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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Best this month

For full reviews, visit the Brussats' Web site, Spiritual Rx.

B O O K S
How to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping for Inner Growth and Personal Discovery
by Ron Klug is a user-friendly volume that is both an inspiration and a pathfinder. The author, a Lutheran writer and editor in Amery, Wis., offers the following definition: "A journal is a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant." Klug considers the time he spends writing in his journal Sabbath time, and that's a fine way of putting it. We all need to take time in the midst of our hectic lives to ponder the messages of the Spirit.

Some other uses for a journal include as a tool for counting blessings, a workshop for wrestling with ethical dilemmas, a daily vehicle for dialogue with God, and a healing resource in times of grief and loss. Klug provides plenty of excerpts from the journals of the famous and not-so-famous to demonstrate the different styles of writing. We especially liked the chapter on "Harvesting Your Journal" (Augsburg).

M O V I E S
Minority Report
is a powerful movie that is very relevant to the current climate of fear in America. The best sci-fi tales have always been an early warning system of the dangers inherent in present-day values, public policies, technological developments and societal trends. At the core of this film is the question: What are we prepared to give up to have a crime-free society?

In the year 2054, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) heads the elite pre-crime division of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Since this experiment in crime prevention began, not one person has been murdered in the nation's capital. The system relies on the ability of three psychically gifted "Pre-Cogs" to see murders before they are committed so potential perpetrators can be arrested. Anderton is one of the program's biggest boosters until the Pre-Cogs predict he will commit a murder, and he is forced to become a fugitive.

This thriller, directed by Steven Spielberg, hits the mark squarely with its chilling portrait of citizens who have given themselves up to security checks at every doorway and roving robotic spiders that scan people's eyeballs to make identifications (Twentieth Century-Fox, PG-13--violence, language, sexuality).


Behind the Sun is a totally absorbing Brazilian drama set in the countryside where two families have been feuding over the land for decades. In a cycle of murder and revenge, the boys in the families are being killed off. After young Pacu receives a picture book as a gift, his imagination begins to envision another way of life. Pacu takes it upon his small shoulders to break the cycle of violence. Director Walter Salles (Central Station) shows us through this parable that true peace will come only when individuals act in love (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, PG-13--violence, sexuality).


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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

More...