Cover Story: Mom and daughter rediscover their love

MEET JANE AND ELLEN KNUTH

th Jane and Ellen Knuth with their book Love Will Steer Me TrueCOVER STORY—Our author interview this week welcomes Jane Knuth, the popular inspirational writer, and her daughter Ellen who have just published a memoir about their relationship called, Love Will Steer Me True. Their true story follows Ellen half way around the world and eventually to the aftermath of a nuclear disaster in Japan. Jane writes half of the book from her home in the Midwest; Ellen writes the other half of the story. But the real magic in their story is its potential to help you think in fresh ways about loved ones close to your home.

OUR VALUES:
FINANCIAL INSECURITY

th Trickling Down ProsperityTHIS WEEK, OurValues creator (and United America author) sociologist Wayne Baker looks at some troubling implications of Americans’ financial insecurity. He asks readers: “The economy is making a comeback, but are you? How financially secure or insecure do you feel? Today, find out from a new poll what insecurity means for the political process and democracy.”

INTERFAITH
PEACEMAKERS

Interfaith Peacemakers Richard St Barbe Baker Laura Hobgood Oster and Holmes Rolston IIIA ‘NATURAL’ COMMUNITY—One of our goals in 2015 is publishing occasional stories of peacemakers who build healthier communities around their concern for the natural world and especially for animals. Today, Daniel Buttry’s Interfaith Peacemakers section begins with three profiles.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

th Kite shop in IndiaCELEBRATE 2015—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has completely updated our diverse 2015 “master calendar” of holidays from around the world plus milestones and anniversaries, as well. Remember the easy link: www.InterfaithHolidays.com New stories this week …

FOOD, FILM AND POPULAR CULTURE

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Cover Story: Marc Bekoff, ‘ReWilding’ our hearts, and the Pope

Bekoff on ‘rewilding’ (and the pope’s thoughts on pets)

th Marc Bekoff Rewilding Our Hearts and a wolfWELCOME BACK scientist and writer Marc Bekoff, best known for his columns and books that share the latest news about research into animal consciousness, psychology and sociology with readers around the world.

WAKE UP!
A CLARION CALL FOR 2015

th Ernest Hemingwy at Finca Vigia home in CubaThis week, as 2015 is beginning, 3 ReadTheSpirit writers bring you 4 stories that proclaim: “Wake up!” These eye-opening stories are:

th US Capitol dome divided left and rightOUR VALUES:
AMERICA 2015

TO START the new year, sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker asks readers: “What are the striking stories from 2014 that foretell events in 2015? This week we’ll cover five of them, including politics, religion, economy and the family. What’s on your list?”

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th Rosca de reyes Mexican King CakeSTART THE YEAR RIGHT! Bookmark our master calendar of holidays and festivals, and tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com for an entire year of fascinating stories, packed with intriguing links and tips from columnist Stephanie Fenton.

ARE YOU AN INTERFAITH PEACEMAKER?

th Interfaith Peacemakers in the Middle EastYOU CAN HELP! Author and global peacemaker Daniel Buttry shares more than 100 inspiring profiles of men and women who have risked becoming “Interfaith Peacemakers.” Simply read these stories and share them with friends to encourage awareness that peace is possible.

FAITH, FOOD, FILMS
AND POPULAR CULTURE …

  • th Scene from Immigation GameVISUAL PARABLES—Faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty urges readers to go see the thought-provoking and suspenseful film The Imitation Game.
  • CATCHING UP ON THE BEST MOVIES? Ed McNulty guides you through the long list of terrific films that opened recently. If you’re a film fan, you’ll enjoy reading what he has to say about: Big Eyes (5 out of 5 stars), The Babadook (4 stars), Foxcatcher (4 stars), Wild (4 stars), Annie (4 stars) and Unbroken (4 stars).

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Happy New Year! What are your ‘Family Treasures’?

OUR VALUES: FAMILY TREASURES

th united america family treasuresFor the new year, sociologist Wayne Baker is publishing two new activity guides for sparking spirited discussion in your small group or class. Last week, we published a five-part OurValues series about the first activity: “Taste of Home.” (That series of stories took readers from a traditional smokehouse in Tennessee to a seder table, and from the mountains of Afghanistan to a neighborhood dinner in the Midwest.) This week, you’re sure to enjoy a second series (accompanying a free activity guide) called: “Family Treasures” …

CENTENNIAL OF THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE

Interfaith Peacemakers Centennial of the Christmas Truce100 years ago, British, German and French men spontaneously laid down their guns in  The Christmas Truce across the trenches of World War I. Over the last week, our stories about that bittersweet day of hope and courage ranked as the most-read stories in our online magazine. This week, we are repeating these popular headlines. Please, continue to share them with friends:

PRACTICE ‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers
Got a little holiday cash you can spend to promote peace and encourage growth in your community? Please, consider …

THE HOLIDAYS

th Times Square New Years Eve Waterford ball

FOOD, FILM,
POPULAR CULTURE
… AND MORE

th Rolo-turtles-by-Glorious-Treats-e1419022700343

Movie still from Unbroken

  • VISUAL PARABLES—Just a few days left for new subscribers to purchase a whole year of Edward McNulty’s popular monthly magazine, Visual Parables Journal, at $10 off the normal price.
  • ‘UNBROKEN’—If you see one movie this week, Ed McNulty says you should go see this true story of a survivor who ultimately forgave his captors. (4 of 5 stars)
  • HOLIDAY MOVIES? Ed McNulty has you covered with reviews of all the major holiday releases. He does not like Exodus, dismissing it as “Gladiator Meets the Burning Bush” and giving only 2.5 out of 5 stars. But Ed highly recommends Into the Woods with 4.5 stars. And, he also likes the new Hobbit (4 stars), The Homesman (4.5 stars), Wild (4 stars) and Annie (4 stars).
  • FAITH GOES POP—And for a wide range of creative columns about the convergence of faith and popular culture, check out Ken Chitwood’s Faith Goes Pop. Ken’s unusual stories consistently rank among our most popular with readers.

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Cover Story: Celebrating Peace in a Time of War

CENTENNIAL OF THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE

th Sainsburys advertisement on centennial of the WWI Christmas Truce100 years ago, many British, German and French men laid down their guns in what became known as The Christmas Truce across the muddy trenches of World War I. Please, help us lift up that dramatic impulse toward peace by reading these stories and sharing them with friends:

OUR VALUES: TASTE OF HOME

th Classic Christmas HamThis week, sociologist Wayne Baker (the creator of the OurValues Project) is adding a new guide for group discussion to the resource page for his book, United America. It’s called “Taste of Home” and explores how talking about food traditions unlocks an appreciation of American Core Values. PLUS, this week’s OurValues series is publishing five delicious stories about food.

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers

THE HOLIDAYS

th Times Square New Years Eve Waterford ball

FOOD, FILM,
POPULAR CULTURE
… AND MORE

th Skorpor-by-Ash

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Hanukkah and Christmas converge … well, sort of

COVER STORY:

th Amy Jill Levine and her book The Short Stories of JesusRediscovering Jesus
with Amy-Jill Levine

Hanukkah and Christmas converge often enough that millions of Jewish parents refer to the confusion as “The December Dilemma,” which is unfortunate since both holidays proclaim inspiring messages of  hope. This week, we invite our readers to meet one of the most esteemed Bible scholars teaching in America today: Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt in Nashville. We’re recommending her latest book, Short Stories by Jesus. The book’s main goal is to help readers rediscover the original meanings of Jesus’s beloved stories—and, along the way, Levine helps readers to avoid perpetuating dangerous, anti-Jewish stereotypes.

OUR VALUES:
“War on Christmas”?

th Bill O Reilly Declares the War On Christmas Begins YouTubeFor nearly a decade, millions of Fox-TV fans have spent December spreading the story that there’s another “War on Christmas.” This week, University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker explores this phenomenon in his OurValues series. Stay tuned all week! He will share some fascinating stories from America’s holiday history, plus solid data from Pew about our holiday habits.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

th Hanukkah_candles

th Kwanzaa-party-celebration

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

th Joyeux Noel the Christmas truce

DO OUR DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?

th Pope Francis I

POPULAR CULTURE,
FILM, FAITH & MORE

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Hanukkah: a celebration of light and freedom

COVER STORY: The inspiration of Hanukkah

th Mother and Daughter light Hanukkah candles

  • PREPARE NOW—Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 16. It’s a relatively minor Jewish festival, but its themes are powerful. Freedom is celebrated as Jewish families shine lights in the darkness. These signs inspire all of us who aspire to be peacemakers. We are publishing our Hanukkah stories early this year, because you’ll find recommendations of books that you might want to share with friends during the 8-day festival.
  • PLUS—Today’s Hanukkah column includes links to wonderful stories by Debra Darvick (including her Dear Abby-style columns), Feed The Spirit (a true story of “front porch latkes”) and Rabbi Bob Alper with his marvelous “Mrs. Steinberg’s Christmas Tree.”

RACE IN AMERICA

th Al Sharpton with Esaw GarnerOUR VALUES—In a season when millions are remembering the long struggle for freedom, Americans coast to coast are grappling with difficult questions about racial attitudes and public policy. University of Michigan sociologist Wayne Baker is devoting this week’s OurValues series to “Race in America.”

ALL THE HOLIDAYS

th Our Lady of Guadelupe

MASTER CALENDAR—You can always find the full listing at www.InterfaithHolidays.com

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers

FAITH, FILM
& POPULAR CULTURE

th Coke_Can_Nativity_-_Faith_Goes_PopFaith_Goes_Pop

  • Sleeping-in-shiftsRODNEY CURTIS IS BACK—Known to many readers as “The Spiritual Wanderer,” Rodney Curtis writes this week about wandering around, sometimes, at night. In this darkest season of the year (for our Northern Hemisphere readers), do you find that your sleep is troubled? Many famous writers, including Charles Dickens, rarely slept through the night (the Christmas Carol wasn’t entirely fiction). Maybe Rodney’s tale (and fascinating links) will help you sleep better this month.

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This December, renew your love and your community

COVER STORY:
ROB BELL BRINGS ‘ZIM ZUM’

th Rob Bell in OPRAH magazine

PRACTICE
‘PEACE-GIVING’

Interfaith Peacemakers urges readers to become PeaceGivers

WHAT’S ‘THE PERFECT GIFT’?

th Handful of cash

HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS & FOOD

th St Nicholas

th kubbah-by-Sarah-Melamed-Pinterest-e1416154722129

FAITH,
FILM &
POPULAR CULTURE

th Theory of Everything Eddie Redmond

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