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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Books, Movies, Videos

B O O K S
Little Orphan Angela: A Trilogy of Christmas Stories by Edward Hays plumbs the mystery and the magnificence of this holy holiday. In three stories, perfect for family reading together, the author opens our eyes to the wonders of grace ("Little Orphan Angela"), the beauty of love ("Mikel, Son of the Magi") and the joy of bringing light into the world ("The Carol of the Candles"). Hays brings each of these tales to vibrant life in full-color paintings.

As believers, we are called to find fresh ways of imagining the subtle and sneaky meanings of the Christmas story. After reading these stories, you'll never again take for granted the jingling of bells, the face of the Holy Child or church candles (Forest of Peace Books, 800-659-3227).

M O V I E S
The Legend of Bagger Vance is a heart-affecting drama directed by Robert Redford (A River Runs Through It). Junuh (Matt Damon) is a burnt-out World War I veteran who is given a chance to retrieve his soul in a golf tournament held in his hometown of Savannah, Ga. An African American called Bagger Vance (Will Smith) appears out of nowhere "taking in some of God's glories." He volunteers to be this young golfer's caddy. Bagger tells his new friend: "Inside each and every one of us is our one true authentic swing. Something that is ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned. Something that's got to be remembered."

The mythological journey that Junuh must take is a spiritual one that compels him to give up his depression, confront his demons, cope with fear and learn to trust his inner voice. The vehicle for this young man's transformation is golf, where he becomes one with the game. The Legend of Bagger Vance demonstrates that help is always available to those who truly need it and that, at one time or another, we can all be spiritual guides for one another (DreamWorks, PG-13 — some sexual content).

V I D E O S
The Cup is set in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India during summer 1998. Inspired by true events, this first feature film made in Bhutan is a playful parable about loving others and giving up one's attachments. Although the abbot tries to keep the monks focused on spiritual practice, some of the younger ones are obsessed with seeing the championship World Cup soccer game on TV. Given the surprising go-ahead to rent a satellite dish for the event, the young monks are ecstatic. But actually getting the technology to the monastery is another story and requires some hard sacrifices. The monks learn that compassion, the softening of the heart, is more important than anything else in the world (New Line, not rated).

As believers, we are called to find fresh ways of imagining the subtle and sneaky meanings of the Christmas story. After reading these stories, you'll never again take for granted the jingling of bells, the face of the Holy Child or church candles (Forest of Peace Books, 800-659-3227).



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