Cover Story: Remembering the Armenian Holocaust, despite Hollywood turmoil

WE MUST REMEMBER

Armenian-Genocide-Memorial Rodney Curtis (2)COVER STORY—As this new weekly issue of ReadTheSpirit goes public on April 24, 2017, the day marks both Yom Hashoah and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. As we say in our Cover Story this week, it’s tragic to find yet another global dispute sparked by deniers of the Armenian Genocide—this time involving dueling feature films, one of which tries to deny the scale of that World War I-era crime against humanity. To help with our collective call to remembrance—today, we recommend some films and books you may want to read and share with friends.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Sugarcane juice (1)The easiest way to remember Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals section of our magazine is via the simplified address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

ACROSS INDIA—This week, make an investment, buy a bit of gold—or sip a cool cup of sugarcane juice—and you’ll be following customs associated with the festival known as Akshaya Tritiya.

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wpid-0501_Beltane_Fire.jpgWELCOME THE LIGHT! Some of the biggest Beltane headlines, each year, come from Scotland and the fiery festival held for many years in Edinburgh. But Beltane festivals—welcoming the brighter half of the year in the Northern Hemisphere—now circle the globe. Stephanie Fenton has that story, too.

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Ridvan-garden (1)RIDVANThe festival of Ridvan recalls a sacred period when Baha’u’llah, the Promised One for Baha’is, entered and temporarily took up residence in the Najibiyyih Garden, in 1863. The site was renamed by Baha’u’llah as “Ridvan,” meaning “paradise.”

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Cinco de Mayo Dancers in WashingtonCINCO DE MAYO—This popular May 5 observance is an occasion to revel in Mexican food, culture, dance and music. Many American schools and communities hold Mexican educational events, and iconic Mexican symbols—including the Virgin of Guadalupe—are displayed.

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OPENING BUTTERFLY WINGS

Kim Cornetet receives her butterfly wings

GOD SIGNS—In this week’s column, Suzy Farbman introduces Kim Cornetet, whose family encouraged her to spread acts of kindness. Eventually, Kim discovered that this goal had become the core of her life’s vocation. Recently, Kim was honored as a visionary by a national nonprofit that empowers girls—and, as a colorful symbol, she was given a set of butterfly wings. You may want to share this story with friends.

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FILM & FAITH:
Last chance on free movies!

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.

04-17-VP-April-Preview_pdfEd supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

IN APRIL, Ed is offering 5 free movies on DVD and/or Blu-ray to 5 men and women who either subscribe for a year or renew their existing annual subscription for another year (before April 30). Here’s how it works: As April ends, we will put the names of people who subscribed/renewed into a hat and draw 5 winners. Then, Ed will email the winners, in the order their names were drawn, and give them a choice of the free movies. There are some wonderful movies available! The list of 5 prizes starts with the thought-provoking Silence and includes the hit movie Arrival, as well. Click here to subscribe/renew and get in on this drawing.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Maggie Rowe, Sin Bravely and Hollywood’s new compassion for evangelicals

‘KIND COMEDY’ AIMED AT EVANGELICALS?

Cover of Sin Bravely by Maggie Rowe (2)COVER STORY—Hollywood’s century-old love-hate relationship with evangelicals is swinging in the direction of compassionate humor, these days. That’s thanks to the kind hearts and keen talents of writers like Maggie Rowe. This week, our Cover Story is an interview with Maggie about the debut of her memoir, Sin Bravely—and her plans to develop this honest, humorous look at her evangelical roots into a TV series. We think there’s potential here for a new genre of kind comedy, poking fun at extreme religion without skewering all religious people. Come on! Enjoy our cover story, get the book and you’ll be way ahead of the trend when Maggie’s stories become the next big thing in series television.

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BRIGHT WEEK & HOLY HUMOR SUNDAY

Bright Week Procession in Jordanville New York (1)The easiest way to remember Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals section of our magazine is via the simplified address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

LOVE TO LAUGH? For more than 30 years, one man has campaigned tirelessly to bring laugh-out-loud humor into congregations on the Sunday after Easter. No, it’s not some kind of pop-culture trend. In fact, Cal Samra’s campaign reaches back nearly 2,000 years to ancient Christian tradition.

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Remembrance candles.

AND SOMBER REMEMBRANCE—For all of our coverage of humor, this week, communities around the world will remember the Holocaust starting at sundown on Sunday, April 23, with Yom Hashoah. The documented rise of anti-Semitic incidents around the world underlines the urgency of remembering—and continuing activism to preserve vulnerable minority communities. Concerns are as fresh as news reports that Nazi sympathizers are part of a leading political campaign in France, at the moment. Stephanie Fenton reports on Yom Hashoah traditions.

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Multicultural Health Institute homepage (1)HELPING OTHERS

GodSigns—Dr. Lisa Merritt embodies service to others—from her own family to the many families helped by her Multicultural Health Institute. GodSigns writer Suzy Farbman brings us the inspiring story of a woman who has dedicated her life to service.

 

 

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FILM & FAITH:
WIN A FREE MOVIE!

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.

04-17-VP-April-Preview_pdfEd supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

IN APRIL, Ed is offering 5 free movies on DVD and/or Blu-ray to 5 men and women who either subscribe for a year or renew their existing annual subscription for another year (before April 30). Here’s how it works: As April ends, we will put the names of people who subscribed/renewed into a hat and draw 5 winners. Then, Ed will email the winners, in the order their names were drawn, and give them a choice of the free movies. There are some wonderful movies available! The list of 5 prizes starts with the thought-provoking Silence and includes the hit movie Arrival, as well. Click here to subscribe/renew and get in on this drawing.

land-of-mine movie still (4)Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Wishes for an inspiring Easter & Passover

Celebrating with Religious Communities Worldwide

Easter-lily (2)COVER STORY—Since our online magazine was founded in 2007, this has become our greatest strength: We have published thousands of stories about religious and cultural diversity with our balanced approach to journalism. And, this week, we can see readers around the world flocking to read our stories about Easter and Passover.

th Passover-seder-plate-Sarah-Biggart-e1426519503157What’s surprising is that, this week, our two most popular Passover columns both were published more than a year ago—and both are drawing readers from around the world via Google searches and links shared by friends.

As usual, the majority of our readers are based in the U.S. But, for these two columns, our Internet analytics show readers arriving from countries including: Canada, the United Kingdom and other English-speaking nations such as Australia and New Zealand. Europeans in Germany, France, Spain, Hungary and Estonia have read one or both of these columns—plus Latin American readers, including Mexicans and Hondurans. Most noteworthy, though, are readers spending time with these two columns in Africa, from Ghana and Nigeria to South Africa, as well as the Arab/Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.

In this era of rising hate speech and tensions between minorities, our columnists are making substantial contributions to interfaith understanding. What are these two most-popular Passover columns—based on the consensus of our readers’ own choices?

The Mystery of the Passover Potato Gnocchi—Part of the continuing international appeal for this 2015 column in Bobbie Lewis’s FeedTheSpirit may be the Australian home of Bobbie’s guest: Andrea Cooper. In addition to covering Passover customs, the column includes a delicious recipe for gnocchi.

This-Jewish-Life-front-cover-info (1)Out of Bondage—Several years ago, we published sample chapters from Debra Darvick’s popular book, This Jewish Life, a collection of real-life stories of men and women with experiences connected to the cycles of the Jewish year. Out of Bondage highlights the timeless power of the Passover Haggadah as Debra recalls the deep emotions that surface when immigrants from Russia experience the Seder.

In addition, every week, readers around the world visit Stephanie Fenton’s coverage of Holidays & Festivals. The easiest way to remember Stephanie’s home page is the simplified address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org. This is another of our magazine’s trademarks: We cover a major festival like Passover from multiple perspectives. Bobbie and Debra are both well known Jewish writers. Stephanie’s column is always geared for general readers, so her main Passover column provides background on the holiday mainly aimed at non-Jewish readers.

Happy Easter!

th ukrainian Easter-egg-pysanki-Karen-LarsenOf course, the majority of our readers live in the U.S. and the majority of the population is Christian. The latest Pew report on the world’s religious landscape totals 2.3 billion Christians worldwide, which is 31 percent of the world’s population. (The rest of the new Pew data show: Muslims make up 24 percent of the world’s population, unaffiliated people account for 16 percent, Hindus 15 percent, Buddhists 7 percent, Folk religions 6 percent and, rounding out the report are “other religions” at 0.1 percent and the world’s Jewish minority at 0.01 percent.)

This week we are covering these Christian holidays:

THE PASCHAL TRIDUUMSome churches use this traditional phrase to describe the ancient liturgies that fill three days before Easter. These colorful, solemn practices include the blessing of holy oils in Catholic churches, the washing of feet, communion services and special draping of church altars.

EASTER / PASCHA—West and East converge this year on April 16! Stephanie Fenton reports on the wide range of colorful customs and stories related to this holiday around the world.

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PBS The Great War about World War I (2)WAR & REMEMBRANCE

CENTENNIAL OF ‘THE GREAT WAR’—In our review, this week, we urge readers to either tune in or record a remarkable six-hour PBS documentary about America’s entry into World War I in April 1917. Don’t mistake this epic film for “just another war story.” A great deal of the new documentary examines civil rights issues, a century ago, that remain as timely today as they were in that earlier era.

 

 

 

 

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FILM & FAITH:
WIN A FREE MOVIE!

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.

04-17-VP-April-Preview_pdfEd supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

IN APRIL, Ed is offering 5 free movies on DVD and/or Blu-ray to 5 men and women who either subscribe for a year or renew their existing annual subscription for another year (before April 30). Here’s how it works: As April ends, we will put the names of people who subscribed/renewed into a hat and draw 5 winners. Then, Ed will email the winners, in the order their names were drawn, and give them a choice of the free movies. There are some wonderful movies available! The list of 5 prizes starts with the thought-provoking Silence and includes the hit movie Arrival, as well. Click here to subscribe/renew and get in on this drawing.

land-of-mine movie still (4)Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Publishers Weekly, ‘Jesus is still a fascinating figure’

REJECTING AND REVIVING RELIGION

Publishers Weekly PW magazine March 27 2017 with story on Blue Ocean 01COVER STORY—The most important milestone in religion, right now, is the tug of war between millions of Americans who are rejecting religion—and millions who are experiencing spiritual revival. The truth is: Often, the same people are pulling on both ends of the rope! That’s the message of a new Publishers Weekly (PW) report on trends in the latest spiritual books. We’re pleased that PW has included Blue Ocean in its in-depth coverage of this trend. Take a moment to read our story about transformation—and inspiration!

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Vivid Reminder: ‘Media’ are not ‘Enemies’

William Wyler's The Memphis Belle (1)3 PROVOCATIVE VIDEOS—You’ve heard the charge: “Media are enemies of the people.” If you’re reading our online magazine, you likely agree with professional journalists that, as The Washington Post now puts it: “Democracy dies in darkness.” But, you may not realize the risks and challenges media professionals face in trying to capture “the truth.” Now, three important video documentaries explore the century-long struggle faced by filmmakers trying to tell the truth—during some of the world’s darkest hours.

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Urn of Delia Calderin's ashes in Delin's home (1)SOIL OF A HOMELAND

GodSignsThis week, columnist Suzy Farbman brings us the story of a Cuban-American family, separated from their homeland by the Communist revolution many decades ago. With the death of the family’s matriarch, however, a decision about final remains fell to the next generation. Here’s the story of how they navigated that spiritual challenge.

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PASSOVER IS COMING

th Passover-seder-plate-Sarah-Biggart-e1426519503157ALL THE HOLIDAYS—Check out www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

PASSOVER—Jewish families around the world mark the ancient festival of freedom starting at sunset on April 10. Stephanie Fenton has the story about this observance, which involves recalling the story of freedom from slavery—and always prompts questions about the need to respond to injustice in our contemporary world, as well.

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wpid-0322th_Palm_Sunday.jpgPALM SUNDAY—As Stephanie Fenton reports, this is one of those rare years when Eastern and Western Christians converge on the same date for Easter, the most important holiday in the Christian year. Before that, though, comes the colorful festival of Palm Sunday.

wpid-0421_thumb_Benedict_XVI_foot_washing_at_Vatican.jpgTHE PASCHAL TRIDUUMSome churches use this traditional phrase to describe the ancient liturgies that fill three days before Easter. These colorful, solemn practices include the blessing of holy oils in Catholic churches, the washing of feet, communion services and special draping of church altars.

EASTER / PASCHA—West and East converge this year on April 16! Stephanie Fenton reports on the wide range of colorful customs and stories related to this holiday around the world.

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FILM & FAITH:
WIN A FREE MOVIE!

ED McNULTY is a national treasure among film critics. For decades, he has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.

04-17-VP-April-Preview_pdfEd supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

IN APRIL, Ed is offering 5 free movies on DVD and/or Blu-ray to 5 men and women who either subscribe for a year or renew their existing annual subscription for another year (before April 30). Here’s how it works: As April ends, we will put the names of people who subscribed/renewed into a hat and draw 5 winners. Then, Ed will email the winners, in the order their names were drawn, and give them a choice of the free movies. There are some wonderful movies available! The list of 5 prizes starts with the thought-provoking Silence and includes the hit movie Arrival, as well. Click here to subscribe/renew and get in on this drawing.

Cover of American Conscience Rienhold Niebuhr (3)Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Diana Butler Bass asks, ‘What if we got the story wrong?’

‘THEOLOGY OF FRIENDSHIP’ & ‘COMMONS’

Diana Butler Bass at Ann Arbor First United Methodist Church 2017 03 25 (2)DIANA’S LARGER VISION—Popular author and scholar Diana Butler Bass has been barnstorming the country over the past year, talking about her vision of an emerging spirituality that she describes as Grounded. This past weekend, she taught three days in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The message of inclusion in a global “commons” continues to expand as Bass travels and talks. ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm reports on some of the provocative questions she is raising these days.

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Bees at Dos Manos Apiaries (1)A HONEY OF A STORY!

GodSigns—Each week, GodSigns author Suzy Farbman brings us a fresh story of a remarkable person whose life has taken an unexpected turn. In this case, organic farmer Noel Patterson was given an unexpected gift, which wound up transforming him into a beekeeper—and bee educator. Go on—read the column. It’s a sweet story!

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PASSOVER IS COMING

th Passover-seder-plate-Sarah-Biggart-e1426519503157ALL THE HOLIDAYS—Check out www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

PASSOVER—Jewish families around the world mark the ancient festival of freedom starting at sunset on April 10. Stephanie Fenton has the story about this observance, which involves recalling the story of freedom from slavery—and always prompts questions about the need to respond to injustice in our contemporary world, as well.

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wpid-0322th_Palm_Sunday.jpgEASTER and PALM SUNDAY—As Stephanie Fenton reports, this is one of those rare years when Eastern and Western Christians converge on the same date for Easter, the most important holiday in the Christian year. Before that, though, comes the colorful festival of Palm Sunday.

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Cover Blue Ocean Faith book by Dave Schmelzer (1)A New Jesus Movement

WHAT’S IN THAT BLUE OCEAN? Recently, we introduced Dave Schmelzer, head of a daring new religious movement launching nationwide this spring: Blue Ocean Faith. The book, and the movement is taking off coast to coast!

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. For many years, Ed has supported his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. The March 2017 issue of Visual Parables Journal is now online.

Cover of American Conscience Rienhold Niebuhr (3)Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: What religion stories do we need to hear in 2017?

From Journalists Around the World

th the Blue Marble Earth from spaceCOVER STORY—What religion stories are most important to lift up in 2017? What stories are under-covered in the media? Two of us at ReadTheSpirit participated in a global online forum sponsored by the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) asking for responses to those important questions. You’ll be intrigued and inspired to discover what reporters from the six continents had to say. This week our Cover Story is based at the website of the IARJ.

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WELCOMING SPRING

spring-tree-equinox (1)ALL THE HOLIDAYS—Check out www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

EQUINOX, OSTARA, NOROUZ—It’s spring! That’s the simplest way to describe this cluster of holidays known by many names: Equinox, Ostara or in various traditions with origins in the Middle East and Asia—Norouz, Nowruz or Naw-Ruz. Stephanie Fenton has the story about these global responses to the changing of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.

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PASSOVER—Jewish families around the world mark the ancient festival of freedom starting at sunset on April 10. Stephanie Fenton has the story about this observance, which involves recalling the story of freedom from slavery—and always prompts questions about the need to respond to injustice in our contemporary world, as well.

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wpid-0322th_Palm_Sunday.jpgEASTER and PALM SUNDAY—As Stephanie Fenton reports, this is one of those rare years when Eastern and Western Christians converge on the same date for Easter, the most important holiday in the Christian year. Before that, though, comes the colorful festival of Palm Sunday.

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African cooking story (1)FEED THE SPIRIT

AFRICAN COOKING—This week, FeedTheSpirit Editor Bobbie Lewis brings us a guest column by Detroit-based artist and writer Sarah Rose Sharp about a community partnership involving a Catholic church and two regional nonprofits presenting classes called “A Taste of African Heritage”—a nutritional education effort that explores the intersection of healthy eating practices and African heritage.

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Cover Blue Ocean Faith book by Dave Schmelzer (1)A New Jesus Movement

DIVE INTO BLUE OCEAN—Recently, we introduced Dave Schmelzer, head of a daring new religious movement launching nationwide this spring: Blue Ocean Faith. The book, and the movement is taking off coast to coast!

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

March 2017 Visual Parables Journal thumbED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. For many years, the one publication Ed asks subscribers to pay for is the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films and other news about multi-media resources for discussion. The March 2017 issue now is online! Please, consider subscribing—or giving a gift subscription to someone you know. It’s great for clergy, teachers and anyone who enjoys movies as a springboard to spiritual reflection.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: A spiritual pilgrimage through chronic depression

A SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE FOR MILLIONS

Crossing Myself by Greg GarrettCOVER STORY—Our regular readers are familiar with the inspirational writing of Greg Garrett, who we have featured in this magazine many times over the years. This week, Greg talks about his life-long experience of depression.

A decade ago, Greg first published a spiritual memoir about the depths of his struggle with this common and deeply troubling disorder. Now, he has extensively updated that memoir and talks with us about depression from the perspective of someone who has survived its most lethal challenges. He also highlights the difficulty of getting people to talk about this problem, a gap that can leave sufferers feeling even more isolated. Finally, Greg talks about the role religious communities can play in recovery. This is an interview you’ll want to read and, almost certainly, will want to share with a friend.

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LOSSES: Where do you find delight?

Benjamin Pratt little red truck (1)IT ISN’T EASY—We’re facing so many losses this year, aren’t we? That’s the question raised by popular columnist and author Benjamin Pratt this week. We might experience these losses from the process of aging—but that’s not all to this little story. Plus, Ben welcomes readers to share this column with others to spark discussion. Got a class or small group that enjoys discussing questions like this? You’re free to print out this column and pass it around.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

CHECK OUT ALL OF 2017’s SPECIAL DAYS—It’s as simple as visiting www.InterfaithHolidays.org

St Patrick in stained glassONE EASTER—This is one of the unusual years when the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity converge on a single date for Easter: April 16. Currently, the entire Christian world is in the midst of Lent.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY—Oh my! What’s a good Irish Catholic to do this year as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday in Lent! To fast or not to fast? That’s just one of the holiday-related questions Stephanie Fenton answers in her salute to the Irish saint. And, yes, she’s also got links to recipes if you’re planning a festive meal. Her column also includes links to Patrick’s most famous prayer: The Breastplate.

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6 siblingsGod Signs

SUZY FARBMAN—Each week, Suzy brings us a story about the remarkable ways our lives intertwine—sometimes in the way we remember loved ones we have lost. This week, she tells the story of a woman who fondly remembered her father through a clunk on the head. No kidding. What helps you to recall those you’ve lost?

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Launching a New Jesus Movement

Cover Blue Ocean Faith book by Dave Schmelzer (1)500 YEARS AFTER LUTHERMeet Dave Schmelzer, head of a daring new religious movement launching nationwide this spring: Blue Ocean Faith. Plus, we’ve got easy links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble if you want to learn more about this launch.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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