Unsettling times call for soothing music. Jazz pianist Bradley Sowash’s We Gather Together plays—in a much different groove—14 classic hymns and spirituals, including "Amazing Grace," "Wade in the Water," "The River is Wide," and "There is a Balm in Gilead." Blue notes, alternative harmonies, and new improvisations make for powerful reinterpretations of familiar songs. www.bradleysowash.com.
The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, an hour-long documentary by Rick Tejada Flores and Judith Erlich, looks at American conscientious objectors who refused to fight in World War II. The men, many of them Quakers, served in other ways as they wrestled with the question that is timely again: Can one be a patriot as well as a pacifist? To air Jan. 15 (PBS, check local listings).
Dialogues With Silence: Prayers and Drawings by Thomas Merton, edited by Jonathan Montaldo, is a collection of prayers and sketches from the beloved Trappist monk, writer, and peace and civil rights activist. His offerings of prayer to God and the world are accompanied by drawings that range from abstract to representational. A quiet, contemplative voice. HarperSanFrancisco.
Responses to Pain
Arne Bergstrom, a veteran disaster expert for World Relief, has seen wide-scale suffering during 25 years of coordinating relief efforts. How does he cope? His guitar. Benediction, Bergstrom’s first CD, carries songs such as "Suffer the Little Children," a response to Sudanese children suffering from starvation, and "Tell Me," which reflects on the pain and suffering of Kosovar refugees. email@example.com or (630) 665-0235.