The Last Jedi and Star Wars’ Movement from Mythology to Folk Tale

When I came out of my first showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I liked it.  By the time I exited my third showing of The Last Jedi, I was ready to say I really liked it.  I was still struggling to figure out where to place this film in my larger emotional and intellectual experience of the Star Wars Saga but I was able to say, as a film, The Last Jedi was well done.  I was not ready for the heatedly divisive storm that followed.  As someone who needed a year and a half to be able to like The Force Awakens, I certainly appreciate the pain many feel over this film.  I’m just a bit surprised, given reactions to The Force Awakens, this film caused such an uproar.  Anyway, I’m finally ready to delve into my thoughts and feelings on The Last Jedi.  Be warned MASSIVE SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.  So if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you come back and read this once you have. Continue reading

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Star Wars in the Classroom

Remember a month ago when Hyperspace PodBlast had Hannah and I on to discuss our Star Wars class?  I know!  It was so fun!  Well Charlotte and Caitlin of Skytalkers: A Star Wars Podcast heard the episode and they invited Hannah and I on their show to talk about our class too!  Yay!  We had so much fun chatting with them and, if you’re in the mood for some great Star Wars banter, you should totally click this link and head on over to Skytalkers to give it a listen.  BONUS – you’ll also learn which five people associated with Star Wars (fictional or real, alive or dead) Hannah and I would invite to a dinner party!!  Um, what are you still doing here?  It’s time to click the link and enjoy the show! Continue reading

Teaching Star Wars 101

I’ll keep this short so you’ll actually click the link.  On Monday, Hannah and I were guests on Hyperspace PodBlast (A Star Wars Podcast) to talk about our Star Wars & Contemporary Myth class!  For real.  How amazing is that?!?  We had so much fun with Bryan and Shelby and it was a nerd dream come true.  So please (pretty please), click on this link and bounce over to their site so you can hear us all geek out about Star Wars and talk about the nature of our course!  Best.  Day.  Ever :). Continue reading

Who is Rey?: An Avatar as a (Possible) Answer

As we inch ever closer to The Last Jedi, my excitement continues to mount.  No matter how much I tell myself not to get my expectations too high, I can’t help but speculate!  As I’ve said before, this random and excited speculating is part of the fun of Star Wars.  I remember the months leading up to The Force Awakens were filled with hours and hours of pondering and hypothesizing.  What will happen??  Who are these new characters??  How will the fit into the world of Star Wars?!?  Geeking out with other Star Wars fans is one of life’s great joys :).  And like many fans of the Saga, I’ve been spending a lot of time puzzling over who Rey really is and how she fits into the Force.  Somewhat unexpectedly, the answer I keep coming back to that makes the most sense comes care of Hinduism. Continue reading

The Mighty Thor and the Nature of God

Ever since Jane Foster picked up Mjölnir and became Thor, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been delivering the most exciting, original, and thoughtful stories – all gorgeously rendered – I’ve ever found in the pages of The Mighty Thor.  Sure, I loved Tom DeFalco’s Thunder God, my intro to the character.  I’ve enjoyed the other versions I’ve read too.  (And who doesn’t love Chris Hemsworth?)  But Jane Foster’s the mightiest Thor for me.  Their most recent arc, “The Asgard/Shi’ar War,” is a perfect example of why this has become my definitive take on Thor.  It features what all the best Thor stories do – a wild cosmic landscape, universe-spanning clashes between celestial beings and alien forces, layered/interesting characters – while also offering an elegant theological commentary on the ontological nature of both humanity and divinity. Continue reading

Unrealistic Career Expectations – Indiana Jones

I love being a teacher; I really do.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do every day – to work where I work, to teach what I teach, and to see my students wrestle with the BIG questions the study of Theology demands of us – if we take it seriously – each and every day.  I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to leave my job for another (unless I could be a Ghostbuster (and I mean an actual Ghostbuster, with a proton pack, PKE meter, traps, and a cool car like the Ecto-1 NOT one of those lame “ghost hunters” on Discovery or TLC with infrared cameras and a stupid compass)).  However, the profession of teaching is often presented (both cinematically and literarily) in…let’s say less than accurate ways.  And, while I may dig his hat and love his adventures, there are few worse offenders of this than Indiana Jones.  So Indy, let’s see how you misled a young Michael about what his future career would entail. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Welcome To The Family

It’s no secret that I love the Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s also no secret that I was super excited for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.  However, I still really struggled with writing this piece.  I had trouble trying to capture just how this film affected me.  But…I think I’m ready to try.  In 2014, James Gunn simultaneously stole my heart and made me laugh until I cried with Guardians Of The Galaxy.  I immediately fell in love with these characters and this universe so I’ve been patiently waiting (for nearly three years!!) to see them again.  Now that I have, THERE’S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.  So let’s go!  Fair warning, spoilers will follow.  Continue reading