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Navigating the Crisis of Movement: Rupture, Repetition, and New Life


To speak of trauma is always to speak too late. Trauma is something we do not see coming. Consider philosopher of neuroplasticity Catherine Malabou’s definition: “The word ‘trauma’ in Greek means ‘wound’ and derives from titrosko, which means ‘to pierce.’ Trauma thus designates the wound that results from an effraction—an ‘effraction’ that can be physical (a... Read More

An Apocalyptic Climate


There is coming a day, Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, when the sky, the earth, and the sea will be filled with signs of terror, anguish, and destruction, omens of an unbearable future. It is written that “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,” “the heavens will be shaken,” and the peoples of the earth will look with terror “at the roaring sea and... Read More

Queers in the Borderlands: Rahab, Queer Imagination, and Survival


The story of Rahab begins early in the Joshua narrative. As the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan River, they launch their conquest on Canaan by sending spies west. Two spies stay with Rahab in Jericho and she protects them from capture by hiding them on her roof and deceiving the Jericho authorities. Rahab later lowers the spies to safety and asks for her family’s protection... Read More

The Spirit’s Witness: An Interview with Shelly Rambo


The theologian Karl Barth admonished Christians to pray with “the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.”[1] Shelly Rambo, the author of Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining and a professor at Boston University, might add that our ways of doing theology must be responsive to the human suffering and trauma we encounter in those headlines or in the troubled faces... Read More

Birdman and the Search for Meaning


Each year I aim to see all of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I fell a bit short of that goal this year, but I did see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) at one of my favorite independent theaters in Denver.[1] In February, Birdman won the top prize at the Oscars in a race that was quite tight. As a philosopher specifically interested in existentialism,... Read More

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Theodicy, Trauma, and Divine Love


Recently, I sat in a circle of students who had just read Eleanor Stump’s chapter on the book of Job in her seminal work on theodicy, Wandering in Darkness. In that chapter, Stump walks the reader through each trying moment of the story, including the conversation between God and Satan that paves the way to Job’s distress. She presents a compelling interpretation in which every... Read More

A Birdman Habitat: Heroics and the Mundane


Birdman doesn’t shy from eccentricity.[1] Indulging a comic side largely absent in earlier work like Babel and Biutiful, director Alejandro González Iñáritu has created a world in which characters strut through Times Square in their underwear and order tanning beds delivered to their dressing rooms. The auteur’s tendency toward magical realism results in a liberal display... Read More

Making Culture in the Consumption Echo-Chamber


I. In the fall of 2013, I loaded into a fifteen-passenger van in Grand Rapids, Michigan, heading for Toronto. We wove north of Detroit, across the bridge and over the Canadian border, destined for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). On my last night in town, I sat in the back row of a packed theater to watch the premiere of Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. The moments of... Read More

They Do Not Realize We Are Bringing Them the Plague


The basic thing about analysis is that people finally realize that they’ve been talking nonsense at full volume for years. —Jacques Lacan, Écrits   Sailing into New York Harbor, Sigmund Freud stood on the deck with Carl Jung and gazed out at the statue illuminating the world.[1] Their arrival was a much-anticipated event for American psychologists so very curious of what this... Read More

Welcome To Earth


Welcome. This film documents an event that has yet to take place. —The Visit   The Visit is a documentary about the earth’s first encounter with alien life form. Although this event has yet to take place, this is not a sci-fi or end-of-the-world narrative film. This is a documentary that presents real-life experts with the what-ifs of an alien encounter. It includes the... Read More