Archives For Culture

I don’t even want to calculate how many days it’s been since I’ve last blogged—let alone blogged regularly.

If you used to follow Wadebearden.com, you might have wondered where I disappeared to. Well, let me explain. The last few years I’ve been:

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If you grew up in a Christian home during the last thirty years, you’re a member of an exclusive clique. You lived through McGee and Me’s tornado episode, survived a youth group game that required drinking a gallon of milk, and even weathered the Newsboys’ disco phase. Remember the day you accidentally ripped your Amy Grant poster? Some tragedies are too difficult to bear.

Christian culture possesses a unique attachment for its members, and judging by the amount of nostalgia-centric artifacts surging in popularity, we can’t seem to get enough of it…

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Jennifer Lawrence’s appearance in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 embodies juxtaposition. While rummaging the corridors of District 13, Katniss is modestly dressed. Humble clothes divert attention rather than absorb it. Her hairstyle is simple; her face unadorned. If you didn’t know Katniss was the Mockingjay, you probably wouldn’t have guessed it. Continue Reading…

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“If I had known more about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, I probably would not have watched it.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Sundance darling finds its protagonist in Greg (played by Thomas Mann), a teenage loner who spends his free time producing parodies of classic films. Greg is an enigma. Like the layout of his Pennsylvania high school divides into multiple sections, Greg’s life is purposely compartmentalized. He is on a first-name basis with nearly every group in school—he is just as comfortable bumming it with the drama club as he is high-fiving the senior class drug dealer—but his relationships are shallow and superficial. He makes small talk, and there’s little more.”

Click here to read the rest of the article on Christianity Today…

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Some of you may have seen John Oliver’s recent take on the prosperity gospel. It’s been making its rounds since Monday—for good reason. It’s energetic and thought-provoking. Fair warning: if you do watch it, be prepared for language. Continue Reading…

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I won’t spoil the end of The Jinx here—if by some chance you haven’t already read reports of the much lauded HBO documentary series—but I think it’s safe to say that the finale provided the seemingly “definitive” conclusion we all pined for in Serial. The last episode plays more like a suspense thriller than an open-ended study of the American justice system. The Jinx possesses a clear beginning, middle, and, most importantly, powerful resolution. Not that an open-ended plot can’t have a “conclusion,” but there’s a certain amount of satisfaction attached to having all the answers handed to you before the credits roll (though “all” is certainly up for debate here). Continue Reading…

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A few Easters ago, I lectured on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. At the end of my talk, a woman chastised me in front of the group. “It doesn’t matter what theologians, scholars, or logic says. All that matters is the Bible.” Work that statement out as you may, but I think the main thrust of it was, “You just have to believe.” Continue Reading…

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Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is neither pro-war nor antiwar. It’s simply war. Groups and/or individuals who campaign to place the film in one of these categories over the other are, I believe, missing the point. In Sniper, Eastwood seems less concerned with pronouncing strict judgement than he is with telling a story that will provoke audiences on both sides to assess their prior presuppositions regarding the effects of violence and retaliation. Continue Reading…

My Ten Favorite Films of 2014

Wade —  December 29, 2014 —  Comments

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I’ve seen some great films this year. Though there are still more I need to catch (Whiplash, Selma, Inherent Vice, and Birdman to name a few), I thought it would be fun to put together a list highlighting my favorites so far. I hope this will be a guide of sorts for those of you looking to expand your filmography. My top ten list includes blockbusters, independent and foreign films, dramas, a horror picture, a black and white feature, and even one movie with Tom Cruise.

Because one of my passions is examining how art and Christianity coincide, I’ve included within each description a number of themes I feel interact with that particular film’s story. This will, hopefully, help you look at these movies through a more critical, spiritually-minded lens. Continue Reading…

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Much like the stereotype in an average fairy tale film, Katniss Everdeen gets a makeover in Mockingjay – Part 1. Her long, slightly frizzed hair is weaved into a trademark single braid. Makeup is applied. She wears a black combat suit in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. Yet, in contrast with most stories involving princesses and magical outward transformations, Katniss’ new style doesn’t help her blend in with the bar set by society. The image of her glamorized figure is juxtaposed with the dirty, ruffled edges of war. She looks out of place among the wounded. Her outfit doesn’t match the rubble she walks through. Continue Reading…