The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting by Holly W. Whitcomb is tailor-made for those of us who have been brainwashed by the media to think that our desires can be fulfilled instantly.

The author, the director of Kettlewood Retreats, believes waiting is a spiritual teacher that tutors us in patience, loss of control, living in the present, compassion, gratitude, humility and trust in God. Our culture’s pragmatic“can-do” philosophy exalts action over contemplation. We are convinced that we can fix anything and everything if we just set our minds to it. But not everything can be salvaged or saved. The more we push against the river, the more we come up against the mystery that won’t give way to our egotism.

Whitcomb quotes the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who advised: “Trust the slow work of God.” This was what the Israelites did during their long sojourn in the wilderness and what Christians do during Advent. The author challenges us to quit worrying and relax into the grace of God. She concludes her meditation on the spiritual discipline of waiting with a fine piece on humility, which she sees as leading to love, honoring others, living without judgment and making honest assessments.

This paperback also contains an extensive course outline on how to use this book with a group (Augsburg Books).


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on the classic book by C.S. Lewis, has been brought to the screen by director Andrew Adamson. The story follows the adventures of four children who stumble into a magical land where issues of right and wrong, belief and disbelief, life and death come vividly into focus. The place is under the spell of the White Witch and the creatures there look for help from the great lion Aslan.

The movie’s visual effects are impressive, as are two performances. Georgie Henley as the youngest child, Lucy, displays the kind of wonder, curiosity and kindness that all children should emulate. Tilda Swinton does a remarkable job in not making the White Witch into a clichéd evildoer; she is credible in her chilly arrogance but not over-the-top.

But we do have reservations about this version of the story, especially if it is seen literally as a Christian allegory in which Aslan is a Christ figure who gives his life to atone for the treachery of one of the children and then rises again to defeat the witch in battle. Whereas the book devotes only two pages to the battle, the movie makes it the focal point of the story (Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media, PG—battle scenes and frightening moments).


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