Friday roundup: Five things worth paying attention to this week

Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.

1. Parasite, directed by Joon-Ho Bong. In this amazing film, a comedy/drama/thriller/social satire from South Korea, a poor family finagles its way into the home of a wealthy family, then things go crazy. A feat on many levels, this is one of the year’s best films.

2. The Great Hack, directed by Karim Amer and Jahane Noujaim. This documentary explores how Cambridge Analytica, a data company, collected information on swing voters in the 2016 election and helped sway their votes. It explains the technology and communicates the drama of confronting the alarming acts.

3. Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors by Elaine A. Heath. This is a helpful and timely book. Heath, who is a survivor of sexual abuse and a theologian with experience as a pastor, surveys the Bible’s message of healing and liberation and applies that to survivors of sexual abuse. She also notes that “survivors who are healing have essential theological wisdom that the whole church needs.”

4. Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. This book addresses the misuse of the Bible by Christians wanting to consolidate power and stoke fears. Wilson-Hargrove calls the book “a search for clarity on behalf of a people who lost our way in the midst of the culture wars” and “an introduction to the people who can teach us to hear God’s Word anew.” He calls for “a moral movement that resists the false gods of Christian nationalism and rediscovers a biblical vision for justice and mercy in our common life.”

5. “Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids” by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant. This article in the December issue of The Atlantic points out the disconnect between what parents say and what they do. While 90% of parents say one of their top priorities is that their children be caring, 81% of children say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring. The Grants offer helpful advice in how to encourage kindness in their children. “The point is not to badger kids into kindness or dangle carrots for caring,” they write, “but to show that these qualities are noticed and valued.” And kindness has its own rewards, they note, for example, “because concern for other people promotes supportive relationships and helps prevent depression.”

Gordon Houser is editor of The Mennonite.

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