Cover Story: What if we recognize God as … a gardener?

MEET Dr. NORMAN WIRZBA …

AUTHOR PHOTO_Norman Wirzba_credit Matt Elia (2)COVER STORY—This week we introduce Canadian-born, Duke University theologian Norman Wirzba in an interview about his new book, Way of Love: Rediscovering the Heart of ChristianityOver the past decade, Wirzba has been teaching, preaching and writing about ways Christians should expand their image of God. Perhaps God is less like a judge or a stern parent and is more like—well, Wirzba says: Perhaps God is more like a gardener. In his new book, he continues this effort by inviting readers to rethink what it means to say that God is embodied in … love. And, to make his message even more engaging—he tells readers about his favorite movies that illustrate his message.

Never heard of Wirzba’s work until today? We’ve also posted one of Wirzba’s sermons about God envisioned as a gardener. You can read for yourself what he has to say when he’s on the road preaching.

Friends in Michigan take note—Our online magazine draws readers from around the world, but our home base is Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’re pleased to note that, at 2 p.m. on Sunday March 13, Wirzba will be presenting the Henry M. Loud Lecture, a popular series that has brought major religious leaders to this University of Michigan community, through the Wesley Foundation, for more than a century.

Nicaraguan-women-by-Chiara-e1457298322887‘DINING FOR WOMEN’—Here’s a terrific way grassroots groups of women are helping the world 1 meal at a time. Our FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis reports on the “Dining for Women” movement, how it works and how it produces group donations to help families around the world. And, Bobbie also serves up a recipe for beans and rice.

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Wilbur Award (1)CONGRATULATIONS!

WILBUR AWARDS—Since 1949, the Wilbur Awards have honored excellence by individuals in secular media. The list of categories in which the Religion Communicators Council gives these stained-glass trophies now includes print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting and motion pictures. We’re especially celebrating with David Gushee and Diana Butler Bass—and we’ve got a link to all the winners.

 

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HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

LENT

wpid-0227_thumb_Lagana_bread_for_Orthodox_Clean_Monday.jpgEAST AND WEST—AND LENT—The majority of the world’s 2 billion  Christians follow the Western liturgical calendar; they already have started the Lenten season that leads toward Easter. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Then, coming up on Monday March 14, the calendar followed by most Eastern Orthodox Christians also will reach what is known as Great Lent. (And, Yes, Stephanie’s story does have a recipe for traditional lagana bread.) During this traditional season of reflection, we also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry, an inspirational book by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

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TWO FROM INDIA

Vadakkumnathan-Temple-Shiva (3)MAHA SHIVARATRI—Hindus chant, worship and fast for Lord Shiva before heading into a nighttime vigil of devotion for the auspicious Hindu holiday of Maha Shivaratri. Dates may vary on this festival. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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India-women-Ramakrishna (1)SRI RAMAKRISHNA’S 180th—On March 10, Hindus around the world will remember an influential teacher who helped to revive Hinduism and also preached respect for other religious traditions. Stephanie Fenton’s column about Ramakrishna’s 180th birthday celebration also includes a link to Daniel Buttry’s profile of this remarkable religious teacher.

 

 

 

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Spotlight movie stillINSPIRED BY FILM? In the wake of the Oscars, the world is still abuzz about Spotlight, which won the Best Movie award. Of course, keeping kids safe everywhere, and especially in our houses of worship, is a goal we all share. ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm writes about next steps you can take after watching SpotlightIf you’re just discovering this thought-provoking movie, you’ll also want to read faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s in-depth movie review.

ENJOY DISCUSSING MOVIES? Get a copy of faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s new book Jesus Christ, Movie Starit’s full of thought-provoking reading and questionsAND—enjoy all of the free resources from Ed’s website: www.VisualParables.org

some of Linda Schlesinger-Wagner skinnytee shirts (1)

Creative Connectiond

‘JOY’ ISN’T ALONE—This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the come-back story of Linda Schlesinger-Wagner. Like the now-famous story in the hit movie Joy, Linda faced some daunting challenges in her family, but managed to restore spirits and their fortunes with a creative new product.

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th International Association of Religion Journalists Twitter feedGET NEWS FROM THE WHOLE WORLD—Two veteran journalists in Europe are trying to change the way we all “see” religion news around the world. In fact, ReadTheSpirit is actively helping them in this quest. Their first new project is a Twitter feed that will let you glimpse religion and cross-cultural stories that you would never see without their help. Here’s the story—and you can help them get this project rolling.

 

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Cover Story: Movies and motives

MOVIES TRULY MOVE US …

Spotlight movie stillINSPIRED BY FILM? In the wake of the Oscars, the world is abuzz about movies this week—especially Spotlight, which won the Best Movie award and was a huge boost to veteran journalists around the world. Perhaps you’re discussing movies you’d like to see right away via disc or streaming. So, this week, our Cover Story is a series of helpful columns about aspects of film that you might not discover without our help.

‘SPOTLIGHT’ ON OUR ROLES—Keeping kids safe everywhere, and especially in our houses of worship, is a goal we all share. ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm writes about next steps you can take after watching SpotlightIf you’re just discovering this thought-provoking movie, you’ll also want to read faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s in-depth movie review.

RODNEY’S BEST—You’re probably thrilled—or frustrated—by some of the Oscar awards this year. Well, you’re not alone. Each year, author Rodney Curtis brings us his own list of Best Films.

FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ENJOY DISCUSSING MOVIES? Get a copy of faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s new book Jesus Christ, Movie Starit’s full of thought-provoking reading and questionsAND—enjoy all of the free resources from Ed’s website: www.VisualParables.org

 

Creative Connection

Opening page of PictureAConversation.comPICTURE A CONVERSATION—Two of our authors, Suzy Farbman and Debra Darvick, collaborated on this week’s first creative story—all about a quest by Debra and her photographer husband Martin to kick-start grassroots conversations nationwide. This story is sure to get you thinking about fresh ways to start talking with friends.

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th International Association of Religion Journalists Twitter feedGET NEWS FROM THE WHOLE WORLD—Two veteran journalists in Europe are trying to change the way we all “see” religion news around the world. In fact, ReadTheSpirit is actively helping them in this quest. Their first new project is a Twitter feed that will let you glimpse religion and cross-cultural stories that you would never see without their help. Here’s the story—and you can help them get this project rolling.

 

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HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS AND FOOD

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

LENT

Last_Supper_by_Theophanes_the_CretanEAST AND WEST—AND LENT—The majority of the world’s 2 billion  Christians follow the Western liturgical calendar; they already have started the Lenten season that leads toward Easter. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Then, in March, the calendar followed by most Eastern Orthodox Christians also will reach what is known as Great Lent. During this traditional season of reflection, we also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry, an inspirational book by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

 

HOLIDAY of the DOLLS

wpid-0303th_Girls_showing_off_their_Hina_Matsuri_dolls.jpg

HINAMATSURI—The first scents of cherry blossom are in the air as Japanese families gather to celebrate the centuries-old festival of Hinamatsuri, the Japanese Doll Festival (or Girls’ Day).

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FROM INDIA

Vadakkumnathan-Temple-Shiva (3)MAHA SHIVARATRI—Hindus chant, worship and fast for Lord Shiva before heading into a nighttime vigil of devotion for the auspicious Hindu holiday of Maha Shivaratri. Dates may vary on this festival. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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TASTE OF GREEK-JEWISH CULTURE

Fasolada Jewish Greek bean soupFEED THE SPIRIT—Columnist Bobbie Lewis tells the fascinating, tragic and enduring story of Greece’s Jewish community. She also shares an easy-to-prepare and very tasty bean soup recipe from this ancient corner of the world.

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Cover Story: How do we speak to each other? Creative Connection

3 Fresh Ideas about Creative Connection

Opening page of PictureAConversation.comCOVER STORY—For nearly a decade, ReadTheSpirit has covered the rise and fall of new media about religion and cross-cultural diversity. Our online magazine has published thousands of articles and our bookstore now is packed with great books on these themes. In keeping with that mission, this week’s Cover Story features three ideas about the constantly changing nature of our creative connections:

1.) PICTURE A CONVERSATION—Two of our authors, Suzy Farbman and Debra Darvick, collaborated on this week’s first creative story—all about a quest by Debra and her photographer husband Martin to kick-start grassroots conversations nationwide. This story is sure to get you thinking about fresh ways to start talking with friends.

th International Association of Religion Journalists Twitter feed2.) GET NEWS FROM THE WHOLE WORLD—Two veteran journalists in Europe are trying to change the way we all “see” religion news around the world. In fact, ReadTheSpirit is actively helping them in this quest. Their first new project is a Twitter feed that will let you glimpse religion and cross-cultural stories that you would never see without their help. Here’s the story—and you can help them get this project rolling.

3.) WHY WE DON’T DO APPS—The final column about Creative Connections, this week, relates to the latter half of the “rise and fall of new media.” The publishing industry is abuzz in early 2016 about the endangered status of the individually developed content-based App. Here’s that story.

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HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS AND FOOD

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

LENT AROUND THE WORLD

Last_Supper_by_Theophanes_the_CretanEAST AND WEST WILL MEET—The majority of the world’s 2 billion  Christians follow the Western liturgical calendar; they already have started the Lenten season that leads toward Easter. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Then, in March, the calendar followed by most Eastern Orthodox Christians also will reach what is known as Great Lent. During this traditional season of reflection, we also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry, an inspirational book by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

SYMBOL OF THE PRETZEL—The food and drink that we consume, each day, has been woven since ancient times into the world’s great religious traditions. GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman recently rediscovered the faith-and-food connection with the common pretzel—and shares it with readers.

A New Year

Bahai-gardens-Haifa (1)BAHA’I NEW  YEAR AND … Baha’is around the world update their religious calendar so that holidays fall roughly in the appropriate seasons. Stephanie Fenton reports both on the upcoming Baha’i New Year as well as the way this religious group adapts its calendar.

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Black History

CONFRONTING RACISM WITH … INFORMATION—The highly respected Bias Busters team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is marking this year’s Black History Month by adding a new cross-cultural guide to the growing series. MSU’s Joe Grimm has the story of how this new book was created. ANDYou’ll find all of the MSU guides displayed in our bookstore.

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TASTE OF GREEK-JEWISH CULTURE

Fasolada Jewish Greek bean soupFEED THE SPIRIT—Columnist Bobbie Lewis tells the fascinating, tragic and enduring story of Greece’s Jewish community. She also shares an easy-to-prepare and very tasty bean soup recipe from this ancient corner of the world.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

2016 movie Race about Jesse Owens (1)ENJOY DISCUSSING MOVIES? Get a copy of faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s new book Jesus Christ, Movie Starit’s full of thought-provoking reading and questionsAND—enjoy all of the free resources from Ed’s website: www.VisualParables.org

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Cover Story: Why the faith of millions is deepening now

Are Americans Becoming Less Religious?

Trust_MagazineCOVER STORY—Pew researchers asked 35,000 Americans about their religious lives and, yes, by some markers this nation appears less religiously affiliated. The big surprise in this landmark research? In fact, most Americans are becoming more involved in prayer, Bible study—and spiritual reflections on their lives in general! The new cover story of Pew’s TRUST magazine is perfectly timed for the majority of Americans who now are entering the intensively religious season of Lent.

If you’re a regular ReadTheSpirit reader, we’re sure you’ll find these stories fascinating—and inspirational …

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Connecting Faith with Daily Life

Mosaic of loaves and fishes in Church of the Multiplication near the Sea of GalileeWHY DO WE GATHER? Oh, sure! If you’re a regular reader, you can easily list common reasons that people are moved to attend services at churches, synagogues, temples and mosques. But, author and columnist Benjamin Pratt returns to the pages of ReadTheSpirit this week—with a different answer to that question. It might be an answer you’ve forgotten, at the moment.

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COVER_Seven Last Words by Father James MartinHUMAN SIDE OF JESUS—James Martin SJ is famous for his many inspirational books, often spiced with his trademark good humor. You may have seen him in major newspapers, magazines or appearing on television. For Lent 2016, Martin turns to the final seven sayings of Jesus—called Seven Last Words in Christian tradition. Of course, Martin is a Catholic priest, but this new book is perfect for anyone—Catholic, Protestant or unaffiliated—who would like to meet Jesus, again, from a fresh and personal perspective. Please, read our interview with James Martin SJ about his new book, Seven Last Words.

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An Ancient Connection: Faith and Food

Hands-Making-PretzelsSYMBOL OF THE PRETZEL—The food and drink that we consume, each day, has been woven since ancient times into the world’s great religious tradition. Water begins and ends the Christian Bible. Religious rituals around the world involve food and drink. As Lent begins around the world, the story of one centuries-old symbol—the pretzel—may have been largely forgotten in many communities. GodSigns author and columnist Suzy Farbman recently rediscovered the story and shares it with readers this week.

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vegetarian black-bean-sloppy-joe (1)FEED THE SPIRIT—Whether they are fully observant of Lenten fasting traditions or not—millions of Christian families do reflect on the relationship between food and faith at this time of year. Many “give up” certain things, often foods. And Eastern Orthodox Christians give up many foods in the fast of Great Lent. This week in FeedTheSpirit, we are featuring a guest column by Christine Gutleben, director of Faith Outreach for the Humane Society of the United States. She raises questions about our consumption that you may find inspiring—and she has a terrific recipe for vegetarian Sloppy Joes.

 

ALL THE HOLIDAYS …

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.
100 Questions and Answers about African Americans copy

Mark Black History Month …

CONFRONTING RACISM WITH … INFORMATION—The highly respected Bias Busters team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is marking this year’s Black History Month by adding a new cross-cultural guide to the growing series. These short books now are used widely in professional training programs, cultural-sensitivity seminars—and many other settings where people are trying to build healthier communities. MSU’s Joe Grimm has the story of how this new book was created. ANDYou’ll find all of the MSU guides displayed in our bookstore.

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Another New Year

Bahai-gardens-Haifa (1)BAHA’I NEW  YEAR AND … Baha’is around the world continually update their religious calendar so that holidays fall roughly in the appropriate seasons. Stephanie Fenton reports both on the upcoming Baha’i New Year as well as the way this religious group adapts its calendar.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

ENJOY DISCUSSING MOVIES? Get a copy of faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s new book Jesus Christ, Movie Starit’s full of thought-provoking reading and questionsAND—the new February 2016 issue of Visual Parables Journal includes Ed’s Top 10 Films of 2015. The Journal is perfect for your own inspiration as you enjoy movies—or for classes and small groups.

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Cover Story: Journey through Lent with a friend

Inspirational writer James Martin re-introduces—Jesus

COVER_Seven Last Words by Father James MartinCOVER STORY—James Martin SJ is famous for his many inspirational books, often spiced with his trademark good humor. You may have seen him in major newspapers, magazines or appearing on television. For Lent 2016, Martin turns to the final seven sayings of Jesus—called Seven Last Words in Christian tradition. Of course, Martin is a Catholic priest, but this new book is perfect for anyone—Catholic, Protestant or unaffiliated—who would like to meet Jesus, again, from a fresh and personal perspective. Please, read our interview with James Martin SJ about his new book, Seven Last Words.

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LENTEN MILESTONES FOR 2016

pancakes-fruits for shrove tuesday (1)SHROVE TUESDAY

PANCAKES ANYONE? Most Western Christians have all but forgotten the Christian fasting customs associated with the Lenten season—but in many communities around the world vestiges of this tradition remain. Among the most popular? Pancakes, which use up rich ingredients that are supposed to be abandoned during the 40 days. And of course, this Fat Tuesday tradition is translated as Mardi Gras as well! Holidays specialist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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Ash-Wednesday-woman-ashes (1)ASH WEDNESDAY

LENTEN JOURNEY TO EASTER—Speaking of epic religious movements … a third of the world’s population identifies as Christian and the majority of those follow the Western tradition that begins the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday on February 10 this year. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Looking for inspirational reading during this 40-day period? We also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

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wpid-0227_thumb_Lagana_bread_for_Orthodox_Clean_Monday.jpgORTHODOX GREAT LENT

RELIGIOUS CALENDARS DIFFER—This year, close to 2 billion Christians will begin Lent on the Western calendar, but hundreds of millions of Eastern Orthodox Christians will begin a month later. Their customs also include a far more rigorous fast than is followed in the West. Stephanie Fenton reports on the milestones leading to Eastern Orthodox Great Lent, including Meatfare Sunday, Cheesefare Sunday and Clean Monday.

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ALL THE HOLIDAYS …

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.
100 Questions and Answers about African Americans copy

Mark Black History Month …

CONFRONTING RACISM WITH … INFORMATION—The highly respected Bias Busters team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is marking this year’s Black History Month by adding a new cross-cultural guide to the growing series. These short books now are used widely in professional training programs, cultural-sensitivity seminars—and many other settings where people are trying to build healthier communities. MSU’s Joe Grimm has the story of how this new book was created. ANDYou’ll find all of the MSU guides displayed in our bookstore.

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2016 02 08 Chinese New Year of the Monkey (2)CHINESE NEW YEAR

THE YEAR OF THE MONKEYStephanie Fenton has the story behind this enormous annual festival that now circles the globe. She explains the symbol of the monkey—and also the epic scale of this annual homecoming. The travel period surrounding the New Year now is regularly described as “the world’s largest human migration.”

TEAM TIME? One way Americans commonly salute Chinese culture involves … tea. Yes, we’re a nation with a serious coffee addiction (the U.S. ranks 69th among nations around the world in per capita tea consumption). But Bobbie Lewis in FeedTheSpirit offers this homage to the wonders of tea—and adds a delicious scone recipe!.

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President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi (2)

LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY

INTRODUCE CHILDREN YOU LOVE TO “ABE”—Did you know that what is today Black History Month began in 1926 and falls, each year, in February because African-American leaders in the 1920s wanted to honor Frederick Douglass (whose birthday is February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12)? To emphasize that historic connection, the creative minds at Wisdom Tales publishing house just released a colorful new book for children about Lincoln’s legacy. Lincoln scholar and frequent ReadTheSpirit contributor Duncan Newcomer reviews the new book.

 

Book-heart (2)Valentine’s Day

IT’S MORE THAN CHOCOLATE—Stephanie Fenton looks at the roots of Valentine’s Day and tells us about the other traditional themes for this holiday. Also: Can you guess how long ago the first Valentine’s card was sent? You might be surprised.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …
rugelach ready to serve (2)

Feed The Spirit

GRANDMOTHER’S RUGELACH—This week, our FeedTheSpirit column will warm your heart, if you fondly recall a grandparent’s love of feeding the family. Sound familiar? Guest writer Margot Kahn tells about her grandmother’s recipes, carried from Poland in 1938. And, she shares a prized recipe for the sweet and flaky treat called rugelach.

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Culture_Lab_Detroit (1)

Suzy Farbman

SUZY FARBMAN’S ‘GOD SIGNS’—Suzy Farbman’s columns demonstrate life’s wondrous potential—if only we open our eyes to new possibilities. This week she tells the story of Jane Schulak, a designer who has created art projects around the world—and now is back in Detroit, Michigan, fostering an unusual new “Culture Lab.”

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Diana Butler Bass Grounded

Diana Butler Bass

GET ‘GROUNDED’—In her new book, and in her preaching coast to coast in 2016, Diana takes seriously the classic Wesleyan proclamation: “The world is our parish.” Long-time readers of this historian and congregational consultant may be surprised to open the cover of Grounded. It’s a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection, moving from scholarly observation—to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life. You’ll enjoy our nterview with Diana.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

VPTemplate_-_VPFeb16-preview_pdf copyENJOY DISCUSSING MOVIES? Get a copy of faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s new book Jesus Christ, Movie Starit’s full of thought-provoking reading and questions!

NEW THIS WEEK! Ed McNulty freely provides more than 1,200 film reviews that raise religious issues. To support his work, he sells his long-running Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine that is packed with complete study guides. The new February 2016 issue is the 26th anniversary of the Journal and it includes Ed’s Top 10 Films of 2015. The Journal is perfect for your own inspiration as you enjoy movies—or for classes and small groups.

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Cover Story: Black History, Chinese New Year (and Lincoln too)

A New Way to Mark Black History Month …

100 Questions and Answers about African Americans copyCONFRONTING RACISM WITH … INFORMATION—The highly respected Bias Busters team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is marking this year’s Black History Month by adding a new cross-cultural guide to the growing series. These short books now are used widely in professional training programs, cultural-sensitivity seminars—and many other settings where people are trying to build healthier communities. MSU’s Joe Grimm has the story of how—and why—this unusual new book was created. And if you’re impressed with this new book, you’ll want to see the whole array of cross-cultural books the MSU team has produced. You’ll find them all displayed in our bookstore.

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HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

th Groundhog-on-groundCANDLEMAS, IMBOLC …

AND THE RISING GROUNDHOG—Ancient cultures affirm it: Spring is just around the corner! In the depths of North American winter, that may seem ridiculous—but the ancients looked for signs of new life. In addition to writing about Imbolc and Groundhog Day, Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton also writes about a nearly 2,000-year-old Christian festival marking a milestone in the early life of the infant Jesus.

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2016 02 08 Chinese New Year of the Monkey (2)CHINESE NEW YEAR

THE YEAR OF THE MONKEYStephanie Fenton has the story behind this enormous annual festival that now circles the globe. She explains the symbol of the monkey—and also the epic scale of this annual homecoming. The travel period surrounding the New Year now is regularly described as “the world’s largest human migration.”

TEAM TIME? One way Americans commonly salute Chinese culture involves … tea. Yes, we’re a nation with a serious coffee addiction (the U.S. ranks 69th among nations around the world in per capita tea consumption). But Bobbie Lewis in FeedTheSpirit offers this homage to the wonders of tea—and adds a delicious scone recipe!.

.

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Ash-Wednesday-woman-ashes (1)ASH WEDNESDAY

LENTEN JOURNEY TO EASTER—Speaking of epic religious movements … a third of the world’s population identifies as Christian and the majority of those follow the Western tradition that begins the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday on February 10 this year. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Looking for inspirational reading during this 40-day period? We also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi (2)INTRODUCE CHILDREN YOU LOVE TO “ABE”—Did you know that what is today Black History Month began in 1926 and falls, each year, in February because African-American leaders in the 1920s wanted to honor Frederick Douglass (whose birthday is February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12)? To emphasize that historic connection, the creative minds at Wisdom Tales publishing house just released a colorful new book for children about Lincoln’s legacy. Lincoln scholar and frequent ReadTheSpirit contributor Duncan Newcomer reviews the new book.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

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

Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass GroundedGET ‘GROUNDED’—In her new book, and in her preaching coast to coast in 2016, Diana takes seriously the classic Wesleyan proclamation: “The world is our parish.” Long-time readers of this historian and congregational consultant may be surprised to open the cover of Grounded. It’s a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection, moving from scholarly observation—to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life. You’ll enjoy our nterview with Diana.

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Suzy Farbman

A beach front event at the Hermitage Artist Retreat copy
SUZY FARBMAN’S ‘GOD SIGNS’—Each week, GodSigns author Suzy Farbman brings us inspiring stories of men and women who demonstrate the huge potential life—if we open our eyes to new possibilities. This week she tells the story of Bruce Rodgers, who took on a run-down beach-side collection of huts and turned it into the prestigious Hermitage Artist Retreat.

 

 

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

FOR MOVIE FANS—Do you enjoy making connections between faith and film? Veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s brand new book—”Jesus Christ, Movie Star.”—is a lots of fun and it’s inspiring as well!

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Cover Story: Diana Butler Bass on ‘Grounded,’ a ‘Spiritual Revolution’

‘Finding God in the World’ 

Diana Butler Bass GroundedCOVER STORY—In her new book, and in her preaching coast to coast in 2016, Diana takes seriously the classic Wesleyan proclamation: “The world is our parish.” Long-time readers of this historian and congregational consultant may be surprised to open the cover of Grounded. It’s a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection, moving from scholarly observation—to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life. And the book intentionally starts close to our homes by exploring deep truths in the soil and the water around us. Please, enjoy this interview with Diana by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

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HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

TU B’SHVAT

Eden-Gardens-seedling (1)NEW YEAR OF THE TREES—If you’re interested in connecting the spiritual and natural worlds, then you’ll be fascinated by the Jewish festival of TuB’shvat, also known as the new year of the trees. Stephanie Fenton explains the tradition.

URBAN FARMING (AND KALE SALAD)—Our FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis also digs into this week’s major theme—with an inspiring story about urban farming in Detroit. Recently, NYTimes headlines have been chronicling poverty in the troubled Motor City, so you may welcome this column about new life in the old city. And, of course, Bobbie shares a recipe: a kale salad with apples, walnut and sumac.

 

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE

Candles for Holocaust remembrance.

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVANCE—Although Israel and Jewish communities worldwide will mark Yom Hashoah this year in May, the United Nations annual observance of an international day of remembrance continues to spread a decade after it was declared by the UN. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on this year’s theme—and fascinating news about the world’s “oldest man.”

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CANDLEMAS, IMBOLC …

th Groundhog-on-groundAND THE RISING GROUNDHOG—Ancient cultures affirm it: Spring is just around the corner! In the depths of North American winter, that may seem ridiculous—but the ancients looked for signs of new life. In addition to writing about Imbolc and Groundhog Day, Stephanie Fenton also writes about a nearly 2,000-year-old Christian festival marking a milestone in the early life of the infant Jesus.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

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

NANCY AND BILL BARKER 2014 (1)SUZY FARBMAN’S ‘GOD SIGNS’—Each week, GodSigns author Suzy Farbman brings us inspiring stories of men and women who demonstrate the huge potential life—if we open our eyes to new possibilities. This week, you’ll meet Nancy and Bill Barker who blended their families—even as Nancy continued her work on behalf of women around the world.

TRAVEL TO PANAMA WITH RODNEY—Author and photographer Rodney Curtis features a series of remarkable photographs from his recent journey to Panama.

HELP BIAS BUSTERS—The Bias Busters program at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is courageously stepping into the nationwide wave of anti-Muslim bigotry. Learn about this effort, spearheaded by MSU’s Joe Grimm and his students.

REDISCOVER HOPE—Daniel Buttry’s inspiring new book We Are the Socks is full of true stories about men and women who risked pursuing peace in the face of enormous challenges. Read about Dan’s adventure in writing this book. And, in a short video, Dan tells the surprising story behind the title.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—You’ll enjoy more than 100 stories of men and women who dared to cross boundaries in Buttry’s main website: InterfaithPeacemakers

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

FOR MOVIE FANS—Do you enjoy making connections between faith and film? Veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s brand new book—”Jesus Christ, Movie Star.”—is a lots of fun and it’s inspiring as well!

FIRST ISSUE OF 2016—For complete study guides to many popular movies, check out the current issue of his Visual Parables Journal.

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