The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Things Hidden and Henry Poole is Here


Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality by Richard Rohr examines some of the great themes of the Bible. He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M. Rohr begins by advocating a beginner’s mind in relation to the Bible; this means having a certain openness to mystery and the imponderables of human nature. He describes “the cosmic egg” of healthy religion that includes our story, the larger human story of community and nation, and the big story of meaning and the great patterns. Rohr ponders the Genesis creation story for what it reveals about the opposites of darkness and light, heaven and earth, flesh and spirit. He also covers such subjects as original shames, Noah’s ark of forgiveness, the garden of knowledge, the fall, chosenness and union.

Rohr maintains that the Bible emphasizes again and again the importance of encounter, relationship and presence in the face of the other. Through Jesus’ teachings we recognize that pride, self-sufficiency and hypocrisy are the real sources of friction and separation in the world. Whereas the daily news is filled with stories about power and domination, Francis of Assisi discovered in Jesus a self-emptying, loving and humble God. In contrast to the worthiness system, the Holy One spreads love and abundance through grace. (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2008)


Henry Poole Is Here stars Luke Wilson as a depressed man who buys a rundown house in a Los Angeles suburb. Poole is welcomed to the neighborhood by Esperanza (Adriana Barraza) but makes it clear to her that he wants to be left alone. He feels emotionally connected to Mille (Morgan Lily), the mute 8-year-old girl who lives next door with her mother, Dawn (Radha Mitchell).

Things are turned around in Poole’s life when Esperanza spots the face of Jesus in a water stain on the new stucco wall of his house. He gets irritated when she starts praying in his backyard and even calls her priest to witness “the miracle,” as she calls it. When a tiny spot of blood appears on the stain, church authorities take a sample to verify whether this is a significant event. Healings take place, and Poole is forced to take a close look at his doubts and his feeling of isolation.

Director Mark Pellington does not put down the religious beliefs of any of the characters. Instead, he gives us a glimpse of hope as a positive and potent spiritual force with the power to pull us through difficult times. Poole struggles with the mysterious things going on in his backyard and it is easy for us to identify with him. Are these miracles, coincidences or the results of people’s decision to believe? Throughout human history, the grace of God has worked wonders for those who have reached out in the darkness with hope. This same grace has enabled countless people to share magic moments of human connection with those who desperately need love. Henry Poole is Here explores these spiritual themes with integrity (Overture Films, PG—thematic elements, some language).


Print subscribers and supporting Web members may comment.

Log in or Subscribe to comment.

text size:

this page: email | print

March issue

MARCH issue:

All are welcome