Cover Story: Get ‘Grounded’ this summer!

AN INVITATION TO GET ‘GROUNDED’

Diana Butler Bass GroundedREAD ALONG WITH US—Here at ReadTheSpirit, we are thrilled to welcome Christian educator Debbie Houghton to a collaborative, five-week series that will help readers reflect on Diana Butler Bass’s new book Grounded: Finding God in the World. Consider this a free, public study guide. Think of it as a summer-time, inspirational pilgrimage with friends. Come on, read Part 1 right now—and don’t miss the invitation to get involved yourself.

.

.

.

VISIONARIES WHO REDEFINED HOME

Art House DVD by First Run Features (2)‘ART HOUSE’—Diana Butler Bass isn’t the first American to think about the need to “ground” ourselves spiritually. This quest goes back centuries. This summer, filmmaker Don Freeman has released on DVD an amazing video meditation on 11 American designers (some were known as artists, some as architects) who turned their homes into visions of their connection with their place on the Earth. Read our review—and you may find landmarks you want to visit this year coast to coast.

.

.

SHARE YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP

Wikimedia Commons photo sharing tutorialGET INVOLVED—Show the world your house of worship—the home base of your religious community. Wikimedia Commons, the worldwide database of shared photographs, hopes to document as many notable religious sites as possible. And that includes houses of worship—wherever you life around the world. It’s not difficult to get involved, but it does take a little orientation. Today, read our introduction to sharing photos on Wikimedia Commons. Think of it as part of grounding yourself and your spiritual community by sharing an image.

.

.

A FLUXUS VISONARY

Hendricks blue bag collected by Gil Silverman and given to MOMA (1)GOD SIGNSColumnist Suzy Farbman remembers the life of her friend and art collector Gilbert Silverman, who—among many other connections with the art world—helped to amass a collection of artworks in the emerging Fluxus movement. What is that? Well, one piece in the MOMA collection is a crumpled blue paper bag.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Obon-dancers (1)OBON CIRCLES THE GLOBEHolidays columnist Stephanie Fenton explains how an ancient Buddhist story evolved and moved across Asia until it has become, today, a quintessentially Japanese summer-time festival. Observances now can be found around the world and in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Traditions include a dance that echoes ancient Buddhist practice and lots of other treats borrowed from Japanese culture.

 

.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Visual Parables July 2016 issue (1)Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: VisualParables.orgPlease consider subscribing to The Visual Parables Journal, a monthly digital magazine packed with full-scale study guides to current films—a resource used by individuals and small groups nationwide. The new July issue is now available.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

.

.

.

Cover Story: Peter Enns’ common sense approach to the Bible

Can biblical ‘certainty’ become a sin?

COVER_Sin Of Certainty by Peter Enns_HC (1)MEET PETER ENNS—You may already have heard some of Peter Enns’ more quotable lines about Scripture, such as: “The Bible isn’t a cookbook.” With his first book by HarperOne, this evangelical Bible scholar is drawing a good deal of national attention for his emphasis on true faith over biblical “certainty.” A popular teacher, reading Enns’ book is like talking with a friend who helps us reconsider the meaning of the Bible within Christianity. If you find yourself struggling with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other—then read our cover story this week with Peter Enns.

.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

RAMADAN ENDS

Eid-Badshahi-Mosque (1)EID AL-FITR—Spellings vary and so do the exact dates of observance, but most Muslim sources are calling for the huge festival to begin July 6 this year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the whole story, plus lots of fascinating links to news stories about the celebration.

.

.

.

Coincidences or …?

Dee Eger is Leighton Hale granddaughter of Anne Towbes 2GodSigns—That’s what author and columnist Suzy Farbman calls them. Each week, she shares with our readers an up-lifting column about how things just … seemed to work out for someone. This week, it’s a story of a talented woman who came into her family’s life at just the right moment. Enjoy.

.

.

.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

.

.

.

July 4 Cover Story: Freedom means—we all should be free

MEET NATHAN ALBERT

perf5.500x8.500.indd‘EMBRACING LOVE’—First, a personal note: Thanks to all of our readers who responded so warmly to our story last week about David Gushee’s impassioned new call for inclusion in the wake of the Orlando tragedy. (We read all of your heart-felt notes to us; you encourage us in our work.)

This week, meet Nathan Albert, a former actor and current pastoral activist who has just published his memoir, Embracing Love: My Journey to Hugging a Man in his Underwear. Wondering about that odd subtitle? Well, meet Nathan Albert in our Cover Story.

.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

.

July-4-food (1)4th of JULY

GET READY! It’s not too early to plan for the big weekend. Stephanie’s column is packed with intriguing ideas, including a website with fun polls and quizzes about our nation’s early history.

FEED THE SPIRITWe recall the 4th of July celebration of citizenship many years ago by Joe LewisFeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis’s husband. Joe himself relates the story and shares a yummy recipe for baked beans, as well!

.

RAMADAN ENDS

Eid-Badshahi-Mosque (1)EID AL-FITR—Spelling vary and so do the exact dates of observance, but most Muslim sources are calling for the huge festival to begin July 6 this year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the whole story, plus lots of fascinating links to news stories about the celebration.

.

.

.

.

FAMILY MILESTONE IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

From left Anessa Sam Max and David Kramer (2)GOD SIGNS—Suzy Farbman writes this week about a family of descendants of Holocaust survivors who are celebrating their latest bar mitzvah. This truly is a family milestone in celebrating religious freedom.

 

.

.

.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgAmong Ed’s latest movie reviews are:

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: ‘None of us can walk away.’

RENEWING OUR COMMITMENT

th-Changing-Our-Mind-cover-with-author-David-P-GusheeCOVER STORY—Dr. David Gushee, one of our nation’s leading Christian ethicists, returns this week as our nation reflects on the one-year anniversary of the Charleston church shootings—and on the tragic legacy of the shootings in Orlando. A busy scholar whose time is needed by organizations nationwide, Gushee tells us why nothing—not even a busy life—can sway us from a commitment to compassion and social justice.

.

.

MEDIA TRANSFORMATION:
‘PAPERS’ TUMBLE
(BUT PAPER RISES?)

Rodney Curtis in PanamaSTAY TUNED! Our team at ReadTheSpirit is committed to sharing the latest news about the transformation of American media—because our writers, editors and publishers are on the creative Front Edge of that change. As summer 2016 begins, a number of new studies are charting the scope of this historic change. One major report by Pew concludes that newspapers “are looking shakier than ever.” Print advertising revenue, the life’s blood of newspapers, continues to drop at an alarming rate. And, since this decline began, Pew says 20,000 newspaper journalists have lost their jobs!  (And that’s ironic, because another major report on book publishing says that Americans are returning from their e-readers to a preference for paper books! Stay tuned for more on that news in coming weeks.) Today, our intrepid columnist Rodney Curtis—who walked away from newspapers a while ago—writes about his Seven-Year Itch.

.

.

PICTURES OF HOPE

GOD SIGNSGodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman also has an inspiring story this week about the power of media to give voice to Americans who are often voiceless and invisible.

.

.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Midsummer-girls-flowers (1)MIDSUMMER / SOLSTICE

THE LONGEST DAY—It’s relatively early this year on Monday June 20, reports Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton. Learn about festivities around the world. And Stephanie also has links to help you with flower crowns, timely recipes and even drying herbs.

.

July-4-food (1)4th of JULY

GET READY! It’s not too early to plan for the big weekend. Stephanie’s column is packed with intriguing ideas, including a website with fun polls and quizzes about our nation’s early history.

.

.
.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

Movie still Sin Nombre (2)LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.org

PECHA KUCHA—Recently, Ed presented a PechaKucha (a popular multi-media lecture format that began in Japan) to a crowd in Dayton, called “6 Social Justice Films for Your Bucket List.” Now, you can see a video of the presentation along with a column by Ed explaining the event.

Among Ed’s other recent movie reviews are:

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: Happy Father’s Day! (and PechaKucha too)

Honoring  father … just as he was

Benjamin Pratts father in his 20s (1)COVER STORYBenjamin Pratt returns this week with a column that will touch many of us as we reflect on our fathers this week. Are you finding yourself wanting to adjust your memories of your father just a little bit? It’s a natural desire, writes Pratt, a veteran counselor and author of books about caregiving and spiritual wellbeing. Perhaps if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to honor our fathers—honestly.

.

 

.

.

Social Justice Films—Pecha-Kucha Style

Movie still Sin Nombre (2)‘MUST SEE’ MOVIESRecently, Visual Parables film critic Edward McNulty presented a PechaKucha for an audience in Dayton, Ohio. His chosen theme was social-justice films that should be on your Bucket List. What is “PechaKucha”? It’s a presentation format in which 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds. The format was devised to force rambling speakers to be more concise. See what Ed said in his 400 seconds.

.

 

.

.

An unlikely artist’s vision lives on

Visitors with Ed Lantzer muralGOD SIGNS—Suzy Farbman brings us an update this week on the legacy of the late “outsider” artist Ed Lantzer. Sometimes homeless and largely ignored as an artist, his life’s work in wood mosaics—all images from the Bible—have a whole new life thanks to supporters who see a great depth in his huge panels. Friends and followers now are drawing interest from young and old.

.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Juneteenth celebrants singing (1)JUNETEENTH—Now, the holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S. is officially known as Juneteenth Independence Day. The holiday began in Texas, where U.S. military finally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation months after the end of the war. Today, the holiday has spread nationwide.

.

.

Fathers Day photo of father and son with cars (1)PLAN NOW FOR FATHER’S DAY! Read Stephanie Fenton’s column on the holiday and you’ll find the roots of this century-old observance began in church—following the model of Mother’s Day, which also began in church. 

.

.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

VP_Update_-_david_crumm_gmail_com_-_Gmail (1)LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.orgThe one service Ed sells, to support his work, is the monthly Visual Parables Journal, packed with complete study guides for your individual enjoyment—or use in small groups. We’ve just added the June issue. 

Among Ed’s recent free reviews are …

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: Of division—and surprising unity!

MUCH DIVIDES US …
… MORE UNITES US

United-America-update-book-120x180COVER STORY—Ever since Dr. Wayne Baker published United America, detailing 10 core values shared by Americans, we need to keep reminding ourselves what his research shows us: Unity is possible! In 2016, voices of division are louder than ever—and tragic incidents of violence break out every day.

This week, we ask readers to consider two very personal columns. Both of these stories are asking: Can we talk about our divisions? And, where are signs of unity emerging around us every day?

Bullet holes (2)First, author and columnist Rodney Curtis writes about the unending cycle of gun violence in America. Dangerous conflicts are real; but solutions seem elusive. Rodney simply shares from his heart about his family’s brushes with gun violence—and calls all of us to renewed discussion about solutions. However you feel about guns and regulation of gun ownership, read Rodney’s call to a fresh discussion. Whatever your point of view, conversation is possible.

Julia and Erik Baker wedding in Georgia (1)Second, Editor David Crumm writes about the inspiration of a wedding that involved several of the staff members at our publishing house. Ironically, the wedding took place in tiny, historic Senoia, Georgia—the home of the AMC hit series Walking Dead. This personal column reminds us that, in the midst of anxiety, anger and violence, we need to celebrate the inspiring signs of unity unfolding all around us.

.

 

..
Detroit_radio_pioneer_Elizabeth_Weiss__‘woman_of_1_000_voices_’_dies_at_90 (1)

GENERATION
TO
GENERATION

GODSIGNS—When the “Woman of 1,000 Voices” died, her family focused on the memories they would carry of this amazing “grandma” who had such a vibrant career as a performer. How would this woman be remembered? Through stories, of course. Then, her granddaughter happened to examine a drawing hanging on a wall and … that’s the GodSign in this week’s column from Suzy Farbman.

.

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

Ruth-gleaning (1)ANCIENT HARVEST FESTIVAL—Jewish communities around the world mark Shavuot, an ancient tradition marking a grain harvest in Israel. More importantly, Shavuot marks the occasion where a wandering tribe became a nation governed by God’s commandments. FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis writes about the holiday—and includes a recipe for broccoli-cheese salad.

.

.

.

.

Juneteenth celebrants singing (1)JUNETEENTH—Now, the holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S. is officially known as Juneteenth Independence Day. The holiday began in Texas, where U.S. military finally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation months after the end of the war. Today, the holiday has spread nationwide.

.

.

Fathers Day photo of father and son with cars (1)PLAN NOW FOR FATHER’S DAY! Read Stephanie Fenton’s column on the holiday and you’ll find the roots of this century-old observance began in church—following the model of Mother’s Day, which also began in church. 

.

.

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.org 
Among Ed’s recent free reviews are …

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: Ramadan is coming! And inspiring news from Michigan!

RAMADAN IS COMING …

three-dates for breaking the fast in Ramadan (1)FASTING & REFLECTIONNearly one quarter of Earth’s population is called to a month of fasting, starting on or around Monday June 6. This season of self-denial, spiritual reflection and study of the Quran is an enormous challenge for the faithful this year—because the lunar cycles have moved the holy month squarely into the longest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Among the most beloved tastes during Ramadan are dried dates—often the first bites when the sun finally sets and evening festivities begin with family and friends.

… AND INSPIRING NEWS!

Authors of ACCESS to School from left Nahed Alkashbari Amanda Morgan Anisa Sahoubah and Breanne Wainright (1)ACCESS to SCHOOL—National news from Michigan, this week: We’re proud to report on the launch of a new book about a talented team of educators from the Arab-American nonprofit ACCESS who are jump-starting the education of recent immigrants in a low-income Detroit neighborhood. Our story today explains why this news touches on our hotly debated attitudes toward immigration, this year, and on a centuries-old heritage of cross-cultural education.

.

.

AMERICAN DREAMS
& GLOBAL CULTURE

Punit Patel (2)GOD SIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the long journey of Punit Patel, who grew up in an Indian family based in Kenya. Breaking out of his own family’s expectations for his life, he migrated to the U.S. and now is contributing to global diversity in American design.

.

 

..

.

HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES

Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! Do you know the history of Memorial Day in the U.S.? As our column by Stephanie Fenton points out, the official history keeps evolving with competing claims. We also remind readers not to miss the May 29 national concert; we’ve got a link to the concert website and details of the stars appearing this year.

Cheese blintzes for Shavuot (1)

ANCIENT HARVEST FESTIVAL—Jewish communities around the world mark Shavuot later this week, an ancient tradition marking a grain harvest in Israel. But there’s a lot more to Shavuot than that. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports, and provides helpful links for tasty Shavuot recipes.

..

.

Vernors ad with the mascot Woody (1)VERNORS at 150!

FEED THE SPIRIT—Columnist Bobbie Lewis is based in Michigan, so she’s perfectly poised to celebrate the 150th anniversary of that distinctively oak-aged ginger ale known as Vernors. Well, she explains, it’s at least the 150th birthday according to company lore (which includes the bearded gnome Woody). As always, Bobbie also serves up a delicious recipe—in this case Vernors chicken, perfect for a summer picnic!

.

.

FILM, FAITH & CULTURE

LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.org 
Among Ed’s recent free reviews are …

.

.

.