Arts and Culture

Nothing new in The Young Messiah

As long as there's money in faith-based films, and there's plenty of it, apparently, Christian audiences can expect the canon of Bible movies to continue to expand.

A call to examine the church’s complicity in racism

Theologian and blogger Drew G.I. Hart's analysis of North American racism is a call to justice aimed at both church culture and the wider society—with the greater challenge aimed at church people.
Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery and Brian d'Arcy James star in Spotlight, which is based on The Boston Globe's 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

‘Outward be fair, however foul within’

In 1761, the poet Charles Churchill penned these words: "Keep up appearances; there lies the test; / The world will give thee credit for the rest. / Outward be fair, however foul within; / Sin if thou wilt, but then in secret sin."

An inside look at Canada’s first Anglican sisterhood

These sisters are doin' it for themselves—and helping everyone else along the way.
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander as Ava, a robot with artificial intelligence. Photo: Mongrel Media/Universal Pictures

Ex Machina: What makes us human?

At last—a movie that got a wide commercial release that's worth getting excited about! Smart, original and utterly engrossing, Ex Machina is both a minimalist exploration of what makes us human and a modern science fiction classic.

A deep dive into stillness and joy

Nowhere, Pico Iyer claims, is the most interesting destination.

Iyer, a travel writer by trade, makes this pronouncement in a new work, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. The book accompanies a 15-minute TED talk, and runs only 74 pages—compact enough to finish in one sitting.

Knitting nonagenarian

Mary McDonald, 96, is a veritable "knitting machine. Really. She knits continuously. She never stops."

Every day, McDonald's clicking needles turn out thick, warm mittens and hats for London, Ont.'s, homeless. Each year, she donates boxes and boxes of finely wrought winter wear for people ages two to 92 to the Hospitality/Out of the Cold program at London's St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.

“I feel like a little kid at Christmas.” Drew Brown’s Analog Love in Digital Times has been nominated for a Juno Award for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year. Photo: Seth Partridge

Anglican music director nominated for a Juno

Not many churches can say their music director is up for a Juno Award—but then, not many churches have Drew Brown working for them.

The Toronto native, who currently serves as creative arts director at Trinity Streetsville, in the diocese of Toronto, is one of five contenders in the category of Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year for his most recent release,Analog Love in Digital Times.

David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King, with Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the film Selma. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Selma and the struggle for civil rights

"Our lives are not fully lived if we're not willing to die for those we love, for what we believe." Martin Luther King Jr. might have added that there can be no justice, equality or freedom for any of us, unless everyone can claim those things as their birthright. If some are oppressed, then we are all oppressed. Or so we would know if we were not so often blinded by our instinct to separate ourselves from "the other."
Christian Bale plays Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film

Gods, kings and a bellicose boy

"The Lord is a man of war," says the book of Exodus, and those six words inform the new dramatization of the mass exodus of 400,000 Jews from their captivity in Egypt around 1300 BC. In Exodus: Gods and Kings God tells Moses "I need a general."

Seeing with the ‘eye of the soul’

Not many books use a potato to explain spiritual wholeness but Father Luke Bell manages to do this and more inThe Meaning of Blue: Recovering a Contemplative Spirit. As a monk-priest at Quarr Abbey on the UK's Isle of Wight, Bell is well placed to teach us about contemplation and potatoes.

Disconnect to reconnect

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Communication (winner of the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction) explores how the digital revolution now dictating so much of our day-to-day activity unfolded, what it entails for our personal and professional lives-and why we should at least try to resist the temptations constantly on offer from the blinking screens in our homes, offices and in our own pockets.
Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and Archbishop Michael Peers at the book launch for the Peers memoir, More Than I Can Say. Photo: Simon Chambers

Portrait of a leader in tumultuous times

As primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1986 to 2004, Michael Peers faced turbulence in nearly every aspect of church life.

Is religion to blame for war and violence?

Karen Armstrong's book, Fields of Blood, is an ambitious project that looks closely at the interrelationship of religion and violence.

A misfit soars on a dragon’s back: Learning from outsiders in How to Train...

Like its first-rate 2010 predecessor, the animated fantasy adventure How to Train Your Dragon 2 will bring tears of joy to the faces of those moved by the sight of a boy atop a jet-black dragon soaring into the clouds and swooping down toward the glistening sea.