Words Made Flesh
Guatemalan poet and human rights activist Julia Esquivel meditates on fear and faith, the joys and struggles of biblical women, and how suffering can bring new life in Secrets of God's Reign, her latest collection of poems. The slim volume contains expressions of a continuing dialogue with Jesus, such as the glad words of "Consolation": "And my eyes,/moistened/by the first rain/of spring/and my heartas desolate as Eve's/exiled from Paradise/were flooded by Him,/who inhabited my loneliness/with His presence." www.epica.org.
We've Come a Long Way, Lord'
The Trouble I've Seen: The Big Book of Negro Spirituals, by Bruno Chenu, covers the journey of Africans in America from the 17th through the 19th centuries, the bulk of which is taken up by his look at the origin and history of the spirituals themselves. Includes four useful appendices; one contains the full texts to each of the 210 spirituals Chenu discusses, another lists the 32 "best" CDs of spirituals. Bonus: A free CD of familiar spirituals sung by the Moses Hogan Chorale comes with the book. Judson Press.
Seeking Authentic Peace
Precarious Peace: God and Guatemala, produced by Shirley and Rudy Nelson. The first half of this 70-minute documentary examines the decades of violence Guatemala has endured, largely through the experience of the Atz family, and the U.S. role in that violence. Part two looks at how Catholics and Protestants have tried to create space for dialogue among the warring factions, and how they have responded to the particular injustices endured by the indigenous Maya population. Excellent for study groups. www. visionvideo.com.
Avril Lavigne, Paul McCartney, Moby, Billy Bragg, and other musicians (famous and not) recently pooled their talent to produce Peace Songs, a two-CD set of tunes about that sometimes-elusive phenomenon. The collection includes original songs and covers of familiars such as "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (sung by Lavigne) and U2's "One" (by Jarvis Church). Proceeds benefit humanitarian relief projects of War Child Canada, including those in Iraq. www.warchild.ca.