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
REDISCOVERING 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.
Daniel 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-summer—Buttry launches an online Summer Music Festival, currently featuring music videos from Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Bob Marley.
WHAT’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:
- Part 7—What images move you to head outdoors?
- Part 8—Wednesday.
- Part 9—Thursday.
- Part 10—Friday.
and seasonal FOOD
DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com, our master list of holidays, festivals and anniversaries.
ARE 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.
OBON or ULLAMBANA—You 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
‘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?
- RAMADAN OVERVIEW—Sacred traditions of the fasting month.
- MAKE FRIENDS—Want to reach out in a friendly way to Muslim friends? Start with this news from the Michigan State University School of Journalism.
- NEWS ABOUT ISLAM—Share this OurValues series with friends. Why is Islam growing so rapidly?
FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE
1,200 MOVIES—www.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, Manglehorn—and more.
- ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST—Ed gives this drama about the Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar 4 out of 5 stars. He writes, “The film is a riveting portrait of the human face of evil, with actor Benicio del Toro dominating the film.”
- MANGLEHORN—Holly Hunter and Al Pacino are wonderful! (4 out of 5 stars)
- PONTERGEIST—Yes, it’s scary, but overall it’s only … so so. (3 stars)
- A LITTLE CHAOS—Alan Rickman directs this story of a strong-willed woman charged with creating a portion of the Versailles gardens. (4 stars)
- JURASSIC WORLD—At least it’s better than the previous two sequels, Ed says. (3.5 stars)
- INSIDE OUT—Incredibly imaginative! (5 stars)
FAITH 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 …
SUZY 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—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 …
- TAKING STOCK ON INCLUSION—Here’s a convenient summary of all the news related to evangelical efforts to open a Third Way.
- PUBLIC RADIO INTERVIEW—Listen to Ken and his co-pastor and Third Way colleague Emily Swan talking with public radio interviewer Cynthia Canty.
DR. 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.