Theologians sometimes use films to illustrate religious themes. This can result in a useful correlation of cultural concerns with religious claims, but it can also be a disservice to the films cited if they are employed merely as illustrations rather than engaged on their own terms.
When Sue Miller's latest novel opens, Jo and Daniel Becker are enjoying a leisurely afternoon on a lake. He is fishing and she is resting, half asleep, in the bow of the boat. The book's title is also its theme: While I Was Gone.
Across the street from the Christian Century's offices there used to be a wholesale outlet that sold barber supplies. On the first morning I reported for work as editor of this magazine in the summer of 1972, I left the house without a comb, so I stopped by the store to buy one. An employee looked at me with disdain.
Hard to believe that a year has passed since first we heard about Monica. It feels more like a decade that we've been in this Slough of Despond. That was John Bunyan's term for one of the stops on Pilgrim's journey, which included a visit to the valley of Humiliation, a location all too familiar to many of the players in this yearlong national nightmare.
In Wim Wenders's film Far Away, So Close, two angels look out across Berlin from atop the Brandenburg Gate. One of the angels, Raphaela, speaks to her colleague, Cassiel: "It is so exhausting to love people who run away from us. Why do they shun us more and more?"