The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Books, Movies, Videos

A Place Like Any Other: Sabbath Blessings by Molly Wolf first appeared as weekly essays on the Internet. The theme is God's intimacies with us — all the strange, surprising and amazing ways grace unfolds in our lives. Or, as Wolf, a single parent, puts it: "God lies in loving, delighted ambush through my days, wanting to wrap and weave around and through my entire life."

This paperback is organized around the turn of the seasons. Wolf writes lyrically about her black cat, a spider in her face, the trees on her property, a toothache, watching boys stack wood, the liturgy, marching ants, airplanes and more. Seeing God's presence in all these activities also leads to a feeling of unity with others: "Your suffering should make me weep, and my joy should make you laugh. One of the worst things we do to ourselves and each other is erect divisions where none should exist." Wolf brings to vivid, palpable life the Christian abstractions of faith, hope and charity as she unspools her personal response to the abundance of God's graces in her life (Image Books).

Into the Arms of Strangers is a deeply moving and inspiring documentary about 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia who were sent by their families to safety in foster homes and hostels in Britain in the months prior to World War II. This remarkable rescue operation was an act of mercy without historical precedent. Mark Jonathan Harris, writer and director of the Academy Award-winning film The Long Way Home, uses old home movies and photographs as well as current interviews to convey the children's diverse stories. Although some were later reunited with their parents, most never saw their loved ones again. "The children of our story are asked at a very early age to become adults," Harris has stated. "I'm very interested in the idea of resilient children — how they confront and cope with a catastrophe of this enormous magnitude. And how they adjust to it." This documentary deals with the ethical issues of love, loss, survival and memory (Warner Bros., not rated).

Not One Less is a Chinese film of such charm and universality that it just might become a classic. A 13-year-old girl is chosen by the mayor of a small village to teach at their school while the schoolmaster is away for a month. What she lacks in skills she more than makes up for in iron will power. This is evident when she must find one of her students who has been sent to the city to earn money and is living on the streets. Not One Less illustrates the link between courage and compassion (Columbia TriStar, G).

and compassion (Columbia TriStar, G).


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