Joe and the Unnamed God

Before Tom Hanks starred in dramas like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and Cast Away, he presented a heartfelt prayer in Joe Verses the Volcano to an unnamed god. (Clip below.) This prayer and the entire film beautifully portray how our intuition points to the existence of a higher power.

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Marty McFly and Social Distancing

No one wants to give in to fear. Not you, not Marty McFly. Not only do we dislike the emotion, it feels shameful to be afraid. We hate it even more when others accuse us of being fearful. Whether the accusation comes from Biff, Griff, Needles, a pastor, or politician, the Back to the Future trilogy shows us how to overcome our fear of being fearful.

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How to be Saved from El Guapo

Many scholars in psychology and mythology such as Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Jordan Peterson correctly argue that humanity needs myths and metaphors. We need stories, even fictitious ones, to communicate the truest aspects of life, including ancient myths like the Illiad or recent sagas like Star Wars. A classic named ¡Three Amigos!, however, reminds us that fiction provides limited help, showing us that we also need literal, historical truth. Continue reading How to be Saved from El Guapo

How The Rise of Skywalker Completes Return of The Jedi

I felt nervous going into The Rise of Skywalker. Would the new movie continue the message of original trilogy or would it detract? Specifically, would Episode IX emphasize redemption and mercy, or would it just conclude the Skywalker saga with a big fight? I left the theater with a big smile, knowing the film not only affirmed the earlier work, but “finished what it started.” Spoilers follow.

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Oppressive Hope in The Hunger Games

While we need hope to seek a better life for others and ourselves, it can also serve as a tool of oppression. A scene added to The Hunger Games movie, not included in the novel by Suzanne Collins, depicts the type of hope that perpetuates injustice. Applying President Snow’s insight, we can identify false hopes including the prosperity gospel.

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Tevye’s Common Mistake

While not perfect, the audience can respect and root for Tevye in the Fiddler on the Roof. He has many admirable qualities as he does his best to love God and his family. At the same time, a critical blindspot remains. While he never learns his lesson, we can benefit from his mistake. Continue reading Tevye’s Common Mistake

How Les Misérables Advocates for Nonviolence

Les Misérables powerfully and uncomfortably presents poverty, injustice, and evil. It asks, “What will you do about it?” Inspired by historical data and faith in God’s promises, we can follow the nonviolent, proactive, and sacrificial example of Jean Valjean (and also Jesus).

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The Sith, Nietzsche, and the Nature of Reality

With the ever-expanding canon of the Star Wars saga, the writers elucidate Sith philosophy. Comparing this with real world beliefs, especially Friedrich Nietzsche’s master morality, we can draw key conclusions about the nature of morality and of the universe itself.

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Gospel of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

While our favorite stories depict the victory of good over evil, they align most closely to the Good News—or Gospel—of Jesus when this triumph comes through the transformation, not defeat, of the antagonist. In agreement with Christ’s teaching, Mary Poppins musically identifies that the secret to redemption is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

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How Darth Vader (and You) Need a Father

Ever wonder why so many heroes grow up without parents and why countless stories pivot on the encounter with a father? Focusing on Anakin Skywalker’s life and path to the Dark Side, we find that his quest for a father, central to the hero’s journey, reveals our deepest need.

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