2014 to 2018: World War I Centennial

POPE FRANCIS I recently reminded the world that we need to look back to this terrible conflict, which began 100 years ago in the summer of 1914. Throughout this centennial, we are publishing inspiring stories reflecting on that war, including: “World War I in Song: Eric Bogle’s ‘Green Fields of France’,” also “Eric Bogle’s ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’,” and this profile of the great Danish composer Carl Nielsen. You’ll also want to learn about Pope Francis I’s recent warning about the lessons of WWI; Edith Cavell, a courageous nurse who was executed during the war; the sculptor Ernst Barlach who conveyed the horrors of war; Evelyn Underhill, the famous mystic and scholar who became a devout pacifist because of World War I; poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, one of whom did not survive the war; a fascinating look at underground” art created in the trenches by men serving in that dangerous world; and Jeannette Rankin, the only member of Congress to vote against both World Wars. TODAY, click on any of the three photos above to read our newest three stories.

THIS WEEK—Columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on the history of Veterans Day, since World War I. And sociologist Wayne Baker reports a five-part OurValues series on issues that concern our 22 million American veterans today.

An invitation from Daniel Buttry

Are you a peacemaker? Anyone can be! We just published two stories about children who became influential peacemakers: Mayerly Sanchez and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. This website is designed to share inspiring stories of men and women who risked making peace. Some are famous. Some you will discover for the first time in this website. Contact us anytime at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

What can you do?

  • Read these stories. You can help to help heal our world by reading and sharing these inspiring stories. Click on any of the three photos above to start reading the latest stories.
  • Share these stories. Tell people about the simple URL that will bring them to this website: www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com
  • Contact us with your ideas for future profiles.
  • Buy the books.

HAVE YOU GOT A WWI STORY TO RECOMMEND? Contact us anytime at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

Welcoming Matthew Fox

In autumn 2014, we are celebrating the publication of best-selling author Matthew Fox’s newest book, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times. In his new book, Fox connects the spiritual legacy of Eckhart, a great medieval mystic, with many heroes we have honored in Interfaith Peacemakers. Fox writes about Rabbi Heschel, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rumi, Howard Thurman, Oscar Romero and Bible scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.
HOW DO ALL OF THESE FIGURES CONNECT? Read David Crumm’s interview with Matthew Fox about Meister Eckhart’s many spiritual connections.

World Music Festival

Through much of the summer of 2014, we celebrated musical peacemakers—and we included entertaining and inspiring video clips along with our columns! We profiled Carrie Newcomer, Pete Seeger, Sting, Joan Baez, Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Matisyahu, Musicians without Borders, Mahalia Jackson, The Freedom Singers, Mana, Mannex Motsi, Chilli Most, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Playing for Change, The Singing Revolution, Pablo Casals, Tommy Sands, Arnold Ap, Victor Jara, Vedran Smajlovic, Yo Yo Ma, Bono, Leonard Cohen and Leonard Bernstein—plus music videos!

Prophets and Visionaries

Who is your visionary? We began this inspiring \series of profiles and columns with a chapter from my book on “Prophets and Visionaries.” The profiles in this series have included: the late Sandra Kay Gordon, Desmond Tutu, Simone Weil, Simeon Booker, Michael Morton, Martin Buber, Michelle Alexander, Stephen Biko, Julia Ward Howe, Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Father Bob Braconnier, Evelyn Underhill, Jim Wallis, Jeannette Rankin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joanna Macy, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nehemiah Rosell, Dalai Lama, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Henrietta Szold, Stephen Samuel Wise, Haym Salomon, H.A. Mukti Ali—and the late Glen Stassen. We reported on the inspiring story of Berlin’s House of One. We even devoted one week to the contribution of children’s books: Little Golden Books, Patrick Gilmore and John Muir. We also published three columns from Maine by contributing writer Duncan Newcomer: American prophet Phineas Quimby; then Welcome to Belfast, Maine (where Quimby lived); and Those Eyes! (about Quimby’s remarkable appeal).

March: a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe

The world is trying to respond to Russia’s takeover of a major portion of Ukraine. In March, I wrote a personal note of encouragement to Ukrainian peace activists, since I have worked with many of them. I turned a spotlight on Russian peacemakers with a profile of Russian peace activist Yuri Shevchuk. I shared a new documentary film on how men and women in the Republic of Georgia are working to overcome conflict between various religious groups. And we published a profile of Georgian peace activist Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze, recently honored by the U.S. State Department for her work in peaceful reconciliation. And, we published profiles of three peacemakers who played major roles in finally throwing off Soviet power: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Vaclav Havel, and Lech Walesa.

February was Black History Month

Throughout February, we published stories celebrating Black History Month inlcuding: Septima Clark, Diane Nash, Ella Baker, James Lawson, Bernard Lafayette, John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Lucius Walker and Daniel Hunter.

January was Interfaith Peacemakers Month

For 31 days in January 2014, a new story was added to this webpage—and we have kept those stories online for you to share with others. January 1 was Angelina Grimke; 2 was Leymah Gbowee; 3 was Vedran Smajlovic; 4 was Jonathan Sacks; 5 was Etty Hillesum; 6 was Joseph Brodsky; 7 was St. Hugh of Lincoln; 8 was Victor Frankl; 9 was Maha Ghosananda; 10 was Kabir; 11 was Imam Abdullah Antepi; 12 was Vern Barnet; 13 was Howard Thurman; 14 was Lady Deborah Moody; 15 was Cyrus the Great; 16 was John Leland; 17 was Gandhi; 18 was Daniel Barenboim; 19 was Rabindranath Tagore; 20 was Martin Luther King Jr.; 21 was Aung San Suu Kyi22 was Abraham Joshua Heschel; 23 was Nelson Mandela; 24 was Stephen Biko; 25 was Carl Upchurch; 26 was Rusudan Gotsiridze; 27 was Mother Maria Skobstova; 28 was Grigol Paradze; 29 was Pete Seeger; 30 was Imam Moussa al-Sadr—and 31 was Masahisa Goi.

(Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an on line magazine covering religion, spirituality, values and interfaith and cross-cultural issues.)