John Arkelian

Author

  • John Arkelian is an award-winning author and journalist.

ARTICLES

Intimations of grace at the movies

The idea of grace is connected with the God-given gifts of virtue and redemption—worthy subjects for the person of faith to contemplate. But seeking intimations

Life as improv?

God, Improv, and the Art of Living By MaryAnn McKibben Dana Eerdmans, 2018 ISBN: 978-0-8028-7464-1 230 pages All self-help and exhortation-driven books seem inevitably prone

Witnessing the birth of a family

Family… Connections… At the heart of those ideas is our sense of self-identity, our very state of being: for we are, in some ways, defined

Reconciling science and religion

Are science and religion compatible? Or are they locked in an implacable conflict? In his new book, a professor of particle physics, who is also

Face-to-face with the Triune God

The Shack is the film adaptation of the novel by William Paul Young about a man who is stricken with grievous pain over the sudden loss of his child. He descends into what he calls “The Great Sadness,” and its dark pall threatens to unravel his family and his faith.

‘God Unseen, Seen in Love’

We were not previously familiar with the music of Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell; but we are ever so pleased to make his musical acquaintance now.

Not in God’s Name examines ‘altruistic evil’

“When religion turns men into murderers, God weeps…Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love, and practiced cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.”

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.”

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.

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.”

Creativity in thrall to moral nihilism

The five novels (at least two more are planned) that comprise George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series defied conventional cinematic adaptation: with numerous characters, far-flung locations (everything from deserts to great cities to a wintry wasteland) and complex plots, each of the books was too involved to fit within the confines of even a long movie.

Growing up in Boyhood

The movie’s opening scene is its most evocative: a five-year-old boy lies on his back upon the green grass, gazing up at the clouds passing on a blue sky, as if transfixed by a waking dream.

Being kind even to insects can teach children the value of compassion. Photo: Lisa Eastman

Of apes and man

Once we postulate a “difference,” we legitimize a dichotomy-between how we want to be treated and how we treat others.

On the Shoulders of Hobbits, The Road to Virtue in Tolkien and Lewis, by Louis Markos, Moody Publishers, 234 pages

Moral heroes on road to Christian virtue

In the world we live in, we may be duped into thinking that onething is as good as another, and that moral choices are apt to beswathed in shades of grey rather than stark black and white. Is itsurprising, then, that worldly self-interest so often stands paramountin the calculations of individuals and states alike?

Choices in black and white

Imagine a ruthless verbal wrestling match between darkness and light, a struggle between life and death. The conflict engages every ounce of its opponents’ strength,

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