Feb 06, 2007
A man in his mid-30s sits in a recliner in a dark room. Bursts of light from an episode of Dancing with the Stars flash on the walls and furniture. He grasps a cold beer, and a bag of potato chips is in his lap. This man is a pastor, and he is—at this very moment—leading his flock.
Readers of P. D. James’s novel Children of Men won’t be prepared for the emotional breadth of the film version by Alfonso Cuarón. Like most dystopian stories, the book is relentlessly grim, icy and pedantic. Set 20 years in the future in a fascist England that barricades its borders and treats refugees like prisoners of war, the film posits a world in which, for obscure reasons, no children have been born in nearly two decades. The youngest member of the human race—still known as Baby Diego—has just been killed in a bar fight at the age of 18, prompting mass outbreaks of grief.
"The man who delivers my groceries wants a Bible,” my mother said, “but he doesn’t know which one. What shall I tell him?” I should have had a ready answer for her, but I did not. It was a big question, after all. If she had asked me to recommend a life partner for her deliveryman, I could not have taken the matter more to heart. Say you have one shot at putting a Bible in someone’s hands. Say you want it to speak to him, so he cannot put it down—or so at least he remembers where he put it, so he can find it when it calls him across the room. This Bible not only has to sound compelling.
Polish church crisis echoes Vatican slowness on U.S. abuse scandals: Allegations of collaboration lead to resignation
Talking about Jesus: Jonathan Miller, Democratic state treasurer in Kentucky, is considering a run for governor. He has developed a stump speech that works well in a conservative, religious state like Kentucky—it talks about Jesus. Nothing startling there, except that Miller is Jewish. Miller says that when he wants to talk to poor people about how he would help them he keeps getting asked, “What’s your position on gay marriage?” (Forward, December 15)