The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Book, Movie, Video

For full reviews, visit the Brussats' Web site, Spiritual Rx.


Sensing the Passion by Kevin Scully is a Lenten meditation book that has opened some new doors for us. The author gives a dramatic and imaginatively rich account of Jesus' Passion focusing on five scenes: the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the arrest and trial, the walk to Golgotha, and the death on the cross. Each event is considered from two perspectives — that of Jesus and that of those who are watching.

We live in a "sense-luscious" world, yet many Christians have underplayed this dimension of life. Some even consider the enjoyment of the senses to be an evil pleasure. We need to be reminded that Jesus experienced the world through the radar of his senses. Scully does us a great service when he reminds us of the feeling textures of life and death as experienced by our Lord.

The author accentuates one sense in each scene. Through Jesus' eyes you see the ground at his feet as he carries the cross. You smell the aroma of betrayal as Judas draws near in the Garden of Gethsemane. You feel Jesus' touch as he washes his disciples' feet. And you taste the growing dryness in his mouth as he hangs upon the cross and dies. This paperback will change forever the way you experience the last days of Christ (Upper Room Books).


Finding Forrester is an inspiring film about the unusual friendship between a reclusive Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Sean Connery) and Jamal (Rob Brown), a 16-year-old African American. Jamal attends high school in the ghetto and hides his academic brilliance from his peers by appearing to only be interested in basketball. Forrester volunteers to tutor the boy as long as he keeps their relationship secret. They spend quite a bit of time together, especially after Jamal gets a scholarship to a private school. Jamal's writing improves, and he submits an essay to a contest. The youth in turn is a facilitator for Forrester, opening up his life to a wider world. Director Gus Van Sant accentuates the give-and-take in this cross-generational and interracial friendship (Columbia Pictures, PG-13 — brief strong language, some sexual references).


The Witness is a riveting documentary that could affect how you relate to animals and even transform your lifestyle. It focuses on Eddie Lama, a middle-aged concrete and aluminum contractor who grew up in Brooklyn. He never had a pet until a friend asked him to take care of her kitten. He was struck by the vulnerability of this animal and soon began rescuing abandoned cats from his work sites. After watching videos of animals being killed for the fur industry, he became involved in educating the public about these travesties. Here is the story of an ordinary guy who really is making a difference (Tribe of Heart, not rated. Can be purchased through the web site at www.tribeofheart.org).


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February issue


Embracing diversity