New and Noteworthy

Voices of the Movement

Freedom Song: Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights, by Mary Turck, tells the stories of the civil rights movement through its freedom songs. Turck covers various genres—including traditional spirituals, jazz, and gospel—and the influence of musicians such as Aretha Franklin and Woody Guthrie. An accompanying CD contains 18 songs, from “Precious Lord” to “We Shall Overcome,” sung by the Chicago Children’s Choir, which has included children from all races and economic backgrounds since its founding in 1956. Great for ages 9 and older. Chicago Review Press

Engaged Spirituality

The common thread among the 12 people profiled in Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion, edited by Robert Ellsberg, is the way they integrated their contemplative lives with the needs of the world. The prayerful lives of figures such as Howard Thurman, Mother Maria Skobtsova, Dom Helder Camara, and others compelled them outward to care for others. Each chapter is devoted to one person and includes brief biographical information and excerpts from their writings. Orbis

Pass the Popcorn

In Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century, Craig Detweiler looks at 45 contemporary films—including Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Finding Neverland—for their spiritual meaning and significance. Detweiler directs the Reel Spirituality Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary. Baker Academic

Insights into Merton

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, produced by Morgan Atkinson, airs on PBS Dec. 10 (check local listings), the 40th anniversary of Merton’s death. A companion book by the same name, published by Liturgical Press, includes material from Atkinson’s interviews of “Merton’s choir”—the people who knew him best—that wouldn’t fit in the documentary. The result is a rich, conversational look at Merton’s inner and outer life.

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