The Common Good
October 2004

New and Noteworthy

by Molly Marsh | October 2004


Cinematic Borealis

It’s Light with a capital "L," and its dazzling display, that Calvin College English professor Roy Anker is set on capturing in his Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies. The Deer Hunter, Babette’s Feast, the Star Wars series, and The Mission are among the 19 films Anker examines, not just for their plots and characters but the ways in which they make the Invisible visible. Eerdmans.

Sneetches and Thneeds

Dr. Seuss’ silly rhymes and kooky drawings have long appealed to children, but did you know Yertle the Turtle was modeled after Hitler? And that The Butter Battle Book was really a satire on the Cold War? The Political Dr. Seuss shows the activist side of Theodor Geisel—this "personable zealot," as friends called him—as he addressed anti-Semitism, environmentalism, materialism, and other "isms" in his beloved books. Airs on PBS October 26.

Loving Dissonance

The twists and turns that led to Thomas Merton’s life as a Trappist monk make for intriguing reading, as millions know. Merton: A Film Biography covers the autobiographical details but also why his work and writing spoke to so many. The DVD includes interviews with the Dalai Lama, Joan Baez, and others, and, though the film originally debuted in 1984, it’s a solid resource for those unfamiliar with Merton.

I Am Who I Am

Thomas Aquinas claimed that we can’t know who God is, only who God isn’t. It’s in that vein that theology professor D. Brent Laytham invited writers to address this question for his book God Is Not.... Authors Rodney Clapp, Michael Budde, and others write that God is not religious, nice, "one of us," an American, or a capitalist. But rather than leaving us there, Laytham wraps up the book with a chapter on who God is: one, holy, loving kindness, gift. Brazos Press.

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