I love finding sleepers—the movies that don’t make it big in the theatres but have a beautiful story to tell. But I’m especially drawn to movies that portray one of the four kinds of love as defined by Buechner here:

“The love for equals is a human thing—of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely.

The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing—the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing—to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy—love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.”

—From The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner

Here are some sleeper recommendations:Continue reading

Tribal Matters

Tribal Matters

Tribal culture is the opposite of isolationIt was October 1986. Hitchhiking across the country, Sebastian Junger stood outside of Gillette Wyoming, carrying a week’s worth of food in his backpack. A man in a soiled union suit walked up the on-ramp toward him. The man’s hair looked wild and matted, but he didn’t seem hostile. Still, Sebastian was young and alone and watched him like a hawk.

The man studied him and asked where he was headed.


He nodded. “How much food do you got?”

Sebastian was happy to share his food, but he didn’t want to be robbed.

“Oh, I just got a little cheese.”

He shook his head. “You need more than that.”

Turns out the man lived in a broken-down car. Every day he walked three miles to a coal mine to see if they needed extra hands. Some days they didn’t and that day was one of them.

tribal life makes us part of something“I won’t be needing this,” he said opening his lunchbox, which contained a bologna sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips—probably provided by a church. “I saw you from town and just wanted to make sure you were okay.” The guy turned and headed toward Gillette.

Sebastian thought about that man for the rest of his trip. In fact, he thought about him for the rest of his life.Continue reading



From innumerable scenes in childhood and youth, why do certain ones get crystalized in memory? Trauma? Certainly. A shift of understanding? Maybe. A moment of genuine connection with a parent? A spiritual experience? Likely.

memories can be goodFor me, particular scenes are intensely clear. Some are beautiful…like watching my dad peel an orange. His skilled hands worked the knife, while orange mist plumed in the sunlight. His kind presence surrounded me as we ate it together. I was only three. It is my earliest memory.

Some memories are hardOther memories left a pit in my stomach. There was the time our family picked up a kid named Buddy (not his real name) from a poor neighborhood in Cleveland. The program, called “Friendly Town,” involved volunteer families hosting underprivileged kids to give them new experiences for a week.

I was probably nine at the time, but I remember everything…Continue reading