Cover Story: Is there a role for the Devil? ‘Reviving Old Scratch’

RICHARD BECK SAYS THE DEVIL’S NOT DEAD

PrintCOVER STORY—Most Americans say they believe the Devil is real, but Old Scratch’s reputation has faded into a vague spiritual notion. And, that’s a mistake, says Christian author Richard Beck. Evil is real in our world and ignoring the Devil leaves Western mainline Christians disconnected from millions of marginalized communities facing daily struggles all around the world. Read Editor David Crumm’s interview with Richard Beck, our cover story this week.

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BENJAMIN PRATT: A HEALING PARABLE

2816728373_14d6e33c51_o‘THE HOLY FOOL’—It isn’t always an insult to call someone a “Fool,” as Benjamin Pratt recalls this week in a new column you don’t want to miss. We publish our online magazine under Creative Commons licensing, which means you’re free to share this remarkable parable with others. We hope this little tale travels far and wide.

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A CANCER SURVIVOR HELPS OTHERS

Hollye Jacobs Photographs by Elizabeth Messina (1)GOD SIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman brings us inspiring stories of real people who make a difference in our world, often despite long odds. That’s the case with Hollye Jacobs, who survived breast cancer and committed herself to helping others. In a long-shot publishing project, she wound up writing a best-selling book that has helped countless people.

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COME ON!
GET ‘GROUNDED,’ PART 3

Diana Butler Bass GroundedREAD ALONG WITH US—This is the third week of our collaboration with Christian educator Debbie Houghton to help readers reflect on Diana Butler Bass’s new book Grounded: Finding God in the World. Consider this a free, public study guide. Think of it as a summer-time, inspirational pilgrimage with friends. This week, we are sharing Part 3 in this series.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Wheat-in-field-Lammas (1)LAMMAS / LUGHNASADH— In the withering heat of July across most of the U.S., it may seem surprising to look at the ancient harvest festivals coming on August 1. An ancient festival of the wheat harvest, Lammas—or Lughnasadh—has long been called “the feast of first fruits.”

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HIROSHIMA DAY—On August 6, many people around the world recall the bombing of Hiroshima. To help us mark the occasion, faith-and-film critic Ed McNulty reminds us of a solid 1995 film about that milestone..

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Hell or High Water screen shot (1)Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Congragulations to Bishop Haller and MSU students!

Congratulations Bishop Laurie Haller!

Laurie Haller is elected bishop with her husband at right (1)FROM MICHIGAN TO IOWA—Author, pastor and now Bishop Laurie Haller joked with church leaders that she is the first bishop ever elected with a black eye. Literally. In a travel mishap, a piece of luggage smacked her in the face, but she didn’t shy away from the bruise. She used it as a parable. That’s Laurie. Please enjoy our story—and celebrate with us that this remarkable storyteller now will lead United Methodists across the state of Iowa.

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Congratulations MSU journalism students!

th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large BookCLARION FOR ‘VETERANS’—The Association for Women in Communications has honored the Michigan State University School of Journalism students who published 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans. We tell the story behind this century-old organization and its own historic milestones in pushing for the acceptance of minorities—and helping veterans during and after several of America’s wars. Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt helped break barriers for women in journalism?

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A WOMAN OF VISION

Gertrude KasleREMEMBERING GERTRUDE KASLE—For many years, Gertude Kasle helped to introduce her friends and gallery customers to leading American artists—even when some of their work was so new that it sparked few sales. This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman profiles this woman of great vision who shaped the world views of so many through the years.

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AN INVITATION TO GET ‘GROUNDED’

Diana Butler Bass GroundedREAD ALONG WITH US—Here at ReadTheSpirit, we are thrilled to welcome Christian educator Debbie Houghton to a collaborative, five-week series that will help readers reflect on Diana Butler Bass’s new book Grounded: Finding God in the World. Consider this a free, public study guide. Think of it as a summer-time, inspirational pilgrimage with friends. This week, we are sharing Part 2 in this series.

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RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE

Hymns by Carolyn Winfrey GilletteNEW HYMNS—How can our congregations respond to the steady stream of violence around the world? Many of our readers follow the news about Carolyn Winfrey Gillette’s ongoing development of new hymns that confront deeply troubling issues, including gun violence. Her hymns have been sung by congregations in every state of the USA and in several other countries; they have been featured on National Public Radio and the BBC network. Her latest hymn responds to the tragedy in Orlando. If you visit this page, you also can sign up for future emails about her music.

th United America cover by Wayne Baker‘UNITED AMERICA’—The political rhetoric echoing across the U.S. is calling into question whether America can hope to restore a unity of values and purpose. Years of research went into Dr. Wayne Baker’s book, United America. A leading sociologist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Baker also provides a range of study guides to explore his book and discuss it with friends.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

HIROSHIMA DAY—On August 6, many people around the world recall the bombing of Hiroshima. To help us mark the occasion, faith-and-film critic Ed McNulty reminds us of a solid 1995 film about that milestone.

Obon-dancers (1)OBON CIRCLES THE GLOBEHolidays columnist Stephanie Fenton explains how an ancient Buddhist story evolved and moved across Asia until it has become, today, a quintessentially Japanese summer-time festival. Observances now can be found around the world and in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Traditions include a dance that echoes ancient Buddhist practice and lots of other treats borrowed from Japanese culture.

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REMEMBERING HAILE SELASSIE

1936 Haile Selassie as TIME magazine's Man of the Year (1)OUT OF AFRICA—Each year, Rastafari worldwide celebrate Haile Selassie’s birthday. The late Ethiopian emperor is considered a messiah in their religious tradition. Generally, the birthday attracts little American media attention. This year, however, two bittersweet milestones are remembered that have a far wider connection with global issues. They are the 50th anniversary of his triumphant visit to Jamaica and the 80th anniversary of his appeal to the League of Nations. Read our column this week. In this era of Black Lives Matter and a renewed national debate about racism, consider how the world treated this emerging African leader in his country’s time of dire need.

 

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SHARE YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP

Wikimedia Commons photo sharing tutorialGET INVOLVED—Show the world your house of worship—the home base of your religious community. Wikimedia Commons, the worldwide database of shared photographs, hopes to document as many notable religious sites as possible. And that includes houses of worship—wherever you life around the world. It’s not difficult to get involved, but it does take a little orientation. Today, read our introduction to sharing photos on Wikimedia Commons. Think of it as part of grounding yourself and your spiritual community by sharing an image.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Hell or High Water screen shot (1)Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Get ‘Grounded’ this summer!

AN INVITATION TO GET ‘GROUNDED’

Diana Butler Bass GroundedREAD ALONG WITH US—Here at ReadTheSpirit, we are thrilled to welcome Christian educator Debbie Houghton to a collaborative, five-week series that will help readers reflect on Diana Butler Bass’s new book Grounded: Finding God in the World. Consider this a free, public study guide. Think of it as a summer-time, inspirational pilgrimage with friends. Come on, read Part 1 right now—and don’t miss the invitation to get involved yourself.

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VISIONARIES WHO REDEFINED HOME

Art House DVD by First Run Features (2)‘ART HOUSE’—Diana Butler Bass isn’t the first American to think about the need to “ground” ourselves spiritually. This quest goes back centuries. This summer, filmmaker Don Freeman has released on DVD an amazing video meditation on 11 American designers (some were known as artists, some as architects) who turned their homes into visions of their connection with their place on the Earth. Read our review—and you may find landmarks you want to visit this year coast to coast.

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SHARE YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP

Wikimedia Commons photo sharing tutorialGET INVOLVED—Show the world your house of worship—the home base of your religious community. Wikimedia Commons, the worldwide database of shared photographs, hopes to document as many notable religious sites as possible. And that includes houses of worship—wherever you life around the world. It’s not difficult to get involved, but it does take a little orientation. Today, read our introduction to sharing photos on Wikimedia Commons. Think of it as part of grounding yourself and your spiritual community by sharing an image.

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A FLUXUS VISONARY

Hendricks blue bag collected by Gil Silverman and given to MOMA (1)GOD SIGNSColumnist Suzy Farbman remembers the life of her friend and art collector Gilbert Silverman, who—among many other connections with the art world—helped to amass a collection of artworks in the emerging Fluxus movement. What is that? Well, one piece in the MOMA collection is a crumpled blue paper bag.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Obon-dancers (1)OBON CIRCLES THE GLOBEHolidays columnist Stephanie Fenton explains how an ancient Buddhist story evolved and moved across Asia until it has become, today, a quintessentially Japanese summer-time festival. Observances now can be found around the world and in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Traditions include a dance that echoes ancient Buddhist practice and lots of other treats borrowed from Japanese culture.

 

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Visual Parables July 2016 issue (1)Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgPlease consider subscribing to The Visual Parables Journal, a monthly digital magazine packed with full-scale study guides to current films—a resource used by individuals and small groups nationwide. The new July issue is now available.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Peter Enns’ common sense approach to the Bible

Can biblical ‘certainty’ become a sin?

COVER_Sin Of Certainty by Peter Enns_HC (1)MEET PETER ENNS—You may already have heard some of Peter Enns’ more quotable lines about Scripture, such as: “The Bible isn’t a cookbook.” With his first book by HarperOne, this evangelical Bible scholar is drawing a good deal of national attention for his emphasis on true faith over biblical “certainty.” A popular teacher, reading Enns’ book is like talking with a friend who helps us reconsider the meaning of the Bible within Christianity. If you find yourself struggling with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other—then read our cover story this week with Peter Enns.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

RAMADAN ENDS

Eid-Badshahi-Mosque (1)EID AL-FITR—Spellings vary and so do the exact dates of observance, but most Muslim sources are calling for the huge festival to begin July 6 this year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the whole story, plus lots of fascinating links to news stories about the celebration.

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Coincidences or …?

Dee Eger is Leighton Hale granddaughter of Anne Towbes 2GodSigns—That’s what author and columnist Suzy Farbman calls them. Each week, she shares with our readers an up-lifting column about how things just … seemed to work out for someone. This week, it’s a story of a talented woman who came into her family’s life at just the right moment. Enjoy.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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July 4 Cover Story: Freedom means—we all should be free

MEET NATHAN ALBERT

perf5.500x8.500.indd‘EMBRACING LOVE’—First, a personal note: Thanks to all of our readers who responded so warmly to our story last week about David Gushee’s impassioned new call for inclusion in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. (We read all of your heart-felt notes to us; you encourage us in our work.)

This week, meet Nathan Albert, a former actor and current pastoral activist who has just published his memoir, Embracing Love: My Journey to Hugging a Man in his Underwear. Wondering about that odd subtitle? Well, meet Nathan Albert in our Cover Story.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

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July-4-food (1)4th of JULY

GET READY! It’s not too early to plan for the big weekend. Stephanie’s column is packed with intriguing ideas, including a website with fun polls and quizzes about our nation’s early history.

FEED THE SPIRITWe recall the 4th of July celebration of citizenship many years ago by Joe LewisFeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis’s husband. Joe himself relates the story and shares a yummy recipe for baked beans, as well!

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RAMADAN ENDS

Eid-Badshahi-Mosque (1)EID AL-FITR—Spelling vary and so do the exact dates of observance, but most Muslim sources are calling for the huge festival to begin July 6 this year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the whole story, plus lots of fascinating links to news stories about the celebration.

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FAMILY MILESTONE IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

From left Anessa Sam Max and David Kramer (2)GOD SIGNS—Suzy Farbman writes this week about a family of descendants of Holocaust survivors who are celebrating their latest bar mitzvah. This truly is a family milestone in celebrating religious freedom.

 

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: ‘None of us can walk away.’

RENEWING OUR COMMITMENT

th-Changing-Our-Mind-cover-with-author-David-P-GusheeCOVER STORY—Dr. David Gushee, one of our nation’s leading Christian ethicists, returns this week as our nation reflects on the one-year anniversary of the Charleston church shootings—and on the tragic legacy of the shootings in Orlando. A busy scholar whose time is needed by organizations nationwide, Gushee tells us why nothing—not even a busy life—can sway us from a commitment to compassion and social justice.

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MEDIA TRANSFORMATION:
‘PAPERS’ TUMBLE
(BUT PAPER RISES?)

Rodney Curtis in PanamaSTAY TUNED! Our team at ReadTheSpirit is committed to sharing the latest news about the transformation of American media—because our writers, editors and publishers are on the creative Front Edge of that change. As summer 2016 begins, a number of new studies are charting the scope of this historic change. One major report by Pew concludes that newspapers “are looking shakier than ever.” Print advertising revenue, the life’s blood of newspapers, continues to drop at an alarming rate. And, since this decline began, Pew says 20,000 newspaper journalists have lost their jobs!  (And that’s ironic, because another major report on book publishing says that Americans are returning from their e-readers to a preference for paper books! Stay tuned for more on that news in coming weeks.) Today, our intrepid columnist Rodney Curtis—who walked away from newspapers a while ago—writes about his Seven-Year Itch.

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PICTURES OF HOPE

GOD SIGNSGodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman also has an inspiring story this week about the power of media to give voice to Americans who are often voiceless and invisible.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Midsummer-girls-flowers (1)MIDSUMMER / SOLSTICE

THE LONGEST DAY—It’s relatively early this year on Monday June 20, reports Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton. Learn about festivities around the world. And Stephanie also has links to help you with flower crowns, timely recipes and even drying herbs.

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July-4-food (1)4th of JULY

GET READY! It’s not too early to plan for the big weekend. Stephanie’s column is packed with intriguing ideas, including a website with fun polls and quizzes about our nation’s early history.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Movie still Sin Nombre (2)LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.org

PECHA KUCHA—Recently, Ed presented a PechaKucha (a popular multi-media lecture format that began in Japan) to a crowd in Dayton, called “6 Social Justice Films for Your Bucket List.” Now, you can see a video of the presentation along with a column by Ed explaining the event.

Among Ed’s other recent movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Happy Father’s Day! (and PechaKucha too)

Honoring  father … just as he was

Benjamin Pratts father in his 20s (1)COVER STORYBenjamin Pratt returns this week with a column that will touch many of us as we reflect on our fathers this week. Are you finding yourself wanting to adjust your memories of your father just a little bit? It’s a natural desire, writes Pratt, a veteran counselor and author of books about caregiving and spiritual wellbeing. Perhaps if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to honor our fathers—honestly.

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Social Justice Films—Pecha-Kucha Style

Movie still Sin Nombre (2)‘MUST SEE’ MOVIESRecently, Visual Parables film critic Edward McNulty presented a PechaKucha for an audience in Dayton, Ohio. His chosen theme was social-justice films that should be on your Bucket List. What is “PechaKucha”? It’s a presentation format in which 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds. The format was devised to force rambling speakers to be more concise. See what Ed said in his 400 seconds.

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An unlikely artist’s vision lives on

Visitors with Ed Lantzer muralGOD SIGNS—Suzy Farbman brings us an update this week on the legacy of the late “outsider” artist Ed Lantzer. Sometimes homeless and largely ignored as an artist, his life’s work in wood mosaics—all images from the Bible—have a whole new life thanks to supporters who see a great depth in his huge panels. Friends and followers now are drawing interest from young and old.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Juneteenth celebrants singing (1)JUNETEENTH—Now, the holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S. is officially known as Juneteenth Independence Day. The holiday began in Texas, where U.S. military finally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation months after the end of the war. Today, the holiday has spread nationwide.

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Fathers Day photo of father and son with cars (1)PLAN NOW FOR FATHER’S DAY! Read Stephanie Fenton’s column on the holiday and you’ll find the roots of this century-old observance began in church—following the model of Mother’s Day, which also began in church. 

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

VP_Update_-_david_crumm_gmail_com_-_Gmail (1)LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgThe one service Ed sells, to support his work, is the monthly Visual Parables Journal, packed with complete study guides for your individual enjoyment—or use in small groups. We’ve just added the June issue. 

Among Ed’s recent free reviews are …

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