The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Books, Movies, Videos

Jesus: The Teacher Within by Laurence Freeman centers on the central question of the Galilean to his disciples: "Who do you say that I am?" The author, director of the World Community of Christian Meditation in London, spins a marvelous tapestry of meanings regarding the historical reality of Jesus, the Gospels, the kingdom of forgiveness, the Spirit, steps in relationships and more. The author repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the spiritual practice of listening. Jesus as "the guru within" challenges us to stay awake and pay attention to all that is going on around us and inside us.

We were especially moved by the following thought: "Origen said that Jesus would remain hanging on the cross until every creature, even the devil, was saved; so inclusive is the love of God, which as Jesus taught creates and saves in one nondual act of love. This is good reason for spiritual laughter" (Continuum).

Amelie is an immensely entertaining and energized French drama about the link between kindness and imagination. On Aug. 31, 1997, just after she's heard about the death of Princess Diana, Amelie, a waitress in a small Paris cafe, discovers a box hidden away in her apartment containing a boy's possessions. With a little help from an artistic neighbor, she tracks down the now-grown owner of these treasures. From a distance, she savors the moment of his tearful reconnection with the past. Amelie resolves to do more good deeds.

At work she serves as a silent matchmaker between a lonely saleswoman and a customer who's just been jilted. Amelie concocts a very imaginative scheme to get her father out of the house and traveling abroad. She stands up for an Arab clerk who's publicly humiliated by his boss at a grocery store near her apartment. Of course, Amelie's greatest challenge is finding a way to express her amorous feelings for Nino, an eccentric fellow with some unusual jobs. Co-writer and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet serves up a portrait of Paris as a delectable playground for Amelie's many missions of mercy. This French film will lift your spirits during the holiday season (Miramax, not rated).

The Road Home is a deeply moving Chinese film about a daring and untraditional love affair set in a small village during the 1950s. A businessman from the city drives to the place where he was born to bury his father, who died suddenly. In flashbacks, he recalls the unusual courtship of his parents 40 years earlier. When his mother, at 18, fell in love with his father, he was the town's new teacher, and she had to compete with other young women who were impressed with him. A lost hairpin and a broken china bowl play major roles in the spellbinding tale of their romance (Columbia TriStar Home Video, G).


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