Cover Story: How are YOU praying Pope Francis’s prayer for the earth?

th Pope Francis encyclical on the environmentSING ALONG WITH FRANCIS?

That’s how a Franciscan minstrel and a Jewish troubadour are encouraging all of us to pray along with Pope Francis’s powerful new message about the environment. Today, we’ve got the story of this creative interfaith duo—and we’ve got their new music video that you can share with friends. Email us, please, if you’ve got your own creative way to get people praying along with Francis. We welcome your news at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

th God using a compass in creationREDISCOVERING GOD’S COMPASS—Pope Francis is not alone in calling us to care for the earth—including the plants, animals and also the human beings who call our planet “home.” Popular Celtic-Christian writer John Philip Newell weaves together the lives of saints who we would call Interfaith Peacemakers with wisdom from his native Scotland in a new book, The Rebirthing of God. If you haven’t discovered this book—read our review and a brief excerpt from the book today.

Newell’s talent as a spiritual teacher lies in connecting lives around the world. In his new book, he draws on some of the same Interfaith Peacemakers profiled by author Daniel Buttry—including Aung San Suu Kyi, Thomas Merton, Mahatma Gandhi and Simone Weil.

Interfaith Peacemakers Summer Music Festival with Michael Jackson John Lennon and Bob MarleyDaniel Buttry’s www.Interfaith Peacemakers.com is an online treasure trove of stories about men and women who risked their lives for peace. Among the recent stories: Cesar Chavez, Daniel Hunter and Dorothy Day.

NEW for mid-summerButtry launches an online Summer Music Festival, currently featuring music videos from Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Bob Marley.

OUR VALUES

th the Blue Marble Earth from spaceWHAT’S NOT A CORE VALUE? For years, UofM sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker has been studying the 10 core values that unite nearly all Americans—and encouraging a nationwide discussion through his OurValues columns. Today’s question may surprise you: What doesn’t unite us as a core value? (Hint: It involves our home and also says a lot about the importance of Pope Francis’s new letter.)

Today’s new OurValues column—”What’s not a core value?“—is Part 6 in a 10-part tour through the popular Images of America gallery of classic photos. You’ll find links in today’s story to the first 5 parts. This week, we will add:

HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS
and seasonal FOOD

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com, our master list of holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

th Michigan-cherry-pie-recipeARE YOU HUNGRY? FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis knows that summer is one long buffet of fresh fruits and vegetables. This week, she tempts us with cherry pie—a big deal in Bobbie’s home state of Michigan. Guest writer Phil Power tells about his family’s long experience with cherries. And, he provides a traditional cherry pie recipe, complete with the option of making the crust with lard for historical purists.

Bon-Odori-lanternsOBON or ULLAMBANAYou may hear about this Japanese-inspired festival, which now circles the globe, by various names. With roots in Buddhism and in the tradition of honoring ancestors, Obon is a time for homecomings, visiting family gravesites, dances, storytelling and decorating household altars. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the whole colorful story, which spans a month of festivities in many parts of the world. One of the most beautiful traditions? The floating or air-born lanterns as spirits are sent onward.

Ramadan’s spiritual crescendo

Muslim chef Amanda Saab‘THE EID’ IS COMING— Unfortunately, Muslim chef Amanda Saab was knocked off Master Chef last week as the pre-recorded series aired during Ramadan. (You’ll enjoy FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis story about Amanda, who has become America’s most famous Muslim chef, thanks to the TV series.)

This week, many of us are envisioning the feast Amanda is cooking up for the worldwide Muslim festival known as Eid-al-Fitr, which ends Ramadan and take place just after July 17 this year, Stephanie Fenton reports. In the final days of the fasting month, Muslims also celebrate one of the most sacred observances in Islamic tradition—Lailat al-Qadr, which marks the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. Wish your Muslim friends and colleagues “Ramadan Mubarak!” at this one-day festival of Laylat al-Qadr, which commemorates that revelation and often is a time when Muslims spend all night in prayerful reflection.

Care to read more?

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

th Visual Parables Inside Out and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

NEW THIS WEEK—Veteran faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty freely shares his reviews, and supports his work by selling the monthly Visual Parables Journal. Each issue is packed with complete study guides to enjoy on your own, with friends—or in your class or small group. Now, the July 2015 issue is available, including study guides for Inside Out, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jurassic World, Manglehornand more.

Jim Gaffigan, the popular stand-up comedian known for his Comedy Central special and the books “Dad is Fat” and "Food: A Love Story," will be featured in “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” a new series premiering on TVLand on July 15. Photo courtesy of TVLandFAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings. This week, if you live in a “Christian household” (especially if you’re Catholic), you’re guaranteed to chuckle at comedian Jim Gaffigan’s utterly honest routine about the conflicting emotions when trying to balance faith with the distractions of everyday life. Ken found a wonderful video clip to share!

 

 

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th My_Father_s_Love_-_Ed_Lantzer_s_Wood_Mosaic_Murals 2SUZY FARBMAN & GodSigns—Author Suzy Farbman began sharing the inspiring story of a most unlikely artist who expressed his Christian faith in vivid murals. Part 1: “Diamonds of wood spark inspiration from work of … Ed Lantzer.” New this week is Part 2 of that story: “Christian relay team pitches in to help Ed Lantzer fulfill his vision.”

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On July 9, he’s appearing at Temple Adas Israel, Long Island’s oldest synagogue.

Ken Wilson of A Letter to My Congregation in the newsKEN WILSON—Pastor and author Ken Wilson (along with his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter) are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Ken was just cited for his work in a New York Times story. The few pioneering churches that have followed Ken’s vision of a “Third Way” include the influential City Church in California. This week, you’ll want to read …

David-Gushee-author Changing Our MindDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind is becoming one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service. Are you near Georgia this month? Dr. Gushee will be preaching at the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia, on Sunday mornings through the end of July.

In news coverage of Americans’ rapidly changing attitudes toward LGBT Christians, Dr. Gushee’s book and his nationwide series of talks this year are often credited with changing hearts and minds.

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Cover Story: Celebrating American Values for the 4th!

Cover Story: Strong Values Unite Us

th Dorrie Miller Above and Beyond the Call of Duty small

Who is this man? Click to read about his heroic life.

WHAT’S YOUR IMAGE OF AMERICA? Whether you are cheering or disagreeing with the landmark Supreme Court rulings, rest assured: Americans are united around 10 core values, which include the very values moving our nation toward opening marriage. One of the 10 values: Ninety percent of Americans strongly support the value of equal treatment under our laws. Sociologist Wayne Baker has a powerful way of showing us how our values unite us as a nation. He starts by showing famous pictures, like this image of a WWII hero. Come along this week for an inspiring tour through Images of America! Part 1 is called “Black Lives Matter.”

th Fourth of July fireworks by Tom Webster of Portland via Wikimedia CommonsENJOY THE HOLIDAY!
What’s your plan for the Fourth? Whatever you’re planning for Independence Day, Stephanie Fenton’s column is packed with ideas and DIY resources that will enrich your holiday.

On the 4th,
how do we remember …

th Tony Yost tombstone at Arlington… OUR VETERANS AND OUR FALLEN? The head of the Michigan State University journalism team that has published a new book to help appreciate our more than 20 million veterans tells Cheyenne’s story, this week. It’s the true story of a daughter honoring her fallen father—by helping to remember his name, share his hard-earned insights and tell his story to the world.

PURSUING PEACE, AS WELL

Interfaith Peacemakers Summer Music Festival with Michael Jackson John Lennon and Bob MarleyIT’S AN AMERICAN VALUE, TOO!
As Americans, research shows that we’re strongly committed to national security. And, we’re very proud of our veterans. But we also yearn for peace and www.Interfaith Peacemakers.com is an online treasure trove of stories about men and women who risked their lives for peace. Among the recent stories: Cesar Chavez, Daniel Hunter and Dorothy Day.

NEW this week—International peacemaker and author Daniel Buttry launches an online Summer Music Festival.

HOW DO WE WELCOME LGBT FRIENDS?

th Third Way Newsletter book logoIT’S A CHURCH-GROWTH ISSUE—There’s no question: Most Americans are welcoming the new definition of marriage and, as a result, millions of LGBT men and women will be more visible as we welcome them in our communities and congregations. It’s also true that thousands of churches do not welcome this change, which means they, in effect, don’t welcome millions of Christians who have LGBT friends and family. Even religious pollsters are issuing this warning. This is, indeed, a major “church growth” issue and is pushing many evangelical churches to explore bridging this chasm. Two authors are in the national vanguard of helping churches become welcoming communities.

Ken Wilson of A Letter to My Congregation in the newsKEN WILSON—Pastor and author Ken Wilson (along with his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter) are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Ken was just cited for his work in a New York Times story. The few pioneering churches that have followed Ken’s vision of a “Third Way” include the influential City Church in California. This week, you’ll want to read …

David-Gushee-author Changing Our MindDR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind spoke in Kansas City to Welcoming and Affirming Baptist on June 28, 2015. Now, Dr. Gushee is becoming one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service. In news coverage of Americans’ rapidly changing attitudes toward LGBT Christians, Dr. Gushee’s book and his nationwide series of talks this year are often credited with changing hearts and minds. As a leading evangelical himself, Dr. Gushee’s work is especially helpful as other conservative Christians struggle with this new reality in American life.

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HOLIDAYS,
FESTIVALS & FOOD:

We’re still wishing, ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’

Muslim chef Amanda SaabDON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com, our master list of holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

TASTES OF RAMADAN—Muslims know that the fasting month of Ramadan also is the month when families and friends gather to break the fast with favorite foods! This week, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis brings us the story of Master Chef contestant Amanda Saab—and one of her delicious recipes.

wpid-0517_thumb_Buddha.jpgALSO, THIS WEEK, IN BUDDHISMColumnist Stephanie Fenton tells us about the Buddhist festival of Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day, which recalls the Buddha first teaching the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

IN JUDAISM, THE THREE WEEKSJewish households traditionally mourn a series of tragedies, including the destruction of two temples in Jerusalem.

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

th Me and Earl and the Dying Girl1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

Jim Gaffigan, the popular stand-up comedian known for his Comedy Central special and the books “Dad is Fat” and "Food: A Love Story," will be featured in “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” a new series premiering on TVLand on July 15. Photo courtesy of TVLandFAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings. This week, if you live in a “Christian household” (especially if you’re Catholic), you’re guaranteed to chuckle at comedian Jim Gaffigan’s utterly honest routine about the conflicting emotions when trying to balance faith with the distractions of everyday life. Ken found a wonderful video clip to share!

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

th My_Father_s_Love_-_Ed_Lantzer_s_Wood_Mosaic_Murals 2SUZY FARBMAN & GodSigns—Today, author Suzy Farbman shares the first part of a story headlined, “Diamonds of wood spark inspiration from work of the often homeless artist Ed Lantzer.” It’s a remarkable story about lives interconnecting to spread awareness of Lantzer’s huge Christian murals.

DEBRA DARVICK—Author Debra Darvick also writes, this week, about the importance of remembering and sharing a community’s most important stories in a column called, “It was called the Spanish house.”

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On July 9, he’s appearing at Temple Adas Israel, Long Island’s oldest synagogue.

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Cover Story: The Pope Francis environmental encyclical

‘SEISMIC SHIFT’ IN CHRISTIANITY

th Pope Francis speaking to a crowdALL ABOUT FRANCIS’S LETTER—Secular news media zeroed in on political controversy in the remarkable new letter from Pope Francis, completely missing what RNS commentator Jay Michaelson calls “a seismic shift” and “a sea change” in “Western religious thinking on the relationship between human beings and the earth.” It’s such major news that, this week, ReadTheSpirit magazine is doing what we do best: Giving you—quickly, at a glance—important highlights from the encyclical and the best public responses to Francis’s letter.

CHANGING FACE OF AMERICA

th MultiRacial AmericansMULTIRACIAL AMERICANS—This week, sociologist Wayne Baker looks at a major new study about our growing multiracial population. You’ll be surprised by some of these findings.

HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS & FOOD

July-4-cupcakesDON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com, our master list of holidays, festivals and anniversaries—with links to dozens of fascinating stories you’ll want to share.

WHAT’S YOUR PLAN FOR THE 4TH? Whatever you’re planning for Independence Day, Stephanie Fenton’s column is packed with ideas and DIY resources that will enrich your holiday.

strawberries-by-angel-luz-300x195FEED THE SPIRIT! And, what’s better than fresh strawberries at this time of year!?! FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis tells us the story of America’s love affair with chocolate-dipped strawberries—then she leads readers step by step through the easy process of making them. Come on! Read this one, print it out—or share this column with a friend who loves to cook. Then, you’ll show up at your July 4 celebration with a treat!

ALSO, THIS WEEK, ‘THE FORERUNNER’Stephanie Fenton tells us about one of the oldest Christian celebrations around the world, marking the birth of “The Forerunner,” another term for St. John the Baptist.

And, ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’

th MSU Front cover Muslim hi res1.6 BILLION FASTING—Learn more about your Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers who are in the midst of the Ramadan fast.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers James Lawson Daniel Hunter and George LakeyWANT INSPIRATION? We’ve got hundreds of stories about heroic men and women who risked their lives to foster peace. It’s easy to remember www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com so please tell your friends. (And, yes, you’re free to share these stories with your class or small group.)

Magda-Trocmé-and-survivors-with-their-wartime-photos-are-inserted-at-the-top-of-the-photo-Courtesy-Pierre-SauvageTHE AMAZING LE CHAMBON STORY—Readers tell us they continue to be fascinated by the remarkable courage of the people in a tiny French town who saved thousands during the Holocaust. GodSigns author Suzy Farbman writes about what happened at Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon.

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

Movie still from Pixar Inside Out1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Good media builds healthy communities …

MEET THE VETS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT—The Michigan State University veterans project is far bigger than a single new book: th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large Book100 Questions and Answers About Veterans. Read our first story about the project; and see some videos included in the book; and enjoy our story about “The Hat”—the baseball cap worn by an ever-shrinking number of WWII veterans.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On June 23, he’s performing this month at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

THIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER

A MAJOR CONVERSATION—Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team welcome the major review of Ken’s book A Letter to My Congregation by Tim Keller, an influential “pastor of pastors,” as Ken puts it in his response to Keller’s piece. And, yes, Ken’s column includes a link to read Tim’s original article, as well. (The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women.)

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind spoke at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference this past week and we’ve got a video link to his latest talk. Conference leaders posted this clip on YouTube with a running time of three hours. If you just want to hear Dr. Gushee, he starts at the 2-hour mark. ALSO—Dr. Gushee will be the dinner speaker for the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists conference n Overland, Kansas, on June 28th.

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Celebrating Innovators and Innovations (and “Ramadan mubarak!”)

COVER STORY: Join a long line of innovators

th Man carrying Bob Alper's bookCELEBRATING CREATIVITY—In this week’s special issue of ReadTheSpirit magazine, we’ve invited writers to tell us about creative ideas that are improving our world. First up, media expert Martin Davis writes about a big surprise in his own life—the innovation of the printed book! Wow, he says, that book idea still turns heads!

PIONEER LES PAUL’S 100th! Musical pioneer Les Paul died a few years ago, but GodSigns author Suzy Farbman writes a tribute to this genius who refused to let even a near-fatal car accident crush his creativity. Before his death, Les said innovation was a part of his healing process: “As I got better … I had newer ideas.” June is the 100th anniversary of his birth as Lester Polfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

th Just for Today John XXIII by Bimba Landmann for EerdmansTRANSFORMING THE “CHILDREN’S BOOK”—For years, the secret behind great children’s books is that parents love them as much as their kids. Now, there’s more freedom to blend text and illustration aimed at all ages. That’s what you’ll discover in two new remarkable picture books: one about the great Native American leader Red Cloud and the other an inspiring gift from the spiritual life of St. John XIII.

JOHN WATERS—NPR says moviemaker John Waters gave one of the best graduation speeches this year—all about the need to keep innovating! If you dare, we’ve got a short video clip of Waters’ now-viral talk to students. You’ve gotta love a guy who says the key to innovation is: “Read! Read! Read! Be nosy!”

A basket of herbsHEALING HERBS—We’ve all heard, “Nothing is new under the sun!” And that’s true of fresh perspectives on the growing use of healing herbs. Among our stories on innovation, this week, FeedTheSpirit’s Bobbie Lewis brings us this delicious column from a 21-year-old student at Antioch College who is a resident dryer of herbs.

5 Myths
about Africa

th OurValues Anthony England No Ebola Africa mapOUR VALUES—Thousands of readers have helped to shape one of our greatest innovations: The OurValues Project, founded by University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker. This daily column proves that civil dialogue is possible, even on tough topics. This week, Dr. Baker introduces the young writer Sarah Fowlkes, who returns from Africa with a series you’ll want to share with friends: 5 Myths about Africa.

HOLIDAYS: ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’

th MSU Front cover Muslim hi resWORLD’S BIGGEST HOLIDAY? More than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world will start the fasting month of Ramadan this week.

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers Abraham Joshua Heschel Thomas Merton and Cesar ChavezINTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—International peacemaker Daniel Buttry looks at three heroes who shaped our values as Americans.

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

th George Burns in a still from the movie Oh God1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Good media builds healthy communities …

FAIR FOOD NETWORK—Have you heard about this idea to help low-income families afford more locally grown produce? FeedTheSpirit explains the origins of this program. And, of course there’s a recipe!

MEET THE VETS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT—The Michigan State University veterans project is far bigger than a single new book: th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large Book100 Questions and Answers About Veterans. Read our first story about the project; and see some videos included in the book; and enjoy our story about “The Hat”—the baseball cap worn by an ever-shrinking number of WWII veterans.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On June 17, he’s performing in Proctor, VT. Then, on June 23, he’s performing this month at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

THIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER

A MAJOR NEW REVIEW—Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team are celebrating a major review of Ken’s book A Letter to My Congregation. The new piece was written by Tim Keller, an influential “pastor of pastors,” as Ken puts it in his response to Keller’s piece. And, yes, Ken’s column includes a link to read Tim’s original article, as well. (The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women.)

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind spoke at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference this past week and we’ve got a video link to his latest talk. Conference leaders posted this clip on YouTube with a running time of three hours. If you just want to hear Dr. Gushee, he starts at the 2-hour mark. ALSO—Dr. Gushee will be the dinner speaker for the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists conference n Overland, Kansas, on June 28th.

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‘Ramadan mubarak!’ Greeting Muslim friends in the fasting month

Welcoming Muslim neighbors in Ramadan

th MSU Front cover Muslim hi resCOVER STORY—More than a billion Muslims are preparing for the holy fasting month of Ramadan and, this week, we are urging readers to reach out in a friendly way to Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers. Start with this news from the Michigan State University School of Journalism about easy ways you can combat stereotypes where you live and work.

LEARN ABOUT RAMADAN—Holiday expert Stephanie Fenton writes about the sacred traditions of the fasting month and reports news from the latest Ramadan apps to a good source for traditional break-the-fast recipes. Also, for a more in-depth exploration of this month, including health-care issues related to Ramadan, you’ll want Najah Bazzi’s The Beauty of Ramadan.

New Facts about Muslims

th Pew Research Forum map of growing world populationOUR VALUES—Did you know that, right now, Christians far outnumber Muslims around the world—but by 2050 our populations will be equal? And, Christians share many of the same beliefs—and tough challenges—faced by Muslims around the world. These are just a few of the important findings from new research that can help us chart a more peaceful course in our world. That is, if … we talk about these truths with friends and spread the word. That’s something OurValues urges you to do.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

DON’T MISS ONE! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers Frederick Douglass the Grimke sisters and Dorothy DayINTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—International peacemaker Daniel Buttry looks at three heroes who shaped our values as Americans.

FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE

th Still from the movie Slow West1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Good media builds healthy communities …

th Fair Food Network imageFAIR FOOD NETWORK—Have you heard about this small but rapidly growing idea? The Fair Food Network wants to make it possible for low-income families to afford more fresh, locally grown produce. FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis explains the origins of this program. And, of course there’s a recipe! This week, she shares strawberry-rhubarb pie. It’s still “rhubarb season,” so share this important story—and preheat your oven for some delicious baking.

MEET THE VETS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT—The Michigan State University veterans project, launched by students at the MSU School of Journalism, is far bigger than a single new book. Headline news about the project has appeared in more than 200 media outlets. th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large BookThe title is 100 Questions and Answers About Veterans, but the “book” really is a nationwide multimedia effort packaged in book form. Read our first story about the project—and see some videos included in the book. You’ll also enjoy our story about “The Hat”—the baseball cap worn by an ever-shrinking number of WWII veterans.

th Pavel and Dragon Zoubok with Lisa HokeGOD SIGNS—Every week, veteran journalist Suzie Farbman (author GodSigns) brings us a new story designed to open our eyes to creative, hopeful possibilities in our world. This week, she tells the story of art dealer Pavel Zoubok.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. Any chance you’ll be in Vermont or Cape Cod this month? On June 17, he’s performing in Proctor, VT. Then, he’s performing this month at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

THIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER

A MAJOR NEW REVIEW—Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team are celebrating a major review of Ken’s book A Letter to My Congregation. The new piece was written by Tim Keller, an influential “pastor of pastors,” as Ken puts it in his response to Keller’s piece. And, yes, Ken’s column includes a link to read Tim’s original article, as well. (The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women.)

th The Reformation Project Atlanta 2015DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind will play a key role at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference June 11-13 with Matthew Vines. Tickets are still available. The conference is a national gathering of Christians working toward inclusion with LGBT men and women. For more details, click here or on the Reformation image.

 

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Cover Story: A pilgrimage to (Saint) Walt Disney?

Disney still promises ‘A Beautiful Tomorrow’

Walt Disney from the US Postal Service stampCOVER STORY—This year is the 60 anniversary of Walt Disney’s daring expansion in 1955 from movies into daily television with The Mickey Mouse Club and amusement parks with the opening of Disneyland. In our Cover Story, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm writes about a three-generation spiritual pilgrimage his family undertook to Disney World. Then, GodSigns author Suzy Farbman—an expert on the life-saving power of spiritual inspiration—shares some of her all-time favorite lines from Disney characters.

GET INVOLVED! This week, we’re all asking: What’s your favorite Disney line? Share your favorites with David Crumm on Twitter and mention #ReadTheSpirit or just email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

MEET THE VETS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

th World War II Veteran baseball cap‘THE HAT’—Have you seen this hat? Do you know what it means to many who wear it? Today, MSU’s Joe Grimm continues our series—Meeting ‘Our’ Veterans—with the inspiring story of one man who wears such a hat.

THE SERIES—The Michigan State University veterans project, launched by students at the MSU School of Journalism, is far bigger than a single new book. Headline news about the project has appeared in more than 200 media outlets—fueled by AP reporter Jeff Karoub’s story: “Journalism students aim to dispel myths about veterans.” th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large BookThe title is 100 Questions and Answers About Veterans, but the “book” really is a nationwide multimedia effort packaged in book form. Read our first story about the project—and see some videos included in the book.

IS AMERICAN MORALITY CHANGING?

th Diamond rings on sacred text Wikimedia Commons by Jennifer DickertOUR VALUES—Or … are we losing our moral bearings? New Gallup research shows how far “we” have moved to the “left” in recent years. This week in the OurValues series, sociologist Wayne Baker explores how far we’ve moved—and asks readers to talk with friends about why we are seeing so much change.

WHO SHAPED OUR MORAL CODE?

th Interfaith Peacemakers Roger Williams Haym Salomon and John LelandINTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—International peacemaker Daniel Buttry looks at three heroes who shaped our values at the birth of the American experiment.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th Fourth of July fireworks by Tom Webster of Portland via Wikimedia CommonsDON’T MISS ONE! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com

FILM, FAITH
AND POPULAR CULTURE

th Movie still from Love and Mercy1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.

STORIES THAT SHAPE OUR LIVES

“STORIES that shape your life” is a core theme at ReadTheSpirit. We’re inviting you to take part!

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Good media builds healthy communities …

th Rodney Curtis reaches a five year markCELEBRATE WITH RODNEY! Since his life-threatening diagnosis of cancer, author, humorist and photographer Rodney Curtis has inspired countless men and women nationwide by poking fun at the dreaded foe: cancer. Please, check out his memoir. Today, in a new column, he celebrates a five-year milestone!

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. Any chance you’ll be near Cape Cod later this month? He’s performing later this month at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

a bunch of turnipsFEED THE SPIRIT—Adventurous food writer Bobbie Lewis guides us, each week, in appreciating our diverse cultures through the flavors and stories she shares with us. This week, Bobbie embarks on a global quest to understand the culture of—turnips! If you’ve been away over the holiday, you’ll enjoy the previous guest column by marketing pro Nancy Schwartz who shares some savvy lessons from the remarkable life of Aunt Frances—plus a recipe for her braised cabbage and onions.

THIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER

th The Reformation Project Atlanta 2015DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind will play a key role at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference June 11-13 with Matthew Vines. The conference is a national gathering of Christians working toward inclusion with LGBT men and women. For more details, including ticket information, click here or on the Reformation image.

‘END THE SUFFERING’—The new video by Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team—called “End the Suffering“—is reaching viewers across the country. If you care about LGBT inclusion in churches—please watch this video, too, and share it with friends. The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women. And, fans of Parker Palmer should check out this news item about Palmer’s own call for a Third Way in America.

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Cover Story: Memorial Day and beyond

Meet the veterans everyone’s talking about!

Veterans Coming Home stories with Luis AliCOVER STORY—The Michigan State University veterans project, launched by students at the MSU School of Journalism, is far bigger than a single new book. We’ve seen proof of that in recent days! Associated Press reporter Jeff Karoub carried the story nationally: “Journalism students aim to dispel myths about veterans.” Karoub’s AP story appeared in top newspapers, magazines and TV networks coast to coast—from The Washington Post to ABC News, Fox News and even Stars and Stripes.

th MSU 100 Q&A Veterans Large BookThe book is called 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans. But this “book” really is a nationwide multimedia effort packaged in book form—including videos of men and women who have served our country, talking about their lives today. The book honors those we remember for their service on this holiday weekend—and it’s a perfect way to go beyond the holiday by connecting with the current lives of millions of veterans in America today. Today, we are sharing three of the videos included in the book, 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th a roadside memorialDON’T MISS ONE! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com

OUR VALUES

th A dog fetches sticksANIMAL RIGHTS—We love animals. New Gallup research finds a sizable and growing minority of Americans who believe that “animal rights” should be the same as human rights. Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker takes a look at this shift in values. This week, you’ll spark spirited discussion among friends by sharing these columns:

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS

th Interfaith Peacemakers Jerzy Popieluszko Peter Benenson Hildegard Goss MayrTHE HEROES—More than 100 inspiring stories at www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com

FILM, FAITH
AND POPULAR CULTURE

th The movie Tomorrowland with George Clooney1,200 MOVIESwww.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

Greek Orthodox-style icon depicting Admiral Ackbar as St Gail AckbarFAITH GOES POP—(Calling Star Wars fans …)—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings: Rubgy’s “Honey Badger,” How Jesus Is Saving Prime Time—and Star Wars icons. Yes, that is a Greek Orthodox-style icon depicting Admiral Ackbar as St. Gail Ackbar. Go on! Read the whole story.

STORIES THAT SHAPE OUR LIVES

The Cardinal Comics by Kurt Kolka The Wrath of the Warthog“STORIES that shape your life” is a core theme at ReadTheSpirit. We’re inviting you to take part!

Camille Paddock with comic creator Kurt Kolka and Kurt's daughter Rebecca

Camille Paddock, right, with Kurt Kolka and his daughter Rebecca

CAN STORIES REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? You bet! Cardinal-Warthog creator Kurt Kolka recently appeared at a Midwest comic con along with Camille Paddock—the teenager with alopecia who is featured in Kurt’s big comic book Bullying Is No Laughing Matter. When Camille spoke at the event about her Dare To Be Different anti-bullying group, she met one of her first followers: a girl named Grace, who also has alopecia and was struggling with it emotionally until she discovered Camille’s group. Grace told Camille, “Seeing how strong you were and everything that you went through helped me deal with it as well!”

DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD

Good media builds healthy communities …

th Anne-Marie-Russell-AMR-and-her-husband-Mike-Hein-on-their-tandem-bicycleSUZY FARBMAN—You’ll enjoy Suzy’s newest GodSigns column, “True love begins at a flea market.” It’s a real-life romantic story about a couple who believe that the fine arts can help us to build a better world.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation and will perform next in Johnson City, TN, for the Jewish Federation Tri-Cities Annual Campaign on May 29. Then, on May 31, he’ll be in Somerset, NJ, at Temple Beth El. As his fans know, Bob lives in Vermont and, this week, we’re pleased to see this review of his book in the Bennington Banner.

th Aunt Frances on red cabbage FeedTheSpiritYOU’LL LOVE IT (AND LEARN)! We love this new column brought to us by FeedTheSpirit host Bobbie Lewis. In this guest column, marketing pro Nancy Schwartz shares some savvy lessons from the remarkable life of Aunt Frances—plus a recipe for her braised cabbage and onions. Tips you can use—and tasty food you’ll enjoy if you’re a cabbage lover. Who can ask for more?

THIRD-WAY NEWSLETTER

th The Reformation Project Atlanta 2015DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind will play a key role at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference June 11-13 with Matthew Vines. The conference is a national gathering of Christians working toward inclusion with LGBT men and women. For more details, including ticket information, click here or on the Reformation image.

‘END THE SUFFERING’—The new video by Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team—called “End the Suffering“—is reaching viewers across the country. If you care about LGBT inclusion in churches—please watch this video, too, and share it with friends. The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women.

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