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Think Christian: A Faith and Pop Culture Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

How might your pop culture fandom resonate with your faith? Josh Larsen, editor of Think Christian, talks with TC writers about the latest in TV, movies, music, and more, exploring the ways popular culture and its cultivators interact with God’s story.

Location:

United States

Description:

How might your pop culture fandom resonate with your faith? Josh Larsen, editor of Think Christian, talks with TC writers about the latest in TV, movies, music, and more, exploring the ways popular culture and its cultivators interact with God’s story.

Language:

English

Contact:

616-942-9383


Episodes
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Creation Care Through the Lens of Hayao Miyazaki (TC Movie Club)

3/26/2024
Listen in as TC’s Josh Larsen and Fuller Seminary’s Elijah Davidson lead a conversation with Movie Club members about the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki. SHOW NOTES Join the TC Movie Club - https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub Elijah’s book, Hayao Miyazaki: Lifted - https://elijahdavidson.com/books/icons-of-cinema/hayao-miyazaki-lifted-ebook/ Josh’s video essay on ‘What Miyazaki and Christianity Have in Common’ - https://thinkchristian.net/what-miyazaki-and-christianity-have-in-common Josh on ‘Ponyo and the Challenges of Multiculturalism’ - https://thinkchristian.net/ponyo-and-the-challenges-of-multiculturalism Ben Lashar on ‘My Neighbor Totoro and Becoming Like Little Children’ - https://thinkchristian.net/my-neighbor-totoro-and-becoming-like-little-children Victoria Grace Howell on ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’s Cultural Mandate’ - https://thinkchristian.net/nausicaas-cultural-mandate

Duration:00:52:15

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Avatar: The Last Airbender and Common Spiritual Ground

3/13/2024
What can Christians take from a series that is rooted in Eastern spirituality? Josh, Claude, and Roslyn find a lot in Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, from the way wisdom is shared across generations to the contrasting of fear with love to an appreciation for the “thin places” where the spiritual realm breaks into ours. SHOW NOTES Sarah Welch-Larson on “Avatar: The Last Airbender and Spiritual Gifts” - https://thinkchristian.net/avatar-the-last-airbender-and-spiritual-gifts TC podcast on Netflix’s One Piece - https://thinkchristian.net/podcast/one-piece-come-follow-me Sara Kyoungah White on “One Piece and ‘Straw Hat Christians’” - https://thinkchristian.net/one-piece-and-straw-hat-christians Josh’s video essay on “What Miyazaki and Christianity Have in Common” - https://thinkchristian.net/what-miyazaki-and-christianity-have-in-common Roslyn’s Chasing Justice podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/chasing-justice/id1511600139 Roslyn’s FYI on Youth Ministry podcast - https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/podcast Claude’s Substack newsletter - https://claudeatcho.substack.com/

Duration:00:35:59

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Oscars 2024

2/28/2024
Josh, Kathryn, and Sarah each bring a Best Picture nominee to the table, resulting in conversations about biblical justice in the context of Oppenheimer and personal conviction as it relates to The Zone of Interest. They also spend way more time than they anticipated singing the praises of Lorraine, a supporting character in American Fiction who quietly mirrors the gracious love of God. SHOW NOTES Roslyn Hernández on ‘Barbie and Our Reason for Being’ - https://thinkchristian.net/barbie-and-our-reason-for-being Previous podcast on The Holdovers as an Advent movie - https://thinkchristian.net/podcast/five-films-for-advent Robert Hubbard on ‘False Apostles and Deceitful Workers in Killers of the Flower Moon’ - https://thinkchristian.net/false-apostles-and-deceitful-workers-in-killers-of-the-flower-moon D. Marquel on ‘Oppenheimer and Our Appetite for Destruction’ - https://thinkchristian.net/oppenheimer-and-our-appetite-for-destruction Zachary Lee on ‘Presence and Absence in Past Lives’ - https://thinkchristian.net/presence-and-absence-in-past-lives Join the TC Movie Club - https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub Sarah’s Seeing & Believing newsletter - https://seeingandbelieving.substack.com/

Duration:00:48:38

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Sin, Debt, and Forgiveness in Fargo Season 5

2/14/2024
Can JR. and Abby bring Josh around on Fargo Season 5? They discuss the Coen brothers-inspired series — including the theology-soaked season finale. SHOW NOTES Josh Pease on Fargo Season 2 - https://thinkchristian.net/fargos-faith-in-little-green-men David Kern on Fargo Season 3 - https://thinkchristian.net/fargo-seeking-harmony-in-the-face-of-discord Josh’s video essay on 1996’s Fargo - https://youtu.be/qaRRXpfTyfU?si=U3knjwTTNIvpxid9 Abby on ‘Five Films for Lent' - https://thinkchristian.net/five-films-to-help-you-observe-lent-at-home JR.’s Substack newsletter - https://substack.com/@jrforasteros

Duration:00:44:23

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Best Movies of 2023

1/24/2024
How do we sense God’s presence? Through voice, touch, mystery? Josh, Claude, and Roslyn each bring a favorite 2023 film for discussion, only to realize their picks all circle around this question in some way. They cover Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, The Boy and the Heron, and All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt - while listener choices bring a handful of other titles to the table. SHOW NOTES A complete list of our favorite 2023 movies, according to Think Christian contributors, listeners, and readers - https://thinkchristian.net/best-movies-of-2023 Isabel Bishop on “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Listening for God’s Still Small Voice” - https://thinkchristian.net/are-you-there-god-its-me-margaret-listening-for-gods-still-small-voice Join the TC Movie Club - https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub Claude’s “Good Things” newsletter - https://claudeatcho.substack.com/ Roslyn’s forthcoming website - https://roslynhernandez.com/

Duration:00:44:30

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Best TV of 2023

1/10/2024
As described by Sarah on this episode, our picks for the best TV shows of 2023 all happened to feature “reluctant justice-doers.” Listen to her, Josh, JR., and Joe discuss Jury Duty, Poker Face, Trigun Stampede, and more. Plus, listener picks too! SHOW NOTES Kate Meyrick on ‘The Crown’s Half-Hearted Confessions’ - https://thinkchristian.net/the-crowns-half-hearted-confessions Julia York on ‘Poker Face and the Power of the Unremarkable Woman’ - https://thinkchristian.net/poker-face-and-power-of-the-unremarkable-woman TC podcast on Netflix’s One Piece - https://thinkchristian.net/podcast/one-piece-come-follow-me Rachel Syens on Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS - https://thinkchristian.net/olivia-rodrigo-spills-her-guts-and-we-should-too Daniel Jung on ‘Beef and Belief’ - https://thinkchristian.net/beef-and-belief Daniel on ‘The Scariest Thing About The Last of Us’ - https://thinkchristian.net/the-scariest-thing-about-the-last-of-us Daniel on ‘Succession and Sins of the Father’ https://thinkchristian.net/succession-and-sins-of-the-father

Duration:00:45:28

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Best Music of 2023

1/4/2024
According to Josh, Kathryn, Abby, and Aarik, the best music of the year echoed our anxieties, while also offering eschatologically tinged consolation. They discuss The National, Sufjan Stevens, Cleo Sol, and more. SHOW NOTES: Master list of our favorite 2023 music - https://thinkchristian.net/best-music-of-2023 Joel Mayward on “Sufjan Stevens’ Piercing Javelin” - https://thinkchristian.net/sufjan-stevens-piercing-javelin Aarik’s poem, “Notes On a Concert by The National” - https://feversofthemind.com/2023/09/30/poetry-coming-soon-to-fevers-of-the-mind-print-inspire-me-from-several-poets-artists/

Duration:00:33:49

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Five Films for Advent

12/7/2023
Think of it as an Advent wreath, but with movies on it instead of candles. Josh, Roslyn, and Abby discuss a handful of films that will help you mark the Christmas season, including the recent release The Holdovers, the 2019 documentary For Sama, and the Satoshi Kon anime Tokyo Godfathers.

Duration:00:37:33

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The Marvels and Getting Our Spiritual Gifts in Sync

11/21/2023
Josh is clinging onto his MCU fandom with The Marvels, thanks to the chemistry of its three leads and the way it evokes the biblical notion of spiritual gifts. Are Kathryn and Joe on board as well, or have they bailed on the franchise? SHOW NOTES TC landing page: ‘God in the MCU’ - https://thinkchristian.net/god-in-the-mcu Joe on ‘Loki Season 2 and the God of Sacrifice’ - https://thinkchristian.net/loki-and-the-god-of-sacrifice Joe’s book, The Superpowers and the Glory - https://wipfandstock.com/9781666731057/the-superpowers-and-the-glory/

Duration:00:30:34

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Wilco’s Cousin: Ballads of Brokenness and Beauty

11/8/2023
Wilco’s latest album makes ample space for sadness, while also encouraging a beautiful belief in something more. Josh, Aarik, and Sarah discuss the eschatological echoes of the band’s music, delving deeply into tracks like “Pittsburgh,” “Sunlight Ends,” and “Infinite Surprise.” SHOW NOTES Aarik’s TC post on Wilco’s Ode to Joy - https://thinkchristian.net/considering-wilcos-joy John J. Thompson’s TC post on Wilco’s “All Lives You Say” - https://thinkchristian.net/all-lives-you-say-wilco-and-psalm-139 Sarah’s Seeing & Believing newsletter - https://seeingandbelieving.substack.com/ Aarik’s “Because the Night” series at Fathom - https://www.thediscontent.fathomcolumns.com/post/the-night-is-a-friend-of-mine

Duration:00:31:22

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A Christian Defense of Horror Part V (TC Movie Club)

10/26/2023
Listen in as TC’s Josh Larsen and Fuller Theological Seminary’s Kutter Callaway lead a TC Movie Club conversation considering “Horror — What Is it Good for?” They and club members talk biblical fear, horror subgenres, and the particular brand of scares offered by Jordan Peele. (To join the club, sign up at https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub) SHOW NOTES Kutter’s limited series podcast, Be Afraid - https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/be-afraid/ Josh’s book, Fear Not! A Christian Appreciation of Horror Movies - https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Not-Christian-Appreciation-Spirituality-ebook/dp/B0CB4TT4B6/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3G4QMAZB8SPG3&keywords=fear+not+larsen&qid=1698262191&sprefix=fear+not+larsen%2Caps%2C90&sr=8-1 Josh’s video essay, “Should Christians Watch Horror Movies?” - https://youtu.be/um88HH2DFbc?si=DTX0SnMLGsGr4GYS

Duration:00:55:50

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Reservation Dogs and Indigenized Faith

10/11/2023
As touching and hilarious as it often was, the Hulu series Reservation Dogs was also clear-eyed about the awful, historical realities indigenous people faced (and still contend with) in North America - including a complicated relationship with Christianity. Josh, JR., and Roslyn consider this in light of the series’ finale, while also sharing which of the four teens at the show’s center they’ll continue to think about in the years ahead. SHOW NOTES Christian Reformed Church in North America report on indigenous residential schools - https://www.crcna.org/news-and-events/news/initial-report-us-residential-schools-released Sojourners article by Sandy Ovalle Martínez - https://sojo.net/articles/my-latine-christian-faith-embraces-what-western-faith-demonizes Roslyn’s FYI on Youth Ministry podcast - https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/podcast JR.’s Fascinating podcast - http://www.norvillerogers.com/podcast/fascinating/ JR.’s Sojourners article on “Scary Accurate Monster Stories for Each Enneagram Type” - https://sojo.net/articles/scary-accurate-monster-stories-each-enneagram-type Sign up to join the TC Movie Club - https://thinkchristian.net/movieclub

Duration:00:45:06

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One Piece: ‘Come, follow me.’

9/28/2023
Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the popular anime series offers a mismatched batch of outcasts who are united by a warm, encouraging leader and directed toward a singular purpose. Sound familiar? Aside from those New Testament echoes, the show also delivers pirates, sea creatures, and snail phones. Josh Larsen and Abby Olcese are joined by One Piece expert Claude Atcho to discuss. SHOW NOTES Sara Kyoungah White on ‘One Piece and Straw Hat Christians’ - https://thinkchristian.net/one-piece-and-straw-hat-christians Sign up to join the TC Movie Club - https://thinkchristian.net/movieclub

Duration:00:31:40

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Karen Swallow Prior on Barbie and Cultural Imagination

9/14/2023
Karen Swallow Prior - TC’s Greta Gerwig correspondent - joins Josh to discuss the hilarity, profundity, and theological resonance of Gerwig’s summer blockbuster, Barbie, which is now available via video on demand. SHOW NOTES Karen’s book, The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis - http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-evangelical-imagination/412270 Roslyn Hernández on ‘Barbie and Our Reason for Being’ - https://thinkchristian.net/barbie-and-our-reason-for-being Alissa Wilkinson: ‘In the Beginning, There was Barbie’ - https://www.vox.com/culture/23800753/barbie-review-bible-eden Sign up to join the TC Movie Club - https://thinkchristian.net/movieclub

Duration:00:24:41

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The Little Mermaid and Christian Obedience

8/31/2023
Does King Triton have a point? Or is Ariel’s rebellion a leading of the Spirit? Josh, Kathryn, and Sarah discuss Disney live-action remakes and how 2023’s The Little Mermaid compares and contrasts with a Christian understanding of obedience. SHOW NOTES Sign up to join the TC Movie Club - https://thinkchristian.net/movieclub Josh’s book, Fear Not! A Christian Appreciation of Horror Movies - https://bit.ly/3YZGPJF Sarah’s podcast, Seeing & Believing - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/seeing-and-believing/id965678468

Duration:00:33:52

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The Bear’s Burden of Perfection

8/15/2023
The streaming series about a high-end chef struggling to revive his family’s Chicago beef joint turns out to be the perfect opportunity for Josh, JR., and Joe to discuss the difference between perfection and excellence, ways of welcoming all to the table, and the persistent gift of grace. Plus, JR. shares a pastor’s perspective on how The Beef’s journey toward becoming The Bear mirrors the challenge and promise of the contemporary church. SHOW NOTES Julia York on ‘The Bear’s Inheritance of Shame’ - https://thinkchristian.net/the-bears-inheritance-of-shame JR. Forasteros on ‘What Dying Churches Can Learn From The Bear’ - https://sojo.net/articles/what-dying-churches-can-learn-bear Joe George’s book, The Superpowers and the Glory - https://wipfandstock.com/9781666731057/the-superpowers-and-the-glory/ Joe on Christopher Nolan’s sound design - https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/christopher-nolan-sound-design-dialogue-is-great-actually/

Duration:00:39:21

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Wes Anderson’s Restoration Cinema (TC Movie Club)

7/27/2023
Listen in as TC’s Josh Larsen and Julia York lead a conversation with Movie Club members about Asteroid City and Anderson’s other films, placing them within the Christian context of creation-fall-redemption-restoration. SHOW NOTES Join the TC Movie Club - https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub Asteroid City's Preaching Tip - https://thinkchristian.net/asteroid-citys-preaching-tip Rushmore: Heaven and Hell and Heaven Again - https://youtu.be/lzTvH14xw9Q

Duration:01:00:36

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Indiana Jones’ Profession of Faith

7/13/2023
“I’ve come to believe it’s not so much about what you believe, it’s how hard you believe it.” In his farewell outing, Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones offers this testimony after a lifetime of adventures and supernatural experiences. Is his statement a profound revelation, a cop-out, or just bad theology? Josh, Aarik, and Abby discuss this and more, as they consider Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. SHOW NOTES Josh’s Dial of Destiny addendum to his post about Indy’s whip in the Indiana Jones films - https://thinkchristian.net/give-me-the-whip-prop-as-icon-in-the-indiana-jones-films/discussion Join the TC Movie Club here - https://thinkchristian.net/movieclub Josh’s video essay on Wes Anderson’s Rushmore - https://youtu.be/lzTvH14xw9Q

Duration:00:36:14

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Spider-Verse Spirituality

6/8/2023
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse tops its already-impressive predecessor in terms of animated artistry, thematic depth, and theological resonance. At least that’s the shared opinion of Josh and first-time guest Emanuel Padilla. SHOW NOTES Joe George on ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Great Commission’ - https://thinkchristian.net/spider-verses-great-commission Emanuel Padilla on Twitter: https://twitter.com/emanuelwos TC’s Into the Spider-Verse Watch Party discussion audio: https://thinkchristian.net/podcast/spider-verse-watch-party TC’s Into the Spider-Verse commentary audio: https://thinkchristian.net/podcast/bonus-spider-verse-commentary Josh on ‘Prop as Icon in the Indiana Jones Films’ - https://thinkchristian.net/give-me-the-whip-prop-as-icon-in-the-indiana-jones-films

Duration:00:30:56

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What Do We Do With Paul Schrader? (TC Movie Club)

5/23/2023
Listen in as TC’s Josh Larsen and guest Jeff Munroe lead a conversation with Movie Club members about First Reformed, Hardcore, and other films from writer-director Paul Schrader. (To join the club, sign up at https://www.thinkchristian.net/movieclub) Show Notes: Josh’s video essay on First Reformed: https://youtu.be/WDNMo83_y6w Josh’s 2018 interview with Paul Schrader: https://thinkchristian.net/first-reformed-and-holy-art-an-interview-with-paul-schrader Jeff’s TC post on First Reformed’s ending: https://thinkchristian.net/a-reformed-pastor-on-first-reformed Micah Rickard on The Card Counter: https://thinkchristian.net/the-card-counter-and-flannery-oconnor

Duration:01:00:19