The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Book, Movies, Videos

The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance by Dorothee Soelle maps out some of the universal elements of the spiritual path of mysticism, including yearning, wonderment, ecstasy, union with God, and the language of silence and paradox. The author was a theology professor at Union Seminary, New York, and is presently an activist in peace and ecological movements in Hamburg, Germany. Soelle asserts that mysticism's natural expression is working for justice in a world reeling from consumerism, economic inequities, ecological trauma and international chaos. She affirms ego-lessness, property-lessness and nonviolence as ways out of the prison of globalization and individualization that most people call home.

This stunning theological work makes a substantive case for the essential intertwining of mysticism and political activity. With its mix of clear and concise theological explication and inspiring portraits of people we all can emulate, it puts mysticism right where it belongs — down to earth to change us and our world (Fortress Press).

Himalaya is an astonishingly beautiful and thematically rich Nepalese film that depicts many vanishing elements of a faraway Tibetan culture. When Timle, an elderly chieftain, learns that his son has died on an expedition, the grief-stricken leader decides to take charge of the annual yak caravan, an arduous journey over the mountains to exchange the salt the community has collected for the grain they need to survive. Eric Valli directs this engrossing drama shot on location in Dolpo, Nepal. He has imbued it with the power and subtlety of a Shakespearean drama about power, family, tradition and leadership ability. The cinematography by Eric Guichard is breathtaking, and the music by Bruno Coulais provides a perfect aural mood for the caravan's pilgrimage over the mountains (Kino International, not rated).

Shrek, an animated feature, is already a hit summer movie, and well it should be. This comedy follows an ugly green ogre on a mission to save a princess trapped in a castle tower protected by a fire-breathing dragon. Surprises abound at every turn, and the biggest is saved for the end. This witty tale extols the importance of inner beauty in a world where quick judgments all too often cause pain and loneliness (DreamWorks, PG — mild language, some crude humor).

Best in Show revolves around a major dog show in Philadelphia. The film, directed by Christopher Guest, is a laugh-riot. It will appeal to those who cherish the way animals seem to be very patient with the foibles of humans. The well-trained and groomed dogs in the show deserve extra ribbons for putting up with their crazy, over-the-top owners. This zany, clever and relentlessly funny comedy illustrates the truth of that observation (Warner Bros., PG-13 — language, sex-related material).


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