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A FEW CLICKS—A GOOD DEED
Our publishing house is proud to announce that, in September, we will publish the inspiring memoir of Jeanine Patten-Coble, a visionary cancer survivor whose passion is helping families face cancer all across America. Because her work already has renewed and strengthened the lives of thousands of men, women and children—the CNN-network just named her a HERO for the coming year. A short CNN video version of Jeanine’s story airs nationwide this week. Perhaps you’ve already seen it—if not, we have a link below.

What’s her story? In a nutshell: Even as she was stunned by a diagnosis of breast cancer, Jeanine had a vision of helping families facing the same crisis. She founded a national nonprofit that provides week-long retreats to strengthen families struggling to come to terms with this life-and-death challenge.

CNN is inviting all of us to help spread awareness of this innovative program. Here’s how you can help! Your “good deed” is only a few mouse-clicks away …

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NEWS ON
‘CHANGING OUR MIND’

RESPONSES TO DR. GUSHEE—Regular readers of our online magazine know that Christian ethicist Dr. David Gushee has become a leading national advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in congregations—through several ever-expanding editions of his book: Changing Our MindThe newest “Definitive Edition” also includes a free Discussion Guide by Disciples of Christ theologian, pastor and columnist Bob Cornwall (Care to learn more about Cornwall’s work? Check out his columns at this website.)

Over the past week, we were impressed by a thoughtful review of Gushee’s Definitive Edition by Mennonite scholar Ted Grimsrud. He is Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. His review of Gushee’s book is headlined, Can an evangelical support gay marriage and remain an evangelical?

DEFENDING EUGENE PETERSON—Peterson, who is one of the most famous Bible scholars in the world, recently announced that he was willing to accept same-sex Christian couples. Then, Peterson almost immediately seemed to back away from that public statement after a tidal wave of attacks from traditionalist Christians. Having been savaged by such a tidal wave himself, Dr. Gushee writes a thoughtful and pointed column in Religion News Service about why more Christian leaders must dare to speak out for inclusion.

The debate is far from over! We also were impressed with a rebuke of the ferocious evangelicals who went after Eugene Peterson—in an online column written by author and activist Alise D. Chaffins for HuffPost. Alise makes her case in a column headlined, Evangelicals, you’re the ones choosing sin.

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GOD SIGNS LOVE STORY

SUZY FARBMAN brings us inspiring real-life stories, each week. This month, she is bringing us a multi-part love story about the adventures of a young nurse from Kentucky: Karen Raff. In Part 2, this week, Karen continues her cross-country wanderings. (If you missed last week, there’s also an easy-to-click link back to Part 1 in this new column.)

 

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

TISHA B’AV—This annual day of fasting and mournful reflection on the destruction of the two ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem often passes, each year, with relatively little public notice in mainstream American news media. This year, however, a painful disagreement about access to the Western Wall is focusing more eyes on the ancient city. Stephanie Fenton’s column explains the traditional observance; she also shares some news links to learn more about the current issue in the news.

OBON—This international celebration has roots in Japanese, Buddhist and Confucian culture, honoring ancestors through dance, lanterns and more. Stephanie’s story includes links to Do-It-Yourself lanterns.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Master translator Willis Barnstone brings us ‘Poets of the Bible’

FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON SCRIPTURE

LEARN MORE—Our Cover Story this week is an overview of a masterful new series of Bible translations from Willis Barnstone, collected in a single volume. Over many decades, Barnstone’s creative renderings have brought Latin American literature to English-speaking audiences (including the poetry of Borges) and books of the Bible—as well as ancient texts often described as “gnostic.” In this new book Poets of the Bible, Barnstone offers his version of great stories from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament—and some gnostic works as well. Please, read our story, because you may find this is a perfect gift for a Bible-lover on your shopping list.

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NEW
PEACEMAKING
PARTNERSHIP

BUTTRYS EXPAND WORK—Our ReadTheSpirit team is celebrating with Daniel and Sharon Buttry in their newly announced partnership with the century-old Central Seminary in Kansas. This week, the Buttrys and the seminary staff posted this news story about plans for this collaborative work. ReadTheSpirit online magazine—and our related publishing house—have been collaborating with Daniel Buttry for many years. We publish four of his books about international, cross-cultural peacemaking. Here is Dan’s author page, where you can learn more about him and find links to all four books. Central Seminary is part of the Buttrys’ American Baptist Churches USA, a denomination with a long history of encouraging and supporting diversity.

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GOD SIGNS LOVE STORY

SUZY FARBMAN brings us inspiring real-life stories, each week. This time, while taking a lengthy plane ride, she discovered the remarkable story of her seat-mate: As a young woman from Kentucky, Karen Raff and her friend decided to see life as an adventure. Their cross-continental travels led them to many surprises, including the discovery of love and friendship along the way.

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

HAILE SELASSIE’S BIRTHDAYColumnist Stephanie Fenton reports on this annual celebration for Rastafari communities worldwide. The late Ethiopian leader is regarded as a divine figure, so Selassie’s birthday is an auspicious occasion.

OBON—This international celebration has roots in Japanese culture, Buddhism and Confucianism as well, honoring ancestors through practices including dance and lanterns. Stephanie has the story—including links to inexpensive Do-It-Yourself lanterns.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: ‘Speak honestly’ about our lives, the rabbi advises families

CONVERSATION IS KEY TO OVERCOMING ANXIETY

MEET RABBI KRAKOFF—This rabbi is an expert in end-of-life conversations, but his wisdom about talking with family members has far broader implications in this time of global anxiety. Rabbi Joseph Krakoff and educator-illustrator Michelle Sider created the beautifully illustrated new book Never Long Enough as a way for families to talk with loved ones approaching the end of life. Or, the book can be opened after the passing of a loved one—to recall the richness of the person’s life.

We think the book has even broader appeal—as a collection of intriguing illustrations and poetic prompts to spark conversation about the goodness and enduring richness of life. And, honestly, can’t we all use more of that right now?

Recently, writer Leslee Komaiko of The Jewish Journal, the largest Jewish weekly newspaper in the U.S., interviewed Krakoff about his efforts to spread the wisdom of Never Long Enough to families coast to coast. (The photo with this news item is from a recent book signing event in Los Angels. Photo courtesy of Atara Krakoff.)

Want to learn more about the book? Visit the book’s website at www.NeverLongEnough.net, where you can read comments from readers and praise from other writers. Or, you can go right to the book’s Amazon page where you’ll find a growing list of reviews (and an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars). That link goes to the paperback edition. There also is a hardback version.

 

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‘CULTURE OF RECIPROCITY’

DR. WAYNE BAKER—Since the founding of ReadTheSpirit, the all-time most popular writer in our ever-expanding circle of writers is the University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker, who is an internationally known specialist in values and related issues like “reciprocity” at UofM’s Ross School of Business. Along with his wife Cheryl Baker, CEO of Humax, the Bakers developed a widely used method of teaching groups to build a culture of reciprocity—using a tool they call the Reciprocity Ring.

Recently, Schon Beechler wrote a column for the online business-management magazine Knowledge, headlined: Creating a Culture of Reciprocity.

Want to learn more? Visit Dr. Baker’s United America book page. You’ll find lots of creative ideas for joining a nationwide dialogue about what unites us—a truly remarkable idea in mid-2017!

 

 

 

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

OBON—This international celebration has roots in Japanese culture, Buddhism and Confucianism as well, honoring ancestors as families and friends come together to perform traditional dances and light lanterns. Because of varying interpretations of the calendar, Obon festivals may be scheduled in July, although the peak of the observance in Japan is in mid August. Stephanie Fenton has the story—including links to inexpensive Do-It-Yourself lanterns.

 

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GOD SIGNS

SUZY FARBMAN regularly brings our readers stories of uplifting convergence—people coming together in surprising and hopeful ways. In this week’s column, Suzy found herself halfway around the world—where she discovered this true story of two Americans who were hoping for a second marriage and … Well, please, simply enjoy the story, the photos—and remember to share it with a friend.

 

 

 

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Faith & Health—prophetic voices remind us that God cares for wellbeing of all

RELIGIOUS CALL TO ACTION

FAITH & HEALTH CONNECTION—Our online magazine has been publishing columns and books about faith and health for a decade—but, still, this deep connection between religion and our physical wellbeing surprises many Americans. Right now, as July begins, religious leaders across the whole spectrum of faith traditions are issuing strongly worded calls to action about the future of healthcare in America. This week’s cover story shows you—at a glance—some of the prominent headlines from Protestants, Catholics, Jews and a host of other religious leaders. Our story also introduces you to one of the major scholars exploring this connection: Dr. Harold Koenig. Please, read this Cover Story and share it with friends.

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CELEBRATE FREEDOM!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

FOURTH of JULYHolidays expert Stephanie Fenton has a column jam-packed with information, fun facts and helpful links about Independence Day 2017—and the traditions associated with this American holiday. For example: Do you know how many changes were made in the text of the Declaration of Independence before it was approved? Stephanie’s got the answer.

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STAND UP AND … SING!

GOD SIGNS—Columnist and author Suzy Farbman tells the remarkable story of her theater-loving sister’s birthday party in which a host of friends assembled a unique cabaret to celebrate the love of great songs.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Religion, children spark growth in publishing

BOOK SALES STRONG FOR FAITH & KIDS

TRENDS YOU’LL CHEER—After a decade in publishing, our team is cheering several trends documented in the latest reports from the Association of American Publishers. Not only are your beloved ink-on-paper books safe as the major medium publishers will continue to produce in coming years—but two themes close to the hearts of our readers turn up as the main signs of growth among book buyers. Please, celebrate this news with us by reading our Cover Story this week—and, please, share this story with friends via email or social media. (Psst! There’s even a conveniently clickable button that lets you print out this column to share with friends—on paper!)

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays? Remember the simple address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

RAMADAN ENDS:
‘Eid Mubarak!’

RAMADAN has ended! Now, families are enjoying “The Celebration,” which is the English meaning of the commonly used phrase: “The Eid” as in the words well-wishers exchange, “Eid Mubarak!” You’ll enjoy this holiday column by Stephanie Fenton describing this festival enjoyed by the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims—starting on Sunday morning June 25 and extending into the start of this new week in many communities.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY

PLAN FOR JULY 4Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton has a column jam-packed with information, fun facts and helpful links about Independence Day 2017—and the traditions associated with this American holiday. For example: Do you know how many changes were made in the text of the Declaration of Independence before it was approved? Stephanie’s got the answer.

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FAITH & FILM:

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

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

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Let’s be part of the solution … Friends!

FRIENDSHIP—MORE POWERFUL THAN HATRED

WE ALL NEED a reminder of this potent truth about the power of friendship. Remember when a call for “love”—for friendly relationships—touched off peaceful revolutions across Eastern Europe in the late 1980s? Millions rose to change the world. Czech activist Vaclav Havel made this message his personal banner: “Truth and Love Prevail over Lies and Hate!”

And, right now, religious leaders around the world are allowing a nonprofit interfaith group to promote this message, once again. Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute which helped organize the joint statement, calls the appeal “a significant novelty from a theological perspective.” The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “We don’t deal with difference by pretending it doesn’t exist. We deal with it by building relationships.”

The appeal to “make friends” certainly caught the world’s eye. Here is US News coverage of the appeal. Here is coverage in The Times of Israel, the Huffington Post, the National Catholic Reporter, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Detroit News, by our friend columnist Neal Rubin.

Watch this video yourself—and share it with friends—by clicking on this link or by clicking on either of the two photos above.

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RAMADAN
& MORE ON ‘SHARIA’

RAMADAN, covered this year by Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton, continues through most of this week with many Muslims gathering to break the month-long fast on Sunday morning, June 25, 2017. Family festivities related to Ramadan’s end—referred to commonly as “the Eid”—are likely to continue into June 26 and 27. Remember that these families, this year, have suffered through an unusually high level of anti-Muslim activism in the U.S.

OUR REGULAR READERS understand that the current anxiety about “Sharia” in the U.S. is fueled mainly by anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant groups. All of the world’s great religions promote codes for faithful living and “Sharia” is the name of the Muslim pathway to which most of the world’s 1.8-billion Muslims aspire. This spring, we recommended a helpful overview of “Sharia,” reported by several of the world’s top religion writers, headlined simply What Sharia means and how it is understood around the world. Now, an occasional contributor to ReadTheSpirit, Victor Begg, has published his own overview of the issue for Americans in one of the USA Today news sites, headlined Anti-sharia protesters are selling phantom threats. You may want to share Victor’s column with friends who remain confused about Sharia. And, Victor: Thanks for sharing this link with us!

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays? Remember the simple address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

.JUNETEENTH

FREEDOM did not come easily after the Civil War, which is why many African-American communities nationwide still observe a holiday called “Juneteenth.” Stephanie Fenton has the story about how slaves in Texas finally attained freedom in that state—and how they started an annual remembrance of that milestone.

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LITHA, SOLSTICE, MIDSUMMER

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE—Billions of people north of the Equator are celebrating “the longest day of the year” in a host of traditional ways. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the storyDid you know? Though harvest is not in full swing yet, many wild herbs are mature for picking and, thus, Midsummer is known as “Gathering Day” in Wales and in other various regions.

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FILM & FAITH:

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

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

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Comic-culture hero Regie shows the world his true superpower

LIFESIZE (AND PUPPET) REGIE MAKE A SPLASH

JOIN THE ADVENTURE—It was all in a day’s work for the broccoli-shaped superhero Regie, who left a crowd of parents and children savoring the flavors of colorful fruits and vegetables—and pondering the rich role that food plays in our lives. Regie—both in a 6-foot-tall costumed version and in the form of a 1-foot-tall plush puppet—had top billing as the star of the show. But, a Michigan state senator who appeared with Regie, and told his own story of a life-long struggle with diabetes, clearly won the hearts of the crowd. Please, enjoy our Cover Story about Regie, this week, and share it with friends on social media.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays? Remember the simple address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

FATHER’S DAY

DID YOU KNOW? Father’s Day is only 45 years old. Even though the idea was proposed more than a century ago, it wasn’t an official observance until 1972. Stephanie Fenton, our Holidays expert, tells the story behind this popular occasion. She also shares some helpful (and delicious) links to recipes and holiday ideas.

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RAMADAN

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JUNETEENTH

FREEDOM did not come easily after the Civil War, which is why many African-American communities nationwide still observe a holiday called “Juneteenth.” Stephanie Fenton has the story about how slaves in Texas finally attained freedom in that state—and how they started an annual remembrance of that milestone.

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CABARET 313

GodSigns—Columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the blossoming arts scene in Detroit, which includes a cabaret series that brings top stars to “pop up” venues.

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FILM & FAITH:

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

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

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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