The news that director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) was making a new version of the 1962 cold-war thriller The Manchurian Candidate provoked howls of protest from purists who didn’t see the need for an updated version of that memorable film (especially since it was out of circulation for 25 years—a political fallout of the Kennedy assassination).
Chisme, oh that succulent dish sold and served with a side of snide words wrapped in caring concern for your health. People urge you to unpackage your heart. They slop it, boiled or roasted, on a plate of I-told-you-so’s, sumptuous and steaming. They plunge their teeth into chile picante comments, those juicy and spicy words. They wound and scrape, sticking to forks, pitching tongues. People munch their meal, this food. You, too, relish it. Each morsel you savor. Until the flavor floats and reaches your stomach. You chew and wonder why the special of the day tastes so familiar.
Though it has all the marks of an independent film—a film-school screenplay and production difficulties—Saved! is blessed with an intelligent script and a first-rate ensemble of actors whose characters—though slightly overdrawn—engage Christian faith in believable ways.
Not that you couldn’t reach Him if you tried (maybe you couldn’t) but that you no longer try. Your last real prayer? In a plane, beseeching Him, don’t let me die. How actual He seems at 30 thousand feet, how passionately you love Him in your hope for solid ground. Not unlike that day you first felt Him ripping through your heart, you driving fast, believing you’d foiled gravity, dendrites of rain flowing up your windshield, the sting of joy like spearmint in your mouth, and now how improbable He seems. That Whoever made the stars would even notice. You! A word in His mouth? And yet you miss Him. If it could be true! You think of trying to reach Him, tell Him you’ve reconsidered.
Let there be light! A flash, a bolt, a brilliant blaze that puts the kibosh on chaos. Let light shine on width, breadth, depth, a dazzle to illuminate all matter everywhere. Let it glint gloriously off ocean wave, sea swell, a brooklet’s little ripples.
Let fish rejoice in it fantastically, the fur of fox, cat, cougar, coyote be haloed. Let light’s hot pulse pull prairie grass, kinnikinnik up, up to verdant growth, turn grain from green to gold. In every garden everywhere let peonies, nasturtiums and
preposterous begonias unfold. Let every butterfly, bat, bird bathe in radiance. Let it pour mornings into breakfast bowls, fill empty cups to overflowing. At evening let light’s long plumes linger: violet and vivid on every atom of creation.
When darkness closes in, shrouding the valley floor, let sky be spangled still, lit with the glow of meteors, the murky milky way, the white hot stars. O Light of life, Light of the wobbling world: your splendor does not tarnish,
will not be overcome by random avalanche, smart missile, guns, flood, smoke of forest fire. Your warmth will melt the iron grip of fear. A stone-cold guarded grave can never hold you.
Patients at the Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, Indiana, have a new way to pay for medical services. They can join Martha’s Gift program, which knits blankets for babies in the community, and receive a credit against their bill. The knitting happens in a group setting in which people joke, laugh, and share their lives. The center serves low-income people and the uninsured. It has a sliding scale payment plan, but offers community service projects as another way to pay off bills. The knitting program not only makes health care more affordable but counters the isolation that often accompanies illness (Elkhart Truth, December 31).