Arts

Children's book tells Craig Kielburger story

{mosimage}TORONTO - Young children’s experiences can have a lasting influence on their lives. For Craig Kielburger, his first trip to help children in South Asia at the age of 12 was such an experience, and he has chronicled it in a children’s book called It Takes A Child.

Kielburger is the founder and chair of Free the Children, a Toronto-based organization that aims to eliminate poverty and exploitation of children around the world through education and social programs, such as Adopt A Village. This program allows families that are confronted with poverty a chance to break out and live successfully, building schools and establishing health clinics among other things.

Holocaust survivor spreads anti-bullying message through film

{mosimage}TORONTO - The story of a Holocaust survivor who uses her experiences to relate messages about bullying, racism and tolerance to students has been captured in a feature documentary.

Stronger than Fire, by Toronto filmmaker Don Gray, captures the powerful tale of Eva Olsson, an 84-year-old woman from Bracebridge, Ont., who discovered a passion for speaking to students more than 12 years ago. She began facing her past after one of her three grandchildren convinced her to do a short presentation at her school.

New understanding of the Old Testament

{mosimage}The Acceptable Year of the Lord: Preaching the Old Testament with Faith, Finesse and Fervour by Karen Hamilton (Novalis, softcover, 475 pages, $35).

I am comfortable speaking to the teaching and miracles of Jesus and I am pretty confident in recounting the stories of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s journeys. Like many other Roman Catholic preachers, I would rather be afflicted by one of the plagues that visited Pharaoh than attempt to demonstrate competency in speaking about the people, places and things of the Old Testament. 

Further to this, I find making connections between God’s chosen nomadic people and the families with whom I worship difficult.

Paul Roorda's art views the Gospel through skeptical eyes

{mosimage}TORONTO - A worn, century-old Bible, powdered blood and butterfly wings aren’t exactly what you’d expect to see in most artwork.

But Kitchener, Ont., artist Paul Roorda says re-using materials in creating his art helps to portray the themes of resurrection and transformation.

In his exhibition “Skeptic’s Gospel and Other Remedies for Truth,” Roorda explores questions about faith and doubt, life and death, humanity and divinity. The exhibition opened March 13 and runs to April 22 at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

National Gallery to host papal art exhibit

{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadians will get the chance to see the differences in art patronage by popes of the 16th century at a rare exhibition this summer at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The gallery will host From Raphael to Carracci, the Art of Papal Rome, an exhibition which will gather together 150 works of art which have rarely been seen outside of Italy or appeared together at one time.

The exhibit was announced at a Toronto news conference hosted by the National Gallery of Canada Feb. 26.

Forgiveness in genocide's aftermath

{mosimage}Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 176 pages, $16.99).

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 284 pages, $16.99).

The slaughter lasted for 100 days in the spring of 1994. Some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered — neighbours, friends, classmates.

Lay Germans often said they did not know what took place in the Nazi death camps. Certainly, though, all Rwandans knew about the genocide occurring in front of them. As a nation, they either swung machetes — one by one, face to face, slashing and severing — or they were victims.

Tempting morsels can't convince this skeptic

{mosimage}Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food  by Raoul W. Adamchak and Pamela C. Ronald (Oxford University Press, hardcover, 208 pages, $31.95).

Is your future food going to be organic, genetically engineered or both?

Organic farming and genetic engineering are ultimately a conflict of two world views. Organic agriculture uses the cycles of nature to its advantage and avoids problems by using farm practices such as a more complex rotation system of crops and a low number of animals in a confined space. Biotechnology is locked in the old paradigm of “controlling nature” and is designed to fix problems which often occur because of industrial farming practices. Organic farming is based on biodiversity. Biotechnology, by its very nature, reduces the number of varieties of crops grown and threatens genetic diversity. 

The story behind the Irish invasion of 1847

{mosimage}It was either death or a long voyage to Canada for the Willis family and more than 38,000 Irish immigrants who landed in Toronto in the summer of 1847.

But the story of how that impacted the city of 20,000 and its wave of new citizens who fled from a deadly typhus outbreak and the potato famine of 1845 to 1851 in their Irish homeland has gone untold for more than a century, now to be uncovered in a docudrama called Death or Canada: Fleeing the Famine . It will air on History Television March 16.

Women overcoming boundaries within faith

{mosimage}Making Sense of God by Elizabeth Dreyer, Grieving with Grace by Dolores R. Leckey, Living a Spirituality of Action by Joan Mueller (St. Anthony’s Messenger Press, soft cover, $11.95 each).

“Shall we accept merely what is good from God and not accept also what is bad?” (Job 2:10).

Since he first courageously formulated it, Job’s question has been asked again and again by human beings finding it difficult to embrace pain and suffering. Catholics have found inspiration in Job’s unwavering loyalty and love for God and have tried to imitate his lack of hatred and anger.

Book on Taizé life explains it all

{mosimage}A Community Called Taizé by Jason Brian Santos (InterVarsity Press, 203 pages, softcover, $16.99).

A Community Called Taizé teaches the reader the history of Taizé, an ecumenical community in the Burgundy region of France.

This well-written history, by Jason Brian Santos, begins by explaining the author’s arrival in Taizé in 2005 and how he adapts to the unfamiliar community. Taizé is a community of prayer, worship and reconciliation where Christians from all over the world are welcome to visit. Taizé prayers consist of music and worship sung in various languages, with lyrics inspired by the simple phrases from psalms and other Scripture.

Street art goes Main Street

{mosimage}TORONTO - As you peer through the keyhole, the silent memorial begins. More than 400 names of homeless people who have died on Toronto’s streets flash across the screen inside the graffiti-adorned house, one after the other.

This is the work of “Other,” also known as Montreal street artist Derek Mehaffey. It’s part of the first major street art exhibit at a Canadian museum.

Getting to know the human Jesus

{mosimage}Who on Earth was Jesus? The Modern Quest for the Jesus of History by David Boulton (O Books, softcover,  417 pages, $29.95).

There is perhaps no area of modern theology as controversial and polarized as the study of the historical Jesus — what can be known about Jesus using standard historical research. There are those for whom the Gospels are essentially biographies of Jesus and historically beyond questioning. There are others who emphasize the editorial history of the Gospels and the apparent inconsistencies and errors of fact within them. These latter scholars often conclude the Gospels hold little, if any, real historical value. Of course there is an entire spectrum of opinions in between.

Bringing saints to dinner table

{mosimage}Saints at the Dinner Table, by Amy Heyd (St. Anthony Messenger Press, hard cover, 158 pages, $24.83).

If you could choose a saint, any saint, to invite to your family dinner, who would it be?

St. Joseph might be a strong contender, or how about St. Martha, or St. Clare of Assisi? Would you have lamb chops and garlic mashed potatoes, a simple but fun pizza or scrumptious chicken saltimbocca with salad on the side?