Cover Story: Life Lessons from the Native Way

TIMELY VOICE FROM INDIAN COUNTRY

Voices in the Stones_cvr-fnl.inddKENT NERBURN RETURNS—For months, readers around the world have been asking us about the spiritual issues swirling around the Standing Rock pipeline protests in Sioux country south of Bismarck, North Dakota. News on Sunday (Dec 4, 2016) of a major victory for the protesters is electrifying environmentalists and Native leaders around the world—but the “victory” could be reversed by an incoming Trump administration. In light of news events, many of you have asked us to publish a ReadTheSpirit cover story to highlight the much deeper issues unfolding in the Great Plains. With perfect timing, Kent Nerburn—a best-selling interpreter of Native American life—offers us a 200-page collection of stories and reflections on Indian culture, called Voices in the Stones. Please, read this interview of Kent Nerburn—and consider reading his new book with friends, this winter.

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St. Nicholas & Christmas

AN ADVENT TALE—In the midst of growing darkness in our Northern Hemisphere, we offers this column contrasting the latest news from New York and Rome on darkness, hope and the need for compassion.

wpid-1203th_St_Nicholas_from_Turkey.jpgEASTERN ORTHODOX Christians began their annual Nativity Fast on November 15. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has that story. Western Christians began Advent, their liturgical period anticipating Christmas on November 27.

THIS WEEK, many Christian families around the world also are looking ahead to the Feast of St. Nicholas, the forerunner of our pop-culture Santa Claus.

Check out all the holidays! Tell friends about the simply Web address: www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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winter-book-cover-wild-goose-publications-iona-books-2HOLIDAY IDEAS FROM BEN PRATT

WARM YOUR HEART—Here’s a holiday gift idea (for yourself or someone you love) that we guarantee you won’t find in other American magazines this year: The terrific new Winter collection from Ruth Burgess and the Iona Community’s Wild Goose Publications. And, yes, the book does include one of the all-time most popular columns by our own Benjamin Pratt: Angel in the Dump.

AND, STIR YOUR HEART—Our readers also tell us they’re looking for ways to stir their consciences this holiday season, as well. Once again, Benjamin Pratt offers two suggestions: First, he reviews the documentary film, The Homestretch, from Icarus Films. The movie takes us deep into Chicago’s homeless community to follow young people struggling to make it through school, despite long odds. Second, he reviews Talent Has Hunger, by First Run Features. This documentary is “pure joy,” about the life of a master music teacher. Either film would make an unusual and spirit-stirring gift this holiday season.

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kim-candace-and-jennifer-1Of Light (and Darkness)

GODSIGNS—Suzy Farbman’s column this week tells the story of three sisters, who lost their mother in a tragic accident. Fond memories of their mother are marked by both light—and unexpected darkness.

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pluralism-hands-karlahuber-1Thank you, Karla

A VOICE TO FOLLOW—One reason we remain a strong community of readers and writers after a decade of publishing ReadTheSpirit is the support of colleagues like writer Karla Huber. A big “Thank you!” goes out to Karla, this week, for calling attention to the cross-cultural publishing work of the team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. If you haven’t discovered Karla’s website, please check it out. She shares thoughtful columns and also some of her own inspiring artwork. The world is a little better because compassionate voices like Karla’s are part of the chorus.

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th Third Way Newsletter logoAnd speaking of compassion …

THIRD WAY—Another team of colleagues doing good in the world, each week, writes under the collective name: Third Way Newsletter. This week, Ken Wilson offers some helpful reflections on the challenges of life and faith in the midst of an ascendant Trump culture. You may be surprised by Ken’s pastoral voice on these issues. Please, check it out.

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visual-parables-december-2016-issue-1FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ED McNULTY—Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.org. The Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides on recent films—enjoyed by individuals and small groups—is the one resource Ed sells to support his ongoing work. The December 2016 issue is now available. Please consider subscribing.

Among Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

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