Pelagius of Montreal

1989's does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Jesus of Montreal is two hours long, and for the first hour and a half I loathed the movie and everyone in it. By the end, though, I was totally compelled and moved, and I think the movie has real insight into the Procrustean drive to recreate God in our own image.The basic story is that a fairly faithless priest gathers a bunch of non-Christian actors to revamp his annual passion play. They get super intense about it, of course, led by the guy who plays … [Read more...]

“When and Why Civil Resistance Works Against Authoritarian Regimes”: Foreign Affairs

article: Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance against authoritarian regimes were twice as likely to succeed as violent movements. Nonviolent resistance also increased the chances that the overthrow of a dictatorship would lead to peace and democratic rule. This was true even in highly authoritarian and repressive countries, where one might expect nonviolent resistance to fail. Contrary to conventional wisdom, no social, economic, or political structures have systematically … [Read more...]

“Heeding Cries for Help from Discarded, Disconnected Young Men”: LA Times

feature--and do read to the end: ...Fifteen years ago, Ruett and Rhonda Foster were grieving parents in a courtroom. Their 7-year-old son Evan had been shot and killed by a gang member at Inglewood's Darby Park.Evan was clutching his soccer trophy in the back seat of the family car when bullets aimed at someone else tore through the windshield and struck him in the head.Three young men were convicted and sent to prison. And the Fosters began performing their own sort of penance, making … [Read more...]

“No Place to Stand”: I review “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”

at AmCon: Both the title and the trailer of Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (now playing in DC at the E Street Cinema and Bethesda Row Cinema) suggest that this will be the story of how a man becomes a fundamentalist: how a young-gun New York financier, humiliated and mistreated after 9/11, turns his back on America and returns to Pakistan to become an Islamic terrorist. This is not the actual story of the film. In a sense the movie has too much story for this summary, and the prota … [Read more...]

“Don Pino: The Most Important Beatification of the Early 21st Century”: John L. Allen, Jr

at the Nat'l Catholic Reporter: In two weeks, on May 25, the Catholic church will celebrate what is quite possibly the most important beatification of the early 21st century. Italian Fr. Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi will be recognized as a martyr in a Mass celebrated in Palermo on the island of Sicily, where he was assassinated in 1993 for challenging the Mafia's hold.The event probably won't get a lot of media play outside Italy, especially since the pope isn't going to be on hand. Yet make no … [Read more...]

“Prodigals and Preachers”: me on Marilynne Robinson

at Acculturated: This is the halfway point for my series of posts on great novels about marriage, and with this third installment I think I see some intertwined themes emerging. All three of the books so far—Kristin Lavransdatter, How to Be Good, and now Marilynne Robinson’s generational Iowa epic-in-miniature Gilead—are also stories about being sorry, and trying to be better, and wondering how much any person can ever really change. more; keep in mind that all of these posts necessarily overs … [Read more...]

“The Armies of the Prince of Peace”: I review “The Convert”

at Woolly Mammoth until, I think, March 10. … [Read more...]


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