31 July 2006

It's Thrifting Time

I had my first thrifting experience on Saturday. (For those of you who don’t subscribe to the urban dictionary, “thrift” has now metamorphosed into a verb.) Well, technically, not my first. I went twice in high school. My usual shopping experience consists of a plan: I know what I need; I run in (usually to Old Navy) to the designated area; I try on; I check-out; I’m back in the car. Wshoo. I check my stop-timer. Have I beat my previous time? Thrifting is a completely different realm. You shuffle through five-point-five million clothes. Personally, flipping through so many crammed clothes as the hangers screech across the metal bar can only be done while being distracted by my friends’ stories of the week.
There may or may not be a dressing room. Our first stop had such a room. I pulled on and off more clothes in that time than a supermodel at a runway show. I squeezed into jeans that I needed a can-opener to remove. I tried on a lady-in-red dress, a Hawaiian patterned dress that matches one of my husband’s favorite shirts, and a pirate flair-sleeved shirt (pirate blood courses through my veins). The second destination contained no dressing room. We yanked the jeans up under our skirts and slipped dresses on over our clothes.
The clothes may or may not have been in fashion within the last five years. As my friend, Christina, said, “It’s sad when the clothes in a thrift shop look nicer [and trendier, I might add] than the clothes in my closet.” The first shop had last week’s Express garments while the second shop included more of the vest and below-the-waist sundresses of the eighties’ variety. But the second place had great jeans and a few a la mode dresses if you were willing to pick (which, four hours after our starting time, I wasn’t – I was growing less optimistic about dress possibilities by the cloth).
I got home to show my new treasures to my husband: a new pair of jeans, softly worn yet sans holes or tears, a new white linen breezy blouse, a surfer girl fitted tee, and a red tank top.
“Because you don’t have enough tank tops,” my husband laughed. (I’m a sucker for the built-in shelf bra.)
“Yes, but I didn’t have one that is red. With a handkerchief pattern. And wooden beads.”
All of these finds for $15.
That, in a nutshell, is thrifting.
Now if I could only find a shirt that reads “Drama Queen.”

28 July 2006

The Joy of Reading

I’m adopting the previous rule of not using the Bible as any answer. You need to appreciate my adherence to the “one book” rule. At least a baker’s dozen titles popped into my mind for all 9 questions, all clamoring for attention (picture 6 yr olds when the magician asks for volunteers, all pretending to remain in their seats with at least one butt cheek raised, one hand raised while the other helps stretch the raised arm, “pick me” squealing from all mouths). And I did indeed pick one book for each category.
1. One book that changed your life:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Oy vey. Just one? How about the complete works of Mark Twain? Bound in one edition, of course. Since my M.T. is bound in two editions, I’ll be fair and pick the edition that has Huck Finn.

Side note: I think I’m taking this too seriously, as if this list defines my life. I’m stressin’ out here! Too many choices! What if I pick the wrong one? My blood pressure’s rising. Ach!

4. One book that made you laugh:
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

5. One book that made you cry:
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Oops. Thought the question said “you wish you had written.” Okay, real answer: (fingers drumming…Got it!) How to Make Your House Clean Itself

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now. (This was the answer from the previous blogger, but I feel it apt and so will leave it.)

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 by Steve Stockman

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (I’ve actually finished The Brothers Karamazov. One question: did Dostoevsky not have an editor? Did I have to know the life story of every village member [he-he, that made me giggle] to understand the plot? But, still loved and learned from the book. On to my next Russian tragedy.)

10. Now tag five people: Tran, Kathy, and Sandi…sorry, I’m only tagging three.

27 July 2006

Two Convicting Movies…Something Old, Something New

Last week I saw The Devil Wears Prada. First, let me say that Meryl Streep played an amazing very mean person. I myself would have quit the admin position in the first five minutes. Though it is easily labeled a chick-flick because the story revolves around girls, it has a great lesson for both genders: relationships are more important than getting caught up in the success trap. Anne Hathaway’s character abandons her family, her boyfriend, and her best friends to please her boss and become successful, even though she would probably not even recognize her goal as climbing the proverbial ladder but just trying to survive. Here’s where I come in. While I would not overtly concede that my goal is to become a corporate success, I love to be appreciated and recognized. But whenever I work toward anything, whether writing, music, being loved, more than sacrificially loving the Lord my God and my neighbor, I am wrong.

Pollock. Oh, Pollock. Love the man’s paintings. Sad, sad life. A man so desperately trying to be loved and acknowledged, so recklessly chasing fame and fortune. He uses everyone in his life without ever truly loving. His wife puts aside her own work in order to promote his. She is forgiving; she is patient. And yet, he pushes her away when his work is eclipsed by another artist’s. His benefactor (Peggy Guggenheim, no less): he conspicuously chases her money. Even their love scene displays his selfishness. His critic-friend: when this critic writes well of another, Pollock lashes out. His mistress: he does not love her, but only loves that she makes him feel young and wanted when the world has moved on to another circus ring.
Again, I ask myself: is this me? I am a drama queen, I admit. Do I seek attention for myself to the detriment of loving others? Do I love others because they make me feel loved? Do I choose friends based on what they can do for me?

25 July 2006

Connecting, I Connect

When others were sweating in soccer fields or balancing on gymnastics bars in 4th grade, I began a writer’s club. I persuaded two friends and my sister (my sister took a bit more literal arm-twisting) to join, and together we set out writing (and illustrating) short stories. I named it The Writer’s Block, unknowing, at the time, the frustration connoted in said title. The idea was to sell our novellas in the neighborhood for a quarter a piece. Being more artist than entrepreneur, many a story was written but none sold.
That little girl’s pen still scribbles and that little girl’s dreams still dances with unicorns and tree nymphs. She still writes because she has to write. And she still wants to find those who connect with these imaginings and ideas, with these stories and philosophies. Enter the blog.
The blog glistens with the morning dew on the spider’s silk, reflecting the prism of light in what can be a coldly stunning and life-sucking environment of internet disconnect and barrage of facts without faces. As Anne Lamott wrote, “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.” (Bird by Bird, p. 237)
The blog heralds “the need to express, to communicate” (from “La Vie Boheme” in Rent). The blog voices our concerns, our triumphs, the small beauties of our daily life, and the sorrows. The blog finds a sympathetic community when sharing hurts from backlash of rejection, from unpopular notions, from muddied experiences. The blog gives accolades to otherwise unnoticed jubilees. The blog brings together old friends and family separated by miles and kilometers and oceans. The blog discovers new friends through mutual interests. The blog introduces challenging ideas potentially warded off by our contained lives. The blog promotes a collective of philosophies and wisdoms.
I can read stories of chaplains finding hope and redemption in the throes of death and disease. I can read essays of edgy ideologies and epistemologies. I can read struggles of loving the emotionally absent mother.
I can tell you my review of my new favorite book, the lessons I learned from a recent cooking disaster, the colors of the arboretum or the magnificence of the ocean, my reflections on Plato’s continued influence, and my pains from life on this planet. I can write these things, so I can be healed and offer healing to others. I am a writer by blogging and so notice the small details of my backyard bunny, the education I receive from an afternoon with a six year old, and the off-beat comments of reserved friends. I live better when I write better. I share life, and I find life. I blog.

24 July 2006

Marketing Church

I had a disturbing church experience yesterday. Chris and I decided to visit a satellite church out of curiosity. How does this work? What is all the fuss about? I left with tears, not touched, meaningful, poignant message tears, but tears of disgust.
The service began with a concert. I loved the type of music, and I believe all music can and should be used to praise and glorify God, as long as the Church participates. But the church did not participate. They watched the light show and the dry ice effects and listened to the concert. This was followed by a motivational speaker piped in on what appeared to be an HD screen. The message itself was not terrible. The speaker made good points. The leader/announcer/emcee (?) for the service asked us to fill out the guest cards, which Chris dutifully did (and which I would never have done). We walked out of the auditorium/sanctuary, in and out in exactly one hour. All of the congregation made straight for the exit. No hi’s to one another. No gathering groups in the lobby. Odd. It appeared that no one knew another in the building.
Chris and I walked to the information booth, looking for the guest card drop-off and seeking more information on this Sunday conference. The only community service and other such activities were linked to and done in and around the home church, a good hour, perhaps hour and a half away. Nothing in this community. Were they planning on becoming a local church in our town? Chris posed this question to the volunteer behind the booth.
“I don’t know.” Brilliant.
I was ready to leave, but Chris wanted to make one more stop, the store. Now, I do not have a problem with churches having a shop in the church, supplying the congregation with books, materials, resources, music, etc. But something seemed wrong here. It felt off beam. The first display as you walk through the opening is that of T-shirts and purses. Then we found exhibited on table after table material by the pastor of the main church, books that state how to have a great and happy life. Chris flipped through.
“How is this not prosperity theology?” he asked. We moved on. We came to a magazine rack. The cover announced 10 tips for healthy living, 5 steps toward financial security.
“Do you know what this is?” Chris probed.
“A magazine.”
“The Bible.” And that, my friends, was the proverbial straw. I don’t care if the Bible is printed on magazine paper, if you carry it in a convenient, small package, a large print or thick study bible, on your blackberry, or read it online. But to market Christianity in 10 tips and 5 steps and denigrate the message to being happy with success rather than the true hope of redemption in the midst of this evil and corrupt world… What have we done?
I have spent years studying intercultural communication and cultural anthropology both in general theories and specifics with the postmodern world. I have studied epistemology and ecclesiology, looking at different ways we can know God and reflect God. I am excited about the possibilities of seeing a different aspect of God in different cultures. But I also believe that each culture is corrupt. I hate the materialism and consumerism and convenience-driven life of the United States that takes advantage of poorer nations and overlooks the poor. And yesterday, I tasted this corruptness in the marketing of the church. I wanted to overturn tables. I left and cried. Please, help me understand, am I misunderstanding? Is this only an attempt to make God “relevant” that I should appreciate? Should we address this issue as a problem?

14 July 2006

Running Music

So here is my grand thesis for today: there is music that is more or less appropriate for running. Example: if you see me running a good pace but with my ipod thrust to my mouth as a microphone or my arms propelled high and wide in the finishing act on center stage, then you know that I am listening (and singing) to Creed, U2, or a Broadway favorite. If you see me enjoying a leisurely jog with a relaxed smile, I have Jack Johnson or Ben Harper playing, perhaps Jimmy Buffett. Johnson’s chorus, “Slow down, everyone, you’re movin’ too fast” is particularly difficult to run to.
When I was a little girl, my mom always knew if I was “hustling” or “lolly-gagging around.” I thought it was due to the back of the head eyes phenomenon. Many years later, she revealed that she knew how fast I was moving based on the song I was singing.
There you have it folks, music moves at the pace of life, or, maybe, life moves at the pace of your selected music.

13 July 2006

Yeah! I am officially published. You can see my article of my literary analysis of the Book of Ruth at http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=4100 .
On another note, I saw Requiem for a Dream the other night. Wow. Depressing. They go through summer, fall, and winter. But there was no spring! No glimmer of hope! No redemptive aspect. I think it should be a requirement for every high schooler to see this movie.

11 July 2006

I love a good myth

The Bible is not a book of moralities. The Bible is the ultimate myth. Now, before I am misquoted and extracted from context (although, to be honest, I am not famous enough to warrant quoting or misquoting), let me explain what I mean; let me define myth. Merriam-Webster defines myth as “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.” Joseph Campbell says in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that “throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.” Everything in life, our philosophies, our behaviors, our arts, is couched in the myth we believe of our world. I do want to clarify that while I have learned much from Campbell’s work, I do not go to the extreme of interpreting all of our dreams as an Oedipus syndrome. I also believe that God did historically and literally meet His people, that the accounts of the Bible represent historical occurrences. That being said, I believe that the oral tradition before Moses, the written account of Moses, the judges, the prophets, the kings, the poetry, the wisdom, the gospels, and the letters, are important to us because they are our myth, our story that marks us.
The Bible is a story, or a collection of stories, that define a people, that give the people identity. It explains their worldview. It delineates how they see the world around them. It answers the questions, “Why is the world like this?” and “What is my purpose?” The Bible is the story that explains the world around us (as created by God and fallen, corrupted by sin and evil), the direction of the world (redemption and recreation as seen in Rev. 21 & 22), and our purpose in the world today (glorify this Creator and Savior God, enjoy His presence, and participate in His victory over sin and evil in our lives and in the world by embodying His Truth and love). In the collection of stories, there is nothing special about the people except that they have encountered God. (This perhaps is different than other Ancient Near East stories or Greek and Roman mythos which tended to inflate the heroes.) We read the encounters with God. And we experience the encounters of the holiness of God. We are an extension of this metanarrative.

10 July 2006

Beneath a Marble Sky

A historical fiction based on the legend of the Taj Mahal, the marble mausoleum built by a widowed emperor in India in honor of his wife, Beneath a Marble Sky creates a kingdom of poetry lost to a warmongering extremist. But the tale centers on the emperor’s daughter, Jahanara, as she narrates her story of love and exile to her granddaughters. Be warned: once you pick up this book, you will be captivated. My sleepy late night eyes were riveted to the page. I highly recommend this book.
The luxurious use of metaphors at first seems forced and formal, but it lends itself to the Indian world. The reader adapts to this sing-song language and consequently is drawn in to the culture. I was lost in the land of Hindustan.
I found myself caught up in Princess Jahanara’s dilemmas as she weighed the place of love, duty, and devotion. The author, John Shors, was able to portray a woman’s heart longing for security and affirmation from her parents and her burgeoning family. She is a woman full of ambition for herself and her kingdom, a woman of charitable sensitivity, and a woman longing for passionate love. Jahanara was given to a wealthy man in her father's kingdom in marriage. She struggles with feelings of betrayal from her parents for betrothing her to a churlish lout while still maintaining her duty to her father, the emperor. She finds sanctuary in her parents' household as often as possible until her mother's death requires her to find indefinite harbor there as she oversees the creation of the Taj Mahal. There she finds the passionate love she of which she had long dreamed but with it discovers a new set of quandaries. I alternately fought Jahanara’s decisions and cried with her tragedies. While I would not have made the choices Jahanara made, I felt tied to her and sympathetic with her. In the same way we try to stop the character from entering a dark room while the suspenseful music is playing, I tried to stop Jahanara from turns and paths.
At the end of the day, I have very few questions, but still, weeks after finishing the book, they turn in my mind. I question how Jahanara told the story to her granddaughters: the descriptions of her love-making sessions with both her husband and her lover heightened the disparity between the brute and the tender, but I cannot help but wonder if Jahanara would truly describe these in such detail to her young granddaughters. I question some of her choices of her commitment to her father versus her commitment as a mother. Is my questioning a result of my Western heritage or universal? Was her choice made from insecurity or honor? Finally, I question the relationship between the Muslims and the Hindus. This book presents a softer picture of Islam (excepting the extremist leader) than we see leading the headlines and wars of the radicals. Is the picture that John Shors paints legitimate? How do Jahanara's behaviors match up with her belief about Allah? How would Hindus and Muslims compliment each other when Muslims are sacrificing the Hindu sacred cow on their altars, literally? But these minor questions did not take away from my enjoyment of the book or compassion with the character. I had been emotionally held hostage and for days after felt despondent at both the loss of the characters from my life and the beauty of the story itself.

07 July 2006

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah

I may not be the Iron Chef (I certainly can’t arrange their peacock presentations and can’t make an entire meal from appetizer to dessert from beets), but I do enjoy experimenting in the kitchen when the food muse visits.
A few months ago, Chris and I had spent our Friday night at Dallas Museum of Art’s Date Night. We enjoyed John Cage’s music in the foyer, played with DuChamp’s pieces in the show, and attended a cooking demonstration of chicken pot pie, inspired by Jasper Johns’ “Target.” They sent us home with recipes in hand, and it became my duty to mimic the tasty pastry. A veritable disaster. I had neglected to buy chicken stock. No problemo! my creativity cried, I live for substitutions! White wine will do just fine. As for the apparent diminished amount of fennel for which the recipe called, I’ll double it. I donned my super-chef hat and cooked away, whistling while I worked. I ladled the filling into the pie shell, licking my fingers with the excess. Hmm. Odd. What is that funny bitter twang taste? No matter. I’m sure it will bake away, I prayed with fingers crossed. I grated the Romano cheese (my own addition to the recipe) over the mixture with a restaurant looking grater that, unfortunately, fell apart into the pie with every few turns of the handle. I peeled the second pie shell from its aluminum ready-to-bake pan to top the pie, only to have it melt in my hands. Perhaps it had been out of the freezer just a bit too long. I rolled and pressed and stretched, but to no avail. I threw the mess over the top of the chicken filling, deeming it a piece of abstract art with a message about our rent society, and into the oven it went.
Ding! We dished the comestible and took a bite. We had spoken too soon when we thanked God for this particular provision. I pursed my lips to keep from spitting out the offending matter. My husband bravely shoveled several bites with a forced smile, but in the end the pie landed heavily in the trash. As for our grumbling stomachs, we settled on our local Phó eatery.
My cooking lessons for the day: too much of a good thing is still too much, and not every item can be aptly substituted for another.

06 July 2006

The Superman Savior

Kudos to Brandon Routh for reincarnating Christopher Reeve’s All-American good-looks, his naiveté, and even his mannerisms. Congrats to both Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane for managing to appear five years younger after Superman returns from a five year hiatus. Apparently, space-travel and child-bearing are good for the skin. Kevin Spacey plays a suave and satanic Lex Luther, coolly ready to kill billions of people in the name of building his own empire from his own land.
The trumpets announced the John Williams’ fanfare theme, and we’re off to high adventure. This version of Superman was more global than past years. News reports note his escapades in India and Hong Kong and other international locations. Lex Luther is free in the world (due to Superman’s failure to show up at his court date) and on to his latest and greatest plan to take over the world. There is something familiar in his “noble” desire to give the power of Superman to all the people, something akin to the serpent’s promise to Eve that eating the apple would bring her the knowledge of God. Alas, his interview with Lois reveals his true desire of power. Kitty, Lex’s ditzy girlfriend, sings, “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” and the battle for earth begins. The brilliant scientist from a distant planet invests his power in his only son to save the world. Later, a scene with Superman hoisting the Daily Planet globe on his shoulders in the vein of Atlas foretells the ultimate victory. The earth rumbles with the evading evil, and we are thrust into Independence Day but with a savior (also note the Titanic sinking ship but again, with a savior). To save earth from this vice, Superman takes this burden on his shoulders heaving the offending land into orbit. (Side note: it seems to me that kryptonite has an inconsistent influence. Earlier, just walking on its rock sapped him completely of power. Now, he seems to be able to cling to his power long enough to lug the whole island to outer space before succumbing to its fatal sway.) Of course, in doing so he gives his life, falling to the earth. Dead. The savior is dead. The world mourns. Until a woman passes the guarded entrance and steps into an empty tomb, er, hospital room.
Biblical images flood the screen. I wonder if I am seeing spirituality all around me because of my personal filters or if the writer and director have inserted these likenesses purposefully. The powerful Superman meekly takes a beating, reminiscent of Christ’s moments before the cross, finally pierced in the side with kryptonite. Lex Luther has bruised the heel of Superman. Superman descends to the depths, followed by an ascension scene.
If you want to draw allegoric analogies, you can even find just a taste of Da Vinci Code fallacies, if you really want to. Superman with a lover and perhaps even a son? (And could this lead to Audrey Tautou, giving her the ability to heal headaches and claustrophia?) But in Superman’s words to Jason, I’d prefer to see Christ’s commission to His disciples and all following believers (c.f. John 16-17). We are different (hated, even), but we are needed to shine a Light in this world.
Of course, in the end, the savior disparities glare. For starters, while Isaiah tells us that there is nothing in his appearance to attract us to Him, that He will be despised and rejected by man, Superman enjoys fame and chiseled appearance. The people have been waiting for the savior, and Superman is exactly what they wanted, exactly what they expected, exactly what they had seen in their image. Christ was not the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for, nor is He the Messiah the world wants. Christ is outside of our expectations and outside of our image. Superman is raised as a human, but he is not human. To apply this to Christ would be to commit the heresy of Docetism, the Gnostic belief that Christ only appeared to us as human rather than actually being human. As far as Lex Luther beating Superman up, Lex was able to take Superman’s power by manipulating kryptonite. However, Satan did not take Christ’s life. Christ gave it willingly. In both death scenes, Superman was saved by an outside force, a human. But Christ’s resurrection comes from Deity, and in this victory over death and evil our true hope lies.
The need for a Savior goes far beyond the need touted in this movie. Evil is portrayed as something out there, forces wielded by a satanic figure, and while this is true, the movie neglects to recognize the evil residing in each human heart. Superman’s father tells him that the human heart is still suffering monstrous deceits and that the humans could be a great race if they had a leader to show them the way. I believe that God did design us to be a great race. I believe that our heart has been deceived. I believe that Christ is the Way. But I also believe that to denigrate the gospel message to only these aspects is to substitute moral betterment for the salvation we need. In addition to our heart being deceived, our heart is deceptive. There is no need for atonement in the world of the movie. There is no need for any real change in the movie. This Superman savior is a poor substitute for the Christ Messiah. Superman is right, the world is crying for a Savior. But the answer isn’t limited to a savior flying the world over every night fixing things here and there. It comes through crushing the head of evil. The world desperately needs healing, and this healing comes through the ultimate victory over the evil in the world and the evil in our hearts; it comes through restoration to our Creator.
The world longs for myth: we long for the hope of something bigger than ourselves but still a part of us. This is fulfilled in Christ, but can we accept this Messiah? And can we, as Christians, participate in this victory in the world today?

04 July 2006

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

I love food. Much of my day is spent dreaming of my next meal. I only get out of bed in the morning (besides my husband cruelly flipping on the light) for the coffee (or, as J.S. Back terms it, the nectar of the gods). Around 10:00, I start planning lunch. Afternoon projects are completed with the reward of tea time (and biscotti, if I’m lucky). Dinner, well, dinner is craved days ahead.
I hate shopping. I walk into a mall and am instantly exhausted. With some very important exceptions: books, music, and Whole Foods. Mind you, it cannot be any grocery store. Tom Thumb is the just a quick stop for the forgotten milk. Albertsons is completely out of the question – a desperate times call for desperate measures store. But Whole Foods. That is my I’ve been in a down mood and need a pick me up shop. While other stores I enter only with an army plan, including an escape route, I wander down the aisles of Whole Foods like a lover lingers down his wife’s curves. I love food.
So I love that the Bible gives us hope in food. I love that God created Adam and Eve to beseech the juice of the nectarine to explode inside their mouth: we don’t just take pills to nutriate our bodies. I love that many of the Jewish celebrations revolve around feasts – the Passover feast, the feast of Purim, the feast of Tabernacles. I love that the imagery of the Promised Land and Messiah’s rule is the free-flow of wine and honey and milk. Jesus’ first miracle in the book of John is turning water into wine: the Messiah is here to establish His kingdom! I love that we look toward the wedding feast in the New Jerusalem when heaven finally fully meets earth and grace and justice culminate.
Cheers and Good Eats!

03 July 2006

Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture

This is one of my favorite books. Written by Fuller Seminary Professors Craig Detweiler and Barry Taylor (who both also happen to be involved in the Hollywood world) approach popular cultural with anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and theology to discover the questions of culture, what God is doing in the world today and how Christians can join Him in this work. They inspect advertising, celebrities, music, movies, television, fashion, sports, and art from the perspective of being both artist and pastor. They see a Jesus who walked the streets, of whose ministry we read more of his interaction with marketplace people than synagogue teachings, who was accused of spending his time with “sinners,” with the rejects of the church. In the introduction, the authors write, “We embrace pop culture because we believe it offers a refreshing, alternative route to a Jesus who for many has been domesticated, declawed, and kept under wraps” (p. 9). They introduce a new aspect to hermeneutic and suggest ways to open the church doors to “that bright, passionate audience of young people whom advertisers covet and the church is in danger of losing” (p. 8). Some of their ideas may feel dangerous to the shepherds of the flock and the guardians of truth that want to protect their people from the threatening ideas and philosophies of the world, but they dive in to play with the dolphins and the whales and the coral. More than deconstructing the modern method, they seek to reconfigure and recontextualize. They remythologize the gospels, not in order to create a story devoid of truth, but in order to recapture and embodied heroism and life that invites us to find our community in God’s metanarrative of creation, fall, and recreation. I found this book a refreshing challenge to engage with culture, rather than standing outside of culture waving our parental fingers with a “tsk, tsk.” While not losing the integrity of their Christian heritage, Detweiler and Taylor walk the streets to dialogue, to learn, and to share wisdom, to find God in pop culture.