For years, Fred "Slacktivist
" Clark has been dissecting, page by page
, the Left Behind
series of Evangelical Christian potboilers. Clark, a Christian himself, goes far beyond merely mocking them but also analyzes the theology, philosophy, and politics underlying them. As an aside, he's looked at other Rapture narratives and is asking, "Why are Rapture stories always so dull?"
To this end he examines The Missing Christians
, a 50-minute 1952 movie about the Rapture, which is available to watch on YouTube
. Clark warns: "This is far, far worse than you’re expecting even if you take into account that it will be far, far worse than you’re expecting."
As usual, Clark goes beyond (but certainly by way of) just mocking the film to get at the core of what he argues the Rapture idea is really about, and why, despite the Apocalyptic material, these stories always end up so dull.
Part of the problem here, as in Left Behind, is that the “storytellers” of Evangel Films aren't nearly as interested in telling their story as they are in settling the score with their perceived enemies. These are the same enemies that haunt the sleep of Tim LaHaye — those sophisticated “liberal” Christians who refuse to concede the expertise of “Bible prophecy” experts. Just like Left Behind, The Missing Christians is a revenge fantasy in which those evil sophisticates are “proved” wrong and the righteous are proved right.
posted by Legomancer
on Feb 12, 2014 -
If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project
, complete with meta essays
, and playlists
. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock."
In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist
, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk
, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers
posted by divabat
on Feb 3, 2014 -
As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents
has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church's efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.
posted by reenum
on Jan 22, 2014 -
"I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year.
For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)."
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Jan 15, 2014 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 10, 2013 -
"Here’s what was off-limits, according to many of the people I grew up with: books about witchcraft, the writings of Anton LaVey, Ouija boards, New Age crystals, pentagrams, albums with backward masking, and the music of most heavy-metal bands. ... Yet here’s what was okay to enjoy, according to those same chums and acquaintances: The Omen. The Amityville Horror. Rosemary’s Baby. The Exorcist
. These movies passed muster because they didn’t encourage people to dabble in the dark arts; they warned
people." The Exorcist And The South's Love Of Devil Movies.
posted by shiu mai baby
on Oct 8, 2013 -
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 6, 2013 -
It was Ben who introduced me to A Course In Miracles. He was part of a self-help group that ran workshops based on a couple of popular New Age spiritual philosophies. Ben credited this group with his ongoing recovery from a mysterious undiagnosed chronic pain and illness, and he encouraged me to embrace it as a cure for whatever it was that caused me to spend so many of my days unable to get out of bed. "Failing a Course in Miracles,"
Anne Ouellette, The Toast
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Sep 17, 2013 -
""Pastrix" is a demeaning term used to refer to female ministers by certain Christians who believe in male-only pastoral ministry. But Denver-based Lutheran Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber,
a tattooed yet traditional liturgist, has reclaimed it as a title for her brand of faith. “It was an insult, and anytime you can reclaim an insult as a good thing, you win,” says Bolz-Weber." [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Sep 8, 2013 -
Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt
from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript
posted by audi alteram partem
on Sep 6, 2013 -
[Pinker] conflates scientific knowledge with knowledge as such. In his view, anybody who has studied any phenomena that are studied by science has been a scientist...If they were interested in the mind, then they were early versions of brain scientists. If they investigated human nature, then they were social psychologists or behavioral economists avant la lettre
. Leon Wieseltier pens a response
to Steven Pinker's essay
on scientism, both in the pages of the New Republic. Others
some prominent atheists
, have taken issue with Pinker as well.
posted by shivohum
on Sep 5, 2013 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
The Dancing Saints
is "a 3,000 square foot icon wrapping around the entire church rotunda, showing ninety larger-than life saints; four animals; stars, moons, suns and a twelve-foot dancing Christ." Among the icons are traditional saints like Francis of Assisi
and Mary Magdalene
, but most of them are non-traditional saints, like Florence Nightingale
, John Coltrane
and Lady Godiva's Horse
. The Dancing Saints Icon is inside the St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church
in San Francisco. You can watch a video tour of the church's architecture
, read an interview with iconographer Mark Dukes
, and a short essay on the Dancing Saints Icon by Richard Fabian
posted by Kattullus
on May 31, 2013 -