Cover Stories: Of launches … and losses …

Launching ‘Recess’ and Remembering Marcus Borg

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INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers David Rosen Bruce Feiler Adel Imam and Omar SharifINSPIRE YOURSELF—The front page of Daniel Buttry’s Interfaith Peacemakers hosts more than 150 inspiring profiles of men, women and some children who risked making peace in our troubled world. This week’s new stories …

 

OUR VALUES

th President Obama greets congressional pages at State of the UnionIF POLLS RULED—We all know that American political parties are deeply divided. But are we, as Americans, so polarized? This week, OurValues creator Dr. Wayne Baker looks at national polling on 10 pressing issues.

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WE ARE CAREGIVERS

th We Are Caregivers logoWE’RE BACK!—Our popular series of columns to help America’s 65 million caregivers took a break, and now returns this week with a guest column by Wayne Baker about some very practical ideas—not to mention fun ideas—to help brighten the day of the caregiver in your life.th Mourners Kadish

  • GOD-SIGNS—Suzy Farbman, author of GodSigns, also dedicates her column this week to acts of kindness—and the remarkable story of caregiver Debbie Barton who … Well, just read this story and you’ll smile.
  • DEBRA DARVICK—If you are a caregiver in a deeply troubling situation, we urge you to read Debra Darvick’s heart-felt column “A Year of Kaddish Draws to a Close.” So many family caregivers are likely to see themselves in Debra’s journey.

HOLIDAYS
and FESTIVALS

th Yad-Vashem-Hall-of-Names-Victims-RemembranceALL THE HOLIDAYS—Remember our master calendar, www.InterfaithHolidays.com, as you’re exploring events and milestones in coming months. This week, you’ll enjoy ..

 

Faith, Film, Food
and Popular Culture

th Paddington movie stillVISUAL PARABLES—Faith and film writer Edward McNulty recommends three movies this week: 2 for the whole family and 1 not for families. McNulty’s reviews are at Visual Parables.

th MissionFAITH GOES POP—This thoughtful column by Ken Chitwood could be listed with the Interfaith Peacemaker stories, above, for its focus on looking beyond the world’s horrors—to the men, women and children touched by global conflict. Please, take time to read Ken’s fresh reflections on the classic film, The Mission.

  • GET INVOLVED—FaithGoesPop echoes across the Internet. You can follow Ken on Twitter @KChitwood and, if you’re discussing these columns, add the hashtag #FaithGoesPop

 

  • th Edison American ExperienceHOW ‘EDISON’ CHANGED OUR WORLD—In this review, David Crumm explains why you shouldn’t miss PBS’s two-hour film about the many ways Thomas Edison transformed civilization.
  • th David Gushee Changing Our Mind headlinesBULLYING IS NO LAUGHING MATTER—Our anti-bullying comics section features one of America’s most unusual comic heroes: Rabbi Harvey of the Wild West.
  • DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD—That’s a major goal of our ReadTheSpirit publishing house and this week we want to call attention to our author David P. Gushee, will be discussing his new book Changing Our Mind at the annual pastor’s gathering for Evangelical Covenant Church Pastors in Denver, Colorado Thursday, January 29. The event title, Mission Friends 4 Inclusion is for pastors who are interested in a more inclusive future for their Church.

th potato-kugel-rebecca-siegel-e1421363358290FEED THE SPIRIT—Week after week, our food columnist Bobbie Lewis brings readers fascinating stories about the way we eat and, in the process, the ways we connect with family, community and tradition.

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Cover Story: In the spirit of Dr. King …

Building the ‘Beloved Community’

Dr Martin Luther King Jr from Library of CongressDr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a “beloved community” where all people are welcomed and treated with dignity. For King, religion was not a cause of division but an avenue to the deeper unity of love that should be expressed in justice for all. That’s an excerpt from Daniel Buttry’s profile of Dr. King in our Interfaith Peacemakers department.

Interfaith Peacemakers

Interfaith Peacemakers Tom Fox Christian De Cherge Imam Moussa al SadrIn this special week, I hope to extend our global conversation. … Peacemakers around the world continue to risk their lives and I want to remind readers of three lesser-known martyrs. That’s Daniel Buttry’s introduction to three inspiring stories featured in our Interfaith Peacemakers department:

Setting Off Sparks of Kindness

th Sparks of Kindness imageOUR VALUES—Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker, creator of the OurValues project, looks at “Sparks of Kindness,” the many ways we can foster healthier, happier communities through the small, daily choices we make.

OUR WRITERS KNOW:
HEALTHY MEDIA
BUILDS HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

“Media” means connection and, at ReadTheSpirit, we are proud to work with a wide array of columnists and authors who understand that healthy media builds healthy communities. The following news items showcase recent work by some of our writers:

th Front cover MSU guide 100 Questions about Muslim AmericansJOE GRIMM & MSU ‘BIAS BUSTERS’—At the Michigan State University (MSU) School of Journalism, Joe Grimm is leading the cheering section this week for his talented crew of students known as “Bias Busters.” Joe wrote this column about the unusual project and his students’ latest book.

DAVID GUSHEE & ‘CHANGING OUR MIND’—Known as one of the nation’s leading Christian ethicists, Dr. David Gushee is helping evangelical families and congregations nationwide to welcome LGBT men and women. Many readers have shared this interview with Dr. Gushee.

  • th Changing Our Mind cover with David P GusheeNEW WHAT REPUBLICANS CAN LEARN—A front page story in the Jan. 19 NY Times offers a good reason for conservative Republicans to snap up a copy of Dr. Gushee’s book. The Times reports that the Supreme Court’s decision to settle the issue of gay marriage is a cause for celebration by the GOP, because the hot-button issue will be resolved before the next election. Throughout 2015, Dr. Gushee is making appearances across the U.S. and, in his public events, conservatives may want to listen to his story and learn about how to discuss this issue in a welcoming way with their evangelical constituencies.
  • NEW COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU—Dr. Gushee already appeared in Chicago in early January; soon, he will be speaking at an evangelical pastors conference in Denver. In February he will speak at New York’s Fordham University and Union Theological Seminary. Check out his schedule at http://davidpgushee.com/speaking.html
  • NEW LATEST HEADLINES—Here is an overview of news headlines about Dr. Gushee’s work. Among the newest headlines: Robert Cornwell’s Ponderings on a Faith Journey names Changing Our Mind one of the Best Books of 2014. In the Huffington Post, author and religious leader Steve McSwain published this story about Dr. Gushee and McSwain also posted this Vimeo video of their interview.

th United America cover by Wayne BakerWAYNE BAKER & ‘UNITED AMERICA’—Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker is the Robert P. Thome Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. His major book, United America, is the result of his years of research into American values.

  • NEW A BOOST FOR ‘POSITIVE BUSINESS’—This week, Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh reports that Stephen Sanger, former head of General Mills, and his wife Karen are making a $20-million gift to create a new Ross School center “with the aim of developing leaders who not only succeed at business but also make a positive impact on the world and their communities.” In his work at Ross, Dr. Baker also is part of building “positive business” as one of Ross’s central pillars. Here is a series Dr. Baker wrote about “positive business.

th Fannie Stahl Brighton Beach 1935BOBBIE LEWIS &  FEED THE SPIRIT—This week, food columnist Bobbie Lewis is knitting together community memories—one knish at a time. Bobbie’s columns comprise the most deliciously inviting departments within our online magazine. One week, she’s sharing a Swedish cookie tradition; another week, she’s writing about the hospitable customs of English tea.

th Richard-Balzhiser-center-Number-28-with-teammates-on-the-University-of-Michigan-football-team-of-1953SUZY FARBMAN & GODSIGNS—Veteran journalist and author Suzy Farbman finds stories about hope and healing in unlikely places—usually involving unexpected twists and turns in the lives of men and women nationwide.

  • NEW GO BLUE—Since ReadTheSpirit’s home office is in Ann Arbor, now, you’ll forgive us for a bit of “Blue” bias. (We also are proud to work with MSU here in Michigan!) This week, in Suzy Farbman’s GodSigns column, you’ll meet a who woman fondly recalls her father from—well, from an unlikely sign of blue.

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Cover Story: Mom and daughter rediscover their love

MEET JANE AND ELLEN KNUTH

th Jane and Ellen Knuth with their book Love Will Steer Me TrueCOVER STORY—Our author interview this week welcomes Jane Knuth, the popular inspirational writer, and her daughter Ellen who have just published a memoir about their relationship called, Love Will Steer Me True. Their true story follows Ellen half way around the world and eventually to the aftermath of a nuclear disaster in Japan. Jane writes half of the book from her home in the Midwest; Ellen writes the other half of the story. But the real magic in their story is its potential to help you think in fresh ways about loved ones close to your home.

OUR VALUES:
FINANCIAL INSECURITY

th Trickling Down ProsperityTHIS WEEK, OurValues creator (and United America author) sociologist Wayne Baker looks at some troubling implications of Americans’ financial insecurity. He asks readers: “The economy is making a comeback, but are you? How financially secure or insecure do you feel? Today, find out from a new poll what insecurity means for the political process and democracy.”

INTERFAITH
PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers Richard St Barbe Baker Laura Hobgood Oster and Holmes Rolston IIIA ‘NATURAL’ COMMUNITY—One of our goals in 2015 is publishing occasional stories of peacemakers who build healthier communities around their concern for the natural world and especially for animals. Today, Daniel Buttry’s Interfaith Peacemakers section begins with three profiles.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

th Kite shop in IndiaCELEBRATE 2015—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has completely updated our diverse 2015 “master calendar” of holidays from around the world plus milestones and anniversaries, as well. Remember the easy link: www.InterfaithHolidays.com New stories this week …

FOOD, FILM AND POPULAR CULTURE

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Cover Story: Marc Bekoff, ‘ReWilding’ our hearts, and the Pope

Bekoff on ‘rewilding’ (and the pope’s thoughts on pets)

th Marc Bekoff Rewilding Our Hearts and a wolfWELCOME BACK scientist and writer Marc Bekoff, best known for his columns and books that share the latest news about research into animal consciousness, psychology and sociology with readers around the world.

WAKE UP!
A CLARION CALL FOR 2015

th Ernest Hemingwy at Finca Vigia home in CubaThis week, as 2015 is beginning, 3 ReadTheSpirit writers bring you 4 stories that proclaim: “Wake up!” These eye-opening stories are:

th US Capitol dome divided left and rightOUR VALUES:
AMERICA 2015

TO START the new year, sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker asks readers: “What are the striking stories from 2014 that foretell events in 2015? This week we’ll cover five of them, including politics, religion, economy and the family. What’s on your list?”

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th Rosca de reyes Mexican King CakeSTART THE YEAR RIGHT! Bookmark our master calendar of holidays and festivals, and tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com for an entire year of fascinating stories, packed with intriguing links and tips from columnist Stephanie Fenton.

ARE YOU AN INTERFAITH PEACEMAKER?

th Interfaith Peacemakers in the Middle EastYOU CAN HELP! Author and global peacemaker Daniel Buttry shares more than 100 inspiring profiles of men and women who have risked becoming “Interfaith Peacemakers.” Simply read these stories and share them with friends to encourage awareness that peace is possible.

FAITH, FOOD, FILMS
AND POPULAR CULTURE …

  • th Scene from Immigation GameVISUAL PARABLES—Faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty urges readers to go see the thought-provoking and suspenseful film The Imitation Game.
  • CATCHING UP ON THE BEST MOVIES? Ed McNulty guides you through the long list of terrific films that opened recently. If you’re a film fan, you’ll enjoy reading what he has to say about: Big Eyes (5 out of 5 stars), The Babadook (4 stars), Foxcatcher (4 stars), Wild (4 stars), Annie (4 stars) and Unbroken (4 stars).

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Happy New Year! What are your ‘Family Treasures’?

OUR VALUES: FAMILY TREASURES

th united america family treasuresFor the new year, sociologist Wayne Baker is publishing two new activity guides for sparking spirited discussion in your small group or class. Last week, we published a five-part OurValues series about the first activity: “Taste of Home.” (That series of stories took readers from a traditional smokehouse in Tennessee to a seder table, and from the mountains of Afghanistan to a neighborhood dinner in the Midwest.) This week, you’re sure to enjoy a second series (accompanying a free activity guide) called: “Family Treasures” …

CENTENNIAL OF THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE

Interfaith Peacemakers Centennial of the Christmas Truce100 years ago, British, German and French men spontaneously laid down their guns in  The Christmas Truce across the trenches of World War I. Over the last week, our stories about that bittersweet day of hope and courage ranked as the most-read stories in our online magazine. This week, we are repeating these popular headlines. Please, continue to share them with friends:

PRACTICE ‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers
Got a little holiday cash you can spend to promote peace and encourage growth in your community? Please, consider …

THE HOLIDAYS

th Times Square New Years Eve Waterford ball

FOOD, FILM,
POPULAR CULTURE
… AND MORE

th Rolo-turtles-by-Glorious-Treats-e1419022700343

Movie still from Unbroken

  • VISUAL PARABLES—Just a few days left for new subscribers to purchase a whole year of Edward McNulty’s popular monthly magazine, Visual Parables Journal, at $10 off the normal price.
  • ‘UNBROKEN’—If you see one movie this week, Ed McNulty says you should go see this true story of a survivor who ultimately forgave his captors. (4 of 5 stars)
  • HOLIDAY MOVIES? Ed McNulty has you covered with reviews of all the major holiday releases. He does not like Exodus, dismissing it as “Gladiator Meets the Burning Bush” and giving only 2.5 out of 5 stars. But Ed highly recommends Into the Woods with 4.5 stars. And, he also likes the new Hobbit (4 stars), The Homesman (4.5 stars), Wild (4 stars) and Annie (4 stars).
  • FAITH GOES POP—And for a wide range of creative columns about the convergence of faith and popular culture, check out Ken Chitwood’s Faith Goes Pop. Ken’s unusual stories consistently rank among our most popular with readers.

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Cover Story: Celebrating Peace in a Time of War

CENTENNIAL OF THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE

th Sainsburys advertisement on centennial of the WWI Christmas Truce100 years ago, many British, German and French men laid down their guns in what became known as The Christmas Truce across the muddy trenches of World War I. Please, help us lift up that dramatic impulse toward peace by reading these stories and sharing them with friends:

OUR VALUES: TASTE OF HOME

th Classic Christmas HamThis week, sociologist Wayne Baker (the creator of the OurValues Project) is adding a new guide for group discussion to the resource page for his book, United America. It’s called “Taste of Home” and explores how talking about food traditions unlocks an appreciation of American Core Values. PLUS, this week’s OurValues series is publishing five delicious stories about food.

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers

THE HOLIDAYS

th Times Square New Years Eve Waterford ball

FOOD, FILM,
POPULAR CULTURE
… AND MORE

th Skorpor-by-Ash

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Hanukkah and Christmas converge … well, sort of

COVER STORY:

th Amy Jill Levine and her book The Short Stories of JesusRediscovering Jesus
with Amy-Jill Levine

Hanukkah and Christmas converge often enough that millions of Jewish parents refer to the confusion as “The December Dilemma,” which is unfortunate since both holidays proclaim inspiring messages of  hope. This week, we invite our readers to meet one of the most esteemed Bible scholars teaching in America today: Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt in Nashville. We’re recommending her latest book, Short Stories by Jesus. The book’s main goal is to help readers rediscover the original meanings of Jesus’s beloved stories—and, along the way, Levine helps readers to avoid perpetuating dangerous, anti-Jewish stereotypes.

OUR VALUES:
“War on Christmas”?

th Bill O Reilly Declares the War On Christmas Begins YouTubeFor nearly a decade, millions of Fox-TV fans have spent December spreading the story that there’s another “War on Christmas.” This week, University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker explores this phenomenon in his OurValues series. Stay tuned all week! He will share some fascinating stories from America’s holiday history, plus solid data from Pew about our holiday habits.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th Hanukkah_candles

th Kwanzaa-party-celebration

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

th Joyeux Noel the Christmas truce

DO OUR DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?

th Pope Francis I

POPULAR CULTURE,
FILM, FAITH & MORE

th Leonard Lauder Postcard collection

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