THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS // John Prine
Country legend John Prine passed away due to complications from Covid-19 last year. We want to celebrate his life and music by recommending his final album, The Tree of Forgiveness. The album is a humorous yet poignant reflection on growing old, love, reconciliation, death, and hope. Prine’s famously gravelly voice—the result of throat cancer late in his career—calls listeners to remember those forgotten on the margins of society, the importance of forgiveness for those that have hurt us, and the unsurpassable love of God.
Standout Tracks: Egg + Daughter Nite, Lincoln, Nebraska (Crazy Bone), Lonesome Friends of Science, Boundless Love, When I Get to Heaven
SELF-TITLED // Sean Watkins & Matt Chamberlain
This self-titled project from multi-instrumentalist Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) and jazz drummer Matt Chamberlain is a perfect addition to your all-nighter study playlist. The tracks on this album feature some slick bass and percussion, covering a range of genres like jazz, rock and folk. Watkins & Chamberlain have created a bangin’ instrumental record that provides some fun surprises along the way. Don’t miss out.
Standout Tracks: 7Thing, Three Brothers and the Golden Apple
OIL + WATER // Travis Greene
Travis Greene’s new gospel album brings fresh energy to Christian worship music. Greene rejoices in the abundant love of God that anoints us like oil and refreshes us like water. The album effortlessly blends African-American gospel music with contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop, with features from gospel greats like Kirk Franklin and Anthony Hamilton. Oil + Water will invigorate your heart and mind, stirring your spirit in worship of God for the new life he has given you in Christ.
Standout Tracks: Oil & Water (Feat. Anthony Hamilton), Easter (Feat. Todd Mulaney), Love Song
DEPARTURES // Jon Foreman
Jon Foreman’s latest project cements his status as a true troubadour walking between the cultural divisions of the secular and the sacred. After several excellent EP’s and anthologies, Departures marks Foreman’s first full-length solo album. The album is a refreshingly honest journal of faith and doubt that will find appeal for Christians and non-Christians alike. Foreman’s artistry provides a prayerful voice for our deepest longings, sorrows and joys, and this album may be his best solo work yet. Be sure to check it out.
Standout Tracks: A Place Called Earth (Feat. Lauren Daigle), Jesus I Have My Doubts, The Valley of the Shadow of Planned Obsolescence
IN // Will McPhail
Will McPhail’s In is a deeply personal reflection on the difficulty of making genuine connections with others in our modern world, one that may resonate with readers during the pandemic. McPhail’s beautiful illustrations make sparing use of colour to contrast the vast interior worlds of those around us with the seemingly mundane, muted tones of the world in which we live. In will remind you that everyone has a rich tapestry of experience inside of them, just waiting to be discovered.
A note on content: IN contains some adult themes and images. However, it is the editor’s view that they are executed tastefully to demonstrate the shallowness of relationships in our culture today.
ART + FAITH: A THEOLOGY OF MAKING // Makoto Fujimura
Makoto Fujimura’s Art + Faith: A Theology of Making (Yale University Press, 2021) is part two of a series he is writing on his concept of culture care, first introduced in his book of the same name (Culture Care, IVP, 2017). Fujimura’s thesis is that the artist’s vocation is deeply creational, deeply Christian, and calls us all to frame our life and work in the idea of culture care. Art + Faith bears insights for anyone interested in healing and hope for culture, whether or not you are Christian and an artist.
JAYBER CROW // Wendell Berry
This novel from Wendell Berry is the fictional autobiography of Jayber Crow, Esq., town barber of the town of Port William, Kentucky. The story is an Augustinian-esque narrative about a lost soul seeking for pleasure, meaning and purpose in the world before returning home. Tender and yet full of humour and wit, Berry’s novel is about a man finding his place in a close-knit community even as it is slowly disrupted by the onset of industrialization. Jayber Crow is a reminder that one’s journey in life, however wayward and seemingly out-of-control, is never outside of God’s redemptive power and love.
“God moves in our hearts to be experienced and then makes us all artists of the kingdom.“
– Makoto Fujimura
NOMADLAND (2020) // Chloe Zhao
Based on the book by Jessica Bruder, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland (2020) tells the story of Fern, a recent widower who hits the road after her hometown gets wiped off the map. Fern falls in with America’s nomads, a community of people living life on the open road. Memorable scenes simply feature May, and other nomads like Swankie and movement pioneer Bob Wells, recounting parts of their lives to Fern. Zhao’s style is at once improvisational and structured, blurring the lines between documentary and art. Nomandland is less a conventional story than it is a poetic meditation on the tensions between the longing for home and the freedom of the open road.
I don’t ever say goodbye. I always just say, I’ll see you down the road.
– Bob Wells
SHANG CHI & THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021) // Destin Daniel Cretton
Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings made a big splash as the first stand-alone Asian superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rich mythological imagery from Chinese folklore, great martial arts stunts performed by Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience), and a deeper narrative about family and identity all come together to make this film stand out from the rest of the MCU. The hero’s father Wenwu—played by martial arts veteran Tony Leung—may be Marvel’s most compelling and human villain yet. There are sure to be even bigger things to come for this hero in the MCU’s new multiverse. If you missed Shang-Chi in theatres, you can watch it on Disney+ starting November 2021.
MINARI // Lee Isaac Chung
Perhaps it says something about 2021 that we had to dig back into 2020 for some of our picks… but Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari is a worthy selection. A highly personal film, Chung’s directorial debut follows the struggles of a first-generation Korean American family in a small Kentucky town as they start a farm. Full of funny, sweet, and heartbreaking moments, Minari is a moving story about faith, resilience, and family that will resonate with many.
This one is for all the philosophy students out there. Queue this one up for your bus route or long road trips. Each episode of Philosophize This! dissects complex movements and ideas from key philosophers throughout history. Show host Stephen West’s wry wit and humour make heady philosophical concepts entertaining and explore what they mean for us today. And it might just save you when cramming for that mid-term or major essay…
Our Favourite Episodes: On Media Pt. 1 & 2, Max Weber—Iron Cage, Hannah Arendt—The Banality of Evil, Heidegger Parts 1 -3
RECENTER WITH CHRIST
Chaplain Jared guides listeners through prayerful meditations on Scripture using the spiritual disciplines of Lectio Divina and free form prayer. While no podcast can replace a regular life of prayer and Bible reading, this app can help build a strong foundation by centering yourself each day on the truth of Jesus and his love for you. Recenter with Christ is available both as an app on Google Play and for iPhone, or as a podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts—new meditations are uploaded every Sunday.
Our favourite meditations: 382—In Him All Things Are Held Together (Colossians 1:16-20), 340—I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psalm 139:13-16)
THE FRIENDSHIP ONION
Real-life Hobbits and best friends Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan reminisce about their experiences on the set of The Lord of the Rings. In the show, they shoot the breeze with old friends and guests like Elijah Wood, Stephen Colbert, Sean Astin, and Weta Workshop founder Sir Richard Taylor. Highly entertaining, raucous, and a wonderful reminder of the value of true friendship (one might say, a Fellowship…).
Our Favourite Episodes: Six O’Clock Twinkies, Sir Richard Taylor: An Unexpected Guest (Part 1 and 2), Who’s Buzz Lightyear?
STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
Looking to expand your knowledge of the world, or learn some weird facts to pull out at a party? Stuff You Should Know is the podcast for you! Avowed nerds Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant deliver fascinating facts and stories mingled with entertaining banter. With topics like history, philosophy, economics, marketing and more, there is something in this podcast for everyone. Here are some of our favourites: Les Paul & Leo Fender (Part 1 and 2), Y2K: Much Ado About Something, How Ketchup Works.