“Theology and Pop Culture” Series

In our next series, we revisit “Theology and Pop Culture” with sessions on Fight Club, South Park, Martha Stewart, and Star Trek.

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The Gospel according to Fight Club: Existential Love in the Time of Ikea
June 1, 2009

Mr. Nathan Cleveland


In the cacophony of our increasingly centralized but individually fragmented age, many search for a sense of self, community and love through sex, capital, idealistic organizations, even the church, but are left wanting, remaining isolated in shared comfort.

One wonders what it means for Jesus to ask us to lose everything for his sake and how this makes us whole. Finding inspiration in an unlikely place, Nathan Cleveland will explore how the Gospel creates a bridge for fragmented and isolated people desiring to be made whole in community and in life as illustrated (albeit in a Eucharistically insane way) in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club.

Nathan Cleveland is a parishoner at the Church of the Advent who currently works for Genzyme in Kendall Sq. Having studied history, theology and philosophy at Indiana Wesleyan University, he relocated to South Hamilton, MA to begin a Masters of Arts in Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the fall of 2003. After a brief, one semester stint at Gordon-Conwell, Nathan simply became a North Shore local until moving to Somerville when hired by Genzyme in 2007. His interest in Palahniuk began July 2001 after hearing a lecture on Fight Club and Nihilism while an Intercollegiate Studies Institute honors fellow in Seattle. At one time Nathan jokingly referred to himself as an Apostle of Chuck but now more seriously considers himself a hopeful skeptic of Palahniuk’s world of immediate perception. Nathan’s theological interests lie at the cross section of post-enlightenment skepticism and catholic orthodoxy (and no, he doesn’t know what that’s supposed to mean at the moment either).

The Gospel according to South Park
June 8, 2009

The Rev’d Mike Dangelo

The Gospel according to Martha Stewart
June 15, 2009

Dr. Melanie MacNaughton

Ever wondered if cleanliness actually was next to godliness, or if that was simply a rumor your mom started to get you to clean your room? This talk will explore this very question, examining what views of the world underlie the design of Stewart’s domesticity, how this world view is made present in Martha Stewart’s domestic design, and what the 21st-century’s goddess of domesticity can tell us about our relationship with God (such as living well, approaching daily interactions as important forms of doing, and presenting traditional content as fresh and important to today’s world). And, if none of that grabs you, come to hang out with interesting people and look at some cool pictures of home projects beyond the reach of mere mortals.

Melanie McNaughton is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State College, and is a parishioner of the Advent. When not grading student papers or reading Martha Stewart Living magazine, Melanie works out angst over imperfect pie crusts by training in Muay Thai. Though she is not speaking on “The Gospel according to Fight Club”, Melanie is fairly confident she can bring the gospel to a fight club.

The Gospel according to Star Trek
June 22, 2009

Mr. Kyle Haugen

Is faith or logic the key to a better world? In the words of Captain Kirk, “What does God need with a starship?” Boldly go toward the answers of these and other “fascinating” questions through Star Trek’s vision of the future

Kyle Haugen is one of those lifelong “Star Trek” fans who can quote a fair share of dialogue (mostly from the movies and from The Next Generation), yet he’s adamant that heÂ’s only worn a “Star Trek” costume for Halloween. Kyle’s background includes both music and media studies as an undergraduate, and he holds a Master’s degree in Sacred Music. Among his musical exploits during five years living in Boston, Kyle served as music director for The First Lutheran Church of Boston and was later a member of the Choir of the Church of the Advent. Now back in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash., Kyle works for the Office of Admission and for the School of Music at his alma mater, the University of Puget Sound. He is also a choral conductor with Tacoma Youth Chorus and with Northwest Repertory Singers.

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