The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Books, Movies, Videos

Blessings for the Fast Paced and Cyberspaced: Parables, Reflections and Prayers by William John Fitzgerald is a wonder-filled book that helps us see what the Celts called "the long hand of God" at work in our lives. "A blessing is a yes to goodness, to grace, to an ultimately friendly universe," writes Fitzgerald, a retired pastor and author of eight previous books. He is constantly on the lookout for evidence of God's presence, but his perspective isn't one-sided: "The paradox of blessings is that we can appreciate them more because there are also curses. The nightly news reminds us of that."

With great exuberance and wit, Fitzgerald explores the blessings of creativity, space and place, pilgrimage and transformation. Along the way, there are poems, prayers and blessings for e-mail, booting up the computer, using cell phones and surfing the Internet. Fitzgerald does a fine job modeling what it means to walk the blessing path (Forest of Peace Books, 800-659-3227).

The Kid is a special film that admonishes us to love even those parts of ourselves that we find unappealing. Director Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon) has just the right touch for the magical dimensions of this spiritual drama. Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a wildly successful image consultant who loves giving advice to his rich and famous clients. He never talks about his past. That's probably why, just before his 40th birthday, Rusty (Spencer Breslin) shows up. He's Russ' 8-year-old self. The boy is a crybaby, weak and picked on by older kids. Russ is embarrassed by him. Of course, Rusty isn't impressed with what he has become in middle age — a lonely, single man who doesn't even have a dog.

Watching The Kid we are compelled to ask ourselves: What wounds from the past have we left unresolved? Are we capable of embracing all that we have been? As Christians, we rejoice that God accepts us just as we are — embarrassing parts and all (Walt Disney, PG).

Bicentennial Man is a fanciful story about an android's 200-year quest to achieve full humanity. This shiny robot, called Andrew, is brought into the Martin household to cook, clean and look after the children. Then he shows evidence of creativity, curiosity and an inquiring mind. Mr. Martin tells his daughters, "Though Andrew is technically a piece of property, he shall be treated as if he were a person." More of us need to adopt such a hospitable attitude toward technology.

Whereas Mr. Martin is a model of respect, Andrew is a near-perfect example of the spiritual practice of kindness. His saying "One is glad to be of service" is a good mantra for anyone on the spiritual path (Touchstone, PG).


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