Thursday, July 9, 2009
New Journal: SALVO
Dear Parish Faithful and Friends in Christ,
There is a fairly new journal now out called Salvo, published by The Fellowship of St. James (www.fsj.org). This, in turn, is an articulate ecumenical group that seeks to bring together like-minded Christians in defense of traditional Christianity. Some of you may be familiar with their Touchstone journal. Inside the front page of Salvo, the editors clarify the name of the journal by giving us the dictionary definition of salvo (n.): "1) A mental reservation; 2) An expedient for protecting one's reputation; 3) A forceful verbal or written assault; 4) A group of shots fired simultaneously for effect." The editors continue by saying: "We use the language of war, a metaphorical conceit that is as old as literature itself, only to reflect the life-or-death seriousness of the endeavor in which we are engaged. Salvo does not advocate gratuitous violence in any form." And if you continue to read the small print, you will find the following as a further editorial statement: "Salvo is dedicated to debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence. It also seeks to promote the Christian worldview."
I hope that this is starting to sound interesting to you. Though the journal can be read by a wide variety of readers, it seems primarily geared toward college-age students and high school students who are engaged in the dialogue concerning current cultural, ethical and spiritual issues. Every issue usually has something from the area of science that intelligently questions Darwinian materialism. (Salvo does not promote Creationism, but rather engagingly presents arguments from the Intelligent Design position - controversial as that may be). The current issue, newly-arrived, contains, for example, a lead article entitled "Blindsided Kids," by Marcia Segelstein. The lead into the article tells us: "Thanks to the Internet and the Supreme Court, Pornography is Now Available in Every Home in America." The dreary and obvious results of that reality are set forth and analyzed in her article in a very persuasive manner.
Under Sex, Science, Society there is an interesting article entitled "Born to Split - Is Divorce Simply a Matter of Genes?" by St. T. Karnick. The article strongly critiques a Swedish study that links unfaithfulness and divorce to certain genetic components. Blaming the genes has the effect of severely reducing our moral responsibilities in our relationships. Sweden, by the way, has the highest divorce rate in the world at 54.9! Other countries with a divorce rate above 50% are Belarus and Finland. The rate in the United States is 45.8. This is based on data from 2002.
There is a fascinating interview with a woman - Barbara Nicolosi - entitled "The Sacred Artist - Making Movies With a Religious Imagination." She is working on the screenplay, together with Benedict Fitzgerald, of a film called Mary, the Mother of the Christ. According to the article it is being filmed in Morocco and will be distributed by MGM. It will star Camilla Belle, Al Pacino, Johnathan Rhys Meyers, and Jessica Lange. I found this exchange quite insightful:
Q. What can you tell us about the process of pitching the film? Why do you you think Hollywood bit?
BN: ... I have been saying forever that the problem isn't that Christians don't have distribution for the kinds of movies that we want to make. Rather, the problem is that we have been making garbage. If you make something professional that has a good story with haunting stuff in it that people want to talk or think about, it doesn't matter what your agenda is. What people care about is whether a film is beautiful to watch - whether it is interesting or entertaining.
I think that she is quite right on this point.
Under the department entitled "Shrapnel," the journal provides a Top Ten List of Best Conservative Movies of the last twenty-five years. The emphasis is on films that are morally conservative. In alphabetical order:
1. 13 Conversations About One Thing (2001)
2. The Addiction (1995)
3. Amazing Grace (2006)
4. The Apostle (1998)
5. Babette's Feast (1988)
6. The Big Kahuna (1999)
7. The Constant Gardener (2005)
8. The Minority Report (2002)
9. Sophie Scholl (2006)
10. Wings of Desire (1984)
I have seen all of these films except for #1, 2 & 6. I consider Babette's Feast and Wings of Desire exceptionally fine films that I would highly recommend. Sophie Scholl is also a superb cinematic recreation of the trial of a young woman and her brother who bravely defied the Nazi regime of their own native country. A powerful ending.
We have about four or five issues of Salvo available in the church library area, in case you or your older children may be interested.