CAPC’s Most-Read Articles of 2021

Here’s what everyone was reading at Christ and Pop Culture in 2021.

Spider-Man: No Way Home: The Worth and The Cost of Being Seen

The film’s highs and lows are mined from something viscerally human and somehow understated: the desire for connection.

Don’t Throw Away Your Nativity Sets: Why Jesus May Not Have Been Born in a “Lower Room”

Jesus’s birth is a breach of human hospitality, not an example of it.

Dune and Disaster, or, Why Charismatic Leaders Should Come with a Warning Label

Like Paul in Dune, we can fall into the trap of moral expediency—the temptation to care more about winning than about holiness and humble service. 

Fictional Evangelicalism: On Reading Daniel Silliman’s Reading Evangelicals

Silliman argues that each of these stories prefigures the current crisis within evangelicalism.

Is Christmas Marvel-ous?

While the Christmas story is Marvel-like in the sense that it explains Jesus’s supernatural powers by showing us his supernatural origins, it’s not fictional.

No, You Can’t Get It All Done: Time Management for Mortals and Mineo’s Never Land II

You have to choose a few things, sacrifice everything else, and deal with the inevitable sense of loss that results.

Loving the God of Little Things

Thank God for the small comforts and consolations that pierce us to the heart with joy—the little things.

Breaking Bread: Midnight Mass and the Inversion of the Eucharist

When the God you preach is nothing more than a simulacrum of your own shadow, it’s easy to justify wrongs against the least of these for your own ends.

Lyrics of Lament: Suffering and Theodicy in Hip-Hop

When Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin were killed, when children die around the world of preventable disease, when children and teens experience the “death” of family and get bounced around foster homes, evil is manifest. Suffering has a face. Suddenly questioning God’s plan seems the most reasonable course of action.

Ted Lasso and the Things Men Do Instead of Going to Therapy

All stories can and often do serve as a kind of therapeutic invitation—an opportunity to step out of our current experience and into the experiences of others, whether happy experiences we long to have, or painful experiences we’ve had and are struggling to make sense of.

Shang-Chi and the Porous Self

Shang-Chi moved away from the modern “buffered” self toward a recognition of the enchanted “porous” self.

Lorde’s Solar Power Is an Embodiment of the Spiritual-but-Not-Religious Age

Even as Solar Power knocks at the hollow of everything that we seem to live for, these are questions that, even at the end, remain unanswered.

Shang-Chi and the Mythopoeic East Asian Superhero Story

Shang-Chi’s actualization into an MCU superhero gives us a hero who comes from a culture that is more we-focused than me-focused, and I see that as a good thing.

What It Means to Be Enough

It is enough to be made, loved, and redeemed by God. Now if only his people could figure that out.

The Simone Biles Effect: Changing Our Approach to Competition

Any competitor can only successfully lose if they have learned who they truly are outside of the sport they’re competing in.