Recap of the Best of 2008

There was much that I loved in 2008, much to celebrate, I suppose. In the particular fields that I love (i.e. books, movies, television, music, etc.) I can think of many highlights. I’ll share them with you now.

In film, hands down the best movie of the year was The Dark Knight. It, quite honestly, makes all other super hero  films look like glorified kids videos. The film raises a host of moral questions throughout the movie that make for significant reflection after viewing it. Questions like, “how far can a hero go to save the day?” “What is the root cause of evil?” “Are people only so good for so long?” “What role do societal and moral rules play in life?” The film raises great questions for thought and all without being “preachy.”

In the realm of books I can think of many to praise and reward, but I will pick just my one of my favorites from the year. I thought that Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God was such a simple read, but one that contained such profound implications. Keller’s work tackles the often cited, but rarely understood, parable of the “Prodigal Son.” He highlights that the prodigal-godboth the younger and the elder sons are rebells against God whose lives reflect a desire to be their own savior. He wrestles, then, with the implications of this reality for churches and Christians. Along with this he raises the questiosn concerning Jesus’ own personal ministry and how that should serve, though it often doesn’t, as a model for modern churches. He suggests that if we are reaching the same kinds of people that Jesus was (i.e. the sexual, social, political, racial, and religious outcasts), then we must not be preaching the same message as Jesus. It’s a stern word, a beautiful reminder, and a hard challenge for the future. One that has stirred me for 2009.

There were a number of albums this year that I quite fell in love with as well. My musical tastes are a bit eclectic and yet I don’t want to pick one album from every genre. So I’ll try to narrow it to just one of my favorites. Lost in the Sound of Separation has to be among my favorite new releases of 2008. I can say that while I don’t think it was as good as Underoath’s previous releases (Particularly Define the Great Line, and They’re Only Chasing Safety) it is still, nontheless, a beautiful work that plays well to the strengths of the post-hardcore band. Several of the songs have become especially powerful to me (see “Too Bright to See, Too Loud to Hear”). This is a fantastic display of melodic vocals, technical guitar work, passionate drums, and pure adrenaline. One can’t help but “jam” along to the artistry.

Last but not least I must highlight my favorite new television show of 2008, one that unfortunately will not be making the cut for 2009. My Own Worst Enemy is a gripping espionage program starring Christian Slater. Slater plays Edward Albright, a man who volunteers for a special secret agent program where his brain will be altered to have two personalities: one normal (Henry Spivey) husband, father, and average working joe; and one agent (Edward). The interesting part takes place when Edward’s brain “breaks,” for lack of a better word, and Henry begins “waking up” in the middle of Edward’s missions. The show displays not only a creativity to its storyline (unique in this day and age) but also it made me reflect on the Romans 7 passage, where Paul describes himself as being at war with his sinful nature. You can read more of my thoughts on this show here. But needless to say, I loved the show, and am sad to see it canceled.

Well those are some of my favorite things from 2008, much more, of course could be celebrated…but I’ll spare you any more trips down the road of not so important elements of pop-culture.

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