Annihilation, Wild Wild Country, How God Messed Up My Atheist Life - Stuff We Like #9

It's amazing what you find if you allow yourself to get lost.

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As we think about what it means to "come alive" this week, read a testimony of how God doesn't just meet us in our intellect but in our emotions. Jesus came for every part of us and the gospel renews all of us, not just parts of us. It's why faith is not limited to what we know but how we live and experience it in everyday life. It's also why being on mission isn't limited to passing out tracts and apologetic standoffs but involves real relational engagement and compassion.

Body Work, by Barbara Ehrenreich

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The landscape of physical fitness options that are out there today call for cult-like devotion. They demand a certain level of intensity with a common language and context to foster their community, in essence pursuing justification by exercise. At what point does "beating/disciplining our bodies" to honor God becomes "beating/disciplining our bodies" to become like Him?

Shows I Like

Wild Wild Country (Netflix)

Usually, a documentary about a cult is grossly tragic because of a mass suicide or showdown with the FBI and/or disturbing because of perverse acts of worship or oppressive practices to recruit and retain members. What makes this six-part series interesting is how quickly this cult took over a whole city in Oregon and how quietly the whole thing went away. It has tons of firsthand footage as well as current-day interviews with people integrally involved with the cult, some of whom are still strong adherents to the belief. You come away with a realization that these are real people who genuinely believe what they do and an empathy and brokenness for where they are led because of it.

Movies I Like

Annihilation

A visually pleasing sci-fi film, it explores the question of how we deal with suffering and/or self-destruction and our desire to escape it. For some, it's a deeper trek into the "heart of darkness" while others simply will find the quickest way out. The last 30 minutes were entrancing, confusing, and immersive all at the same time. 

Isle of Dogs

I'm including this movie not because I necessarily liked it (I didn't) but because it provoked complicated feelings in my heart. Putting aside my general apathy toward Wes Anderson movies, watching a movie set in an Asian country with large portions in an Asian dialogue where the heroine who rescues the day happens to be a foreign exchange student who speaks non-accented English was unsettling. By no means do I believe this movie owes me a different ending or different characters but it just felt off. Does it have cute dogs and fun dialogue? Absolutely! Incredible stop-motion? The sushi-making scene is immaculate! Will Hollywood ever accurately portray or understand my cultural purview, even when it's going for light-hearted, animated/stop-motion movies? Not going to bet on it.