Author Archives: Michael Minkoff

Why Tolstoy Was Wrong about Happiness: A Review of Deep Sea Diver, SECRETS

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Wistful and fierce, Deep Sea Diver’s SECRETS submits the strength of craft to the demands of feeling to yield an exquisitely well-balanced and self-controlled musical recollection of the (sometimes broken) promises of intimacy.

Craft Riot

In an interview with the Stranger, lead singer and guitarist Jessica Dobson expressed how she wanted to push her boundaries on SECRETS:

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We Sin Because We Have Bad Taste

goat with bad taste

According to one study, 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women look at porn at least once a month. Those numbers aren’t all that different from the statistics of non-Christians. Is it at all strange to you that pornography is so popular? It’s singularly one of the most tacky things on the planet. It’s garish, badly acted, badly shot, badly directed, badly “written,” completely unbelievable, contrived, mindless, and absurd.

How do we normally condemn pornography? By calling it immoral, abusive, socially destructive, and shameful (all of which are certainly true). But shouldn’t it be enough that pornography is mind-numbingly tasteless? Somehow that isn’t enough. Which makes me think sin is very much connected to horribly bad taste. Let me explain.

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Support Our New Kickstarter: Warbler — Sea of Glass

Warbler Sea of Glass Kickstarter Cover.indd

It’s that time again. After successfully funding Fiery Crash’s In Clover through Kickstarter earlier this year, the Nehemiah Foundation is ready to release our seventh sponsored album of music—Warbler’s sophomore record, Sea of Glass.

And we need your help. Here’s the Kickstarter video to get you started:1

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Tomorrowland: It’s Not Personal … It’s Just Programming

Tomorrowland2

Global annihilation. Epistemology. Belief. Hope for the future. No, we’re not talking about a Bible conference on eschatology. We’re talking about the latest summer blockbuster from Disney. Tomorrowland is certainly similar to most summer blockbusters. It has action, explosions, adventure, suspense, and all the other things you would expect. But it also has a defined, at times even heavy-handed, moral riptide that has been generating some unusual conversations.

I use moral somewhat loosely, however. This is the Disney version of morality. And it has almost nothing at all to do with religion, narrowly defined. Strangely enough, in a movie this preachy, there isn’t even a single mention of Christians. Or a religious believer of any kind, really. Even in the all-inclusive, ham-fisted, politically correct finale montage, not one religious person is included as a “dreamer.” I guess the brave new world of the dreamers is peculiarly free of religion. Or is it?

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How to Improve Christian Movies Without Bigger Budgets

Christian Movies header

Have you ever wondered why most Christian movies fall so flat? The vast majority of the Christian films produced in the last few decades rank among the worst movies ever made. In fact, at least one of them, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, had the dubious honor of being IMDb’s worst-rated movie of all time. (It’s currently tied for last.) It nearly swept the Razzies in 2014 too. One of its wins was for Worst Screen Combo: Kirk Cameron & His Ego. Ouch.

Some of the mockery and scorn leveled at Christian movies certainly stems from ideological differences. Most of the people who call Christian movies “lame” and “preachy” don’t belong to the choir. But as I’ve written before, much of the criticism leveled against Christian movies is completely legitimate, and we should take it seriously.

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Three Stages of Learning: How to Become a Master

Durer Master Three Stages of Learning

If you’re anything like most artists, and you probably are, you have a desire to become a great artist—a master. I have found very little information on how one goes about doing that. Most people talk like you either have genius in you or you do not. Though there may be some truth in this idea, mostly in terms of God’s discretionary privilege to grant gifts as he wills, this article will lay out the three stages of learning that every virtuoso without exception has had to attain. What God has given each of us in terms of raw talent is his business. But your self-awareness, discipline, and commitment to growth is your business. Let’s get to it.

Imitation

Imitation is the beginning of any learning process. The first step in becoming a master is imitating the masters. If you are a painter, that means trying to mimic the methods, subjects, and styles of famous paintings. You find out what you can about how the masters used light, color, brush types and strokes, formats, and media. And you copy them.

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Beauty is in the Eye of Which Beholder?

beauty eye of beholder

This is the fifth installment in the “Whatever” series on a biblical view of the arts, drawn from Philippians 4:8. If you missed the last four articles, you can read them here: Whatever is True, Whatever is HonorableWhatever is Just, and Whatever is Pure.

Whatever is Lovely

It would be easy to assume that no one needs instruction in what is lovely. Many consider this to be a matter of personal taste without any need for study, discipline, or assistance. This perspective is, however, not biblical. While no particular human aesthetic can claim to have a corner on loveliness, Paul would not have included this phrase in Philippians if loveliness were entirely arbitrary. If anything could be lovely depending only on your taste, what would be the point of directing people to lovely things? We already like what we think is lovely—no instruction or commandment required.

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