Cover Story: Meet true innovators in early education

BIB to BACKPACK SERIES

Solutions for Success UWSEM book cover 3D (1)COVER STORY—Getting ready for school—or pre-school—in your neighborhood?

This week, take a look at a national publishing project we are proud to be launching: The Bib to Backpack Learning Series with United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Yes, we said “national” project, because we eventually will publish a total of six books about truly innovative programs helping families with education in early childhood. This series is part of a nationwide demonstration of the impact of publishing books about creative educators’ most successful ideas. As this series proclaims: Education Begins at Home. These six books tell the stories of nonprofit groups that have carved out innovative programs to meet the needs of young children—especially kids who face enormous challenges because of poverty or language barriers.

BOOK 1: ACCESS TO SCHOOLThis book tells the amazing story of educators working at an Arab-American nonprofit who have figured out how to kick-start early education for recent immigrants who are just learning English.

BOOK 2: SOLUTIONS FOR SUCCESS—The second book in the series is the inspiring story of a group that has served a low-income Hispanic-American community for decades. Now, the group is using the latest training methods from a national center for education research to empower not only children—but their parents as well.

Please, check out both books—and tell friends. This is very good news from some of America’s most challenging neighborhoods. And, watch for four more titles in this series to be published this autumn!

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EMPOWERING WOMEN

Bald is Beautiful project participants (1)BALD IS BEAUTIFUL—Cancer survivor Suzy Farbman, author of GodSigns, tells the true story of creative women using their talents to empower other women in the midst of struggling with cancer. Learn about “Bald Is Beautiful” and see a short video about their work. And, please, share this column with friends, this week. . other o

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

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

FROM THE VATICAN—On September 2, a new St. Teresa postage stamp will be issued by the Vatican to celebrate her September 4 canonization: the official declaration of sainthood by the Catholic church. You may also want to read the Vatican’s biography of St. Teresa, which includes many inspiring details about her life and legacy.

FROM ST. TERESA—New World Library, the publisher of a special edition of her book No Greater Love, has given us permission to excerpt the chapter called “On Love.” We also have permission to share this chapter from St. Teresa’s book, which includes some very challenging teachings about the nature of work and our personal vocations.

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110901-September-11 movie poster (3)15th ANNIVERSARY of 9/11—Will you mark this milestone? Or is “9/11” slipping into the history books? Film critic Edward McNulty suggests we reach back and watch a remarkable collection of short films that were made in response to the terrorist attacks in 2001.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Entertaining Angels movie still (1)ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: A new voice connects faith of Africa … with basketball

FROM YORUBA TO BASKETBALL

Cover of the book Black Gods of the Asphalt by Onaje Woodbine (2)COVER STORY—This week, we introduce our readers to a scholar, teacher and author who is becoming an important global voice in connecting Americans with religious traditions from Africa. Onaje X. O. Woodbine’s debut book, Black Gods of the Asphalt, tells the fascinating story of how Woodbine identified and then studied deep religious connections, including some with Yoruba origins, in the culture of urban basketball. This book will open your eyes to a whole new perspective on urban culture—plus, it’s simply a great read! Please, enjoy our interview with Woodbine, today.

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CONGRATULATIONS, FAITH!

th launch of This Far by Faith by Faith Fowler of Cass PublishingSHINING LIGHT AWARDAnd, speaking of inspiration from urban neighborhoods … this week, our whole team is celebrating with Faith Fowler, head of Cass Community Publishing in Detroit. Here is the Detroit Free Press announcement that Faith is being honored across Michigan with a Shining Light award. Then, on Sunday, Faith was on the Free Press front page. Here is staff writer Niraj Warikoo’s profile of Faith Fowler as she receives this prestigious award. Finally, for more background on Faith’s publishing efforts, you may want to read our 2014 story about a stunning book launch by Faith’s organization in Detroit.

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FEED THE SPIRIT

Milts barbecue for the perplexedUNCLE MILT’S—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis returns with a story about the popularity of—kosher barbecue. At least that’s the buzz in Chicago, where Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed is a popular destination. This week, Bobbie shares the story behind this curious bistro—plus a delicious recipe for short ribs!

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

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

Dahi_Handi on Krishna Janmashtami (1)KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI—Stephanie Fenton reports on the colorful celebrations that spread across India and around the world in Hindu communities to mark the birth of the deity Krishna.

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FROM THE VATICAN—On September 2, a new St. Teresa postage stamp will be issued by the Vatican to celebrate her September 4 canonization: the official declaration of sainthood by the Catholic church. You may also want to read the Vatican’s biography of St. Teresa, which includes many inspiring details about her life and legacy.

FROM ST. TERESA—New World Library, the publisher of a special edition of her book No Greater Love, has given us permission to excerpt the chapter called “On Love.” We also have permission to share this chapter from St. Teresa’s book, which includes some very challenging teachings about the nature of work and our personal vocations.

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1 MORE OLYMPIC STORY …

Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem Photo by Paul Harvath (1)GOD SIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman has a heart-warming profile of an Olympian in figure skating: Aaron Parchem. Suzy runs into Aaron, 10 years after he competed in the Turin Winter Olympics. She shares a fresh story of inspiration as Aaron reflects on the lessons of his life.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Celebrate “St. Teresa” by following her spirit

SPIRIT OF A NEW SAINT

The Vatican will anticipate the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata with this special postage stamp

COVER STORY—She’s already famous around the world her work in India. And that’s before the Vatican canonizes St. Teresa of Calcutta on September 4—and issues a new postage stamp to honor her. Now, two decades after her death in 1997, her writings have become a source of renewed inspiration. If we take time to read her words—we find a stirring call to humility and sacrificial service. And, in the summer of 2016, the world could use a big spiritual dose of both messages.

ST. TERESA ‘ON LOVE’—New World Library, the publisher of a special edition of her book No Greater Love, has given us permission to excerpt the chapter called “On Love.”

ST. TERESA ‘ON WORK AND SERVICE’—We also have permission to share this chapter from St. Teresa’s book, which includes some very challenging teachings about the nature of work and our personal vocations.

FROM THE VATICANYou may also want to read the official Vatican biography of St. Teresa, which includes many inspiring details about her life and legacy.

 

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1 MAN; 1 VISION; 1 TOUR

Edith Pair outside one of Charlevoix Mushroom Houses (1)GOD SIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman has a delightful column this week about the eccentric builder Earl A. Young. Born in the late 1800s, Young created an unusual series of homes known as Mushroom Houses in northern Michigan. Today, artist Edith Pair has made it her mission to show off those homes in a popular guided tour.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

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

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Raksha-bandhan-shopping-rakhiRAKSHA BANDHAN—It’s a heart-warming tradition—celebrated across India and in Hindu communities worldwide—honoring the sacred bonds between brothers and sisters. Stephanie Fenton reports on this festival in which women typically tie some form of bracelet around men’s wrists to honor their family bonds.

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Dahi_Handi on Krishna Janmashtami (1)KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI—Stephanie Fenton reports on the colorful celebrations that spread across India and around the world in Hindu communities to mark the birth of the deity Krishna.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Best-Films-of-2016-Dont-Think-Twice-1920p-1024x562 (1)RODNEY CURTIS—First this week, author and columnist Rodney Curtis offers his recommendations of two films that you could easily miss this year. Rodney recommends Michael Moore’s latest documentary—and a comedy called Don’t Think Twice about comedians who get a shot at a popular TV show.

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Petes Dragon movie still (2)ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Recalling a courageous pioneer in diversity

DISMANTLING AMERICA’S LEGACY OF RACISM

Dr. Ralph Wimbish Sr. (3)COVER STORY—America’s racial and ethnic divisions have been thrown into razor-sharp relief in the summer of 2016. It’s a perfect time to remind ourselves that, often, a single individual can make a huge difference. There is hope—if we are as courageous today as many of the men and women who have come before us.

FIRST—Read Adam Henig’s inspiring story about how a magazine profile once written by journalist Alex Haley led Adam, years later, to finally publish a biography of Dr. Ralph Wimbish. Never heard of Wimbish until today? You’re not alone. Wimbish is almost forgotten, now, but he played a crucial role in the long struggle to integrate professional baseball.

SECOND—You’ll also want to read Benjamin Pratt’s review of Henig’s book. Ben urges us to get a copy of this little book, which “reminds us how many justice issues are won or lost at the local level.” And, this summer, we all need more true stories like this one, don’t we?

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1 MAN; 1 VISION—
and now: 1 TOUR

Edith Pair outside one of Charlevoix Mushroom Houses (1)GOD SIGNS—In keeping with our theme this week of making a big difference—one person at a time—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman has a delightful column this week about the eccentric builder Earl A. Young. Born in the late 1800s, Young created an unusual series of homes known as Mushroom Houses in northern Michigan. Today, artist Edith Pair has made it her mission to show off those homes in a popular guided tour.

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FEED THE SPIRIT:
‘TOLERABLE FAILURE’

Dreer's_garden_1902_calendar_(1902)_(14740613396) (2)THE RABBI RETURNSRabbi Louis “Eli” Finkelman returns this week with a column about vegetable gardening that will warm your heart if you are among the millions who plant some tomatoes and peppers each year. About this time every summer, most of us discover that what actually has unfolded in our gardens doesn’t match the pictures in our seed catalogs. But then, that’s part of the life of a gardener, isn’t it?

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‘Grounded’ 5:
Where’s God?
Hint: At dinner?

Diana Butler Bass GroundedREAD ALONG WITH US—This is the fifth and final week of our series with Debbie Houghton, helping to 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 5 in this series.

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HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

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

th Jeremiah on Michelangelo Sistine Chapel ceilingTISHA B’AV—In mid August, Jews around the world will fast for one day in recollection of the loss of temples in Jerusalem many centuries ago. The book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue. Read Stephanie Fenton’s column, which includes an excerpt from Debra Darvick’s, This Jewish Life.

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OBON—Public celebrations related to this very popular Asian festival pop up around the world for about a month in late summer. Stephanie Fenton reports on the peak of Obon in Japan.

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Raksha-bandhan-shopping-rakhiRAKSHA BANDHAN—It’s a heart-warming tradition—celebrated across India and in Hindu communities worldwide—honoring the sacred bonds between brothers and sisters. Stephanie Fenton reports on this festival in which women typically tie some form of bracelet around men’s wrists to honor their family bonds.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

VPTemplate_-_VPAug16-preview_pdfEnjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgAlso, please consider subscribing to Visual Parables Journal, the one service Ed sells to support his ongoing work. Each issue of the Journal is packed with complete study guides for individual reflection or small-group discussion.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Can we see the forest for our trees?

GET ‘GROUNDED’—It’s time to come together

West side of the Isle of Iona in northest Scotland (2)COVER STORY—This summer, David Crumm and Debbie Houghton have been leading readers on a pilgrimage through Diana Butler Bass’s inspiring new book, Grounded. This week—at the close of two historic and tumultuous political conventions in America—we explore the ancient spiritual call to “come together.” David Crumm writes about Neighbors and Commons, including a glimpse of the green grazing land on the Isle of Iona off the coast of Scotland.  Please, we invite you to read our Cover Story: Can We See the Forest for Our Trees?

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A TRULY GROUNDED ARTIST

My Horsie GOOD Horsie 30x40 9 24 11 (1)SUZY FARBMAN WRITES—In her GodSigns column, this week, Suzy Farbman explores the unusual world of painter Margie Guyot, who left behind a life as a rock musician and a laborer in an auto factory to create her own colorful world: Possom Hollow. From that remote studio in the Midwest, she creates paintings—and a robust appreciation of life’s many joys.

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FEED THE SPIRIT

homemade cheese (1)ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES!In keeping with our “grounded” theme this week, FeedTheSpirit’s Bobbi Lewis brings us a guest column by one of the most popular food writers ever to appear in ReadTheSpirit: Rabbi “Eli” Finkelman. Many of our readers have praised Eli’s earlier columns on topics, including pickles. This time, Eli writes about making quick cheeses at home. That’s right: quick cheeses. Enjoy!

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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..

 

th Jeremiah on Michelangelo Sistine Chapel ceilingTISHA B’AV—Coming in mid August, Jews around the world will fast for one day in recollection of the loss of temples in Jerusalem many centuries ago. The book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue. Read Stephanie Fenton’s column, which includes an excerpt from Debra Darvick’s, This Jewish Life.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

The-Infiltrator-Bryan-Cranston-and-John-Leguizamo (3)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: 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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