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Ron Reed

Movies to train chaplains by

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A friend of mine is looking for film recommendations. I'm not entirely clear what she's after - I'm a bit brain-dead today - but does the following suggest anything to anybody?


I am this year going to be teaching the two Foundation Courses for chaplaincy and I would appreciate some help from you. Would you be kind enough to suggest some films and /or some film segments you think would be helpful in setting a scenario for my students in looking at chaplaincy? I am wanting to stimulate discussion and tap into feelings.

These can be any kind of situations in any kind of setting as chaplains are in almost any area of life:

police, firefighters, sports, schools, prisons, workplace, universities, communities, hospitals, institutions, etc. etc.

I am wanting them to learn to:

a. listen to what the people are saying- not the words but the feelings

b. understand common human experiences and enter into those who are in need

c. know they have something to offer in a situation with a relationship that will bring hope, comfort, strength and support

- not just words

d. know themselves well

This is only a sketch but if you could help me, I would be very grateful.

Edited by Ron

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The only movies I can think of with pastors in them is.

The tune of nostalgia by Joseph Hovespian

and Final SOlution by Cristobal Krusen

Also maybe check out man dancin' a UK film.

I almost forgot check out the damah film festival dvds they are short films dealing with religous experiences.

THe Gospel opens October 7th in theaters.

Hopefully you'll find some inspiration there.

Thanks. God Bless.


Edited by aaroncavanaugh2

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Dead Man Walking - Sister Prejeans Hospital Chaplancy work.

Antwone Fisher - psychologist works with an adult who was abused as a child

Marvin's Room - exploring a care-giver's experiences with terminal parent.

Spitfire Grill - explores the power of secret pasts which hamper our present - also has a wonderful line about how some wounds hurt more when we heal them than they did when we received the wound in the first place.

Million Dollar Baby - the depression of hospital patients and their request for assistance in dying.

Upside of Anger - grief and its confusing impact on people - family dynamics in grief

Before and After - The study of how a family responds to ethical issues and how a specific event can change everything

Beloved - the power of guilt to haunt our souls - needing pastoral assistance to get free

The Brothers McMullen - this would be one of the best - it is a very authentic journey of three sons of a wife-beating, alcoholic dad - explores spiritual issues

Cider House Rules - a case study in postmodern morality

Circle of Friends - a study of the church's inadequacy to deal with sexuality - especially for three girls raised in abusive homes.

My Family/Mi Familia - excellent study of a catholic family over several generations in LA

Family Fundamentals - deals with homosexuality and how parents respond to it

Gospa - dealing with spiritual experiences, visions, etc. This is a difficult part of chaplaincy - trying to distinguish between what is insanity and what is spiritual experiences

I am Sam - a study of what it means to be human - beneath society's definitions.

Jakob the Liar - evidence that a human needs faith, hope and love to survive

Nell - the study of a person raised in isolation - who we really are as humans...

The Notebook - a study of alzheimers - although it is mainly a love story

Oscar and Lucinda - a study of compulsive religious behavior and compulsive gambling

Priest - a study of expectations of pastors - deals with homosexuality in the priesthood

Riding in Cars with Boys - a study of how momentary life choices determine years of consequences

Signs - the exploration that God often communicates the future to us if we will listen - I often get into long conversations with people about what different things meant leading up to a death of a loved one, or some other tragedy or success.

Smoke Signals - father wounds

The Straight Story - a true story of one man's journey to reconcile with his brother

Ulee's Gold - multigenerational pain and family dynamics


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Wow! Denny! I've got to think this is exactly what my friend was looking for. Thanks so much!!

And aaronc, thanks for mentioning some films I don't know at all. It will be great to track those down. Another "off the beaten track" film I thought of with a prison chaplain in it is IN YOUR HANDS, about a liberal seminary grad whose "miracles are just metaphors" theology is challenged when it begins to seem that one of the prisoners has genuine healing powers.

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Unfortunately, I don't think it's out on DVD yet, but I would highly recommend The Ninth Day. Here's my review, and here's SDG's.

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Don't know how available it is other than to educational institutions, but Death: A Love Story is good.

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