Woody Allen, Violence and Cassandra’s Dream

Vic Thiessen, March 2008

Woody Allen has always been one of the world’s most unique filmmakers. While his best work may be behind him, Allen continues to make films that inspire us to think deeply about what drives us and our society. In two of my favourite Allen films, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point, Allen explores the theme of violence and why it is so easy for some people to kill others. His view seems to be that this can only happen in a world without a God. Allen continues this theme in his most recnt film, Cassandra’s Dream, but I detected something new in his pessimistic view.

Happiness and Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky

Vic Thiessen, May, 2008

“Are you happy in your life?” the protagonist in Mike Leigh’s latest film, Happy-Go-Lucky, asks her new friend. The response: “That’s a big question!”

Planetwise - Dare to Care for God’s World

by Dave Bookless published by IVP (2008)
Reviewed by Jo Rathbone

Dave’s book is a clearly-written introduction (to those particularly from an evangelical background) as to why we should be caring for God’s creation. Perhaps the best paragraphs are in the introduction where he says that this is not an issue simply because we have to address climate change, but because climate change is a symptom of a deep malaise in our society which is bad for the planet. We have to root out a much more deeply embedded issue to do with the nature of our being, and our attitude to God’s creation.

Children of Men

Reviewed by Vic Thiessen

The year is 2027. The premise is fascinating, if rather farfetched: One fine day, in 2009, women stopped being able to conceive (whether the result of infertility in men or women is not stated), leaving the planet truly in its last days. The world is disintegrating, crime and anarchy are rampant, and the UK government (advertised as the last functioning government in the world) obviously thinks the “short-term” solution lies in keeping its borders closed and hunting down illegal immigrants. But what if one of those immigrants was pregnant?

Evangelism after Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness

Bryan Stone
Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2007

This book attempts to fill a significant gap, offering a theological framework for the practice of evangelism. Few books on the practice of evangelism have theological foundations and few theologians write about the practice of theology, so this study by Bryan Stone is a welcome contribution. Stone is the Professor of Evangelism at the Boston University School of Theology and writes primarily with the North American context in mind, but most of what he writes transfers well into the European scene.

Distinctly Welcoming: Christian presence in a multifaith society

Richard Sudworth
Bletchley: Scripture Union, 2007

Richard Sudworth, who is based in Birmingham but was previously in North Africa, is a consultant with the organisation ‘Faith to Faith’. Our partners, Urban Expression, have appreciated his input into the Crucible course each year, as he reflects with students on the implications for urban mission of living in a multi-cultural and multi-faith society.

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