Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Least Among You-DVD Review

The Least Among You, inspired by a true story, tells the story of Richard Kelly, a young black man, who is sent to serve probation at an all-white seminary after being arrested in the 1965 Watts riots. As Kelly faces racial obstacles to his acceptance at the seminary, he receives guidance from Samual Benton, the seminary's gardener and the only other black person on campus. Kelly finds that he is not only battling racism, but he is at the same time wrestling with God as the external war becomes one of an inner spiritual nature.Kelly must have an answer to a question: Is his purpose for being at the seminary a punishment or the providence of God?
I was hesitant in agreeing to review this DVD for Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program, mainly because I haven't been overly impressed with many of the Christian movies (like Facing the Giants, etc.) that have been released in recent years, primarily because the preachiness of them just didn't feel like real life to me. With that said, I wasn't sure what to expect out of The Least Among You. I enjoyed the movie and had to examine my own heart as I asked myself how I would react or behave in the same situations the character's found themselves in. There were some scenes that lacked in their development and could have been explored a little more, but overall the film accomplished what I generally look for in a movie which is an hour or two of entertainment that doesn't insult my intelligence or overly offend me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

In recent months, I have read several books that focus on global human needs (hunger, poverty, etc.) and challenge Christians, especially wealthy western Christians, to take a front-line position in helping to meet these needs. Max Lucado's most recent book, Outlive Your Life, is in keeping with this theme.

Lucado is known for his gift of storytelling to make a deeper spiritual point and OYL is no different. This book uses the early chapters of the biblical book of Acts as a springboard to tackle such topics as turning a blind eye to human needs, the importance of community, persecution, defending the helpless, and the power of prayer. I admit that I am not a big fan of Lucado, because I am distracted at times by his attempts to tell an engaging story when an in-your-face point would be more effective. Some topics are best not watered down.

With all that said, I enjoyed this book and, oddly enough, some of the story illustrations were my favorite parts. Go figure, my biggest complaints about Lucado in the past were what I benefited most from in this latest book from him. The opening, Father Benjamin: A Fable, was insightful into what it means to Outlive Your Life.

This book includes a Discussion and Action Guide in the back. I did not work through every question, but the parts I did look over were well done. I am convinced that the book is not intended to be read apart from this action guide. Using this guide would greatly enhance the book and would be a great tool for small groups to use to put the concepts into practice in a community setting.