The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Books, movies, tv, videos

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

The Journey into God by Kenneth L. Bakken provides an insightful overview of the Christian perspective on healing over the centuries. The author is a physician, an ELCA pastor and president of Health Vision International. Here he discusses the theological concept of theosis, defined as "a profound and wonderful invitation for us to share fully in the transfiguring power of God-like life." He believes healing is a grace and discipline, a pathway to meaning and purpose, and a means of helping us reclaim our bodies. Quoting theologian Krister Stendahl--"God's agenda is the mending of Creation"--Bakken relates healing to the stewardship of the earth, justice and peacemaking. He concludes with a discussion of how this journey into God offers new avenues of wholeness for Christian faith and practice (Augsburg Books).

The Visit revolves around Alex, an African American and former drug addict who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for rape. He claims to be innocent and that he is incarcerated because he didn't have a good lawyer. Familial wounds and resentments surface when his brother, father and mother come to see him. A surprise visitor is Felicia, a childhood friend whose life has been turned around by her membership in a church. In a strange but powerful way, her presence has a catalytic effect upon Alex as he slowly opens his heart. Visiting those in prison is a Christian duty, according to the parable of the last judgment in Matthew 25. This sturdy film illustrates why (Urbanworld Films, R--language).

Wit stars Emma Thompson in director Mike Nichols' adaptation of Margaret Edson's 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Set in a hospital, it focuses on a professor of 17th century literature who is fighting ovarian cancer. She is skilled in words but not in relationships, and all her intellect and bravado don't equip her to deal with the challenges of dying. Profound and full of compassion, this is a theatrical experience not to be missed (HBO--debuts March 24, 9 p.m. ET).

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure is a sequel to the 1955 film about a street dog who falls for a beautiful house pet. Lady and Tramp now have puppies and live with the Darlings. Scamp, who takes after Tramp, is the most mischievous one. He hates baths and dreams of running free in the wild. One day after being put in the doghouse for causing a ruckus inside, he escapes and joins a circle of wild dogs who live in a junkyard. In a series of tests, Scamp comes to see the value of his loving family. Darrell Rooney directs this delightful animated feature that contains five songs by Melissa Manchester and Norman Gimbel (Walt Disney, G).


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October issue

OCTOBER issue:

Women and the Reformation: Then & Now