The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'God's Politics' and 'Millions'

God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It by Jim Wallis presents a new vision for faith and politics in America based on prophetic religion's imperatives of justice, compassion, peace and hope. Wallis, an evangelical Christian, is a public theologian, nationally renowned preacher, faith-based activist and author of seven books. He is the founder of Sojourners, a nationwide network of progressive Christians working for justice and peace, and serves as the editor of Sojourners magazine. Wallis observes that although many Americans yearn for a fuller, deeper and richer conversation about religion in public life, the major political parties, as evidenced by the 2004 presidential election, have failed to articulate "the prophetic voice of religion." The right has focused its energies mainly on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the substantive matter of justice. Meanwhile, the secular left has ignored the spiritual dimensions of social change and doesn't seem to make the connection between faith and politics at all. The author laments "the public misrepresentation of Christianity" as pro-rich, pro-war and decidedly pro-American. He proposes a "rescue operation" that emphasizes the values of love, justice, reconciliation and community that Jesus and many formidable ancient and modern prophets have espoused. This book is highly recommended for church and community discussion groups (HarperSanFrancisco, available from www.amazon.com).

Millions is an endearing, charming, creative and spiritually uplifting movie that mixes the everyday activities of two young English boys with some astonishing dollops of magical realism. It is about miracles and money and saints and the divine love that will not let us go. Anthony, 9, and Damien, 7, are trying to cope with the drastic changes in their lives; their mother has died and they have moved with their father to a new housing development. At school, Damien startles his class by sharing a passionate summary of the lives of saints he admires. What he doesn't tell anyone is that he is also having visions of saints, including a meeting with Clare of Assisi in the cardboard fort he's built by the railroad tracks out of their moving boxes. While there, he is startled by the appearance out of the sky of a large bag of cash. He's convinced it is from God and he should give the money to the poor, but this mission turns out to be way more complicated that he thought. This extraordinary film, directed by Danny Boyle, rests on the small shoulders of Alex Etel as Damien whose valiant attempts to come to terms with grief, the meaning of miracles, and the human obsession with money and possessions form the central thrust of the story. This child actor makes Damien into a well-realized soul whose generosity and compassionate heart make him very special. (Fox Searchlight, PG-13).


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February issue


Embracing diversity