Loneliness, Phantom Thread, The Good Place - Stuff We Like #5

Straight kickin' game with a capital G. Get your learn on!


Articles I Like

In Solitude What Happiness?, by Maggie Fergusson

“What does loneliness feel like?” “It’s like being offered a full meal, and not being able to eat it.”

If you struggle with loneliness, please read this article. As someone who has dealt with this in different parts of my life, this resonated with me on so many levels. There is an overwhelming, silent shame that people who struggle with loneliness often drown in that is often hard to describe. This article doesn't necessarily offer answers. What I hope it does is put words to describe what your loneliness feels like.

You are not alone in your loneliness. Don't be afraid to admit it and talk to others about it. More importantly, in Christ, you are neither defined by your loneliness, your solitude, or your shame. Your God will never leave you nor forsake you for He is always with you by the Spirit and your life is hidden in Christ. And if you want someone to talk to about it, I'm here. kai@gracealameda.org.


In Defense of Thoughts and Prayers, by Scott Jones

Amidst the constant politicizing of a tragic situation, one of the most common refrains that regularly gets mocked by people of all cultural stripes is how useless "thoughts and prayers" are in dark times. There are a whole host of reasons why people might be right to criticize those that carelessly toss out the phrase but there are very good Christian reasons for why believers should be lifting up their thoughts and prayers after dark tragedy. This article gives us a few important ones.

Movies I Like

Phantom Thread

A movie where every camera angle is masterfully shot and each word spoken with intent and conviction. Paul Thomas Anderson has churned out some of the most engrossing movies of this century such as "There Will Be Blood" and "The Master". Teaming with Daniel Day-Lewis again meant I was going to watch this film. Not only does DDL display primal intensity and precision, actress Vicky Krieps more than holds her own. It's a unique and thought-provoking dive into moral depravity, heart idolatry, and self-justification. The plot twist aggravates, titillates, and shocks you into plunging deeper with the film.

Black Panther

The hype train has arrived at its station and it is for real. I can't help myself to most comic book movies but the incredible track record of director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan's partnership (Fruitvale Station, Creed) made this a no-brainer. Not often do Marvel movies explore new fantasy worlds this richly yet still manage to tie it into our current world (Oakland specifically!) in a meaningful manner. Most movies get clunky attempting to address systemic racism, how minorities should engage the world around them, and how one overcomes oppression. You certainly don't expect a Marvel movie to do it yet it does it thoughtfully and carefully. Then you add a Kendrick Lamar curated soundtrack, amazing outfits, and green screen panoramic views that take your breath away. I know it doesn't exist but my goodness I would love to live in Wakanda.

Shows I Like

The Good Place (Netflix)

A thoughtful comedy where Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristin Bell) dies and finds herself in the Good Place, where everyone has a soul mate and her attempts to cuss always come out as "bullshirt". The problem is that deep down inside, she knows she's there by mistake and doesn't belong. She's surrounded by a whole cast of crazy characters and hilarity ensues. What makes this show so great isn't just the armchair moral philosophy references they run through in every episode (regular mentions of Kant, Kierkegaard, utilitarianism, etc.) but how they put their philosophies into the plot of the show. Are you good based on what you do or why you do it? Is an afterlife where you get whatever you want, whenever you want, truly a good place? 

It's a fun, light-hearted, silly show but still gets you thinking. Start from episode one because it's got a great twist near the end. Check out the first season on Netflix. They just finished their second season on NBC.