The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


November 1998 Books/Movies/TV/Videos

Raising Nonviolent Children in a Violent World (Augsburg) by Michael Obsatz explains 21 personal growth, self-defense and interpersonal skills that can be taught in the home. The author identifies nurturing as an important spiritual practice that will encourage nonviolence.

Hunting for Hope (Beacon Press) by Scott Russell Sanders is an extraordinary book by one of America's most elegant writers. Addressing his son's pleas for reasons to believe in the future, he presents the following as sources of hope: the family as a training ground for life in community; fidelity; simplicity; beauty; and the Divine Presence in people, places, animals and things.

What Dreams May Come (PolyGram, PG-13-thematic elements, disturbing images) is a spiritual adventure film starring Robin Williams as a man who is killed in an accident and ends up in heaven. Shortly afterward, his wife, who is suffering from depression, commits suicide and goes to hell. Impressive and imaginative special effects create a New Age, very individualistic, version of heaven where God is not present. Hell is equally startling, including a sea of lost, disembodied souls. If you can overlook some of the pop psychology cliches in the beginning of the film, there is much to savor in the story's celebration of what it takes for a married couple to be soul mates. He is willing to travel all the way to hell to find her, but what he demonstrates in doing so is available to people on Earth as well-sacrificial and compassionate love.

Saint Maybe (CBS-Nov. 22, 9:15-11:15 p.m. ET) is a Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of Anne Tyler's bestselling novel about a young man's quest to make amends for an error that nearly destroyed his family. This drama, starring Thomas McCarthy, Mary-Louise Parker, Blythe Danner and Edward Herrmann, speaks volumes about the nature of forgiveness, family life and the ways in which spiritual emergencies can build character.

Clockwatchers (BMG, PG-13-language) boldly ventures into an area where few American films ever go-into the working world of office temps. Focusing on four young women, the drama reveals some of the poignant, scary and outrageous things happening in the work-a-day world.

Eden (BMG, R-language, sexuality) is set in the mid-1960s at a New England prep school. Helen, a frustrated wife and mother who yearns for more meaning in her life, is stricken with multiple sclerosis. Then, miraculously, she finds the liberation her soul yearns for in dreams of flying.


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