Tree of Life: From Genesis to Revelation

Tree of Life resurrects the era when Hollywood still aspired to greatness. Not since 2001:  A Space Odyssey (or less successfully, The Fountain) has a filmmaker attempted to capture both the origins of life and our ultimate destination. Director Terrence Malick came of age when movies still mattered. And with Tree of Life, only his fifth feature in forty years, Malick has drawn upon ancient biblical wisdom to prod and comfort adventuresome filmgoers. Some will find it tedious and overreaching.  But those who surrender to the resplendent images may find the experience unexpectedly healing.

Countless stories have started with the problem of pain. We wonder why the innocent suffer. Why do bad things happen to good people?  Tree of Life opens with quotations from the book of Job. In the biblical narrative, Job loses his wife, his children, his health and his home. Friends offer bad advice, blaming him for his ordeal, suggesting he repent from whatever sins caused God to send so much suffering.

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MTV Interview: The Church & American Idol

A while back I wrote a blog called American Idol: Good for TV, Bad for Church which came to the attention of MTV Senior Writer, Gil Kauffman. Gil wanted to know why so many Christians were not only tuning into "Idol" this year, but also performing on the show. He took a couple of quotes from our conversation and put them into his story for MTV.com. Here's an excerpt:

Just as this season kicked off, freelance writer CJ Casciotta penned an essay for faith site ConversantLife.com titled "American Idol — Good for TV. Bad for Church," in which he questioned whether the show's shunning of the "awkward, the socially inept, the ugly, the difficult" during the often cruel early rounds shouldn't be a call to action for the rest of us to embrace those whose lives are a struggle.

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