The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Books, Videos, TV, Videos

Calm Surrender: Walking the Hard Road of Forgiveness by Kent Nerburn is peppered with accounts of real people facing steep challenges. This Midwesterner writes about forgiving ourselves, handling limitations, dealing with small slights, letting anger and rage go with "a gentle almost invisible touch," and seeing this practice as love put into action. Walking the hard road of forgiveness, we are strengthened by God's grace every step of the way (New World Library).

Family Tree revolves around a lonely 9-year-old boy who always gets picked last when sports teams are chosen. When his favorite tree, a 500-year-old oak, is slated to be cut down to make way for a new factory, he starts a campaign to save it. An old-timer in the town, who was once its football star, turns out to be a helpful ally. This family drama presents a fine look at family solidarity, community and the value of tradition (Warner Vision, G).

Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace focuses on the last years in the life of the heroic Lutheran clergyman. After returning to his homeland from a trip to the United States, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was forbidden to teach, preach or publish without the police's permission. He became active in the German resistance movement, acting as a courier to the Allies, helping to smuggle Jews out of the country and associating with a group that planned to kill Adolf Hitler. The closing segments of this film directed by Eric Hill cover his imprisonment, his relationship with his fiancée, and his vision of a Christianity where believers share each other's suffering. The Nazis hanged Bonhoeffer April 9, 1945. This TV drama celebrates his courage, conviction and deep Christian faith (PBS, June 14, 9:30 - 11 p.m. ET).

Committed is a wonderful drama written and directed by Lisa Kruger about a zealot for marital love who will do anything it takes to keep her vows. When her husband walks out on her, Joline (Heather Graham) travels from New York to El Paso to find him. This quirky and compelling film proclaims that marriage is one of the last places in contemporary life where our faith, commitment and spiritual resiliency can flourish and bloom (Miramax, R — language).

The Insider is a trenchant depiction of a courageous whistleblower whose exposé of corporate malfeasance within the tobacco industry blew open one of the biggest health issues of the century — nicotine addiction. Another idealist, an investigative reporter and 60 Minutes producer, refuses to capitulate to the moneyed interests that want to silence them. Here following one's conscience is vividly displayed as the heartbeat of true heroism (Touchstone, R — language, mature themes).


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August issue

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