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Finding Our Way Again and Slumdog Millionaire

Book

Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices by Brian McLaren elaborates on the principle that the Christian faith is a way of life, not just a system of belief. Understood this way, Christianity offers a viable alternative to a reductionistic secularism, a reactive and intransigent fundamentalism, and a vague consumerist spirituality.

McLaren describes Jesus as proclaiming a new kingdom formed and transformed by spiritual practices. Today many Christians see the value of strengthening their faith through a variety of practices developed through the centuries. The author assesses contemplative practices such as spiritual reading, prayer, journaling, solitude and silence, and gratitude. He also salutes communal spiritual practices such as churchgoing and missional practices such as listening, speaking truth in love, giving to the poor and empathy.

The churches that thrive and flourish consist of disciples who are still on the way. Change, growth and learning animate their focus on spiritual practices. McLaren ends the book with an examination of the ancient church’s threefold path of katharsis (the way or purgation), fotosis (seeing everything in the light of God) and theosis
(being united with God). He challenges us to use these ancient ways on the path of everyday spirituality where daily activities are all viewed as “life with God” and “faithing our practices” (Thomas Nelson).

Film

Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of the year. This picaresque tale centers around a boy from the slums of Mumbai whose adventures take him from begging on the streets to the stage of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? His story offers a panoramic view of India’s rise as a country of fantastic contrasts from crowded shantytowns to the beauty of the Taj Mahal to the backrooms of telemarketers to the high-rises of Mumbai where big business is creating a middle-class yearning for more.

When his Muslim mother is killed, Jamal, 7, and his older brother Salim find themselves on the streets. They pick up another orphan, Latika, and eventually are taken to an orphanage run by a ruthless entrepreneur who exploits children. The boys escape but Latika doesn’t make it. As a teenager, Jamal never gives up his yearning to be reunited with her. Can he reach her through his appearance on the game show?

Director Danny Boyle has created a multicultural masterwork that tears down the walls between us and Jamal. Watching the results of his awareness, we are challenged to take note of the many teachable moments in our lives. As Jamal is continually tested, he develops the strength, resilience and self-directedness to survive. Best of all, he allows the spirit of love to work through him; his love for Latika carries him through many tribulations (Fox Searchlight, R—some violence, disturbing images, language).


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