Alison Krauss, Paper Airplane (2011) BY: Denis Haack I am not a musicologist nor am I a musician, so this is just a wild guess but I would not be surprised if most music the world over celebrates love or mourns its loss. Nothing else comes so close so quickly to touch the human condition in all its joy and pain.
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Hannah Arendt, 1963)
An Ordinary Man (Paul Rusesabagina, 2006) BY: Preston Jones Eichmann was not a monster, Arendt says; he was “a clown.” He had a “horrible gift for consoling himself with clichés.”
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011) BY: Denis Haack Occasionally films are released for which money and effort seemed to be poured into everything but the story—Avatar (2009) comes to mind—and the fact the story is the primary point is painfully obvious, but Terrence Malick uses the screen more like a painter would a succession of canvases.
On Keeping On BY: Denis Haack May those who need work find it, and may more opportunities for meaningful employment open up. May true leaders arise who are willing to tackle the big issues, instead of using rhetoric to merely ensure their own political advantage. And may we live lives of deep thankfulness for whatever we receive.
Media Bias and Nurturing Wisdom BY: Timothy Padgett It would be very comforting to take solace in the idea that whichever perspective rankles us the most must have been the result of willful manipulation of facts by the media outlet in question. This sort of thinking leaves us in our happy-place where our own ideas are firmly rooted in reality and where contrary opinions are maintained only through ignorance and deceit.
Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy (Carlos Eire, 2010) BY: Denis Haack ire tells a story that is as painful as it is hopeful, a narrative that is unlike anything I have ever experienced and yet accessible because it partakes of the essential vitality of what it means to be human in a badly broken world. It is a story that needed to be told. And it is a story that must never be forgotten.
The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010) BY: R. Greg Grooms Anyone who watches The Social Network and can’t relate to the pain of Mark’s failed relationships is either a liar or has led a charmed life.
Leaving All, Gaining All BY: Wesley Hill Gay people are not uniquely broken—that’s a position we share with every other human who has ever lived, or will live—but we are, nonetheless, broken. And following Jesus means turning our backs on a life of sexual sin, just as it does for every other Christian.
The Glory of God (Morgan and Peterson, 2010) BY: Denis Haack This is theology written from a high view of Scripture, embedded in the grand tradition of orthodoxy preserved in the church over the last 2000 years.
The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk, 2008/9) BY: Denis Haack Tensions are real, cutting through neighborhoods and families, and no one is certain how to reconcile the opposing perspectives in the wider society. This tension, animating debate and unease in Turkish society, becomes deeply personal in The Museum of Innocence. Kemal, the young protagonist, is about to be engaged to Sibel, does not want to live in a world bounded by religious regulations but finds the autonomy of modernity strangely unsettling.
I love my neighbor as myself but only because I don’t much care for myself.
- Garrison Keillor
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