“‘Do I resemble a pig, then? Perhaps a buffalo?’” Elizabeth Gilbert asks the kind saleswoman in an Italian fashion store about her new jeans. “This is becoming good vocabulary practice. I’m also trying to get a smile out of the salesclerk, but she’s too intent on remaining professional. I try one more time: ‘Maybe I resemble a buffalo mozzarella?’
Okay, maybe, she concedes, smiling only slightly. Maybe you do look a little like a buffalo mozzarella…”
Christianity Today hails this movie as “the best film you didn’t see last year” and goes on to cite a number of Christ allusions in the film. But I found myself more interested in what the film says about me than about God. I know that sounds a little self-absorbed, but then, that is what we do with stories--try to see ourselves in them. As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone”.
Every once in awhile I encounter a book that makes me slightly covetous. Usually, my envy rears itself in the manner of “I wish I had written that.” But sometimes it comes in the form of “I wish I had lived that.” Reading Barbara Kingsolver’s new non-fiction work, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, which she wrote with her husband, Steven Hopp, and eldest daughter Camille, about her family’s home-grown experiment in local eating, is one of those books.
I’ll never forget the day I nearly lost my faith over an old skull. I was sixteen and a sophomore in High School. My biology professor, a staunch evolutionist, was writing on the chalkboard. He looked suspiciously like the chimpanzees he admired—large protruding ears, prominent forehead, and thick lower lip. We had just opened our textbooks to chapter 12 and I was preparing once again to plug my ears and hum through the lecture when I glanced down at a picture on the left-facing page. I froze.
My first encounter with For The Bible Tells Me So, a new documentary about homosexuality and the Bible, was at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. My husband and I had taken a group of students to the festival, and we waited in line for three hours hoping to get into a midnight screening. We got in, but just barely, sitting in the very front row of the theater, watching the film at an extreme angle. Even in the “worst” seats in the house, the film moved us all.
The ever present good-girl, eldest child in me reeled in horror as I watched Michael Moore’s latest film SiCKO. Important lessons my parents taught me (and I have dutifully followed) about taking responsible care of one’s self—including working a “good job” where your health insurance needs will be met—were undone frame by frame by Moore’s clever and troubling examination of the American health care system.