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A review of Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life by Kathleen Norris.
Acedia, in case you didn’t know, is a word that fourth-century Christian monks used to describe a temptation that’s difficult to translate into modern English. The word has been used in lots of ways and contexts since, although it’s fallen out of common use: it’s closely allied to, though not identical with, the Deadly Sin of Sloth, and attempts to explain the concept in a modern context relate acedia to: boredom, laziness, ennui, even depression.
A Review of Claiming the Beatitudes: Nine Stories from a New Generation, by Anne Sutherland Howard
"We learn and live our theology through our individual and collective narrative," the Rev. Anne Sutherland Howard writes in the introduction to her book on the Beatitudes. She finds new meaning for the familiar verses of Matthew 5 by reading through the eyes of today's seminary students.
The opening sequences of Disney's Earth (see trailer) come at you like the opening lines of a book on Intelligent Design. The iconic shot from outer space of the sun cresting the rim of the blue planet fills the screen as James Earl Jones, in his rolling bass voice, describes how perfectly positioned to support life is our earth.
Earth is the first title from Disney's new division, Disneynature. Released on Earth Day 2009, Earth attempts to provide something for everyone.
Inevitably, when people learn that I am from Zambia, I encounter the question, "What was it like to grow up in Africa?" I often want to simply hand them Barbara Kingsolver’s book, The Poisonwood Bible, to show that sharing what life is like in any country in Africa takes more than a simple sentence or two. Instead of sharing a book, however, I usually respond with: "It was different.
North Americans love murder-mysteries. Evidence Exhibit 1: an episode of CSI airs almost every night of the week. Whodunit? What was the motive? Will the perpetrator be apprehended? Was there a cover-up or conspiracy? And most importantly, was it Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a knife?!
If a coroner’s report were distributed for this "death-umentary," it might read something like this:
Deceased: Electric-powered EV1
Emergency Contact (Relation): General Motors (Parent)
A letter opens like this: "Prophetic dreams were very important in Biblical times to Jacob, Joseph and the Egyptian pharaohs as dreams had a major impact on people’s daily lives and on decisions made. But in 2009 most people will scoff at dreams that portend to predict future events."
The letter is introducing a book called Hearts of Stone. It's written by Kate Gessner, who is a mother of three grown children, an electrician and jet engine mechanic, and currently a contract worker in Iraq. And she has a burden to share with the world messages from her dreams.
Leprosy! The very word strikes fear in the hearts of many people. It was in the early years of my life that I learned about this dread disease in the pages of the Bible.
For the first few decades of my life I never actually saw a leper. My first encounter was when I visited a leper colony while on a visit to the Republic of the Philippines while working in the former Far Eastern Division.
Recently I learned that the subject of leprosy would be the centerpiece of a 75-minute monologue to be presented at the church I attend in Southern California.
To maintain the distinction between the sin and the sinner must be one of the most difficult teachings of Christianity. Our identities are so intimately related to what we do that to try and separate what we do from who we are just doesn't feel right. And when we are trying to relate to others, it can be even more difficult. This difficulty is at the heart of Stephen Daldry's movie The Reader.