Mr. Church and Finding the True Self in a Complete Gift of Self (Spoiler Alert)

By Tony Crescio “Henry Joseph Church could’ve been anything he wanted to be, he chose to cook, the key he said, jazz.”  These are the opening lines of the 2016 film, “Mr. Church,” starring Eddie Murphy as the title character.  Mr. Church drops into the lives of Charlotte (Britt Robertson) and Marie Brooks (Natascha McElhone) seemingly out of nowhere.  This choice, Charlotte (Charlie) speaks of as narrator of the film, has just as much to do with Mr. Church’s realization of what it means to be...
More

Blood Father & Restoring Innocence (Spoiler Alert)

By Tony Crescio Mel Gibson stars as John Link in the 2016 film, Blood Father, the story of a down-and-out, ex-con father looking for his estranged 17 year old daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty).  We first join John in a church where he is attending an AA meeting on his birthday.  A happy occasion for most, John has had a rough go of it in life.  He has spent the last several years in prison for his involvement in the activity of a biker gang which he had been a part of in what he will refer to th...
More

Anne Rice and the Story of Love

In writing of her approach to the novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Anne Rice describes the challenge of being able “to take the Jesus of the Gospels, and try to get inside him and imagine what he felt.”  In this Rice is similar to any modern reader of the gospels and of modern Christological scholarship in particular.  Moreover, what makes Rice’s challenge in the novel more difficult is that, as opposed to many who undertake the psychological question of Christ, Rice is an orthodox believer...
More

Pasolini and the Jesus Question

By Tony Crescio When asked if the Gospel was a source of consolation for him, Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, replied that when it came to the Gospel of Jesus Christ he ‘completely rejected the idea of consolation,’ adding that he saw the gospel as ‘a great intellectual work that fills, integrates, regenerates, sets one’s own thoughts in motion.  But consolation?  What use is consolation?' As a self-proclaimed Marxist non-believer, one may be tempted to think that Pasolini’s response me...
More

Andrei Rublev: A Journey to the Divine

Andrei Rublev: A Journey to the Divine By Tony Crescio The Russian historical drama, Andrei Rublev, is based on the life of the famous icon painter who lends his name to the title of the movie.  Set in 15th century Russia, the tumultuous historical time period enables director, Andrei Tarkovsky; to explore the depths of the human condition by examining it at a moment when it is particularly fragile, thus laying bare its inner character.  It is ultimately the brokenness of the human conditi...
More

Praying as Jesus Taught Us

By Tony Crescio It may not be so surprising to us that when Christians are asked (be it in survey or interview), if there is one area in their life that they struggle with or that they wish they could improve upon, many will respond with answers that relate to the topic of prayer.  For many of us, prayer can be a hard thing to wrap our minds around, and we may find ourselves asking: what is prayer really, and how am I supposed to pray?  It is refreshing, therefore, to find the disciples askin...
More

True Freedom and the Beautiful Life

By Tony Crescio   Our country is once again on the eve of the celebration of our Independence Day, a day which we rightly commemorate because of the victory won for human dignity; as freedom was gained for a people to live life according to the dictates of conscience, not the mandate of the state.  In the midst of this celebration, it would do us well to examine how we understand freedom, and how we have made use of the freedom that has been given to us. Let us begin by asking the ...
More

Echoing Switchfoot

By Tony Crescio Many of us who were coming of age in the early 2000’s remember the alternative rock band from San Diego, Switchfoot.  Though having a definite underlying Christian message to share, the band was able to cross-over into the mainstream with hits like Meant to Live and Dare you to Move among others.  In a sort of divine irony, these songs (the first in particular), gained popularity despite having a message that is far different than what we would normally hear in rock or pop son...
More

The Door to Love

            By Tony Crescio “He who is forgiven little, loves little.”  These are the words Jesus spoke to a Pharisee with whom he was dining after something quite remarkable happened.  A woman, whom the Pharisee recognized as being a sinner, had just bathed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and anointed them with expensive ointment (see Luke 7:36-8:3).  We may wonder why Jesus has directed such a comment to the Pharisee then, was he trying ...
More

What Makes Us Human, Makes Us Beautiful

            By Tony Crescio What is a human being?  I know, this sounds like a silly question, but take a moment and try to answer it.  If we take the prevailing knowledge of the day, we will get answers that are just as confused as the ones I receive from the students whom I present this question to.  A simple Google search for “human being” produces the dictionary definition of any individual of the genus Homo, especially of the species Ho...
More