Movie and Reading Recommendations for the Christmas Break

Ideally you are about to experience at least a week off over the next weeks. Some of that time will be with family, and I pray that you enjoy most of it!

Some of that time you’ll have free to read or watch a movie. I know I love to do both of those, and because I read and watch a lot of movies, I thought I would share a few recommendations with you, in case you’re looking for some meaningful and enjoyable engagement through either venue.


Same Kind of Different as Me, starring Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, and Dijmon Hounsou.  I just watched this movie in the last week. My goodness, it’s powerful. It’s based on a true story of a godly woman who around the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair, has a God-inspired dream, that eventually enables her and her husband to connect with a homeless man whose back story riddled with racism and oppression. The ways that God brings emotional and relational healing to all parties, at times through sharing in losses, and especially through the transformational work in and through the life of the homeless man, is amazing. I highly recommend this film.

Dinner with the Perfect Stranger. 

This film is based on a New York Times bestseller. The perfect stranger just happens to be Jesus. The dinner guest is a frazzled, high-powered female attorney who is growing emotionally distant from her husband, and just doesn’t see how Jesus is germane to her struggles. The dinner conversation, which is the bulk of the movie, is a truly masterfully crafted apologetics conversation, that is very creative and very compelling. It hits the toughest questions with a real freshness and depth that I believe will leave every committed Christian with a thirst to have even more powerful conversations with those who are uncertain about Christianity.

Both of these films are available on Amazon Prime Plus for free. 

Book Recommendations

Soul Making, by Alan Jones. This is truly a brilliant book. Alan Jones is a deep and engaging writer. In this book, he brings some of the best of Christian thinking from the desert tradition in the third and fourth century together with some of the best insights from the psychodynamic tradition in the world of psychotherapy to understand how human beings are substantially transformed by love. It is an authentic and compelling exploration of the human soul and what brings our souls to life.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, by John Mark Comer. John Mark Comer is a younger pastor with some truly fresh and rich insights into the pervasive and even insidious downsides of hurry. He draws on his own personal journey into greater peace and rest to provide us with personally proven ways to look at and engage our lives differently, that is rooted in a robust and attractive understanding of the spiritual disciplines. It is an enjoyable and enlightening read, that will very likely help you make some key changes to enjoy greater life down here.

Ultimate Prizes, by Susan Howatch. Susan Howatch is a highly gifted British writer who has written novels across a range of genres. She has written a number of novels about clergy in the church of England, and this one gives the reader a remarkably insightful understanding of how actual transformation takes place through deep conversations, in this case, through spiritual direction. As I read the book, I was stunned by how much it explains the work I do as a Christian psychologist working from a psychodynamic orientation. If you would like to understand how lasting healing takes place through relationships, that beautifully incorporates the need to understand our own history in order to heal, this read is well worth your time.

May God help you during your break deepen and refine the paradigm of how you approach your life, enabling you to grow closer to God and become more like His Son through the trials and joys life brings your way.

Merry Christmas!