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Behind the movie camera

Last year, Southern Adventist University students and faculty released a feature film based on an Arthur S. Maxwell book. The Secret of the Cave follows the story of Roy, a young American boy spending the summer in a tiny fishing village in the west of Ireland. While there, unexplainable events happen and the locals mention ghosts. But Roy, together with his new friends, looks for clues to solve the mystery and discover the secret of the cave.

Mudhouse Sabbath: A Book About Those Things I Miss

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What do you do when you’ve walked away from one form of religion only to discover you miss, at least some aspects, of it? Seven years after converting from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner admits that, while she is in love with Jesus and his teachings, she misses the practices and rituals of Judaism.

Religion and Politics in the Public Square

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Do you ever feel like a battlefield casualty of the culture wars? In American Gospel, a highly readable bestseller, author Jon Meacham suggests another understanding of America’s past that, he hopes, will lower the level of hostility and presumably leave fewer victims.

The One Who Stayed Behind

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The courage of Carl Wilkens, the American Adventist Disaster and Relief Agency country director who stayed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, is an inspiration.

Although foreign diplomats, missionaries, aid workers, and peacekeepers all fled the horrific killing, Carl Wilkens decided to remain at his post and help wherever he could.

Alita Byrd asked him how the experience changed his life.

Byrd: How do you feel now, looking back twelve years after the genocide in Rwanda?

Wilkens: Each time I give a presentation about my experiences there is still a huge overwhelming sadness mixed with glimpses of hope, of courage, of selflessness on the part of those who put others first in their thoughts and actions during that time.

There is still so much to process, and to learn. Each time I speak with college students and go back and examine the genocide experience, I learn something new. I’m grateful for these opportunities.

The Road to Clarity: Seventh-day Adventism in Madagascar

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From September 1998 until May 2000, Eva Keller lived in northeastern Madagascar to study the Adventist Church, or more accurately, the ordinary people who comprised the local church communities. She lived with Adventist families, first for 16 months in Maroantsetra, a coastal district government town of 20,000, then for 4 months in Sahameloka, a village of 1000, 20 km. upriver, accessible only on foot. This field work was initially in support of her dissertation, culminating in a PhD in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics in 2002.

I Am Legend: A Savior Story at the Box Office

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"This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure."
-- John 3:19-20 (from The Message).

Spoiler Alert

Love Meets Death or Why Sheldon Vanauken Gets on My Nerves

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I have begun to catch on that when something bothers me—a speaker, a movie, or a book like A Severe Mercy—my irritation is probably a symptom of a disease that needs healing. Like the cough that I curse for its irritating persistence, the irksome message may be precisely what I need to purge me of things putrid and get me breathing right.

In Sheldon Vanauken’s spiritual autobiography of the love he shared—and lost—with his wife, Jean Davis (“Davy”), the mediocrity of my love for God is diagnosed and exposed. A severe blow, and mercifully so.

The Kite Runner: Is Redemption Truly Free?

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What is the worst thing you have done to a friend or family member? Lied to them? Stolen from them? After the dreadful deed, did they forgive you? And, more importantly, did you forgive yourself? While I am sometimes nostalgic for lost friendships, I know that for various reasons, history, distance, and self-preservation, there are some friendships better left in the past. But with exceptional friendships, when two souls collide and recognize and accept the humanity in each other, I believe we should all make the effort to sustain that growth.

Favorite Books of 2007

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As a grad student, much of my reading time is consumed by required reading (composition and reading theory lately), but I do keep a stack of books by my bedside and relish every chance I have to read for pleasure. My favorite books this year covered a broad gamut:

Top 10 Films of 2007

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I’ll admit right up front that I’m a major movie fan. And not just one of those intellectual art-house types, but a true movie junkie who loves both indie and big-budget Hollywood films. I spent two days over Christmas trying to get my tickets to the Sundance Film Festival figured out and regularly patronize the small one-screen theaters still left in my city, but I also went to see the latest Harry Potter on the first day it came out—in full IMAX splendor.

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