Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
March 21st, 2016 by Joel Watts

Book Reminder: “Profane Parables: Film and the American Dream” by @mattrindge

I’m biased, but Rindge is a mastermind… I cannot wait to read this book.

The sacred ethos of the American Dream has become a central pillar of American civil religion. The belief that meaning is fashioned from some mixture of family, friends, a stable career, and financial security permeates American culture. Profane Parables examines three films that assault this venerated American myth. Fight Club (1999), American Beauty (1999), and About Schmidt (2002) indict the American Dream as a meaningless enterprise that is existentially, ethically, and aesthetically bankrupt.

In their blistering critique of the hallowed wisdom of the American Dream, these films function like Jesus’ parables. As narratives of disorientation, Jesus’ parables upend conventional and cherished worldviews. Author Matthew Rindge illustrates the religious function of these films as parables of subversion that provoke rather than comfort and disturb rather than stabilize. Ultimately, Rindge considers how these parabolic films operate as sacred texts in their own right.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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