PLAN AHEAD—Lincoln historian Duncan Newcomer writes an inspiring and thought-provoking column, proposing national conversations around the looming 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death. Duncan reminds us that, shortly after the assassination, the great poet Walt Whitman urged Americans to hold such conversations, each year around April 15. What might those gatherings look like today? Duncan offers several intriguing suggestions. In addition …
- KEEP IN TOUCH—If you’re aware of a related 150th-anniversary program in your part of the country, email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com
- ALL YOU NEED—We offer two dozen helpful resources—columns, historical overviews, study guides and tips—on our Abraham Lincoln and American Values Resource Page.
50 YEARS AFTER SELMA
OUR VALUES—Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker invites readers to think about America’s changing racial attitudes as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches. Please share this thought-provoking series with friends to spark discussion:
- PART 1—Did Martin Luther King Jr. love America?
- PART 2—Did King die for his values? Did Abraham Lincoln?
- PART 3—A snapshot of changing racial attitudes in America
- PART 4—Thursday.
- PART 5—Friday.
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
ALL THE HOLIDAYS are always just a click away at www.InterfaithHolidays.com
- MARCH CELEBRATIONS—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton tells you about all the major themes in March from Irish American heritage to Music in Our Schools Month.
- FROM JAPAN—It’s Hinamatsuri, the elaborate “Doll’s Day,” when many families make special displays of traditional dolls.
- PURIM IS COMING—And that means Jewish families bringing out costumes, noise makers and triangular cookies called Hamentaschen. Stephanie Fenton reports on the holiday itself. And FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis shares her family’s recipe.
- JEWS OF TUNISIA—FeedTheSpirit’s Bobbie Lewis also shares a fascinating story about the traditions of Jews living in Tunisia, which has become a popular destination for Jewish tourism—partly because of the delicious cuisine. Of course, Bobbie shares a recipe.
- WANT COLOR? Rainbow hues fill the air across India in the festival of Holi, which also is celebrated in many American communities as well—especially on college campuses.
- SPRING FORWARD! Don’t forget to reset your clocks later this week. Stephanie Fenton’s column on Daylight Savings Time might spark a debate among friends about rethinking Ben Franklin’s role in this innovation.
AND POPULAR CULTURE
VISUAL PARABLES—Find more than 1,000 movie reviews from veteran faith-and-film expert Edward McNulty at www.VisualParables.org, an easy link to remember. This is a terrific week for moviegoing, says Ed, who offers five rave reviews of must-see movies …
- LEVIATHAN—Ed gives 5 out of 5 stars to this Oscar-nominated Russian film.
- TIMBUKTU—A Muslim filmmaker’s story about the ugly side of harsh Islamic regimes in Africa also earns 5 stars.
- STILL ALICE—Everyone’s buzzing about this movie. You’ll think about it in a fresh way after reading Ed’s thoughtful review. (5 stars)
- MR. TURNER—Look for this movie about the British artist who changed our view of the world forever. (5 stars)
- McFARLAND USA—Want something for the whole family? Ed gives this Disney feature 5 stars, too.
FAITH GOES POP—Remember to use Ken Chitwood’s #FaithGoesPop hashtag when you’re talking with friends online about some of the very creative ideas Ken serves up this week. Here is the gateway to Ken’s world: www.FaithGoesPop.com
- TASTE A BIBLE BAR?—No kidding! That’s just one of Ken’s discoveries this week. Supposedly, this candy claims to provide a taste of Deuteronomy. Ken also spots a skull water bottle—and Playmobil’s hottest selling new toy. Can you guess what religious figure is now cast in plastic? Read Ken; tell friends.
DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD
GOOD MEDIA builds good community in so many ways …
- FROM INDIA—Meet Rabindranath Tagore, the artist, philosopher, writer and peace activist.
- FROM CAMBODIA—Learn about the Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda.
- FROM BURMA—Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
SUZY FARBMAN—Suzy’s GodSigns columns are always a bright spot! This week, she writes about a Georgia man who has a right to be mad about few things in life—including his virtual death after a major surgery failed—but instead he prefers to count life’s blessings. You’ll smile. Go on—read it.
BULLYING IS NO LAUGHING MATTER—Our special comic section provides weekly resources for parents and teachers who want to help children discover strategies to end bullying. This week’s offering is the comic Onion and Pea. There is an easy way to find all of our online resources—including activity guides and special materials for teachers—by simply using www.BullyingIsNoLaughingMatter.com
DR. DAVID GUSHEE—Dr. David Gushee, author of Changing Our Mind, spoke at Fordham University on February 26th and Union Theological Seminary on February 27th. Union Theological Seminary shares this video of his talk. His next public appearance is at Fuller Theological Seminary in Irving, California on March 14, 2015.
THIRD WAY NEWSLETTER—This new website will be publishing important columns in the ongoing effort by many churches to welcome LGBT Christians in a grassroots, “third way” approach to inclusion. It’s direct address is www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com where you’ll also find an easy way to sign up for email updates. This week, Third Way publishes a column by David Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College, who is a signatory to a promising approach to bridging the culture-war, marriage divide called Marriage Opportunity, an effort led by David Blankenthorn, once widely cited as a critic of same sex marriage who has changed his view.