The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Best this month

Fifty Ways to Feed Your Soul
by Rosemary Cunningham proves that everyday spirituality is alive and well. The soul is nurtured when we become aware of God's presence, and one way to do this is to infuse our everyday activities with intention and purpose. Cunningham, a regular contributor to Spirituality & Health magazine, asked readers to share daily rituals they use to connect to their essential selves, the world and God. This beautiful gift book, illustrated with photographs, presents 50 of their responses organized into sections on people, places and things. Some of our favorites are a woman who serenades her kitties, a man who climbs to a high place outside town to welcome the day, another who created a prayer book and an individual who gives thanks as she pays bills. (Red Wheel/Weiser).

Christian Meditation
by James Finley is an audio workshop on six CDs. Finley, a retreat leader and psychotherapist, studied with Thomas Merton at the Abbey of Gethsemani for six years. He begins with a discussion of ego consciousness, which is our bodily self in time and space, and contemplative consciousness, which is the vast, mysterious and rich depth of our interior being. God's grace is always with us and so no grand quest is necessary or, as he puts it, "We are already in the midst of what we seek." Finley presents some basic guidelines for meditation, covers obstacles frequently encountered and notes the benefits of this practice. (Sounds True, 800-333-9185).

Spider-Man 2
takes comic-book action dramas to a new level of thematic richness. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is trying to live a normal life while still taking time to come to the aid of others as Spider-Man. But he is missing his university classes, failing at a part-time job delivering pizzas and, worst of all, can't even make it to see Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), the woman he loves, star in a play.

Peter decides to throw away his Spider-Man outfit. At first he feels as if a gigantic burden has been lifted from his shoulders. He even walks by someone in trouble without trying to save him. It's at this point that we identify with Peter more than ever. How many times have we asked ourselves whether to become involved, or not, and how deeply? How much pain and suffering should we let in, and whose? Peter is burnt-out, a condition familiar to many of us.

Without Spider-Man around performing incredible acts of goodness and protecting the weak, crime shoots up 75 percent. Then, at just the right time, Peter hears some wise counsel that helps him discern his destiny. Watch for that moment and see how it applies to you and the ways you try to bring love, compassion and justice to situations in your community. (Columbia Pictures, PG-13 — stylized action violence).


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