The Soloist

Photo courtesy of DreamWorks

Photo courtesy of DreamWorks

(First published at The Point)

To fix or befriend? That is the question that plagues journalist Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey, Jr., in the poignant true-story film The Soloist, which premiered Friday).

When Lopez, a popular columnist for the L.A. Times, stumbles across Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a schizophrenic homeless musician, a story is born. Soon, Lopez finds himself caught in the tension between crafting a brilliant story about a Juillard student turned homeless man, and looking out for a guy who simply needs someone to care.

But for Lopez, that tension is soon overshadowed by a deeper tension: to help Ayers or simply be his friend?

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Faith Like a Child: Kaitlyn Maher

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwAbtizFCzo&hl=en&fs=1]

Holding the microphone close to her little mouth, Kaitlyn stares confidently out into the audience, and begins the first few lines of her favorite song, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me …”

About a year ago, on her way to an audition for America’s Got Talent, then 4-year-old Kaitlyn Maher told her father, “Daddy, I want to see the sparkles come down.” Gently, Reuben told his young daughter that it would be nice if she would make it all the way to the Top 10, but that if it didn’t happen it would be okay.

“Daddy, I’m going to ask Jesus,” Kaitlyn responded, bowing her head to ask Jesus to let her see the confetti fall at the night the winners of the show are announced, but adding that if it wasn’t His will, she didn’t want it.

Despite wowing the crowd with a simple rendition of “Somewhere Out There,” Kaitlyn didn’t make it to the Top 10. But she was invited back for the final night as a special guest. As the confetti fell from the sky, the winner held Kaitlyn high in his arms. Reuben realized that God had answered Kaitlyn’s prayer.

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My Own Prisoner

suzanne2I’ve met so many prisoners and ex-prisoners, I hardly blink anymore. As a writer for Prison Fellowship, I’ve interviewed lifers in Louisiana, call girls from Michigan, meth dealers from California, bank robbers from Iowa, and sex offenders from Oregon.

And then I met Suzanne.

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