Three Films on Race and Racism That Will Help Us as Christians

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Film, Race and Racism, The Church, The Future5 Comments

Seeing popular movies will never change your heart at the deepest level. Yet movies are a powerful art form that can reach into your human heart and this power can deeply impact us, both personally and corporately. I believe 12 Years a Slave does this as well as any movie about race that I have ever seen. Indeed, it is … Read More

12 Years a Slave – A Film That Reaches Into the Heart

John ArmstrongCivil Rights, Culture, Current Affairs, Film, Personal, Race and Racism7 Comments

Steve McQueen’s stunning visual portrayal of the story of Solomon Northup, a black musician living in Saratoga Springs, NewYork, with his wife and two young adoring children in 1841, is nothing if it is not one of the most moving films I’ve seen in many years. 12 Years a Slave is art but it is art at its highest and … Read More

Leisure, Popular Culture and the Modern Moment

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Biblical Theology, Culture, Current Affairs, Film, Games, Personal, Television, The Church4 Comments

Any serious thinking about popular culture must take into account the amount of time we have to spend in the sphere of modern culture. Steve Turner rightly concludes: “It’s hard to argue that the Bible is a source of guidance when dealing with such areas of life as money, marriage, family, relationships, work, worship and prayer but has nothing useful … Read More

Glorifying God in Our Cultural Pursuits

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Biblical Theology, Culture, Film, Kingdom of God, Television, Theology6 Comments

Last week I asked a much-debated question raised by the patristic theologian Tertullian: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” I observed that Tertullian was primarily concerned about what role philosophy had in dealing with the Christian faith. The same question, as I showed previously, can be applied to popular culture. What place does Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue … Read More

“What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?” – An Old Question for Modern Christians

John ArmstrongCulture, Discipleship, Film, Philosophy, Spirituality1 Comment

Evangelical Christianity teaches people how to share the basics of simple faith and Christian living fairly well. It shows people how to read their Bible, how to pray and especially how to share the “simple” gospel with others. Now we even have a growing interest in spiritual formation, including teaching on contemplation and meditation. All of this is our strength. … Read More

Gravity – A Film of Special Effects and a Few Powerful Moments

John ArmstrongCulture, Evangelism, Faith, Film7 Comments

There can be no serious dispute that movies occupy a significant role in popular American culture. More than any other art form films supply cultural references that become a part of our everyday life and vocabulary. I am sometimes asked, “Why do you blog about films and television?” The answer is really simple – there is no more meaningful entryway … Read More

"One Hit From Home" – A Film I Enjoyed Sharing a Role in as an Actor

John ArmstrongACT 3, Baseball, Culture, Faith, Film, Personal

Some of you know that a few years ago I worked with several friends on a feature film. These two friends–Johnny Meier and David Stone–came to personal faith in Christ as young filmmakers and were powerfully nudged by the Spirit to change their lifestyle. This leading of the Spirit led them to make some faithful choices about what they would … Read More

Payback: How We Understand Debt and Revenge

John ArmstrongCulture, Current Affairs, Environmentalism, Ethics, Film, Politics, Wealth

The famous Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood defines the subject of her book “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth” — which originated as the 2008 Massey Lectures in Toronto — as “one of the most worrisome and puzzling things I know: that peculiar nexus where money, narrative or story, and religious belief intersect, often with explosive force.” In a … Read More

Les Misérables: A Film That Reveals What True Faith Looks Like

John ArmstrongFaith, Film, Forgiveness, Gospel/Good News, Love

Victor Hugo’s epic story, “Les Misérables,” is set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, times of revolution and upheaval aimed at a culture dominated by the Catholic Church for many centuries.  As most readers already know “Les Misérables” tells a moving story of broken dreams and unrequited love, of passion, sacrifice and redemption. It is a classic novel for a … Read More

Lincoln on the Big Screen (5)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Film, History, Race and Racism

Since the new film “Lincoln” deals directly with the passage of the 13th Amendment, and the abolition of slavery in the United States, scholars and pundits of all sorts are asking new questions about both Lincoln and slavery. I welcome this dialogue and actually pray that we might see a little more light and a lot less heat. Rhetorical bombs, … Read More