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Pride and Pentecost

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On the road to living as an out bisexual man, one of the first “coming out” conversations I had was with my seminary friend Adam: a gay, libertarian, Lutheran pastor who was also an extra in the movie Wet Hot American Summer (I often refer to him my “most interesting friend” for those reasons). I wanted to pick Adam’s brain because he, like me, hailed from a conservative, evangelical faith tradition, and had to do the hard work of coming to terms with his sexuality within such a milieu. For Adam, part of that work meant training to serve in a denomination that calls and equips queer people to ministry (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). As I stared down my seminary graduation, and considered my career prospects in ministry, I’d been contemplating whether to transition out of my own faith tradition (Pentecostalism) to one more amenable to my sexual orientation. I anticipated that coming out as queer while worshipping in a charismatic church might be traumatic, and unfortunate…

Yes, Jesus Loves Me

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On the last day of June 2018, I celebrated Pride month by coming out to the world as bisexual via social media post, and the aftermath of that decision has shaped the last year of my life, for better and for worse. Indeed, it's been a year full of encouragement, hope, trauma, pain and confusion, often all at the same time. Almost everyone in my life has been so tender with me, so affirming and lovely. But not quite everyone. In certain circumstances, certain circles, I met resistance. Fear. Shame. And it’s really messed with me.

In fact, a question has plagued me in the time since I’ve come out, sparked by hard conversations and suddenly-strained relationships: is God’s love still for me? Am I still included in His family?

To quote gay Christian writer Jeff Chu: "Does Jesus really love me?"

My gut says yes. The first idea I ever learned about God was that He loved me, that I was unconditionally, radically, holistically embraced by the Source of all love and light in the …

Saint Rachel and Me

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“One of my favorite writers died” doesn’t capture it. That wouldn’t account for how I’m feeling right now. It’s more than that; she was a friend. And not just to me, but to anyone who needed a friend like her: someone to stand in the gap for us, to affirm our worth when the world denies it. Someone to model honesty in doubt and dignity in disagreement. Someone to stand in Christian spaces while full-throatedly supporting those whom the church has ignored, rejected or abused.

Rachel Held Evans was a superhero, at least to me. Eshet chayil, woman of valor.

I met Rachel when she passed through George Fox University (my alma mater) on a speaking tour to promote her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I was superficially familiar with her work at the time, having only read a handful of her blog posts, but they had certainly piqued my interest. Her voice resonated with where I found myself at the time: crumbling under the weight of doubt but desperate to find something salvageable in…

Top 20 Movies of 2018

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2018 in Film I always try to share my best-of-the-year movie lists before the Oscars air, but this year I was too busy agonizing over the inevitable Best Picture win for Green Book. In any case, 2018 (like 2017 before it) was an eclectic year in film, with plenty of quality to go around across a spectrum of genres. Superhero films continued their reign at the top of the box office, and most were quite good (3 found their way onto my list). Performers like Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill and Bo Burnham transitioned seamlessly into the director’s chair with bold debut features. Such visionary creators as Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler and Barry Jenkins continued to provoke with their thoughtful explorations of race and class in America and beyond. Sure, certain big budget blockbusters failed to meet critical or financial expectations (Solo, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, A Wrinkle in Time, Crimes of Grindelwald, The Cloverfield Paradox), and the awards industry seems to have gone completely insan…

Best New TV of 2018

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While I adore movies, and music, television is my first love. I grew up on a steady diet of TV. The way other families sat around the “family table” for dinner, my mother, my sister and I huddled around the TV set with microwave meals in our laps, laughing through Nick at Nite reruns of classic sitcoms, gasping along with the twists and turns of Alias, or trying to decipher the inscrutable plot machinations of Lost. So, as 2019 dawns and I reflect back on my media intake from 2018, I figured I’d start by rating and reviewing some of the best television. While I hope to write a bit on the year's best movies, music, and other media before January ends (and year-end lists become irrelevant), I will begin with a selection of the best new TV shows I saw this year, which premiered since January 1, 2018.
WHAT I MISSEDBut first! TV is hard to enjoy comprehensively. There are only so many hours in the day, and so very many amazing shows on television right now, so I missed some of what crit…

Top Movies of 2017

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In May 2017, two of my best friends and I launched a movie/theology podcast called Jesus Take the Reel, which has motivated me to keep up with all of Hollywood's most notable releases. It also helps that I subscribe to a service called MoviePass, which allows me to watch up to one movie a day at practically any theater, for a pretty reasonable monthly fee. This is not an advertisement for MoviePass (I wish), but I do highly recommend it, especially for fellow cinephiles.
Like last year, I decided to rank my top 20 favorites, from what turned out to be an occasionally brilliant, if inconsistent, year in film. I’ll start with a few honorable mentions, then a full review for each of my top 20!

Updated with a few Oscar predictions.
Honorable Mentions: Guardians 2 - Unpopular opinion: I prefer Guardians Volume 2 over the original. Darkest Hour - Driven by Gary Oldman’s hungry, larger-than-life portrayal of Winston Churchill Lego Batman - Might be the funniest movie of the year. And a good B…