Lincoln, Breaking Dawn II, Silver Linings Playbook

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 Just weeks after President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is reelected to a second term in 1864, he pushes for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution that would outlaw slavery and involuntary servitude. It had already passed the Senate, but it stalled in the House of Representatives.At the same time, word comes that the Confederacy is ready for peace discussions between the North and the South as the Civil War rages. The Senate figures that if peace … [Read more...]

“Wreck It Ralph” and the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut today

"Fourth of July parade, 2011, Independence, Calif.," by photographer Craig Semetko, from his project "America -- E Pluribus Unum" (©Craig Semetko, 2012)

Today, December, 14, a gunman killed 26 people in Newtown, CT, including 20 elementary school children."Wreck It Ralph" opened in November I didn't have a chance to see it until today. I was driving home from seeing the film and listening to the news on NPR. The newsperson described President Obama as wiping away tears as he spoke words of comfort to parents, his behavior noted by many news outlets.2012 has been a year marked by gun violence tragedies.On August 22 I recorded a video a … [Read more...]

“The Hobbit” is entertaining and inspiring hero’s tale

Martin Freeman stars in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (CNS/Warner Bros.)

In the time before the great contests recorded in "The Lord of the Rings," the Shire, hobbit zone of Middle Earth, is a gentle place, and hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is comfortable in his hobbit hole home. He loves his books and appears to be rather fussy. Enter the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan), who tries to entice Bilbo to come on an adventure. Bilbo is reluctant, but Gandalf has invited a band of 13 dwarves, led by Thorin (Richard Armitage), to gather at Bilbo's home. Bilbo … [Read more...]

‘The Rise of the Guardians’ an inspiring fantasy mash-up

North (Alec Baldwin) welcomes Jack Frost (Chris Pine) in this scene from the animated movie "Rise of the Guardians." (CNS/DreamWorks Animation)

Although it took me some time to figure out what was going on and what Dreamworks' handsome, over-long film was trying to say, it became apparent about halfway through that I could easily make connections between the imaginative narrative and Christian beliefs. Seeing "Guardians" bears out the saying "You get out of a film what you bring to it" because you make meaning according to your own lens.The story opens with Jack Frost (the voice of Chris Pine) telling us how he came to be the spirit … [Read more...]

“Weaving Life” “Where Do We Go Now?” and a “Girl with a Book” Images of peacemaking in the Middle East

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In the last month or so, a narrative film, a documentary and a poster on Facebook came across my desk. The films were sent for review, but the Facebook poster (or image) arrived in my newsfeed this morning, unbidden, a "share" from my youngest sister."Weaving Life" a documentary on The Life and Death of Peacemaker Dan Terry - is a film from MennoMedia that will air on participating ABC stations beginning Oct. 21 (check local listings). It is the story of Dan Terry, one of 10 humanitarian w … [Read more...]

Hildegard of Bingen: prayer, supper & movie with a saint

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Last night Sister Marie surprised us by making supper according to what St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089- 1179) might have served for her community of nuns back in the day – or a slight variation thereof.First Sister Marie told us about the one-day retreat she attended last weekend to prepare for this coming Sunday, October 7, when Pope Benedict VXI will name Hildegard a Doctor of the Church. She spoke about Hildegard’s “viriditas”   because Hildegard knew that if we care for the God’s earth it … [Read more...]

Media’s part in the culture of guns

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"Fourth of July parade, 2011, Independence, Calif.," by photographer Craig Semetko,                                                                          from his project "America -- E Pluribus Unum" (©Craig Semetko, 2012) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way images, entertainment, the news and language are socializing us into accepting a perpetual state of violence, with the mass shooting at the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Aurora, Colo., theater on July 20 in mind. … [Read more...]

“A Better Life” “The Pursuit of Happyness” and the parable of Home Depot (those vineyard workers)

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A few summers ago, I had taken to driving to St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., for Sunday vigil Mass. Most Sunday liturgies in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are so well-attended and run at an hour or more, and I have MS and heat can provoke symptoms. St. John's was the only chapel or church within miles that had air conditioning. The priest who celebrated Mass most of the time was from Africa. He was a gentle soul, kept his homilies under 10 minutes, and was well-regarded by the … [Read more...]

Cardinal Dolan & Stephen Colbert meet Fordham c/o Jim Martin, SJ to evangelize anew

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   I was not there last night, where new kinds of Bronx cheers must have been heard when Cardinal Dolan of New York and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" met at Fordham University. Their host was Rev. James Martin, SJ, a lover of good humor and author of "Between Heaven and Mirth."Here are a couple of paragraphs from Jim's post at "America" magazine this morning and a link to the whole thing. Jim also explains why there was no television … [Read more...]


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