All about angels this fortnight

I’m off to the ISMRC Conference: Media, Religion and Culture in a Networked World in less that a week, so my focus will be on angels (and the demonic) in popular culture for the next two weeks. I’ll be presenting a paper titled “Upside-down Angels: The Inverting of Supernatural Good and Evil in Popular Culture” on the Wednesday and really looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues from around the world.

So, I’ve been catching up on what is coming up in the world of angels and popular culture, and these look interesting. In particular, the new Constantine TV show looks like it will be much closer to the John Constantine of the comic books Hellblazer and Constantine (New 52 version here) rather than the Keanu Reeves US film version. The Dominion series looks average, but it could develop (though I don’t imagine either will make it on to NZ television), and still serves as some interesting research material.

Some angel popular culture trailers for those interested:

New Constantine TV Series

Dominion TV Series

Fallen TV Series

2005 Constantine film

Gabriel film

Urban Fantasy with a real character

As I’ve mentioned previously I really enjoy urban fantasy, and especially urban fantasy set in the UK. So I’ve been reading the ‘The Severed Streets’, the sequel to Paul Cornell’s ‘London Falling’. It was a good read, but one of my favourite bits was where he incorporated another of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, as a minor character in the story (Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ being one of the first urban fantasy books I can remember reading). You can read about how that came about at the link below:

  

  

Anzac Day 2014

The Anzac Day service as College hit the right spot for me today – simple, well-meant and not overly buying into civil religion. It made me think about the collection of resources about Anzac Day that I’ve used over the years when teaching spirituality, contextual theology and public theology. So, I thought I’d list some of those in case they’re of interest to others.

Book sections and articles

Bluck, John. Long, White & Cloudy : In Search of a Kiwi Spirituality. Christchurch, N.Z.: Hazard Press, 1998. (“Not just poppies – the Anzac Spirit” (32-39))

Hunt, Graeme. “Anzac’s Ghost.” New Zealand Listener, 9 April 2005, 32-33.

Hunt, Graeme. “The Folly & the Glory.” New Zealand Listener, 14 May 2005, 19.

Harris, Brian. “Of Tall Poppies, Mateship & Pragmatism: Spirituality in the Australasian Context.” Stimulus 16, no. 3 (2008): 16-20.   

Morris, Paul. “Spirit Abroad: Reflections on New Zealand Spirituality and Identity.” In Spirit Abroad : A Second Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts and Mike Grimshaw, 217-30. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2004.

Moses, John A. “Was There an Anzac Theology?” Colloquium 35, no. 1 (2003): 3-13.

Stackhouse, Max L. “Civil Religion, Political Theology and Public Theology: What’s the Difference?”. Political Theology 5, no. 3 (2004): 275-93.

Taylor, Steve. “Scars on the Australasian Heart: Anzac Day as a Contextual Atonement Image.” New Zealand Journal of Baptist Research 6 (2001): 48-74.

Poems

Morris, Paul, Harry Ricketts, and Michael P. Grimshaw. Spirit in a Strange Land : A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2002.

Morris, Paul, Harry Ricketts, and Mike Grimshaw. Spirit Abroad : A Second Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2004.

Web resources

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Anzac Day website – http://www.mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/anzacday

Official Anzac Day website – http://www.anzac.govt.nz/

School curriculum resources - Anzac Day – Lest we forget / National events and the NZC / Curriculum resources / Kia ora – NZ Curriculum Online

Songs

Sons of Gallipoli | Chris Skinner SM (YouTube video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbDWDviyVaw)

NZ Folk Song * Anzac Day

NZ Folk poems * An Old Gunner’s Poems (Various related songs and poems)

NZ FOLK SONG * Goodnight Ruby

NZ Folk Song * E Ihowa Atua

Television

Maori Television’s Anzac coverage – http://www.maoritelevision.com/search/all/anzac

Religion, Pop Culture and Video Games

An eclectic bunch of links today, focusing upon biblical literacy, religion and video games, and video games as a way of creating wellbeing.

First up a new book from Heidi Campbell and Gregory Grieve

Quick review here: Religion Book Review: Playing with Religion in Digital Games by Heidi A. Campbell and Gregory P. Grieve.

Next a link to Bible literacy is going up, not down – thanks, Lady Gaga; The UK Bible Society survey mentioned can be found here.

And finally, Tapping Into the Emotional Side of Video Games: Developing Hope, Healing and Love.

Related links to this latter one include the use of the games mentioned here in church settings – See http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-08/09/geekdad-hatches-exeter-cathedrals-journey-service and http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00sg1fq

Books on the go.

I have a bunch of books on my desk at the moment that I’m hoping I can have a look at over the Easter break.


“Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying The Best And Avoiding The Worst” (Bex Lewis)

Too many books and not enough time to read them all.

An Invitation to the Study of Cyborgs

I met with Prof. Toru Takahashi a week or two back, while he was here at the University of Waikato on sabbatical. Good conversations around cyborgs, religion, animé and manga. He’s written mostly in Japanese, but here’s an English version of a short article of his.

Online academia

A couple of interesting posts on online academia. The first looks at how PhD students might use online resources and networks to promote and resource their own research, while the second looks at developments in online theological education.

Mental health and academia

Mental health amongst academics doesn’t really get talked about to much. Constant change within the tertiary sector, continual creeping (and often accelerating) bureaucracy, and an ever increasing audit culture can and do reduce space for collegiality, fulfilling a sense of vocation and developing a kind of work life balance (e.g. spending your annual leave doing the research your job requires but doesn’t allow time for in your regular work schedule). In this environment, mental health issues are hard to manage and even seen as a kind of normality sometimes. These recent articles on the issue from The Guardian pick up on this.