Whats So Special About Church?

Throughout the pandemic, Ive refused to wear my pajamas to watch my churchs livestream. Every week, I get dressed in my usual Sunday best. I fix my hair. I even put on makeup. I dont do this out of vanity or pharisaism (I hope), but out of a desire to set apart the activity of... Read more

A Black Man Has Died After Begging a Police Officer to Stop Crushing His Neck | RELEVANT Magazine

Shocking and disturbing cell phone footage has emerged from Minneapolis, Minnesota, showing eight minutes of a white police officer crushing a black man’s neck with his knee, refusing to listen to the man’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe and ignoring the cries of onlookers begging him to stop. The man becomes unresponsive and was later... Read more

How Maverick City Music Is Breaking the Worship Music Mold | RELEVANT Magazine

With all the worship music out there, it can be tempting to lump it all into the same box. But Maverick City Music easily resists any such labels, bursting through expectations and convention with propulsive, dynamic creativity that seems to fuse both the music and the lyrics with a spark that really makes you... Read more

Hawk Nelson Frontman Jon Steingard: ‘I No Longer Believe in God’ | RELEVANT Magazine

  Christians of a certain age are probably familiar with the work of Hawk Nelson, a Christian power pop act that grew to prominence on the strength of fun hooks on albums like Letters to the PresidentandSmile, It’s the End of the World. Now, frontman Jonathan Steingard has taken to Instagram to announce that... Read more

How Each Enneagram Type Is Struggling (and Thriving) During the Pandemic | RELEVANT Magazine

How is your Enneagram type struggling and thriving during this crazy season? How can you continue to grow in grace? What does it look like to become more fully yourself in a season of shelter-in-place and quarantine? Have you formed any unhealthy habits? How can you be kinder yourself during this pandemic? What I... Read more

The Husband of Lori Klausutis Has Asked Twitter to Remove Trump’s Tweets About Her Death | RELEVANT Magazine

In 2001, a 28-year-old woman named Lori Klausutis died in a tragic accident, hitting her head on a desk while working for then-U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough. Since then, her death has fueled baseless conspiracy theories on the most noxious corners of the internet, and no amount of debunking ever seems to satisfy the legions... Read more

Carrot Bacon and the Art of Persuasion – Christ and Pop Culture

What you seecarrots? Or do you see bacon? This is the question Tabitha Brown poses at the beginning of her video in which she instructs her followers in alchemy, or turning carrots into bacon. It seems like a nonsense question. Do you see a pencil or a zebra? Clothespins or the moon? A concrete truck... Read more

How to Turn Repentance Into a Non-Apology Apology

It seems to be an almost daily occurrence on the news. A public figure has done or said something that crosses a significant moral line for many people. They try to make a statement that expresses contrition (to satisfy those feeling aggrieved) while not actually admitting any wrongdoing (thus retaining their public credibility). This solution... Read more

Something New under the Sun: Hyper-Reality and Pornography – Christ and Pop Culture

In a 2018 piece in New York Magazine, Max Read inquired, How much of the internet is fake? He asked this not so much about factual content or so-called fake news, but rather because studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some... Read more

Church Elders Can Help with Your Family Crisis

Nothing can bring us more pride or more embarrassment than the behavior of our children. In those struggling moments, when we are desperate, we often search blogs, podcasts, and books that promise help. But have you considered how your church leaders might be instruments of Gods grace? Healthy shepherds in a healthy church are a... Read more

Sourdough and the Spiritual Discipline of Pace

Sourdough is on the rise. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has incited fear, panic, and partisan rancor, it has also revived older traditions that take time to cultivate and master, like bread baking. Many of us have decided to use the extra time on our hands in quarantine for baking sourdough bread. Major news outlets have... Read more

Why You Should Read Frederick Buechner

Becoming a Christian is, generally speaking, bad for a novelists career. With some exceptions to this this rule (Marilynne Robinson, for one), a committed Christian in the world of letters faces bewildered misunderstanding from the literary community and, often, a Christian community expecting every story to follow the plotline of Amazing Grace. Someone compelled by... Read more

The 15 Best Films About Faith from the 2010s

What were the best films about faith released in the 2010s decade? Im not talking about faith-based films as the marketing term Hollywood uses for movies like Fireproof and Gods Not Dead. Im not talking about films made for faith audiences so much as films made to explore faith: the struggle and beauty of faith,... Read more

10 Hymns Youth Groups Should Sing

Few things are more awkward than an adult youth worker trying to sound like a teenager. Equally awkward is the adult youth worker flaunting theological astuteness by using words students dont understand. Both, however, illustrate the importance of language in youth ministry. Especially when we are communicating the gospel. This is why the language of... Read more

Frozen: Same Old Disney or Surprisingly Countercultural?

To prepare for Frozen 2, I watched Frozen again with my daughter. I remembered it being a funny, whimsical movie with a catchy soundtrack, but I was surprised by how much the story resonated with me. What it teaches is surprisingly countercultural, calling into question the adequacy of common narratives pushed in pop culture (including... Read more

How The Irishman Prepares for Death

The Irishman (in theaters now and on Netflix November 27) is the culmination of Martin Scorseses career as the foremost auteur of American gangster movies (Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York,The Departed). No one does this genre better than Scorsese, and with a bigger-than-ever canvas (a three-and-a-half-hour runtime and a $160 million budget), the master... Read more

My Top 60 Christian Hip-Hop Songs

As long as I can remember, hip-hop music has been the soundtrack to my life. Being raised in the Southside of St. Petersburg, Florida, hip-hop was the heartbeat of the communityan outlet for artists to express experiences of struggle, joy, and success in urban America. Birthed in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip-hop has grown... Read more

A Hidden Life Is a Faith-Based Masterpiece

The title of Terrence MalicksA Hidden Lifecomes from a line in George EliotsMiddlemarch: The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest... Read more

A Song for Every Psalm, Released Weekly for 150 Weeks

On January 1, Christian folk bandPoor Bishop Hooperwill release a song based on Psalm 1. In November 2022, they will release a song based on Psalm 150. Every week in between, they will release new songs that work through the Psalter. Thats 150 songs, released one per week, for three years. The ambitiousEveryPsalmproject is just... Read more

19 Pieces of Goodness in 2019 Pop Culture

One paradox of the internet age is that popular culture is easier than ever to access but harder than ever to find. We gained convenience but lost clarifying consensus on what might be worth our time. Streaming sites have made access to music, movies, and TV incredibly easy, but they have also bombarded us with... Read more

Chesterton, Dickens, and Comfort in the Fog

G. K. Chesterton called Charles Dickens the poet of fog. InA Christmas Carol, for example, London’s fog serves as a backdrop from which characters emerge with lamps and light. When Scrooge is first greeted by the caroling of God rest ye merry, gentlemen, he responds such that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole... Read more

How Little Women Re-Reads the Original Novel

A good book is re-readable. A great book gets better with every re-reading. The director of the newly released film adaptation of Little Women has read and re-read Louisa May Alcotts novel many times, as both a child and also an adult. Greta Gerwigs love for and understanding of the novel is gloriously evident in... Read more

The Best Movies of 2019

What makes a film deserving of inclusion on a best of the year list? Some might argue that important films should populate such listsfilms with the most timely commentary on our cultural moment. Others prioritize films with the best acting or cutting-edge technical achievement. These are valid criteria, but for me the best movies are... Read more

1917 and the Beauty of Duty

Time is the enemy. Thats the marketing tagline for Sam Mendess World War I epic 1917, this year’s Golden Globe winner for best drama. Not since Christopher Nolans Dunkirk has time itself been so foregrounded as a war films scariest foe. In both Dunkirk and 1917, the ostensible enemy (the German army) is largely unseen.... Read more

5 Features That Made the Early Church Unique

In the first three centuries, Christians were persecuted more than any other religious group. Because they refused to honor other gods or worship the emperor, they were seen as too exclusive, too narrow, and a threat to the social order. So why, if Christians were seen as offensive and were excluded from circles of influence... Read more

Why (and How) Christians Should Study Philosophy

It’s become increasingly common for college students (and their parents) to think of a degree as vocational training; indeed, many students are seeking practical degrees (clearly connected to particular careers) instead of degrees in the liberal arts. From the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, degrees in philosophy and religious studies declined 15 percent, whereas degrees in... Read more

Were All Children Now

The MRI technician did a double-take when I entered the room. I was a walking carcinogen. My face was streaked with ash, my glasses cloudy with soot, my otherwise white shirt gray on the collar and shoulders. I smelled of reckoning. The intended brain scan had nothing to do with the reckoning Id just walked... Read more

Roger Scruton, Beauty Defender and Gentle Conservative, Dies at 75

Coming close to death you begin to know what life means, and what it means is gratitude. These are the last words Sir Roger Scruton (19442020) penned in public. They’re a fitting way to describe the life of a philosopher and gentlemen, to whom many, including myself, owe so much. Scruton died last Sunday morning,... Read more

Ravi Zacharias: Easter Reflections from My Hospital Bed

I am writing this from a cancer hospital in Texas. Two months ago I was startled after back surgery to learn I hadsarcoma, a rare form of cancer, for which I amcurrently undergoing treatment. I have had a healthy life blessed by God, so this came as a shock. I have always believed in the... Read more

Trading Your Weakness for Gods Strength

A few years ago, before our first cross-country road trip, my husband, Rob, took me on a date to an outdoor recreation store. He wanted to buy me a backpacking pack. Wed planned a trip across the American West with stops in Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the Rockies. Rob was excited to outfit me... Read more

Oscar Ignored These 2019 Films. Christians Shouldnt.

Just Mercy, Dark Waters, and A Hidden Life did not receive any Oscar nominations when they were announced last week. These 2019 films were largely bypassed by the year-end buzz machine. But they deserve attention and praiseespecially from Christiansfor their moral clarity and courage. In my December recap ofmoments of goodness in 2019 pop culture,... Read more

Look to 20-Year-Old Jesus This Easter

The week that so joyfully defines the reason for Christian hope has been eerily replaced with empty baskets, vacant pews, and untasted communion. Even so, we continue celebrating the events that happened in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago as the only hope sinful men have to be reconciled to a holy God. But we do so... Read more

The Parasite in Each of Us

South Korean director Bong Jong-Hos films are unpredictable cinematic adventures that masterfully mix humor, suspense, mystery, and horror. His latest, Parasite, is arguably his best yet. And with six Oscar nominations (making history as the first-ever Korean nominee for best picture), record-breaking box office returns, and a growing list of accolades, Parasite is also a... Read more

Christianity Has the Resources for Grittiness Amid Pandemic

We are living through an unsought social experiment: what happens when an individualistic culture collides head-on with a scenario requiring unprecedented self-sacrifice and obedience to authority? Times of crisis quickly test our foundations. They expose whom and what we trust and value, revealing the glue that holdsor fails to holda society together. How does a... Read more

As Sparrows Fall, Stars Fall: Grieving Celebrity Deaths

One of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, a loving father and husband, shockingly fell to his death alongside his friends and young daughter. Its not surprising that were all reeling from the death of Kobe Bryant. But the intensity of our grief is noteworthy. Some approach this phenomenonthe public mourning of... Read more

Sanctification By Homeschooling

When word came from our governor that schools were closing until May 4 because of COVID-19, Ill admit my heart skipped a beat with happiness. While many parents dreaded these quarantine weeks, I welcome my new extended hours with my children. This school year has been a joyful, albeit sometimes bittersweet, exercise in loving and... Read more

The Crown Episode That Finds Faith in a Secular Age

Season three of The Crown removed any doubt that the Netflix showwhich explores the life and reign of Britains Queen Elizabeth IIis one of televisions best. Certain episodes from this season (like Aberfan or Tywysog Cymru) are as good as any Oscar-nominated movie this year. The best season-three episode, however, is arguably Moondust, a Prince... Read more

5 Ways to Disciple Your Teen While in Quarantine

I have two teenagers. When they got word their schools were going online in light of COVID-19 and theyd be spending more time at home, they high-fived each other. Then they gave my wife and me big hugs, exclaiming, More time with our parents? Our prayers have been answered! Okay, thats not even close to... Read more

Belonging in a Time of Isolation

We are created for communion with God and othersso what do we do in a time of social distancing? How do we experience connection during chronic shelter-in-place orders? Many are looking to the flu pandemic of 1918 for understanding, but my mind keeps returning to the World War II bombings of London from September 1940... Read more

The Power of Sanctified Laughter

Evangelical social media is an exhausting place to be sometimes. In the hours and days after (yet another) Super Bowl halftime show that allegedly pushed the boundaries of public decency, a lot of Christians on my feeds seemed afflicted with a dour disposition, resigned to sighing at such a voyeuristic culture. Soon I started seeing... Read more

20 Quotes from John Piper on the Coronavirus

The following 20 quotes caught my attention as I read John Pipers new book, Coronavirus and Christ(Crossway, 2020), available in multiple languages for purchase or as a free audiobook (read by Piper) or eBook download. You can alsolisten to Collin Hansen’s interview with Piper. This book is my invitation for you to join me on... Read more

Tracing Truth in This Years Oscar Films

The 92nd Academy Awards will air this Sunday night, celebrating the best films released in 2019. This year nine films were nominated for the top award, best picture, and over the last few months TGC has featured reviews of all nine. Below you’ll find excerpts and links from these reviews, which explore the various ways... Read more

Help for Quarantined Marriages

We watched through the window as news cameras swarmed and helicopters hovered above our childrens school. What in the world could be going on?! Then the email hit our inbox: Two families in school have been asked to quarantine themselves because of possible exposure to COVID-19. Out of all of Illinois, our hospital, our town,... Read more

Normal Again, Thanks to COVID-19

At first, it did seem strange. The empty shelves at Costco . . . then Target . . . then Walmart. The eerily empty freeways. The long lines around Turners Outdoorsman shops. Closed schools and darkened Starbucks. Answering emails about various chapters in Johns Revelation. Because of COVID-19, a virus few had heard of at... Read more

When The Good Place Goes Bad

The Good Place is an intriguing television show. It takes a single-camera sitcom with lovable characters and a healthy dose of positivity, and pairs it with moral philosophy and questions about the afterlife. Its kind of like if Lost and Parks and Rec had a baby. In its four seasons, the showreviewed by TGC in... Read more

Is Opposing Gay Marriage Just as Bad as Supporting Slavery?

Taylor Turkington: Hey, Rebecca. This is a good question I have for you here. It says, Christians at one point use the Bible to justify slavery. How is that different from Christians today who invoke the Bible to justify opposition to gay marriage? Rebecca McLaughlin: It’s an extremely important question. There are multiple reasons to... Read more

3 Thought-Provoking New Christian Documentaries

In recent years we have seen the growth of a genre I might call theological documentary. As faith-oriented films go, this genre has become somewhat of a bright spot in an otherwise uninspiring Christian movie landscape. Documentaries can get away with being didactic and apologetics-oriented in ways fiction films cant, which is why they’re often... Read more

Let Your Nostalgia Point You Home

Its common to hear this sentiment today, almost word for word: Things arent like they used to be. Why is the world getting so bad? Violent crime is on the rise. Im glad I didnt have to bring up my children in these days. But heres how I think the preacher in Ecclesiastes would respond... Read more

The Decadent and the Damned? Ross Douthats Timely Vision of Western Civilization

Writing as the last millennium sulked to a close, Jacques Barzun summarized his view of the previous 500 years with the memorable title he chose for his most massive workFrom Dawn to Decadence. Barzun was one of the great humanist scholars of the 20th century, and as he surveyed the culture, he was not a... Read more

What Should I Do with My Stimulus Check?

Since many Americans are receiving stimulus checks from the federal government, how should Christians think about the influx of money? Should we give it away? Save it? Spend it? Tithe it? Though the Bible doesnt give us specific commands for what we should do when the government gives away money, God does give many helpful... Read more