CLIMATE VIGIL SONGS // The Porter’s Gate
Socially-conscious worship collective The Porter’s Gate is back with a rousing cry for God’s creation. As usual, the tracks boast an impressive array of guest musicians like Josh Garrels, Liz Vice, Matt Maher, and newcomer Terrian. The lyrics combine lament and prayer with lines of Scripture, offering worship up to our Creator God.
Standout Tracks: Bring in the Year of Jubilee (Psalm 37), Brother Sun (Giving Glory!), Hosanna! (Will You Rise?), The Kingdom is Coming
KINGDOM BOOK ONE // Kirk Franklin
The gospel legend Kirk Franklin is the gift that keeps on giving. His latest album Kingdom Book One is a collaboration with Maverick City Music and features many guest artists, including Brandon Lake and Chandler Moore. If you liked Kanye West’s Jesus Is King and are hungry for more, then be sure to put Kingdom Book One in your rotation.
Standout Tracks: Bless Me, Why We Sing, The Name, Fear is Not My Future
IN THESE SILENT DAYS // Brandi Carlile
Country singer Brandi Carlile wrote much of this album during the early lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic. Carlile’s lyrics are some of her best, sharing from her heart the experience of isolation and longing for real connection and love. If you’re looking for a musical panacea for your woes, this just might be it.
Standout Tracks: Stay Gentle, You and Me on the Rock (feat. Lucius), Right On Time
TEASER & THE FIRECAT // Cat Stevens
Standout Tracks: Peace Train, Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Moonshadow
NOPE | Dir. Jordan Peele
In Nope, siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood try to get the “money shot” of an ominous alien presence hiding above their ranch. The film opens with Nahum 3:6, a verse about judgement for the sin of Nineveh, a nation that became greedy and corrupt. Jordan Peele’s film explores the consequences of the human desire for spectacle, and will open up fruitful conversation about God’s justice and redemption with others. You won’t look at the sky in the same way.
Content warning: there are two disturbing sequences, one involving a chimpanzee on a children’s TV show set. Viewer discretion is advised.
FATHER STU | Dir. Rosalind Ross
Father Stu is based on the life of Father Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg), a boxer who became a Catholic priest before being diagnosed with a deteriorating muscle disease. The movie is a raw, honest, and moving portrayal of how one man’s faith in Christ helps him endure a life of suffering and pain. Features rough language and alcoholism.
FIRST COW | Dir. Kelly Reichardt
Set during the Gold Rush, this movie is about the origins of the American dream. A travelling cook and a Chinese man partner together to steal milk from a wealthy Englishman in order to make some money. It’s a story of a sweet friendship and a get-rich-quick scheme gone wrong. The simplicity of the plot allows the story to clearly illustrate how social barriers to wealth have been part of America from the beginning. Its spare score and storytelling masterfully build tension to the very end.
ELVIS | Dir. Baz Luhrmann
While Baz Luhrmann’s film takes some creative liberties with Elvis’ life, the singer’s family gave Austin Butler’s performance their blessing. Butler may not be a dead ringer for Elvis, but he has captured the spirit and charisma of the musician. The film highlights Elvis’ influence by Christian spirituals, blues/jazz, and the role of racism in censoring his music. Viewers are also brought to see the exploitative relationship between Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi is about the memory of a place we once knew and our desire to return. The childlike Piranesi lives in a House with an infinite number of rooms and a surging ocean, and is enchanted by its beauty and power. Referencing both C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and the Greek philosopher Plato, Clarke’s captivating writing slowly unfolds the story, revealing new mysteries of the House. By the end of this novel, you will care deeply for Piranesi and his House.
EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY
Pastor and spiritual theologian Pete Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is a practical study guide for individuals and groups to reflect on how their thoughts, habits, and beliefs shape their spiritual lives. We are often unaware of these hidden factors, and Scazzero provides personal stories, advice and guided questions for reflection.
AFTER DOUBT: HOW TO QUESTION YOUR FAITH WITHOUT LOSING IT
In college, it can be spiritually disorienting to encounter tough intellectual questions and new worldviews. In his book After Doubt: How to Question Your Faith Without Losing It, professor and former pastor AJ Swoboda argues that while the deconstruction experience can lead to loss of faith, it is also an opportunity to mature spiritually. Having pastored people through deconstruction, Swoboda manages to be sensitive to personal experience and faithful to Christian orthodoxy. Pick up his book for a thoughtful guide through the murky topic of deconstruction.
Did you know that many of the first scientists studied the universe in order to learn more about the Creator behind it? BioLogos’ podcast Language of God continues in this vein, with each episode featuring interviews with prominent Christian or spiritually open figures, including Makoto Fujimura, Bill McKibben, N.T. Wright, Francis Collins, and Jane Goodall. This podcast is a great listen for anyone with questions about how faith and the sciences intersect.
Recommended Episodes: Bill McKibben, NT Wright, Reconciling Evolution Pts 1 and 2.
CREATIVE PEP TALK
This one is for all the artsy folks out there. Struggling to get your creative endeavours off the ground? Check out illustrator Andy J. Pizza’s podcast Creative Pep Talk for hot tips and conversations about different aspects of creative practice. Andy’s show is fun, energetic, sometimes silly, and full of good advice for every artist trying to build their career.
Recommended Episodes: 380 – Sick of Your Own Work? How to Make Work You Love Again in 5 Steps
MORTIFICATION OF SPIN
Show hosts Todd Pruitt and Carl Trueman deliver weekly banter about challenging subjects. Tune in each week to hear funny, honest, and intellectually stimulating conversations about topics such as suffering, technology, injustice, and headship in marriage. Make sure to give this one a listen!
Recommended Episodes: The Metaverse Church, Life After Roe, Situating our Suffering
Host Katherine Hayhoe is both an evangelical Christian and climate scientist at Texas Tech University. In her show Global Weirding, Hayhoe communicates calmly and respectfully about the topic of climate change. Each episode answers common questions from a range of worldviews and offers ideas about how we can all work together to care for the earth. Check this one out for a positive take on a tough topic.
Recommended Episodes: The Bible Doesn’t Talk About Climate Change, Right?, I’m Just One Person! What Can I Do?, How Do We Know Climate Change Is Even Real?