Cover Story: ‘Bishop’ Spong on rediscovering Matthew’s Jewish roots

INTERVIEW WITH JOHN SHELBY SPONG

John Spong Author Photo (Photo Credit - Dick Snyder) (2)INSPIRATIONAL SPRING READING—Now in his 80s, retired bishop Spong still draws enormous crowds for his talks and books in recent years about rediscovering the Bible’s Jewish roots. Most importantly, Spong believes that Christians need to understand Christianity’s original context to overturn rigid doctrines associated with Fundamentalist preaching. Whether you agree with his overall mission, or not, his new book lays out a way of understanding the gospel of Matthew that may interest both Christian and Jewish readers. That makes this a great choice for inspirational reading in this season of both Easter and Passover. Please, read Editor David Crumm’s new interview with the irrepressible “Bishop Spong.

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30 FRESH VIEWPOINTS ON AMERICA

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico (1)PBS SERIES DEBUTS—Across most of the United States, PBS will begin a three-week series called 10 That Changed America, which actually will take viewers to a total of 30 landmarks in “our” national story as Americans. The first week looks at 10 homes; the second week takes us to 10 city parks; and the final episode explores 10 culturally innovative towns. What made the list? You may be surprised. This isn’t a romp through the playgrounds of the rich and famous. Read our review and you’ll see why you should catch this new PBS series.

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HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS

Ugadi-tray-of-food-flowersFROM INDIA

UGADI or YUGADI—The English name of the Indian New Year festival is spelled a couple of ways in the West. Celebrations are popping up around the world. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton includes news of a celebration in Netherlands.

RAMAYANA WEEK—This also begins a period when millions of Hindu families remember inspiring events in the life of Lord Rama. Once again, Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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PASSOVER

Rebecca-Starr-by-John-Hardwick (1)COMING APRIL 22—Seder meals will begin this year after sundown on Friday April 22. To keep up with all the holidays, just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com.

FEED THE SPIRIT—Our FeedTheSpirit host Bobbie Lewis brings us a guest column this week from Jewish educator Rebecca Starr, who writes about traditional food-related themes connected with Passover. And  there’s a delicious recipe as well—a Passover-adapted recipe for vegetable kugel.

 

19th century Russian icon of the resurrection (1)EASTER

EASTERN ORTHODOX—The majority of the world’s Christians have celebrated Easter (March 27), but hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians still are in the midst of their fasting season known as Great Lent. They will mark Easter on May 1 this year.

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MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

Monni Must photographerSUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman shares stories of men and women who find hope and new meaning in their lives, often after personal tragedies. That’s the case in this week’s story of photographer Monni Must, best known for making portraits of Holocaust survivors for a series of books.

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100 Questions and Answers about American JewsMSU ‘BIAS BUSTERS’—Naturally, we’re proud of these Michigan State University School of Journalism students who collectively have produced 10 widely used books that combat bigotry and answer common questions about minority groups. Recently, MSU’s Joe Grimm appeared on public radio talking about the project. Here is a link to that 7-minute radio clip. Lots of people, including business executives and community leaders, are using these guides to answer questions commonly asked—yet rarely answered with such clarity. Want to see all of these MSU books lined up in Amazon? Here is the ‘Bias Busters’ Amazon page.

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th-Changing-Our-Mind-cover-with-author-David-P-GusheeGUSHEE GETS THE WILBURMercer University’s David Gushee has received a number of accolades from his colleagues over the past year for his courageous online columns and, ultimately, his book Changing Our Mind. That body of work describes how this prominent evangelical ethicist went from condemning same-sex relationships to defending the inclusion of LGBT men and women in Christian churches. Now, the original version of Gushee’s writing on the subject is being honored in New York with a Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE


TALKING ABOUT MOVIES?
Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website by remembering the simple Web address: www.VisualParables.org 

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Cover Story: Innovations in interfaith diversity

Diversity sparking peace, not violence

IFLC Religious Diversity Journeys-logo (1)3 REMARKABLE STORIES:

RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY JOURNEYS—In southeast Michigan, a broad array of religious leaders and educators in public school systems have developed a popular program called, “Religious Diversity Journeys.” This unique curriculum is designed for students who want to be on the cutting edge of combatting bigotry through immersive experiences. Students travel as a group and learn about the religious traditions shaping their communities. Our story includes a helpful link to learn more about the program and perspectives from two recent newspaper reports on Religious Diversity Journeys.

Panorama-of-the-whole-siteINDIA’S HUGE FESTIVAL—If you care about inter-religious relationships, you’ll be fascinated to learn that an enormous interfaith festival of arts and music recently occurred in northern India on the plains along the sacred Yamuna River. Most Americans probably would never have heard of this story, except for the efforts of the International Association of Religion Journalists, which published this overview of the enormous festival by an Indian reporterIf you care about religion news from around the world, be sure to check out the Twitter feed of headlines from this organization of journalists.

‘THIRD WAY’ CATCHES ON—Gender diversity also is emerging as a huge issue within religious groups worldwide, but especially in the United States. One place to look for news about peaceful approaches to this diversity is The Third Way Newsletter. Then, recently, journalist Kay DeMoss, who reports on news within the United Methodist Church’s Michigan Area, wrote about this movement within that denomination.

And a reminder from last week …

2016 03 21 MSU Bias Busters team (1)MSU BIAS BUSTERS—A highly respected series of books on understanding American minorities adds a new volume on American Jews—as Jewish news is moving to front pages. What news? Passover is coming with Americans’ annual conversation over “crossover” themes with Easter. This new book has a special section helping non-Jews to understand the major Jewish holidays. Learn more about the latest volume in the Bias Busters series in a new story by Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm.

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HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS

PASSOVER

COMING APRIL 22—When is the ancient Jewish festival held this year? Seder meals will begin this year after sundown on Friday April 22. To keep up with all the holidays, just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com.

Eden-Gardens-seedling (1)Before Passover, watch ReadTheSpirit for holiday coverage—and a special column from Bobbie Lewis in FeedTheSpirit. Bobbie often marks the changing seasons of the year in her stories about food traditions (with recipes). As temperatures rise in spring, you may enjoy reading her story about the importance of urban farming. (Note: The editors at ReadTheSpirit have tried her recipe for kale salad—and it’s terrific!)

 

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19th century Russian icon of the resurrection (1)EASTER

EASTERN ORTHODOX—The majority of the world’s Christians have celebrated Easter (March 27), but hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians still are in the midst of their fasting season known as Great Lent. They will mark Easter on May 1 this year.

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Three Sisters From Left Elaine Drury Susan Martin Joyce Tuttle (2)GODSIGNS

A REMARKABLE WALK—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman’s columns celebrate life’s wonders even in the midst of tragedy. This week, she tells the story of three sisters who suffered a devastating loss in their family, yet gathered to support their family. They made time to care for others—and themselves. While on a walk along the beach one day … Well, please, read Suzy’s column for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

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FILM, FAITH
& CULTURE


TALKING ABOUT MOVIES?
Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website by remembering the simple Web address: www.VisualParables.org AND—Please consider subscribing to the one resource Ed sells—his long-running Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete study guides for individual reflection and small-group discussion.

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Just in time for holidays: MSU Bias Busters publish guide to American Jews

100 Questions and Answers about American JewsCOVER STORY: Timely guide to American Jews

100 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: A highly respected series of books on understanding American minorities adds a new volume on American Jews—as Jewish news is moving to front pages this week.

2016 03 21 MSU Bias Busters team (1)What news? A major Jewish conference is drawing presidential candidates to Washington D.C. this week. And the annual conjunction of Easter and Passover is looming. This new book has a special section helping non-Jews to understand the major Jewish holidays. Learn more about the latest volume in the Bias Busters series in a new story by Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm.

Who are these Bias Busters? They’re top students in one of the nation’s leading journalism programs. In recent years, they have produced a whole series of books widely used by individuals, nonprofits, community groups and company human resource programs.

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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.

Hard boiled eggs (1)EGGS FOR EQUINOX

THAT’S A TART! Regular readers of Bobbie Lewis’s FeedTheSpirit love her fascinating stories as well as her diverse range of recipes. For the Equinox, Bobbie searched for something unusual to serve up involving eggs. Check out this vegetable-and-egg Russian tart. Also, if company is coming to your house for the Easter weekend, you’ll enjoy this earlier column that includes a wonderful muffin recipe.

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hamans pockets hamantaschen for Purim (1)PURIM

FESTIVE HOLIDAY—Before Passover (sunset on April 22) there’s the festive holiday called Purim, which recalls the noble Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people in a time of great danger. The holiday includes great fun and some tasty treats, including triangular-shaped cookies. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story and links to recipes, including one from FeedTheSpirit writer Bobbie Lewis.

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Easter-lily (2)LENT and EASTER

EAST MEETS WEST—The majority of the world’s 2 billion  Christians follow the Western liturgical calendar, which means they are entering Holy Week and the solemn holy days marking the end of Jesus’s life on earth. Meanwhile, Eastern Orthodox Christians, who follow a different calendar are in the midst of their Great Lent. They will mark Easter on May 1 this year.

 

Bart Ehrman Jesus before the Gospels front cover (1)

Want some additional thought-provoking reading in this Christian season of reflection on Jesus life, death, resurrection and the birth of the Christian church? We recommend a new book by Bible scholar Bart Ehrman, which explores how the stories of Jesus’s life were remembered by ancient Christians and, decades later, were recorded in Bible stories. Sound intriguing? We invite you to enjoy this latest conversation between ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Bart Ehrman.

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Loretta and Sy Ziegelman (1)GODSIGNS

QUEST FOR A TRANSPLANT—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman’s columns celebrate the remarkable twists and turns of life. This week, she tells the story of a husband and wife and their daunting search for a transplant that would save the life of wife, mother and grandmother Loretta Ziegelman. Each day of the year, countless families are on this arduous journey, hoping for a transplant. This uplifting story reminds us that organ donations can change the lives of entire families.

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FILM, FAITH
& CULTURE

Son of Saul movie poster (3)TALKING ABOUT MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website by remembering the simple Web address: www.VisualParables.org AND—Please consider subscribing to the one resource Ed sells—his long-running Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete study guides for individual reflection and small-group discussion. The new March issue has just been published.

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Cover story: Bart Ehrman asks—How well do we remember Jesus?

Bart Ehrman interview on ‘Jesus Before the Gospels’

Bart Ehrman Jesus before the Gospels front cover (1)COVER STORY—He’s provocative; he’s very popular and Bible scholar Bart Ehrman is back, just in time for Easter, with a book that reads like a detective story. In this new book, Ehrman sifts through evidence from the ancient world—as well as centuries of research into the nature of human memory. At issue: How did early Christians remember and shape the stories about Jesus that only decades later became a part of the gospels? In the book, Ehrman lays out cases about a number of famous details in the Bible. For example, did Peter really draw a big sword when Jesus was arrested and then cut off someone’s ear with his wapon? ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm has interviewed Ehrman many times over the years—and, now, we invite you to enjoy this latest conversation with one of the world’s leading Bible detectives.

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MEDIA MATTERS

Barnes and Noble salesman demonstrating a Nook in 2012MAKING SENSE OF NEW MEDIA—At the request of many of our readers, we are publishing occasional tips and news-analysis about trends in media. If you’re just catching up with this series, here are three earlier columns …

NEW THIS WEEK—Publishing an e-book is easy, right? We look at the rise and decline and the myth that ebooks eventually will replace ink on paper. And, we’ve got news headlines about some of the latest changes in the ebook world.

 

 

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HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS

kite-clean-Monday-Greece (1)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 STARTS (AGAIN)

EAST MEETS WEST—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 had that story in our Holidays column. Then, on Monday March 14, the calendar followed by most Eastern Orthodox Christians also will reach what is known as Great Lent. And, 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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St Patrick in stained glassHAPPY ST. PAT’S!

REMEMBERING THE SAINT—Stephanie Fenton’s column focuses on the fun of the festival—including some very helpful links to St. Patrick’s Day recipes. But she also writes about the saint, and she includes a link to one of our all-time most-popular columns, featuring three different versions of the famous prayer known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. As always, you’re free to share these texts with friends. Enjoy!

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Bobbie Lewis shares Sinai Hospital muffin recipeFEED THE SPIRIT

SERVE ‘EM MUFFINS! We write a lot about food at ReadTheSpirit, because food taps deep into the most ancient religious traditions—as well as the spiritual and ethnic identities of our families. This week, Bobbie Lewis shares a great story about working with colleagues at Detroit’s Sinai Hospital. And she’s got a recipe for Sinai’s famous muffins that you’re going to want to try for yourself and maybe for friends during the upcoming holidays.

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Kevin Steele with Ann-Margret in BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXASGODSIGNS

FROM STAGE—TO STAGE—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman’s columns celebrate the remarkable twists and turns of life. This week, she tells the story of Kevin Steele, an elementary school teacher who wound up on Broadway (and on lots of other major stages around the world). Over the years, he realized that our performances make a difference, each and every day, on whatever stage we appear.

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Ed McNulty Visual Parables March 2016 issue (1)FILM, FAITH
& CULTURE

TALKING ABOUT 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! Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed’s website: www.VisualParables.org
ANDPlease consider subscribing to the one resource Ed sells—his long-running Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete study guides for individual reflection and small-group discussion. The new March issue has just been published.

 

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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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