Media Diary (December 2019)

Some things I’ve experienced lately, in no particular order, and not necessarily only recent stuff:

Uncut Gems (Movie): This was riveting

Cats (Movie): Words fail, really #skimbleshanks

Marriage Story (Movie): Great, and I don’t think I’ve seen either of the leads in a better performance

The Movies That Made Us (TV): Streaming cocaine

All Told (Podcast): Two great episodes on Altamont

Little Women (Movie): Really enjoyable

Ad Astra (Movie): Very good, did not expect the monkey

The Devil Next Door (TV): Chilling

The Witch (Movie): Super unsettling, and the lighting was amazing

Booksmart (Movie): This was full-on amazing

Disorganized Crime: Smuggler’s Daughter (Podcast): Interesting story from the POV of a woman unknowingly raised by pot smugglers

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Movie): Eh

Behind The Candelabra (Movie): I’m a total sucker for biopics about over-the-top behavior and the inevitable unraveling

Michelle Wolf: Joke Show (TV): Love her

The Dream (Podcast): It’s back, and now taking on essential oils 👏

Bombshell (Movie): Solid, and Charlize Theron was almost unrecognizable

The Report (Movie): Great (though on an infuriating topic)

We Believe in Dinosaurs (Movie): Sigh

A Year in Space (TV): Don’t think I’d want to spend a year in space

Chi-Raq (Movie): A little uneven, but great moments

Meek’s Cutoff (Movie): An interesting, extremely barebones vibe (and suggested by my wife, who almost never suggests movies!)

On Faith and Politics

Since I live in a conservative city and am part of what could certainly be labeled as an evangelical church (shudder), I encounter a lot of Trump supporters, so when I came across this Jon Voight video the other day, his message was unfortunately far from surprising. That said, it may be new to some of you, so (with my deepest apologies in advance), please take a moment to watch it:

You cool? Need a moment? Believe me, I get it. Take your time.

Back? Stretched your legs? Punched some walls? Good. While it’s difficult to cut through the crazy, he does parrot a few far-too-common evangelical talking points:

  • The “left wing” lacks truth, and are afraid of “Trump’s truth” (which will save the country)

  • If the impeachment proceeds (spoiler: it did), America will fall (spoiler: it didn’t)

  • The “extreme left” are destroying this nation’s glory and have “evil intent”

In other words, those that are left-leaning are not God’s people, they’re against “saving the country” and they want to pursue evil goals. Yikes!

What’s even scarier is that church leaders aren’t exactly going out of their way to rebuke this type of rhetoric. While they tend to offer extensive frameworks for dealing with the intersection of faith and many other parts of life (finances, marriage, career advice, raising children, etc.), the intersection of faith and politics continues to remain taboo.

To be clear, I’m in no way advocating for churches to take political stances. This is inappropriate, ugly and divisive (as evidenced by the above video).

However, in a reality where an incredibly immoral (and, most importantly, unrepentant) man has risen to the highest office in the land while Christians practically trip over themselves to share hyper-partisan misinformation, the current “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” or “bad men have always been used as a tool by God”-style passages just aren’t cutting it, and are in fact making things a great deal worse.

When political behavior flies in the face of your faith’s core lessons, not doing serious public soul searching around the relationship between faith and politics sends a strong “all of this is ok with evangelicals” message.

It’s far from ok, and we should all feel incredibly ashamed.

A long while back, our local church’s global movement (the ICOC) went through a bit of an upheaval (including issues with an unhealthy/creepy focus on extreme evangelism). They wrestled through it, however, making changes and (in my opinion) emerging stronger as a result.

It’s time to get back in the ring.

Best of 2019

As usual, I haven’t been able to see/listen to everything I’d like, but here are my top five picks this year across movies, TV and podcasts…