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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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March 1999 Best Audio/Books/Movies/TV/Video

A U D I O
The Way of Saint Francis: Teachings and Practices for Daily Life (Sounds True, 800-333-9185) by Father Murray Bodo plumbs the significance of this spiritual pathfinder as a peacemaker, a mystic, a servant of the poor and a friend of nature. Bodo then shares St. Francis' five essential teachings that can make our lives into "a portable cell" of devotion to God.

B O O K S
A Lenten Hobo Honeymoon: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent (Forest of Peace) by Edward Hays challenges Christians to see this holy season as a time for "romancing and enkindling our love for God with fresh passion and enthusiasm." Since Jesus traveled the roads as one with nowhere to lay his head, the author wants us to see ourselves as homeward-bound hobos open to surprises and divine grace.

M O V I E S

October Sky (Universal, PG), based on a true story, is set in Coalwood, W.Va., in 1957. Russia's launch of the Sputnik satellite inspires four hillbilly teenagers to build and test a series of rockets. The project gives wings to their dreams and is supported by their teacher, a black World War II veteran, an immigrant welder at the local coal mine and other townsfolk. This is a soul-stirring drama about coming of age and finding your own way in the world.

Rushmore (Buena Vista, R-language, brief nudity) revolves around Max Fischer, an ambitious 15-year-old student at Rushmore Academy, a private school. Convinced of his superiority over others, he is humbled by circumstances beyond his control. The film shows how we are challenged by our experiences to grow in wisdom and learn to love. Max proves himself to be a good student of life-willing to start over again and again.

October Sky (Universal, PG), based on a true story, is set in Coalwood, W.Va., in 1957. Russia's launch of the Sputnik satellite inspires four hillbilly teenagers to build and test a series of rockets. The project gives wings to their dreams and is supported by their teacher, a black World War II veteran, an immigrant welder at the local coal mine and other townsfolk. This is a soul-stirring drama about coming of age and finding your own way in the world.

Rushmore (Buena Vista, R-language, brief nudity) revolves around Max Fischer, an ambitious 15-year-old student at Rushmore Academy, a private school. Convinced of his superiority over others, he is humbled by circumstances beyond his control. The film shows how we are challenged by our experiences to grow in wisdom and learn to love. Max proves himself to be a good student of life-willing to start over again and again.

T V
Facing the Truth (PBS, March 30, 9-11 pm ET) focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set up by the South African government to investigate the crimes committed between 1960 and 1994 during the fight against apartheid. Bill Moyers and producer-director Gail Pellett interview blacks and whites, victims and perpetrators, the unrepentant and the merciful about the legacy of the past and the possibilities for racial harmony in the future. This morally vibrant documentary compels us to consider the spiritual meaning of justice, oppression, evil and forgiveness.

V I D E O S
Simon Birch (Hollywood Pictures, PG) is "suggested by" John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, and it is true to that novel's spirit. It tells the strange story of a pint-sized curmudgeon who believes he is "God's instrument." This belief in his destiny enables him to endure the indifference of his parents, the ridicule of adults and the relentless teasing of other children. Simon Birch is a wonderful testament to the ardor and resilience of faith.


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