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Mary J. Blige in a scene from "Black Nativity." Photo by Phil Bray/Fox Searchlight Pictures

WATCH LIST: November 2013

By Observer Staff

Black Nativity
DIRECTED BY KASI LEMMONS, STARRING FOREST WHITAKER, ANGELA BASSETT AND JENNIFER HUDSON (Maven Pictures)


An all-star cast anchors this musical drama about a Baltimore teen who finds unexpected inspiration at church when he is forced to spend the Christmas holidays with his estranged grandparents in New York City. Based on the popular 1961 play by Harlem poet Langston Hughes, the film retells the nativity story in gospel style. Nov. 27

Empire of Dirt
DIRECTED BY PETER STEBBINGS, STARRING CARA GEE, SHAY EYRE AND JENNIFER PODEMSKI (Redcloud Studios Inc.)


Lena is a single mother in Toronto. When her 13-year-old daughter starts abusing drugs, the pair abandon the city for Lena’s rural hometown. Reunited with her own mother, Lena must confront a family history scarred by poverty, addiction and the aftermath of residential schools in this powerful story of three generations of Cree women. Nov. 1

Paul and the Faithfulness of God
BY N.T. WRIGHT (Fortress Press)


New Testament scholar Nicholas Thomas Wright presents the two-part fourth volume of his acclaimed series Christian Origins and the Question of God. With rich insights into the historical and theological context of Paul’s life and work, Wright shows how the apostle navigated the intricacies of first-century religious culture, becoming one of Christianity’s earliest and most important voices. Nov. 5

iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives
BY CRAIG DETWEILER (Brazos Press)


People used to pray for wisdom. Today they turn to their smartphones for answers. Cultural observer Craig Detweiler explores the icons of the social media age and their growing influence on our spiritual selves. Separating the ephemeral from the everlasting, he offers guidance on deepening faith in a time of digital distractions. Nov. 19




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