The Spiritual Topology of Sleep Well Beast

The National’s latest, Sleep Well Beast, affirms that if heartbreak is particular to our times and places, to our own networks of relationships, then grace must be as well.

A Supernatural Neighbor

The benevolence of the spirits in My Neighbor Totoro serves as a reminder that the spiritual realm—though mysterious and unlike our own—is not something to fear.

You Are Not Actually Reading This Right Now: The Paradox of the Mind, and Why I Wrote a Psychological Thriller

Fiction is what we turn to when we have nagging questions that we can’t quite put into more precise language.

Drawn to the Things That Frighten Us

There is something deeper that lingers in the human psyche—something more than the experience, or a twisted desire for evil—something that horror taps into and awakens.

God’s Hand in Bill Paxton’s Frailty

It’s shockingly awful and shockingly compelling as horror because Paxton’s character remains so upsettingly loving and so fatherly throughout, clearly, sincerely believing in the killing he’s doing.

Local Ghosts

Even in the Hudson Valley, I think the larger appeal of Halloween is that our local ghosts can scare us, but we can, ultimately, domesticate them.

American Gods: A Pagan Enchantment Which Does Not Satisfy

What is it about the idea of things, powers, and beings beyond nature that draws people into these stories?

The Christological Vision of Pirates of the Caribbean

They made Pirates a supernatural story set in the “real world” that helps us to grasp the spiritual realities that those drowning in the real tend to deny.

A Priest for All Seasons: Murder, Mystery, and Contentment in Father Brown and Grantchester

As a practicing Catholic, I know that confession must occur even in the summertime, when the confessional booth is stuffy and both priest and penitent are itching to be elsewhere.

The Kingdom of God Is Like a Sticky Movie Theater Floor and a Neighborhood Concert

When people are wary of the church, these places show us what community can be: parties, music, good food, experiencing a good story, and the careful art of negotiating communal relationships.

Shedding Summer Skin

The nostalgia, wistfulness, and ache that Death Cab conjures up in the hearts of listeners is like no other.

Wisdom in the Summer Garden

Unlike the pitcher, the gardener cannot rely on her own strength to get her very far. Can she, after all, cause a seed to sprout?

Stand by Me and the Magic of Summertime Questing

Stand by Me takes viewers along on a quest that encapsulates coming of age; deep, transforming friendship; and the possibilities of a “summertime kind of life.”

Our Beloved Stories of Summer

Revisiting good fiction—while by no means a replacement for Scripture—can become a vital part of the Christian life.

American Ninja Warrior: Villains Need Not Apply

The real joy of shows like American Ninja Warrior comes from the simple delight of watching people who are good at something do the something they are good at.

Rapper NF: The Face of Relevant Christian Rap

The phenomenon of NF’s painful but real music can’t be ignored.