Cover Story: Is it time to awaken your soul?

COVER STORY: Need sanctuary? Hoping for inspiration?

Awakening Soul banner Fran McKendree (1)AWAKENING SOUL—As summer ends, we brace for the challenges of autumn—a “new year” for millions of us in our schools or congregations. Jewish families are looking to Rosh Hashanah 5776 at sunset on September 13. And, in Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals column, you’ll learn that Orthodox Christians mark their liturgical new year on September 1. Most of us are hoping to renew our spiritual energies at some point before the end of the calendar year. This week, our cover story looks at a remarkable November retreat in Ashville, NC, hosted by a longtime friend of ReadTheSpirit: the songwriter and musician Fran McKendree. Fran and collaborator Ann Holtz, once again, are presenting a stirring lineup of artists, musicians and teachers for a three-day retreat in their nationally known AwakeningSoul series.

FAITH GOES POP
MEETS
OUR VALUES

Faith_Goes_Pop_-_Ken_ChitwoodFaith_Goes_PopTHOUGHT-PROVOKING MASH UP—Two popular web sites are combining this week as academic-and-journalist Ken Chitwood publishes a five-part overview of his FaithGoesPop project for readers of OurValues. If you’ve enjoyed some of Ken’s quirky, provocative columns over the past year—here’s a chance to dig into the mission and vision of Ken’s campaign to increase religious literacy in America.

HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS & FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Hindu festival photo thumbnail (1)KRISHNA’S BIRTHDAY—Families of Indian descent around the world, and many others who honor India’s rich spiritual traditions, will celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna this week. Vivid stories of Krishna’s life thousands of years ago have been handed down through Indian tradition. Reverence for Krishna varies by group and region, but the holiday is full of colorful fun in many parts of the world!

LABOR DAYHolidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reaches back to tell some of the history behind this annual holiday. And, no, it’s not just an excuse for a picnic. Countless labor-movement activists worked long and hard to achieve such an honor.

GWB: President George W. Bush looks out over devastation from Hurricane Katrina as he heads back to Washington DC Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, aboard Air Force One. White House photo by Paul MorseREMEMBERING KATRINA—Americans are looking back at the 10-year anniversary of the devastating hurricane. By August 31, 2005, the storm had subsided, but most of New Orleans was flooded. On that day, President George W. Bush decided against visiting the disaster area—but he did ask AirForce One to fly low enough so that he could look out the window at the region. Stephanie Fenton marks the anniversary with this newsy column. In our 2010 American Journey series, we reported from a Vietnamese-American community in New Orleans that still was rebuilding from Katrina even at that 5-year anniversary.

FEED THE SPIRIT

chili-pepper-WikimediaSPICE and HEALTH! FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis writes about a red-hot nutritional study that describes an intriguing link between spicy foods and longevity. The story is called Add Spice to Your Life—and Bobbie includes a recipe for spicy Malaysian mee goreng.

INTERFAITH
PEACEMAKERS

Tracy Chapman in Interfaith PeacemakersSING! SING! SING!
Daniel Buttry’s summer music festival is still going strong. The easy web address to share with friends is: InterfaithPeacemakers.comThis week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry features music videos from around the world—old and new—including Bob Dylan, India Arie and Tracy ChapmanAmong our earlier columns in this Sing! Sing! Sing! series …

FILM,
FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

The wedding of Jen Anesi and Dave Roby at the Michigan Renaissance Festival copyright Rodney Curtis

RENAISSANCE WEDDING—Nationwide, millions of men,women and children love to step back through the centuries for a Renaissance Festival. It’s a perfect destination, this time of year—and writer-photographer Rodney Curtis brings us a gorgeous array of photos from a real-life wedding set in the midst of one of the nation’s larger Renaissance Festivals. Come on! You definitely want to see these photos.

th Stone House in northern MichiganSUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman always is looking for striking coincidences and surprises in the lives of the men and women she meets in her travels. This week, she takes us to northern Michigan to an amazing Stone House that has turned into the perfect home for a family … the Stones.

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Cover Story: Just Imagine, a Beatles 50th anniversary

How the Fab Four shaped our lives

th Rubber Soul album coverDID THE BEATLES CHANGE YOU? With apologies to Sgt. Pepper, this week we’re celebrating a golden anniversary with readers around the world …

It was (50 years) ago today
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They’ve been going in and out of style
But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years …

THE BEATLES—At this milestone, first you’ll want to remember the ways the Beatles reshaped popular culture in the second half of 1965. Plus, to help you sense what it was like 50 years ago, this column includes two short videos of the Beatles taking the stage at Shea Stadium and then performing A Hard Day’s Night on that historic occasion.

ARE YOU SINGING A NEW SONG? That’s the question we asked readers in this related Cover Story, earlier this summer, which reported on inspiring new hymns—and the spiritual power of music.

THEN, we continue our Beatles celebration with …

OUR VALUES & THE BEATLES

The Beatles performing She Loves You 1963Journalist, musician, educator—and Beatles expert—Charles Honey writes a five-part OurValues series about the many ways he has discovered Americans’ lives changed by popular Beatles tunes. Last week, we published an interview with Honey about his new book Faith on First in which a number of his inspiring real-life stories highlight American pop music. This week, we asked him to zero in on the music of the Beatles, a theme of classes he has taught over the years.

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INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

th Interfaith Peacemakers with Pete Seeger Jan Krist and David LaMotte (1)MELODIES OF PEACE—Global peace trainer Daniel Buttry has been showcasing music videos from worldwide peace movements all summer long. Last week, he even included Paul McCartney performing Pipes of Peace in this musical haunting tribute to the legacy of World War I.

This week, Dan writes: People won’t act for change without hope. Hope can come from all kinds of places—inside and out, but when it catches hold of a heart or a people, watch out! This week three of my favorite folk singers work the theme of hope in action. As Irish poet Seamus Heaney puts it: We need to believe that a further shore is reachable from here.

You’ll be moved by this latest collection of videos from Pete Seeger, Jan Krist and David LaMotte. Simply remember the easy web address: www.IntefaithPeacemakers.com

 

 

FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ricki-and-the-flash-movie-20151,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

FAITH GOES POP

The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

Faith_Goes_Pop_-_Ken_ChitwoodFaith_Goes_Pop (1)This week, he looks at TV host John Oliver’s claim of creating a new religion around the website: Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. Chitwood knows his history and reports that in this razor-edged comedic campaign “Oliver joins a long list of parody religions, antibelief systems, and authentic fakes like Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Church of the Almighty Dollar, Disciples of the New Dawn, and the Discount House of Worship.”

 

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HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS & FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Brother-sister-Raksha-bandhan (1)RAKSHA BANDHAN—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on the joyful Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, an ancient festival that celebrates the bond between brother and sister.

REMEMBERING KATRINA—Americans are looking back at the 10-year anniversary of the devastating hurricane. Stephanie Fenton marks the anniversary with this newsy column. In our 2010 American Journey series, we reported from a Vietnamese-American community in New Orleans that still was rebuilding from Katrina even at that 5-year anniversary.

FEED THE SPIRIT

Kitchens of the Great Midwest book cover (1)A NEW NOVEL (AND TASTY TREAT)—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis writes about the humorous new novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and serves up a recipe for one of the richest desserts in the book!

BOUNTY OF SUMMER—Throughout the summer, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis has been serving up some terrific columns like this recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—and columns she calls Just for the Kale of It and Dishes Pop with Paprika.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

Deborah with her daughter Destiny and her son BrianSUZY FARBMAN—Sometimes, life poses challenges that seem to be insurmountable—but GodSigns author Suzy Farbman specializes in reporting true stories of transformation despite such long odds. This week, she writes about a woman she and her husband have known for many years. She calls this story Deborah Lemons-Jacksons steers her family toward a higher calling.

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‘RADICAL TRANSPARENCY’—At ReadTheSpirit, we promote transparency and the cooperative power of readers and writers to improve our work—and our world. Writer Karla Huber recently attended a Michigan gathering of communicators, coordinated by Editor David Crumm, and wrote an online column about how communicators can use this principle.

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th Third Way Newsletter book logoKEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are opening doors at evangelical congregations coast to coast.

David-Gushee-author Changing Our MindDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind is continues to travel widely. Coming up on Sunday August 30, he will preach in the 11 a.m. service at Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This congregation has prepared for that visit in a way that maximizes the impact of his teaching. Members read his book and discussed prior to his visit. Interested in learning more about Dr. Gushee’s work? Visit his author page.

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Cover Story: An inspiring tour from home plate to higher realms

CHARLES HONEY’S ‘FAITH ON FIRST

th Front cover Faith on First Charles Honey (1)COVER STORY—Journalist, educator and musician Charles Honey invites us to tour our spiritual world in new ways. And what an adventure this is!

He takes us from baseball diamonds and concert halls to religious realms that are hard to describe—that is, until we glimpse those realms through the lives of the men and women he introduces us to in Faith on First: Thoughts on  God, Nature and Sacrifice Bunts. They’re all true stories, collected over the years by this award-winning journalist. Today, please meet Charles Honey in this interview with David Crumm. Along the way, Charles will introduce you to Tigers great Hank Greenberg and the early ’60s Beatles. And that’s just a taste of this wide-ranging tour.

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OUR VALUES:
THE DEPTH OF A SALESMAN

th Pre WWII auto dealership postcardA TRUE STORY—This week, popular author Benjamin Pratt returns for an OurValues series that also involves a true story from Ben’s recent encounter while shopping for a car. You may already be shaking your head at this idea. The values of a salesman? Really? Isn’t the only real value the bottom line? In this series you’ll discover some fresh perspectives!

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LAUGH IN PEACE‘ IN JERUSALEM

th Bob Alper and Ahmed Ahmed Laugh in Peace comedy show (1)
NEWS on the first-ever interfaith comedy tour of Israeli and Palestinian communities is mixed. The major Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that Rabbi Bob Alper was barred from performing on stage in the Ramallah stop on the tour by the organizer of this first-ever comedy revue. Ha’aretz correspondent Danna Harman says the producer of the show got nervous about featuring a funny rabbi in the lineup of comics before a large crowd in “Palestine’s de facto administrative capital.” However, Bob did travel to Ramallah with the group to support his friends; he sat in the audience—and did receive a “shout out” mid-show from his Muslim-Arab friends on stage. Other than that one disappointment, the Bob Alper and Ahmed Ahmed Laugh in Peace! tour appears to be a big hit.

Just discovering this news? Read our story about this historic interfaith comedy tour.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

th Interfaith Peacemakers Eric Bogle John McCutchen Paul McCartneyInspired by our stories about Bob Alper, Ahmed Ahmed and their friends? Then your spirits will be lifted even higher by the wealth of stories about such courageous peacemakers, most of them written by global peace educator Daniel Buttry—at www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com.

This weekDan continues his “Summer Music Festival” (which brings us a collection of music-videos from peace movements around the world) with a special focus on the World War I centennial. Yes, that’s Paul McCartney in a version of Pipes of Peace in the photo. And that’s just one of the seven videos featured this week!

vietnamese american catholics worship in New OrleansHONORING VIETNAMESE-AMERICANS—Peacemaking is a major theme at ReadTheSpirit and we were pleased to find an important new story about Vietnamese-American resilience 10 years after Hurricane Katrina in The New York Times on Sunday. In our 2010 American Journey series, we reported from that same community in New Orleans that was rebuilding from Katrina even at that 5-year anniversary. In the Sunday Times, scholar Mark VanLandingham reported on research into the cultural strengths of this community, which was one of the first of the poorer neighborhoods to rebuild after the disaster.

This week, Holidays and Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton also writes about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

th Gibran The Prophet movie still1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

FAITH GOES POP

Ken Chitwood Faith Goes Pop imageThe creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

This week, his new headline says it all: Religion Is Everywhere—we just have to know where to look for it. What does this fast-food illustration have to do with that theme?  You’ll have to click on over to Ken’s department to find out!

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HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
& FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Marcus-Garvey-Square-paintingMARCUS GARVEY’S BIRTHDAY—A forgotten footnote in African-American history? Hardly. Many men and women around the world still mark the birthday of this larger-than-life pioneer.

REMEMBERING KATRINA—Americans are looking back at the 10-year anniversary of the devastating hurricane. Stephanie Fenton marks the anniversary as well with this news column.

OBON—The colorful festival with Buddhist roots, mingled with Japanese-Shinto traditions, reaches its crescendo in mid August in many communities, including the festive Bon Odori dance.

FEED
THE SPIRIT

seinfeld and the-black-white-cookieFAMOUS BLACK-AND-WHITE COOKIE—Fans of Seinfeld remember when the popular New York cookie became fodder for comedy 40 years ago. This week, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis reflects on this treat—and gives us a New York recipe for them, too!

TASTY BOUNTY OF SUMMER—Throughout the summer, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis has been serving up some terrific columns like this recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—and columns she calls Just for the Kale of It and Dishes Pop with Paprika.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

Emily Martin (1)SUZY FARBMAN—Summer is a good time to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in many years. In this column, Suzy explores the life of a classmate who, today, is best known to the world as the anthropologist, feminist and educator Emily Martin. (If you’re traveling this summer and missed it—earlier, Suzy wrote about the life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland.)

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KEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are opening doors at evangelical congregations coast to coast.

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS).

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Cover Story: Laughter in the Middle East?

‘LAUGH IN PEACE’ HEADS TO JERUSALEM

th Bob Alper and Ahmed Ahmed Laugh in Peace comedy show (1)SOUND STRANGE? Maybe—but it’s true!

The New York Post calls this interfaith comedy tour of Israel and the West Bank “a historic first.” The JNS wire service reports that the Laugh in Peace! interfaith laugh-fests already have broken down some barriers between Muslims and Jews in the U.S., especially on college campuses where both communities buy tickets and laugh side by side.

Now, in a series of shows with various Arab and Muslim comedians, Rabbi Bob Alper will see how Israelis and Palestinians respond to their cultural stew of stories. This week, our Cover Story reports on this daring comedy pilgrimage—including a couple of the new jokes Alper is willing to share with us in advance.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

New York Times covers James Lawson and anti nuclear Hiroshima eventYou’ll find a wealth of stories about such courageous pioneers at www.InterfaithPeacemakers.comOur entire team of contributing writers was thrilled this week to find a big, colorful story in the New York Times about peacemakers gathering in Los Alamos to mark the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima’s bombing with an anti-nuclear demonstration. Featured prominently in the Times photographs and story was James Lawson, a prophetic figure profiled by the founder of Interfaith Peacemakers, Daniel Buttry. The Times also covered peace activist John Dear, who was featured in a ReadTheSpirit interview in 2008, when Dear’s memoir was published.

Interfaith Peacemakers Summer Music Festival Stones Jackson BrowneIf you missed our Cover Story last week—here is the list of stories we published to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombings in Japan.

SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALDaniel Buttry continues to add terrific music videos this week to expand his online “Summer Music Festival” dedicated to the long tradition of promoting peace through music. Dan is serving up anti-war music from the Rolling Stones, Jackson Browne—and more!

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OUR
VALUES:
CHRISTIANITY & PATRIOTISM

Emanuel Baptist Church Charleston with people in memorial after shootings (2)A POTENT MIX OF VALUES—We welcome contributing writer Duncan Newcomer back to OurValues this week for a thought-provoking five-day series about the connections and collisions involving two of the most potent forces in the U.S.—Christianity and Patriotism.

FILM,
FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Testament of Youth movie poster (3)1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

Jaws movie poster (1)FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings. This week, among other news items, he spots a thought-provoking column in The Jewish Chronicle that offers an alternative interpretation of the blockbuster Jaws. Perhaps, says the Chronicle column, the subtext of Jaws was about the long legacy of anti-Semitism and Jewish self expression. Ken offers his own perspective—and also covers news about Jim Gaffigan and even “Gospel roller skating.” Check it out!

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HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
& FOOD

UN International Youth Day (1)Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY—Around the world, UN-co-sponsored programs are engaging youth and encouraging them to help with decision making on the planet’s future. The 2015 theme is “Youth Civic Engagement” and marks the 30th anniversary of the first International Year of Youth.

ASSUMPTION/DORMITION—Western and Eastern branches of Christianity mark the ancient festival honoring the end of the life on earth of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Catholics call this the Assumption of Mary; Orthodox know it as the Dormition of the Theotokos. The traditional observance extends back to the early centuries of Christianity.

Odori-Obon-festivalOBON—The colorful festival with Buddhist roots, mingled with Japanese-Shinto traditions, reaches its crescendo in mid August in many communities, including the festive Bon Odori dance. And, this Obon story also has a news item about the American WWII veterans going to Japan on a peace pilgrimage to return sacred family flags of fallen Japanese soldiers.

FEED
THE SPIRIT

asparagus-soupCOOKING HER WAY TO HEALTH—This weekFeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis tells the story of Jessica Fechtor who recovered from a near-fatal health crisis, partly through the food she ate, cooked and wrote about. And, Bobbie brings us a delicious recipe for asparagus soup.

TASTY BOUNTY OF SUMMER—Throughout the summer, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis has been serving up some terrific columns like this recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—and columns she calls Just for the Kale of It and Dishes Pop with Paprika.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th Paul and Jayden HreskosSUZY FARBMAN—Sometimes, one family can make a big difference in the world. GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about Paul and Patti Hreskos and their quest to help improve the foster-care system for children. (If you’re traveling this summer and missed it—last week Suzy wrote about the life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland.)

RODNEY CURTIS—Our resident satirist, aka author of The Spiritual Wanderer, tries to voice the frustration of many with Donald Trump’s angry rants against women and minorities. What if … Rodney wonders: What if … this was all just a Hollywood blockbuster?

th Third Way Newsletter book logoKEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are opening doors at evangelical congregations coast to coast.

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS).

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Cover Story: Life arising from ashes of WWII 70 years ago

FINDING HOPE IN WAR’S END

End of World War II (2)What’s your emotion?
Sadness. Anger. Pride. Love. Fear. Perhaps a fresh commitment to peace. All of these are jumbled in the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end. At ReadTheSpirit, our writers are bringing you stories focused on lives transformed and signs of hope as we reach this global milestone. We urge you to share these stories with friends to spark healthy discussion.

Start your reading with our two stories about anniversaries. First, we report on the way the atomic bombings have been remembered by Americans—first in the decade after the war under U.S. censorship, then once honest reports on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were allowed to circle the world. That story ends with tips on finding local events remembering Hiroshima.

Then, The Kiss—We report on the many emotions that pull at families around the world as they remember WWII’s end. The power of that emotion was captured in the famous photograph The Kiss. Suzy Farbman writes about the man widely believed to be the actual kisser that day.

INSIDE HANNAH’S SUITCASEReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm reviews a documentary that tells the remarkable story of Japanese children wanting to learn about the war and contribute to world peace—who eventually reach out to a family half way around the world still scarred by the Holocaust.

Friendship-and-Faith-front-cover-info (2)FRIENDSHIP & FAITH—One of the most inspiring stories we’re sharing comes from the Friendship & Faith collection of real-life stories about women who found the simple act of making friends could transform their lives. This true story by Dr. Motoko Huthwaite, called Views from the Enemy Camps, tells how she found herself as a girl living in both the U.S. and Japan during World War II.

LIFE ARISES
FROM HIROSHIMA

children sharing paper cranes they have foldedOUR VALUESFor this anniversary week, OurValues creator Wayne Baker welcomes a special 5-part series by international peace activist Daniel Buttry on many ways lives were transformed—and new commitments to life were made—from among the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Part 1, Buttry tells the story of a little girl who inspired people around the world to make and share thousands of paper peace cranes.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—You’ll also be inspired by the more than 100 profiles of men and women who dared to make peace at www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com and then this week, Daniel Buttry has added to this website a collection of music videos from several post-war periods that reflect on the atomic bombings—and include inspiring images of peace memorials. The first music video especially illustrates some of the colorful installations in Hiroshima’s Peace Park.

FAITH, FILM
& POPULAR CULTURE

1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

readthespirit_wpengine_netdna-cdn_com_visual-parables_wp-content_uploads_sites_21_2015_07_VPAug15-preview_pdf 2NEW ISSUE of THE JOURNAL—Veteran faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty freely distributes movie reviews to readers around the world. He supports his work by selling his monthly Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with detailed study-guides for individual reflection or small-group discussions. The new issue includes guides to such popular films as Mr. Holmes, Minions and Testament of Youth.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

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HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
& FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Odori-Obon-festivalOBON—The colorful festival with Buddhist roots, mingled with Japanese-Shinto traditions, reaches its crescendo in early August in many communities, including the festive Bon Odori dance. And, this Obon story also has a news item about the American WWII veterans going to Japan on a peace pilgrimage to return sacred family flags of fallen Japanese soldiers.

WWII ANNIVERSARIES—As mentioned above, we report this week on worldwide memories of the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima’s bombing and the end of WWII.

sliced bread puddingHONOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES—Since 1994, the United Nations has been urging countries around the world to learn about the diverse cultures of the world’s ancient communities. Stephanie Fenton reports on the growing significance of this annual observance.

TASTY BOUNTY OF SUMMER—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis is serving up some terrific food columns (and recipes) this summer. This week, she’s got a recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—so Bobbie also tells the story behind Americans’ custom of sliced bread. If you’ve been out gardening this summer and missed it, readers are raving about her recent columns (and their accompanying recipes) so check out Just for the Kale of It and don’t miss Dishes Pop with Paprika.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th Paul and Jayden HreskosSUZY FARBMAN—Sometimes, one family can make a big difference in the world. This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about Paul and Patti Hreskos and their quest to help improve the foster-care system for children. (If you’re traveling this summer and missed it—last week Suzy wrote about the life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland.)

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This will perform close to his Vermont home on August 5 at the Manchester Community Library. Then, Bob heads to Israel for a three-date tour in his “Laugh in Peace” series. He will perform with his Arab-Muslim comedy colleague Ahmed Ahmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from August 15-17.

th Third Way Newsletter book logoKEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are opening doors at evangelical congregations coast to coast.

Map of New ZealandDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind also is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS). Now, he’s traveling in New Zealand to serve as visiting scholar for Victoria University in Wellington—with lectures also in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Auckland. You can follow Dr. Gushee’s trip via Facebook at: www.facebook.com/davidpgushee.

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Cover Story: Celebrate pets with Dr. Seuss (and maybe unite the world)

EXPLORING WITH DR. SEUSS & POPE FRANCIS

th Cover Dr Seuss What Pet Should I GetUNITING THE WORLD …
Sound impossible? Well, look at the almost universal excitement greeting Dr. Seuss’s new book about pets—and the vast crowds who just greeted Pope Francis in South America. Millions of men and women around the world care about animals and the fate of our natural world. Among Americans, many of us consider animals a part of the family. This week, we’re showing you how these powerful connections could help us bring our world a little closer together.

AN INTERFAITH ACTIVIST—Pope Francis is not alone in calling people of faith to protect the species that call Earth our home. In this profile, meet Reasa Currier who works for the Humane Society of the United States in connecting religious leaders from traditions that call them to care for animals. (Hint: Nearly every religion does!)

th Pope-Francis-on-the-cover-of-National-Geographic-magazine-2015-1WHY THE POPE MATTERS—Since the historic publication of his letter about the environment, Pope Francis has received mixed reviews from some politicians and business leaders in the U.S. But he continues to be lionized by most Americans as well as millions in the Southern Hemisphere who understand the urgent problems posed by the environmental dangers we face. If you share Francis’s concern for our planet—please read this column, which is packed with news and information you can discuss with friends.

th New York Times Book Review on Dr Seuss What Pet Should I GetAN ADVENTURE WITH DR. SEUSS—Two decades after Theodor Geisel’s death, his “new book” has Americans excited about setting off on one more adventure with the beloved “Doctor.” Dr. Seuss’s What Pet Should I Get? will be released on Tuesday, but already it’s a best seller. Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker created the OurValues series to spark widespread discussion on timely issues. So, this week, five OurValues columns will explore Seuss’s pets—and some famous animals embodying our core values.

Start with Part 1Exploring Dr. Seuss and What Pet Should I Get?

INTERFAITH
PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers dot com Summer Music Festival Carrie Newcomer Bruce Cockburn Crosby Stills NashSING! SING! SING!
We’re publishing inspiring stories about music’s world-changing power. The destination: InterfaithPeacemakers.com.

This week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry, who is based in South Africa at this moment, is continuing his musical series on the theme “Don’t Shoot! (1965-2015)” with music videos from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carrie Newcomer and Bruce Cockburn. Please, share this latest series of videos with friends. Among our recent “New Songs” columns …

FAITH, FILM
& POP CULTURE

Mr Holmes movie still (1)1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

MR. HOLMESIan McKellan is delightful in this new chapter in the Sherlock Holmes movie canon. Faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty makes Mr. Holmes his Feature of the Week and says: Don’t miss it! Then, more movie reviews to enjoy …

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

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HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
& FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Virgin-Mary-Dormition (1)FAST FOR MARY—Christians around the world who follow ancient Orthodox traditions will begin fasting on August 1 and will focus on prayers recalling the Dormition, or the falling asleep of Mary at the end of her life.

ENJOYING ‘FIRST FRUITS’—Millions with English, Irish and Scottish roots, as well as modern Pagans, will celebrate harvest festivals sometimes called Lammas or Lughnasadh. Stephanie Fenton writes about the roots of these traditions and, if you’re wanting to join in the tradition of baking bread this week, she also recommends a book on sacred breads with recipes.

Paprika-peppers-by-Miklos-300x222THE BOUNTY OF SUMMER—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis is serving up some terrific food columns (and recipes!) this summer. Readers are raving about the sweet-and-tangy kale-and-mango salad Bobbie gave us last week in “Just for the Kale of It.” This week, she explores the heritage of paprika—and gives us a recipe for a simple, flavorful chicken simmered with paprika.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th Cover Misty Copeland Life_In_Motion (2)SUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the amazing life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland. Suzy’s column tells Misty’s story of overcoming a chaotic childhood, discovering dance as a teenager—and you’ll also find links to key radio interviews and Misty’s gripping autobiography. In Suzy’s words, this is a “WOW” story.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This will perform close to his Vermont home on August 5 at the Manchester Community Library. Then, Bob heads to Israel for a three-date tour in his “Laugh in Peace” series. He will perform with his Arab-Muslim comedy colleague Ahmed Ahmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from August 15-17.

Veterans memorial (2)ARE VETERANS HEROES? Journalist and educator Joe Grimm reminds us of an important point largely lost in the controversy over whether John McCain—or any veteran—wants to be called a “hero.” Joe heads up the Michigan State University School of Journalism “Bias Busters” program, which recently completed a nationwide effort to talk with veterans. The MSU group finally published an important new book explaining many issues that veterans wish civilians understood. One of those issues? That “hero” label.

th Third Way Newsletter book logoKEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Interested? You’ll want to read …

Map of New ZealandDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind also is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS). This week, he’s headed around the world to New Zealand to serve as visiting scholar for Victoria University in Wellington—with lectures also in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Auckland.

For religious intellectuals who have advocated same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s repeated invocation of the word “dignity” in his majority opinion seemed to be a very deliberate reference to religious teaching.

“Dignity, the high value of each individual person, their immeasurable value, their sacred value, is in its roots a Christian value,” said the Rev. David P. Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. “Dignity language is a widely used cognate for the idea that every person is made in God’s image and is sacred for that reason. So what I think Judge Kennedy did was reach to one of the core concepts of our civilization.”

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Cover Story: Hard to talk with your parents? Here’s help!

Let’s talk across generations

th Missy Buchanan with Lucimarian Roberts daughter of Robin Roberts of Good Morning AmericaMEET MISSY BUCHANAN—You may remember her from Good Morning America, when Robin Roberts introduced Missy as the woman who helped her mother Lucimarian write a best-selling autobiography. That memoir was created after Lucimarian personally reached out to Missy because of all the work she has done writing inspirational books about the lives of older Americans. This week, we talk with Missy about her newest book—featuring 20 dialogues between aging parents and their adult children on hot-button issues so many of us have faced. If Missy can help guide your family through just 1 of those issues—you’ll be glad you found her book today.

MEET ‘AGING AMERICA’

th Public domain photo of a happy older man along the shoreOUR VALUES—The OurValues project is designed to spark healthy conversations nationwide and this certainly is a timely issue: As a nation, we’re getting older and we’re facing some truly “disturbing” problems as we add millions of senior citizens each year. But, this week our message is: Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Here’s a fascinating series that looks at the cold hard facts about aging—but also reports some hopeful findings as well. It’s a perfect week to share OurValues with friends.

HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
& FOOD

Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

Bob-Marley-headshot-laughingCELEBRATING WITH BOB MARLEY—This summer, our readers already have been remembering the peacemaking themes in Bob Marley’s music. Had he lived, Marley would have been 70 this year and, this week, Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on Rastafari remembrances of their great musical leader. Thursday is the birthday of Haile Selassie, who gave the Rastafari movement its name and inspiration.

FASTING AT TISHA B’AV—The ancient Jewish tradition of mourning the destruction of the temples in Jerusalem still calls on observant men and women to fast for 25 hours as they remember these events. In modern-day communities, this connection with long-ago tragedy is a spiritual challenge, our story reports.

Mormon-Tabernacle-choirCHEERING PIONEERS IN UTAH! This week is Pioneer Day, one of the biggest and most colorful holidays in the calendar of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and his followers ended a thousand-mile search for a permanent settlement and an escape from religious persecution. In many Mormon communities, especially in Utah, it’s time for parties, parades, rodeos and fireworks.

kale-by-amy-qTHE BOUNTY OF SUMMER—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis brings us a refreshing seasonal salad as mangos and kale are at their prime. She calls it “Just for the Kale of It.” You’ll learn about the heritage of kale and you’ll find a tasty recipe for “massaged” kale-and-mango salad. Perhaps that’s a cooking technique you’ve never tried? Go on … check it out today—and share it with friends.

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

th Movie poster from The 100 Year Old Man Who Jumped Out the Window  (deleted 8178b661ba00849fda371ad22c589843)1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

Singing a new song?

th Guitar from Wikimedia Commons (2)SING ALONG WITH US! Our recent stories about new inspirational music are prompting a chorus of readers to join in song. It’s true: Music can change the world. First, we reported on a Catholic-Jewish song-writing duo giving the world a new song based on Pope Francis’s prayer for creation. Then, we reported on a famous hymn writer whose song for the tragedy in Charleston is spreading around the world.

SHARING ‘A POWERFUL SONG’—The son of our faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty is Scott McNulty, organist at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.  When The New Yorker magazine was looking for a sound clip of Carolyn Gillette’s powerful new hymn, the call went out through musical networks to Scott who enlisted cantor Benjamin Cox from an Austin Catholic church to help produce a quick recording. Their audio now is featured in the New Yorker article about the new hymn. (Look for a Podcast in the middle of the story.) Scott wrote us this week that he and Benjamin were eager to help. “Our hope is that the recording will encourage other congregations to sing this powerful song, and begin or continue to fight for the rights of all people.”

Interfaith Peacemakers Music Festival with John Legend J Cole and Alicia KeysINTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—Global peacemaker Daniel Buttry continues his Summer Music Festival featuring music videos guaranteed to get your toes tapping—and your heart set on acts of kindness and justice. If you’re just joining us, so far …

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th Debby Davison 1950 to 2015 Poster created by demachkiedesign comAN INSPIRING LIFE—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the life of the late KEYT broadcaster Debby Davison, an inspiration to friends and a generous activist for many causes. 

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to travel with his trademark blend of “clean” humor. He’ll be performing close to his Vermont home, soon. If you’re in southern Vermont on Augut 5, you can catch his stand-up act at the Manchester Community Library. Then, Bob heads to Israel for a three-date tour in his “Laugh in Peace” series. He will perform with his Arab-Muslim comedy colleague Ahmed Ahmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from August 15-17.

Ken Wilson of A Letter to My Congregation in the newsKEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Interested? You’ll want to read …

David-Gushee-author Changing Our MindDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind is becoming one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS). Are you near Georgia this month? Dr. Gushee will be preaching at the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia, on Sunday mornings through the end of July.

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