Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke, 2003) BY: Denis Haack Girl culture. It’s everywhere—in schools, malls, television, popular magazines—girls in barely-there midriffs and towering spike heels, sporting tattoos and fashion runway make-up, strutting their stuff and living way too hard and fast for their adolescent years.
Rent (Chris Columbus, 2005) BY: Denis Haack It is generally assumed that Gen-Xers are relativistic, and that Rent simply celebrates an easy-going relativism in lifestyle and sexuality. But the characters depicted in Rent, like the Gen-Xers they represent, hold strong moral notions.
Whale Rider (Niki Caro, 2002) BY: Denis Haack One of the delights of Whale Rider is the eleven-year old Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Pai in her first role as an actress. It is a remarkable performance. This low-budget film is both charming and revealing.
Understanding the Bible (John Stott; 1972, 1984, 2001) BY: Denis Haack Scripture molds our mind and imagination, we grow in discernment, the ability to chart a path through the myriad choices presented to us in our post-Christian pluralistic world.
The Collects of Thomas Cranmer (Barbee/Zahl, 1999) BY: Denis Haack A Collect is a short prayer, usually but not always consisting of five parts: the address, the acknowledgment, the petition, the aspiration, and the pleading.
Prayers Written at Vailima (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1999) BY: Denis Haack Best remembered as the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; he also found time with Samoan friends for worship and prayer.
Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X (Tom Beaudoin, 1998) BY: Denis Haack This is a book about impropriety and irreverence, beginning with my fundamental claim that Generation X is—despite and even because of appearances—strikingly religious.
A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age (Alan Jacobs , 2001) BY: Denis Haack The essays in A Visit to Vanity Fair can be read in any order, and none are so long that even in the press of busyness we shouldn’t be able to carve out the time.
Welfare in America: Christian Perspectives on a Policy in Crisis (Carlson-Thies/Skillen, 1996) BY: Denis Haack “Welfare in America,” James Skillen writes, “argues that assistance to the needy does not, and should not, come primarily from government. Government, whether at federal or state levels, should help hold people accountable to their various institutional and personal responsibilities rather than fill in for every failure.”
What I Think I Did: A Season of Survival in Two Acts (Larry Woiwode, 2000) BY: Denis Haack Woiwode’s fiction is serious, literary, robust, and brutally truthful—and may thus surprise the Christian whose experience of fiction has come from the saccharin best-sellers dispensed in religious bookstores.
I love my neighbor as myself but only because I don’t much care for myself.
- Garrison Keillor
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