The Common Good
February 2004

New and Noteworthy

by The Editors | February 2004

Shalom Living

How to Teach Peace to Children, by Anne Meyer Byler, is a handy, digestible (at 72 pages) look at options for living out peacemaking convictions and teaching them to the children in our lives. Byler covers the way to find alternatives to violent toys and games, guard kids against consumerism, and teach them to care for others. Each chapter ends with discussion questions. A companion Web site contains additional resources: Herald Press.

'Come, Ye Disconsolate' War isn't usually a good theme for easy listening, but the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir's And Night Shall End is a beautiful, compelling CD. While there's one maudlin tune (aptly titled 'Long Black Arm'), the songs cover a variety of styles, including folk and spiritual. The lyrics in 'Bugles Sang' break your heart: 'Voices of boys were by the river side/Sleep mothered them and left the twilight sad.' Yet the rousing 'Like a River Glorious' reminds us that, with God, night does indeed end. Sales support people with disabilities and mental illness.

Changing a Village The Vietnamese still suffer the effects of 45 million liters of Agent Orange sprayed on their country during the war, and so Vietnam vet George Mizo, himself a sufferer, and veterans from six other countries built the Vietnam Village of Friendship, a treatment and housing facility for children born with deformities related to the toxic herbicide. Filmmaker Michelle Mason's powerful video The Friendship Village is a 50-minute documentary about Mizo, the building of the village, and how this place of healing and hope is a concrete reminder that transformation and reconciliation are possible, even among enemies.

Saintly Prescriptions What is happiness and how do we find it? Robert Ellsberg put this question to both modern and historical saints, and - by combing through their work and writings - came up with The Saints' Guide to Happiness: Everyday Wisdom from the Lives of the Saints. Teachers are the likes of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Clare of Assisi, Augustine, and Dorothy Day, among others, who lead us gently through such imponderables as learning to be alive, learning to let go, and learning to suffer. North Point Press.

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