By Tim Winterstein

There’s nothing quite as uncomfortable as watching someone who does awkward well. In comedy, consider both Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and Ricky Gervais’ David Brent on both the American and English versions of The Office. But Jim Cummings could teach a master class on dramatic and (within the world of the film) unintentional awkwardness—that is, he does teach a master class in his first full-length, Thunder Road (available for rent or purchase on iTunes or Amazon).

By Tim Winterstein

[SPOILERS]

I don’t know if the current cultural moment is producing a thematic bounty of what it means to deal with pain and guilt or if it was always equally present. Either way, the idea of what to do with guilt we can’t erase—because we can’t go back and undo it—seems to run through a lot of the films and shows that I’ve written about here. Or maybe those are just the themes that are most fertile for theological reflection, especially when they’re being explored by those who most likely wouldn’t give the answers that Christians would give.

By Paul Koch

As the 13th chapter of Mark’s Gospel comes to an end the focus or intended purpose of our Lord’s teaching becomes quite clear. It is summed up perfectly in the closing line, “What I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (Mark 13:37) Over and again the call of our Lord’s words have been to be on guard, to stay vigilant, to be watchful, to stay awake. All this comes from a discussion that he has been having with disciples concerning their questions about the end of times. When Jesus had told them that the temple itself would be thrown down, they wanted some assurance, some comfort about the unknowable future. “Tell us,” they said, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the signs when all these things are about to be accomplished.” (13:4) And so he has been telling them about the signs of the end: about what sort of things they might expect. He has spoken about wars and earthquakes and famines, about persecution and injustice. He has addressed false teaching and broken fidelity.

By Bob Hiller

Remember that song by Garth Brooks where he sang, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers?” Yeah, unfortunately, so do I. It’s this sappy romantic song about how Garth and his wife went back to his hometown and ran across his boyhood crush, the one he had prayed and prayed for God to let him marry. After seeing her he looks at his wife and is just so thankful that God ignored his prayers for the crush so he could marry his wife. God didn’t answer Garth’s prayer. He had a better plan in mind.