time per game is incredibly small, players prepare for those scant minutes —or seconds— with over 60 hours of training. Now, if you know me, football facts don’t just roll off my tongue. I ’ m not a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination. About the closest I get to watching football is checking out the Super Bowl commercials—after they’ve aired. No, I learned the NFL facts above from Marty Machowski’s newest book, Brave and Bold: 31 Devotions to Strengthen Men . Those football stats, Machowski says, can illustrate an important truth: the extensive testing (or, rather, training) of our faith devel

Hollywood’s Most Oscar-Worthy Treatment of Rape

Rarely does a cinematic exploration of sexual violence make it all the way to the Oscars. The 93 rd Academy Awards, however, have proven to be an exception. The film Promising Young Woman  “seeks to subvert the rape-revenge genre, replacing mindless fantasy tropes with deliberate and realistic elements.” Regardless of the film’s merits (or lack thereof ), what this year’s Oscars have reminded me of is an event over 70 years ago—the 21 st Academy Awards , in which another cinematic exploration of rape received even more notable attention. The year was 1949. Oscar nominated films included the likes of Joan of Arc (starring Ingrid Bergman) and Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet . The film with most nominations, however, was Johnny Belinda . With an awkward title and promotional poster, the movie might not look like anything special to a modern audience, but belying its uncouth outer shell is an artistic powerhouse of a film. To this day, Johnny Belinda remains one of the most Oscar-nominated

How to Push Back Against the Tide of an Immoral Society

With rampant licentiousness being the societal norm, we need a robust Christian sexual ethic—something more than just a vague notion that sex should be reserved for marriage. We must reclaim a thoroughly God-centered, neighbor-serving perspective. I explore what that perspective should entail in a new article for Crosswalk : Under the surface of our society’s unabashed promiscuity is a root we can easily overlook: a climate of consumerism. Using an impersonal, utilitarian lens, our consumeristic culture encourages us to evaluate others based on their perceived usefulness. The more willing others are to play to an individual’s felt needs, the more willing he is to treat them with dignity and respect.   This tendency essentially views or treats others as objects. It points back to the end-user as the end goal: what he wants reigns supreme. The emphasis becomes inward rather than outward. The question becomes, “How can this person benefit  me ?”   An inward, consumeristic focus