Directed by Garth Davis, this touching film is based on a true story recounted by Saroo Brierley in his book A Long Way Home. When he was just 4 and living in a small village in India, Brierley was left to sleep in a train station while his older brother worked. When the boy woke up, he climbed into a decommissioned train, which began to move. He ends up about 256 miles from home in Calcutta, unable to tell anybody the name of his mother or village. Eventually the homeless boy was adopted by an Australian family. Years later as a young man, he decided to try to find his birth family. Google Earth enabled him to retrace his childhood journey.
This film provides a workshop for empathy or seeing the world through the eyes of others. We find ourselves rooting for Brierley and imagining how we would feel in his place. We experience the family love he knew despite living in poverty in the village. We connect with the stout-hearted boy’s fear and courage as he struggles to stay safe on the streets of Calcutta. And we identify with the older Brierley’s yearning to find out who he really is and where he came from. The movie’s happy ending shows us that feeling for others can be a life-transforming experience. (The Weinstein Company, PG-13—thematic material, some sensuality)
Reading for the Common God: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish by C. Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith is a member of the Englewood Christian Church community on the near eastside of Indianapolis and is the editor of its magazine, The Englewood Review of Books.He advocates that Christian congregations slow down in order to savor the wonders, mysteries and glories of God’s unfolding in their homes and neighborhoods. In his church, reading books has been a transformative experience for members who discuss them and seek to put their insights and meanings into practice. In chapters on shaping the social imagination, discerning our call, reading with our neighbors, hope for our interconnected creation and toward faithful engagement in economics and politics, the author shows how adventurous it can be to grow in community by tapping into the glorious bounties and beauties of books. He includes helpful reading lists at the end of the paperback. (InterVarsity Press)
Before Morning by Joyce Sidman
“How powerful are words?” author Joyce Sidman asks in the afterword to this book. This picture book is a great way to introduce a child to the idea of an invocation, “a poem that invites something to happen, often asking for help or support.” As you page through the book, ask, “What do you wish for?” We see a family coming home for the night, having dinner and going to bed. Then the wishes begin: “Let the sky fill with flurry [images of snow] and flight [migrating geese], the earth turn to sugar [snow covers the streets and gardens]. … Let urgent plans flounder. … Please—just this once—change the world before morning … make it slow and delightful and white.” Follow up your reading by speaking your own wishes out loud. (HMH Books for Young Readers)