Even without the 3D effects, Avatar is still an impressive film, says Hannah Kowszun. However there is a bitter irony in a film which extols the virtues of simple living and condemns greed becoming the highest-grossing blockbuster of all time.
One of the outstanding sculptures of the week-long Sapporo Snow Festival in the far north of Japan is of the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany, says Hisashi Yukimoto. It is a testimony to reconciliation and overcoming division and violence, as well as artistic endeavour.
The Independent's leading article the day the Synod completed its business is alive to the dynamic of the Gospel message and the contradictions of Christianity in a way that some within the household struggle to see, and importantly it is more than just critique. It is a proposal for an alternative path.
Rather than moaning about religious output on the BBC and elsewhere, Christians would do better to look at how - and what - they are communicating themselves, says Simon Barrow. In a mixed belief era the church cannot expect privileged coverage, but it has unparalleled opportunities to engage in a vibrant media environment.
How can women most powerfully embody their vocational calling when also attending to the care of their own bodies? Courtney Wilder looks at a blog that probes this question in a highly amusing but also pastoral and insightful way.
Stuart Murray reviews a new resource from Alan Kreider for those interested in the connection between the extraordinary growth of the early church whilst it was marginal, illegal and subject to persecution.
In the past, US social and political commentators overlooked revivalism as a source of radical critique of society, says Martin Marty. Now we need to notice that it is the radical evangelicalism of Jim Wallis and Sojourners which is offering a moral and values-based challenge to 'capitalist economics as usual'.
The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and his Letters exhibition at the Royal Academy features some 65 paintings, 40 drawings and letters, says Jo Siedlecka. It also offers a wealth of new insights into the life of this great artist.
Some see the decline in the impact of mainstream religion as meaning people in the US have no interest in religion. That is not so, says Martin Marty, and the case of Pat Robertson proves the point. The attention he gets is less of a paradox than some think.
Our tears well unexpectedly as we watch heart rending scenes of the few pulled from crumpled buildings, says Sande Ramage. But is this heavily mediated emotion thwarting honest reflection about our real responsibilities?
“Career Women Make Bad Mothers" declared a paid-for advertising campaigns experiment. Hannah Kowszun disagrees, and says the 'debate' it was claiming to create is way off target. Not least for hard-working women with children.
With the ongoing conflicts raging during each passing year, the remarkable story of the World War I Christmas truce remains tragically relevant, says Jim Wallis. Particularly as we think about Afghanistan.