This week, the Sectarian Review Podcast examines our second Andrei Tarkovsky film. A while back we looked at Andrei Rublev, and this week we take a deep dive into Stalker. In what has become SR tradition, C. Derick Varn joins the show to discuss another Soviet-era cinematic masterpiece. As with Rublev, however, this film also has massive theological implications. James K.A. Smith invokes the film in his work, so it’s good enough for us here at SR. What does this masterwork of World Cinema have to teach us about theology? What role do our desires play in dictating our lives? What the heck is that dog doing? Telekinesis? As always, Tarkovsky gives us a lot to talk about.
Joining the show today is Dr. Douglas E. Cowan, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies at Renison University College. Cowan has recently published a book for NYU Press called America’s Dark Theologian: The Religious Imagination of Stephen King. In the book, Cowan argues that King’s fiction represents a way of “doing” theology outside the traditional structures of historical churches. The argument has immense implications for both theology and popular culture studies. Tune in and learn how King’s work qualifies as theological and why academia too often dismisses the work of popular writers. Is academia its own kind of priesthood, guarding its own traditions? Also, what is the distinction between “answers” and “questions” in theology? How does King’s work challenge the idea of “safe” religion? What King’s work has to say about Ritual, Theodicy, and Cosmology? How does Pet Sematary model a comparative religions seminar? Many thanks to Doug Cowan for a fun, educational discussion.
America’s Dark Theologian
Of what use is the "Evangelical" label in the age of Donald Trump and the Christian leaders that John Fea terms "Court Evangelicals?" Does it still maintain a theological meaning or has it devolved into, as Danny says, "Theocratic Libertarianism?" Coyle Neal, from the City of Man podcast joins Danny for a historical, philosophical, and political discussion about contemporary Evangelicalism. Is there still room for the "1910 Evangelical?"
Also, at the beginning of this episode, Danny announces the first-ever Sectarian Review listener contest! Click here for details.
Links for Curious People:
Coyle Neal's Review of The American Patriot's Bible.
"Defining 'Evangelical' by Jonathan Merritt.
"What Was Being Worshiped Yesterday at First Baptist Church in Dallas?" by John Fea
Danny Anderson is joined by Jordan Poss and Nathan Gilmour to talk about Political Correctness and its many discontents. What are the term's roots and when did people start worrying about it? How did the Bill Clinton era affect us? What role did identity politics play in the election, and will become of the Democratic party's reckoning in the dawn of the Trump Dystopia? And finally, Danny asks "pitchforks and torches?" Plus listener responses to subject.
Frank Bruni on Democratic failures
Aaron Hanlon on the PC Left and language wars
Larry Summers on Political Correctness
Cracked on Donald Trump
Slate Star Codex: You Are Still Crying Wolf
Mad Dogs and Englishmen Podcast
In the first episode of Sectarian Review’s series “The Helpers,” Danny welcomes Christa Lee-Chuvala and Elizabeth Grady-Harper to talk about Lazarus at the Gate, a small-group study curriculum designed to encourage giving. Unlike some financial programs popular in American churches, Lazarus emphasizes generosity from the beginning of financial planning, not as just a long-term goal. How has consumerism corrupted our vision of finance? How can the friendship of small-group study help us be more generous?
Once again, Sectarian Review explores the genre of Science Fiction. This time, Megan Von Bergen joins Danny for a conversation about how scifi engages with questions about God, creation, and theology. How can speculative fiction push people of faith to boldly go where no man has gone before? How can this type of story provide a safe space to try out dangerous ideas? Plus listen for Danny and Megan's recommendations. Also, if you'd like to write a review for the show's blog, visit www.sectarianreviewpodcast.com and check out the blog.
Megan has written a follow-up blog post about the show and its subject matter. You can read that here.
At the 2016 Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, Danny Anderson had the opportunity to sit down with the Rev. Julian DeShazier, who is also a hip hop artist performing under the name J. Kwest. In addition to discussing J. Kwest's latest album, Lemonade, the discussion built on the Sectarian Review Wild Goose theme of Hipness, applying it to a specific performer and the philosophy and ethics driving his art. J. Kwest discusses the ethics and theology of occupying the margins in his art and his ministry. In addition, this interview was recorded the day after the shooting of another African-American man by a police officer. In the shadow of that tragedy, Danny and Rev. DeShazier discuss race, the possibilities and problems with progressive Christian politics, and art. Download or stream for an powerful conversation with a Christian artist working our God's will in the margins.
Listen to Lemonade by J.Kwest on @AppleMusic.
The Christian Humanist Podcast's Nathan Gilmour joins Danny Anderson for discussion about the Theological and Philosophical underpinnings of Marvel's Netflix series' Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Listen for the following and more:
Why are the villains so important to these heroes? Why is Daredevil a Catholic? How is Jessica Jones able to offer a rich and complex matrix of feminisms? Why are minor characters so important to the philosophical questions the shows ask? How do Daredevil's action sequences demonstrate the philosophical arguments the show makes? This was a fun talk and we hope you enjoy listening as much as we did talking.
This episode also has some important announcements, along with listener responses and this week's new Facebook Page followers!
Join Danny as he welcomes Jay Eldred back to the show. Jay first brought up the subject of Christian Dominionism in our previous episode about David Barton. That topic seemed to warrant its own show, so here we are.
Defined broadly, Dominionism is the ideology that Christians need to infiltrate and control the 7 "Mountains" of secular social institutions: Family, Religion, Education, Media, Entertainment, Business, and Government.
[Joe Carter, writing at First Things], has suggested that the very concept of a Christian Plot against America (I love Philip Roth) is conspiratorial nonsense. To the degree that there is an organized, concerted effort to enact a specific agenda, I agree with Carter. What his claim misses, however, is the fact that these Dominionist ideas are at their most dangerous not when they are attached to an organization, but when they manifest as un-examined theological beliefs within Christian popular culture. This episode explores that aspect of Dominionism.
Here are some links to subjects covered in the two-part show:
The 7 Cultural Mountains Website
The David Barton School of Political Science
American Pharoah as Dominionist prophet. (Yes, the horse).
Benny Hinn as Sith Lord
Donald Trump Annointed by God
John Fea on the Dominionist style of Ted Cruz
John Fea's blog: The Way of Improvement
A Christianity Today rebuttal to Fea's argument
Chris Gehrz's The Pietist Schoolman
The Anxious Bench
And last but not least, check out Jay's blog!
Running in My Head
In this Godzilla-sized episode, Danny Anderson and Drew Van’tland are joined by Ed Simon to talk about the intersections between horror, religion, and ethics. This month’s Sectarians talk horror films, Nietzsche, H.P. Lovecraft, Flies, Babadooks, and, James Robertson’s The Testament of Gideon Mack. Also, Danny interviews Dr. Jamie McDaniel of Pittsburg State University about horror, liminality, and Disability Studies. Also listen for a couple of aural surprises!