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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
Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey: Nine Steps of Forgiving through Jesus' Beatitudes
by Flora Slosson Wuellner is an important devotional work for this time when individuals, communities and even nations are agonizing over the moral meaning of this process. The author, a teacher and spiritual director, uses the Beatitudes as a way of framing the multidimensional nature of forgiveness. Wuellner points out that Jesus uses "that word forgiveness only in situations in which the offender has not only felt remorse but has repented, which means to turn around and go in another direction."

Among the other topics covered are the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, the dangers of forgiving on behalf of other people, and the challenge of forgiving ourselves. Wuellner's excellent overview of this spiritual practice is perfect for adult study groups (Upper Room Books).

M O V I E S
Iris
offers an intimate and candid portrait of the marriage of English novelist Iris Murdoch and her scholar husband, John Bayley, from their first encounter in the 1950s to her death from Alzheimer's disease in 1999. Iris (Judi Dench) is diagnosed with the irreversible brain disorder while she is working on her 26th novel. As her memory begins to fade, John (Jim Broadbent) recalls scenes from their courtship and unconventional marriage. In one, Iris is a young woman (Kate Winslet) riding a bicycle while John (Hugh Bonneville) desperately tries to keep up. It's a perfect image of their relationship in which Iris is always leading the way while her husband attempts to bravely follow.

As her illness progresses, John misses his wife's brilliant and inventive mind more than anything else. It takes all the patience and courage he can muster to take care of her. This is a very touching drama about the steadfastness of marital love (Miramax, R — sexuality/nudity, language).

A Beautiful Mind
is based on the true story of John Forbes Nash Jr., a brilliant mathematician who won the Nobel Prize for his innovative reworking of a long accepted economic theory. Russell Crowe stars as this shy and socially awkward genius. At Princeton [N.J.] University he is a very competitive young man who looks down on other lesser minds and desperately yearns for recognition and fame.

His tenderness is teased out of him by Alicia (Jennifer Connelly), who eventually becomes his wife. Her love and loyalty are tested when Nash succumbs to schizophrenia and undergoes a series of extreme treatments. The screenplay focuses on the marvels, terrors and mysteries of the human mind. While academia, business and government all reverence reason, the faculty of the human heart is underplayed. Here director Ron Howard shows in a vivid and moving way how Nash's life is transformed by the healing power of love (Dreamworks, PG-13 — sexual content, scene of violence).

 


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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

More...