Department

Closer Look

Chaplains

A film by Martin Doblmeier, Journey Films, 2015, 120 minutes, US$19.95.

The first thing you’ll notice when you watch Chaplains, Martin Doblmeier’s newest documentary film, is that the term chaplain is much more far-reaching than anything you might have imagined.

Most of us are familiar with military chaplains, chaplains who serve in health-care settings, as well as chaplains who minister to those who are incarcerated. But Doblmeier, in his typically thorough method, takes viewers into a world in which chaplains serve in corporate, law-enforcement, legislative, and even professional sports settings.

Not only should the filmmaker be commended for exposing the wide spectrum of chaplaincy ministries—Doblmeier also deserves kudos for profiling the ministries of different faith traditions (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and how they are often different facets of the same ministry. In 10 segments viewers see and hear from chaplains who often guide people through the intersection of faith, life, death, joy, sadness, and transition.

Of special interest to Adventists is Doblmeier’s profile of Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S. Senate and a Seventh-day Adventist. But also fascinating are Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg’s ministry to retired Hollywood actors, and Khalil Refai’s ministry as a bridge between the Hamtramck (Michigan) Police Department and its rapidly growing Muslim community.

This documentary, broadcast on public television in November, is an inspiring account of the joys and challenges of serving others as a chaplain. It is an outstanding resource for anyone considering chaplaincy as a career. And the Journey Films Web site (JourneyFilms.com/chaplains) offers a helpful bibliography for further reading.

Chaplains is also a reminder that as long as people face life challenges, our communities need people who aren’t afraid to listen when people are hurting, and who provide appropriate, spirit-filled counsel and encouragement. They may be us.

Stephen Chavez is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.

Summer Fades

Summer Fades, Amanda Bews, Signs Publishing, 2015, 280 pages, US$9.99, softcover.

Summer is a teenager trying to navigate the typical challenges of teenagerhood: friends, boys, parents, job, and school. But the plot thickens when Summer is forced to face the fact that she struggles with a problem she can barely admit to herself, one she tries desperately to hide from everyone else.

Amanda Bews has done a nice job capturing the joys, challenges, and insecurities of teenagers. In this piece of evocative literature she accurately portrays how these insecurities contribute to compulsive behaviors and the desperate desires of teenagers to “fit in.”

Summer Fades is not a book for adult readers, unless they’re interested in knowing what it’s like to be a teenager in today’s multisensory environment. The author’s intended audience, and the one with whom she clearly connects, is made up of those who are trying to find their way while various voices compete for their attention.

The spiritual component of Summer’s struggles are implied throughout most of the book. But only in later chapters is she introduced to Pastor Percy, and she begins to grasp the transforming power of God’s love, although her parents are portrayed as loving and supportive throughout her battle toward wholeness.

Summer Fades seems to be Signs Publishing’s attempt to take spiritual concepts to an audience that is not only not Adventist, but not particularly Christian, either. Not a lot of Christian doctrine is communicated in the pages of this book, but readers are left with the distinct impression that God can be trusted to provide solutions to our problems, as well as walk with us until we find those solutions for ourselves.

Stephen Chavez is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.

For a New You: FitStar

This time of year always sees a spike in gym attendance. Indeed, for those opting to make the new year the time for putting those fitness goals into action, new gym memberships are a hot commodity.

But what if you didn’t need a gym to get in shape? Even better, what if you could access a personal trainer without a gym, a hefty price tag, and anytime you want? I’d say fitness veterans and “resolutioner” newbies would both be interested.

FitStar is one such app that delivers those things, offering you challenging and effective workouts catered to your unique needs, goals, and levels, with coaching based on the feedback you provide. Thus, this app is both functional and interactive. And all on your phone (or iPad or laptop). While not a brand-new release for 2016, it is a revolutionary product that according to Huffington Post is truly an “app that takes your capabilities, goals, and feedback into account, creating truly personalized and transformative fitness programs. With football legend Tony Gonzalez giving coaching tips while the moves are demonstrated, it really is like traveling with your own personal trainer.”

Free to download, with premium options available for $7.99/month or $39.99/year.

Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.

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