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Presbyterian News Service

Finding ethical, spiritual values in the Academy’s 2018 Best Picture nominees

This year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated eight films in the Best Picture category. Because the Academy could have honored as many as 10 (I wish “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Hate U Give” had also been chosen), but maybe they thought that would be too many films dealing with racism.

Top 10 films for believers

Below are the 10 films worthy of being called the year’s “Top 10.” Because the list of readers of my on-line journal “Visual Parables” consists mostly of believers, my criteria are different from those of secular critics whose lists you might have already read. Artistic excellence is important, but the films on this list do more than entertain us. Some of their makers seek to challenge viewers to uphold values of love and support (think “Lars and the Real Girl”), and some warn us of the dangers of an inhumane set of values (this year’s “The Hate U Give”). A few explore and expand our spirituality, occasionally enhancing our understanding or appreciation of God (“Come Sunday”). As with my longer reviews in “Visual Parables,” I’ve included one or more relevant Scripture passages in many of the mini-reviews to foster dialogue between film and faith. The titles include a hyperlink so that you can go to the longer review of the film at for more details.

Warning: Heavy lifting ahead

Told by the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly that they’re in “for some heavy lifting” helping the 21st century church adapt “to a world that’s changing quickly every day,” members of the Moving Forward Implementation Commission got a clearer picture of what’s expected of them during their first in-person meeting Monday at the Presbyterian Center.

Remembering history builder William B. Miller

William Bayard Miller joined the church triumphant on December 14, 2018, at age 94. When I learned of his passing, I was saddened by the loss of a dear friend, colleague, and mentor who served the church from 1957 until his retirement in 1989.

Reissuing the call for great church photos for PC(USA) calendar!

The Presbyterian Planning Calendar, a beloved publication of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is seeking photo submissions from congregations, mid councils, camps, conference centers and education centers for use in its 2019–2020 edition.