Cover Story: How are you sharing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy?

YOUR ROLE IN KING’S LEGACY

th Martin-Luther-King-Jr (1)COVER STORY—In January 2017, Americans find the new president verbally attacking U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a national hero of the civil rights movement and friend of the late Dr. King. (Here is author Daniel Buttry’s inspiring profile of Lewis’s activism beginning with the Freedom Riders.) The new president also has canceled a King-day visit that would have shone a global spotlight on the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

After a decade of publishing inspiring stories about peacefully building healthy communities—it is clear, here at ReadTheSpirit, that Dr. King’s legacy depends on millions of ordinary Americans actively deciding to carry forward King’s values. So, to honor and promote King’s legacy, we offer these helpful resources to read—and to share with friends:

Please, share these stories …

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WHY WE MUST RESPOND

pbs-independent-lens-the-witness-documentary-about-kitty-genovese-caseKITTY GENOVESE REMEMBERED—PBS soon will broadcast a remarkable, moving documentary about the infamous New York murder of Kitty Genovese in the 1960s. Headlines about the murder circled the globe because of “38 witnesses” who were aware of the attack and yet refused to help. David Crumm reviews the documentary and explains why it’s such a great discussion starter right now.

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GOD SIGNS

megan-brudney-btsYOUNG RABBI FIND HER CALLING—You may be surprised that Suzy Farbman’s inspiring GodSigns column this week starts with a story of a young woman seeking her calling in life—and ends with a message very much in keeping with the emphasis on King’s legacy this week. Please, enjoy this story about Rabbi Megan Brudney.

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REMEMBERING THE HOLOCAUST

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

UNITED NATIONS APPEAL—The older Yom Hashoah memorial comes later each year, but it is also helpful, now, that countries around the world start 2017 by remembering the Holocaust—pledging to be vigilant. Columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

CHECK OUT ALL THE 2017 OBSERVANCES—It’s as simple as visiting www.InterfaithHolidays.org where you’ll find all of 2017’s major observances listed. Plus—right now, we’re inviting readers to look over that new calendar and alert us, please, if you spot an occasion we’ve missed.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

01-17-vp-january-preview_pdf-3ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. In addition, please consider supporting Ed’s ongoing work by subscribing to his long-running magazine, Visual Parables Journal. Widely used by clergy, teachers and individuals who want to reflect on the spiritual themes in movies, the new January 2017 issue is packed with complete study guides.

Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Plan now to mark Reformation’s 500th anniversary

Understand Our Turbulent History

luther-2017-500-years-of-reformation-logo-poster-1LUTHER 2017—”Plan now!” That’s what popular author Benjamin Pratt advises all of us—after having taken his own tour through the sites where Martin Luther set off an explosive change in global culture 500 years ago.

How important is this anniversary? In 2007, when our staff launched ReadTheSpirit magazine, our first words to readers were: “We haven’t seen times like these in 500 years.” That’s right: We were advising readers, a decade ago, to begin preparing for this anniversary as a way to understand the turbulent changes in world culture and conflict.

Start your reading this week with Benjamin Pratt’s column about the anniversary. At the start of Ben’s column, we’ve added an Editor’s Note explaining the historical significance. Then, at the end of Ben’s column, you’ll find additional helpful links, ranging from the history of the Reformation to German-sponsored tourism websites that can help you find fascinating places and events to explore.

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greg-warner-article-in-baptist-global-news-about-love-and-cohabitationValues of Love and Life

SPEAKING OF REFORMATION—A major change in religious values over the past half century is the widespread practice of living together before marriage. Author and nationally known Christian ethicist David Gushee was included among the scholars included in this very thoughtful story about the issue by Greg Warner of Baptist News.

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HOLIDAYS

Dr Martin Luther King Jr from Library of CongressCHECK OUT ALL THE HOLIDAYS—It’s as simple as visiting www.InterfaithHolidays.org where you’ll find all of 2017’s major observances listed. Plus—right now, we’re inviting readers to look over that new calendar and alert us, please, if you spot an occasion we’ve missed.

PLAN AHEAD FOR KING DAY—This year, millions of Americans plan to mark the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in a more purposeful way. It’s coming on January 16, so plan ahead by reading our holiday story by Stephanie Fenton.

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tony-acosta-on-the-tennis-courtGOD SIGNS

CONVERGENCE ON THE COURTThis week, Suzy Farbman’s GodSigns column features tennis pro Tony Acosta. Through a remarkable convergence on his court—Tony discovered he had a life-threatening heart ailment.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson.

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

Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: How can we serve you, and the world, in 2017?

new-years-eve-ball-falling-1

 

PLEASE, HELP—As 2017 begins, our staff wants to hear from you about stories you wish journalists would cover, this year, concerning about religious and cultural diversity. Now more than ever, our world needs journalists to highlight hopeful stories—lifting up individuals, communities, books and films that point us all toward the creative and compassionate possibilities of diversity. Please, read this brief column asking for your ideas. (And, yes, if you are reading these words, we’d like to hear your ideas.)

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interfaith_calendar__religious_and_cultural_observances_-_religious_holidays

HELP US WITH THE HOLIDAYS!

THE YEAR AT A GLANCE—ReadTheSpirit provides a unique service to readers around the world. For years, holidays expert Stephanie Fenton has chronicled the stories behind religious holidays and also auspicious anniversaries. To start 2017, Stephanie has updated the annual master list that readers find via www.ReligiousHolidays.org and, over time, this list becomes the clickable index to stories that take readers inside these colorful, diverse observances. Please, help us! Look over the new 2017 list. Tell us what we’ve missed. If you spot what you think is an error—please, check it out and let us know!

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sending-doug-leith-ashes-into-the-waters-1STILL IN THE GAME

DRIVING MR. LEITH—Each week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman brings us inspiring stories of remarkable people—and remarkable twists in life. This week, especially if you’re a golfer, you’ll want to read about the way Doug Leith’s family chose to remember their patriarch.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

jackie-movie-poster-2ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org.

Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Help us make this a truly Happy New Year

YOUR IDEAS MATTER 

Chapel in the Alps.

PLEASE, HELP—As we end 2016, our staff wants to hear from you about stories you wish journalists would cover in 2017 about religious and cultural diversity. Now more than ever, our world needs journalists to highlight hopeful stories—lifting up individuals, communities, books and films that point us all toward the creative and compassionate possibilities of diversity. Please, read this brief column asking for your ideas. (And, yes, if you are reading these words, we’d like to hear your ideas.)

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FORCE OF FAITH

cc-being-flown-to-shepherd-hospital-to-undergo-rehab-1GOD SIGNS—Speaking of stories we all should read—and share—in the new year …

Each week, author and columnist Suzy Farbman brings us true stories about men and women whose lives take inspiring turns through love and faith. This week, she writes about a nearly fatal auto accident and its aftermath for a young family. (Go on! You won’t want to miss this amazing story.)

 

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END THE ‘BAIT & SWITCH’

th Third Way Newsletter logoTHIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER—Author and pastor Ken Wilson, a nationally known champion of diversity, publishes an appeal on LGBTQ inclusion as a new year approaches: “End the Bait and Switch.” Ken writes about the many congregations nationwide where LGBTQ folks seem to be invited, and only later discover some painful barriers.

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th Hanukkah_candlesHOLIDAYS!

Check out all the holidays! Visit www.InterfaithHolidays.com

CELEBRATE FREEDOM—One of the major themes of this eight-night Jewish festival of lights is religious freedom. Our Hanukkah story is packed with intriguing information about the holiday, plus a link to a FeedTheSpirit column about making latkes. And, of course, we have a link to that Maccabeats Hanukkah song that’s now been viewed on YouTube more than 12 million times!

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th Kwanzaa-party-celebrationKWANZAA TURNS 50!

STILL CELEBRATING—In recent years, Kwanzaa observances reportedly have declined in the U.S., but journalists are predicting a wider awareness this year as participants reach the Golden Anniversary of this African-American festival. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story, including newsy links to several other publications covering the 50th anniversary.

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FEED THE SPIRIT

green-bean-queen-1YOU’LL LOVE THIS! Food-and-culture writer Bobbie Lewis brings us a column (and recipe) that you’re sure to savor: “Green Bean Caserole—the true story!” As various New Year’s parties—and, in January, Super Bowl parties—loom, we all know that tons of this traditional hot dish will soon be bubbling away in ovens nationwide. It’s a tried-and-true standard in countless church potlucks and holiday dinners, as well. But, did you know that the recipe was popularized by a Jewish woman?

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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.

passengers-movie-still-1Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Good news for the holidays …

chef-matt-prentice-with-jewish-and-muslim-mitzvah-day-volunteers-in-2015-2

GOOD CHEER …
… WITH INTERFAITH COOPERATION

MITZVAH DAY—Depending where you live around the world, you may be familiar with “Mitzvah Day” programs that take place each autumn, especially in the UK, encouraging interfaith volunteerism. In Michigan, where ReadTheSpirit is based, Mitzvah Day is something else: Because of metro-Detroit’s large populations of Muslims and Jews, community leaders put out an annual call to step forward on Christmas Day. Since Muslims and Jews don’t celebrate that holiday, religiously mixed groups from these two communities step up and fill many roles usually covered by Christians. This lets more Christian families celebrate the holiday—and Muslim and Jewish men and women pitch in, side by side, running everything from soup kitchens to hospital wards. Suzy Farbman has this inspiring story for us. This event holds special meaning this year for Jewish volunteers, since Christmas is the first full day of Hanukkah in 2016.

Check out all the holidays! Visit www.InterfaithHolidays.com

th Hanukkah_candlesHAPPY HANUKKAH!

CELEBRATE FREEDOM—One of the major themes of this eight-night festival of lights is religious freedom. Our Hanukkah story is packed with intriguing information about the holiday, plus a link to a FeedTheSpirit column about making latkes. And, of course, we have a link to that Maccabeats Hanukkah song that’s now been viewed on YouTube more than 12 million times!

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AND FROM BOB ALPER—Given the convergence of these two global holidays, this year, let us also recommend that you enjoy author and humorist Bob Alper’s story, Mrs. Steinberg’s Christmas Tree. In this delightful true story, Bob looks back to confusion over the holidays when he was a kid growing up in the 1950s. Don’t miss it!

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las-posadas-procession-1

HISPANIC CHRISTMAS—The elaborate Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially began December 16 with Las Posadas—or Posadas Navidenas—across Mexico, in Guatemala and in regions of the United States.

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SPREAD GOOD NEWS

readthespirit-dot-com-bookstoreWANT INSPIRATION? This is a perfect time to order ReadTheSpirit books! You’ll be encouraging our authors—and doing something good for yourself and friends by sharing books like This Far By Faith, the inspiring (and funny) memoir of pastor and pioneering “green” activist Faith Fowler. Our opening Mitzvah Day photo, this week, was taken in 2015 at Faith’s Cass Community Services center in Detroit.

visual-parables-december-2016-issue-1LOVE MOVIES?
Consider ordering a year’s subscription to Visual Parables Journal. Visit faith-and-film columnist Ed McNulty’s home page and click on the link at the top of the page to “Visual Parables Journal.” Each month, you’ll get a new issue of the Journal packed with complete study guides to popular movies. It’s fun for individuals who love to think about the movies they are seeing—and a sure-fired way to spark discussion in your small group.

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la-la-land-movie-stillFILM, 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 movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Give the gift of Spirit this holiday season

IT’S NOT TOO LATE

readthespirit-dot-com-bookstoreSPREAD THE GOOD NEWS—There’s still time to order ReadTheSpirit books before the holidays! You’ll be encouraging our authors—and doing something good for yourself and your friends by giving books like This Far By Faith, the inspiring (and funny) memoir of pastor and pioneering “green” activist Faith Fowler. That’s one of our best sellers, guaranteed to provide hours of reading enjoyment—and a spiritual boost that makes readers want to get up, get out and help other people, just like Faith herself. Or maybe you prefer a book with spiritual wisdom—and recipes, too! Perhaps you want to learn more about immigrants to America in the new year, a vulnerable group in this era of global tensions. Or, you simply want some good news about all the values that truly do unite Americans, even now. Please, check out our ReadTheSpirit bookstore. On behalf of all of our authors—we appreciate you thinking about these books as year-end gifts.

visual-parables-december-2016-issue-1LOVE MOVIES?
Another gift to consider for friends who enjoy making faith-and-film connections is a year’s subscription to Visual Parables Journal. Visit faith-and-film columnist Ed McNulty’s home page and click on the link at the top of the page to “Visual Parables Journal.” Each month, you’ll get a new issue of the Journal packed with complete study guides to recent movies (and often more than one classic film as well). Plus, with a year’s subscription, you get access to all the back issues, too. It’s fun for individuals who love to think about the movies they are seeing—and a sure-fired way to spark discussion in your small group.

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Remembering heroes …

kim-marsella-and-astronaut-neil-armstrong-1GODSIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman brings us a heartwarming, real-life story of a convergence that reaches to the stars—yes, quite literally. At the loss of astronaut John Glenn in recent days, most Americans are remembering those courageous fellows who took us into outer space half a century ago. In fact, many of those early astronauts have been models of gracious behavior throughout their lives. This week’s GodSigns column is about one woman’s friendship with Neil Armstrong—sparked because of a special memory of her late grandfather.

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las-posadas-procession-1HOLIDAYS

Check out all the holidays! Visit www.InterfaithHolidays.com

HISPANIC CHRISTMAS—The elaborate Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially begins December 16 with Las Posadas—or Posadas Navidenas—across Mexico, in Guatemala and in regions of the United States.

WARM YOUR HEART—Here’s a holiday gift idea (for yourself or someone you love) that we guarantee you won’t find in other American magazines this year: The terrific new Winter collection from Ruth Burgess and the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Publications. And, the book includes one of the all-time most popular columns by our own Benjamin Pratt: Angel in the Dump.

pocket-church-stillPOCKET CHURCH—This free Christmas gift is one of the most creative ideas we’ve heard about from readers nationwide, this year. Pastor Sarah Teichmann and her husband Erik of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are the creative force behind this mini-video series they call Pocket Church. Sarah emailed us this explanation: “Pocket Church began as a way to connect people to their faith while they were on vacation or on the road. Take church with you! These little videos are right there in your pocket—on your phone or tablet. Faith formation can happen in the pew as well as on the run.” Intrigued? The easiest way to explore this idea is right here. If you dig a little bit, you’ll also discover—and enjoy—Sarah’s Cooking with Clergy video series! No kidding!

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la-la-land-movie-stillFILM, 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 movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Life Lessons from the Native Way

TIMELY VOICE FROM INDIAN COUNTRY

Voices in the Stones_cvr-fnl.inddKENT NERBURN RETURNS—For months, readers around the world have been asking us about the spiritual issues swirling around the Standing Rock pipeline protests in Sioux country south of Bismarck, North Dakota. News on Sunday (Dec 4, 2016) of a major victory for the protesters is electrifying environmentalists and Native leaders around the world—but the “victory” could be reversed by an incoming Trump administration. In light of news events, many of you have asked us to publish a ReadTheSpirit cover story to highlight the much deeper issues unfolding in the Great Plains. With perfect timing, Kent Nerburn—a best-selling interpreter of Native American life—offers us a 200-page collection of stories and reflections on Indian culture, called Voices in the Stones. Please, read this interview of Kent Nerburn—and consider reading his new book with friends, this winter.

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St. Nicholas & Christmas

AN ADVENT TALE—In the midst of growing darkness in our Northern Hemisphere, we offers this column contrasting the latest news from New York and Rome on darkness, hope and the need for compassion.

wpid-1203th_St_Nicholas_from_Turkey.jpgEASTERN ORTHODOX Christians began their annual Nativity Fast on November 15. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has that story. Western Christians began Advent, their liturgical period anticipating Christmas on November 27.

THIS WEEK, many Christian families around the world also are looking ahead to the Feast of St. Nicholas, the forerunner of our pop-culture Santa Claus.

Check out all the holidays! Tell friends about the simply Web address: www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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winter-book-cover-wild-goose-publications-iona-books-2HOLIDAY IDEAS FROM BEN PRATT

WARM YOUR HEART—Here’s a holiday gift idea (for yourself or someone you love) that we guarantee you won’t find in other American magazines this year: The terrific new Winter collection from Ruth Burgess and the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Publications. And, yes, the book does include one of the all-time most popular columns by our own Benjamin Pratt: Angel in the Dump.

AND, STIR YOUR HEART—Our readers also tell us they’re looking for ways to stir their consciences this holiday season, as well. Once again, Benjamin Pratt offers two suggestions: First, he reviews the documentary film, The Homestretch, from Icarus Films. The movie takes us deep into Chicago’s homeless community to follow young people struggling to make it through school, despite long odds. Second, he reviews Talent Has Hunger, by First Run Features. This documentary is “pure joy,” about the life of a master music teacher. Either film would make an unusual and spirit-stirring gift this holiday season.

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kim-candace-and-jennifer-1Of Light (and Darkness)

GODSIGNS—Suzy Farbman’s column this week tells the story of three sisters, who lost their mother in a tragic accident. Fond memories of their mother are marked by both light—and unexpected darkness.

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pluralism-hands-karlahuber-1Thank you, Karla

A VOICE TO FOLLOW—One reason we remain a strong community of readers and writers after a decade of publishing ReadTheSpirit is the support of colleagues like writer Karla Huber. A big “Thank you!” goes out to Karla, this week, for calling attention to the cross-cultural publishing work of the team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. If you haven’t discovered Karla’s website, please check it out. She shares thoughtful columns and also some of her own inspiring artwork. The world is a little better because compassionate voices like Karla’s are part of the chorus.

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th Third Way Newsletter logoAnd speaking of compassion …

THIRD WAY—Another team of colleagues doing good in the world, each week, writes under the collective name: Third Way Newsletter. This week, Ken Wilson offers some helpful reflections on the challenges of life and faith in the midst of an ascendant Trump culture. You may be surprised by Ken’s pastoral voice on these issues. Please, check it out.

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visual-parables-december-2016-issue-1FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. The Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides on recent films—enjoyed by individuals and small groups—is the one resource Ed sells to support his ongoing work. The December 2016 issue is now available. Please consider subscribing.

Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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