Faith That Goes Out on a Limb

August 19, 2016 Melodie Davis

Last year I wrote briefly about terrorism and martyrdom in the wake of the June shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m sure every dedicated Christian recoiled at the thought of what if their warm fellowship, worship, or Bible study had been so heinously disrupted. Nine church members and one pastor were murdered. Those were killings more because of race than for faith, but their faith put them in the wrong spot at the wrong time. It may not mean getting my tongue pulled out, but it may mean getting shredded for unpopular opinions or choices. I was in my own […]

The Secret Life of Pets

August 19, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

The animated feature film market is oversaturated now, with the major studios releasing one seemingly every other week (and in fact, that is the average since Angry Birds came out in May). While that is way too many in my opinion, it does have one benefit: it is helping my kids distinguish between what they think is a good movie and a just okay movie. At this point in their lives, they haven’t truly disliked any movie, but some movies don’t stick. At this point in their lives, they haven’t truly disliked any movie, but some things don’t stick. When […]

Star Trek Beyond

August 12, 2016 Vic Thiessen

  The third film in this century’s revival of the Star Trek film series is directed by Justin Lin and written by Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty) and Doug Jung. Star Trek Beyond continues the adventures of the young Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekhov (Anton Yelchin), and Scotty in the alternate timeline introduced in 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, both of which were directed by J.J. Abrams. Unfortunately, the third film follows its predecessors in sacrificing an intelligent, complex thought-provoking plot in favor of action (often violent action). […]

Racism: Show Up, Say Something Supportive, Sit There

August 12, 2016 Melodie Davis

I’ve been trying to write about this topic in a deep way for months. Then a brief encounter made me catch my breath, literally. I was power-walking through a nearby park and woods where I often go at lunchtime. It is also a prayer time for me, and time to relieve my stress of being tied to a mouse. You know the kind. What would it be like to be of a race where you usually have to second-guess the looks, motivations, and actions of people you are interacting with? So I had my head glued to the path, thinking […]

Inspiration to Act: Immigration Advocacy

August 12, 2016 Thirdway

Alek D. Ball, Domestic policy intern Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office   Convincing college students that comprehensive immigration reform is necessary for the future of the United States is not an easy task. Many students at Georgetown University where I attend are from Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. Students in certain parts of these states would likely never come into contact with someone who was affected by U.S. immigration policies unless they already had a reason to work on this issue. However, students at universities throughout our country have the opportunity to enhance their own perspectives and the […]

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

August 5, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

Hunt for the Wilderpeople by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi is a fun-filled adventure in the wilderness, a coming-of-age tale, and a buddies-on-the-run-road film. But mostly it is about the difficult journey to find or create a family. Finding a family requires the protagonist to explore his or her own character, and to enter the mess that is relationship. While you might guess where the story will end, you can’t begin to chart the course as Waititi keeps changing the pacing, zigging and zagging between heartfelt emotion and pure craziness. Ricky (Julian Dennison) has gotten in trouble for stealing and […]

The Power of Imagination

August 5, 2016 Melodie Davis

One of my two-year-old grandsons (now two-and-a-half) has a play kitchen that is very cool. If I had had one when I was little, I would have loved it as much as he loves his. Sometimes it seems like we all lack imagination when it comes to solving small and big problems in the world. As soon as he could walk and play, he was fascinated with watching Mommy or his grandmas cook. He begged to be held up where he could see, or donned potholders and improvised with pots and pans to mimic Mommy. (The division of house chores […]

Love in the Time of Sanctions

August 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Jacob Greaser The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) is probably one of the most mysterious and least visited places in the world for North Americans. Even for many U.S. policymakers, DPRK is often seen through a political cloud of fear and presented as an unknowable and unpredictable enemy. For the U.S. government, the label of “enemy” usually leads to punitive measures such as sanctions, but as Christians, the label of “enemy” should mean something quite different. Jesus’ teaching to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) may seem to be a meaningless phrase in the midst of political complexity, […]

Swear Not

July 29, 2016 Melodie Davis

I was driving one day and noticed a license plate in front of me that said simply, “I YI YI.” Where and when did the common language of common folk become so common? Oh my. Did you ever have something that brought to mind the voice of your father with a phrase he used? All of a sudden, Daddy was right there with me in my car, even though he’s been gone 10 years. “Aye yi yi” was an expression he often used when irritated, exasperated, upset, or just dumbfounded. For example, with a broken farm implement that turned out […]

Captain Fantastic

July 29, 2016 Matthew Kauffman Smith

If potential moviegoers view the poster for Captain Fantastic, they may get the wrong impression. Ben (Viggo Mortensen) wears a bright-red suit while flanked by his six children, who are dressed in clothes ranging from semi-formal blazers and dresses to pajamas and a green jumpsuit with gas mask. They stand next to Steve, the family bus. Anyone expecting to see a comedic, fish-out-of-water story will be disappointed. Anyone willing to be simultaneously entertained and challenged will be rewarded. The poster screams QUIRKY COMEDY! Even the film’s name implies something whimsical. While the movie is quirky and features comedic moments, the […]