Guest Writer Cindy La Ferle on “Why I Still Love Halloween”

TODAY, guest writer Cindy LaFerle visits ReadTheSpirit again with a delightful, new, holiday-themed story:

WHY I STILL LOVE HALLOWEEN

By CINDY LaFERLE

A_halloween_skeleton_goes_trick_or_From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties,
And things that go bump in the night,

Good lord, deliver us!
A Scottish saying

Halloween always stirs a delicious caldron of memories.
Baby boomers are a nostalgic bunch, and most of us can recall at least one costume we wore in grade school. Wearing yards of pink tulle and a homemade foil crown, I dressed up as Miss America when I was in the first grade in 1960. And who could forget trick-or-treating in packs until our pillowcases were too heavy to lug around the block?

While the holiday suffered a lull in the 1970s, the “season of the witch” now competes with Christmastime as the biggest party season of the year. And with all due respect to religious groups refusing to celebrate it, I never thought of Halloween as inherently evil.

In fact, I always felt a little sad for one of my son’s grade-school pals, whose born-again Christian parents refused to let him wear a costume, attend Halloween parties, or go trick-or-treating
with the neighborhood kids on Halloween night. While I respected the family’s religious devotion, I disagreed with their conviction that the holiday’s pre-Christian history was a threat to their faith. (I wanted to remind them that Christmas trees and Easter baskets also boasted pre-Christian, pagan origins. But I kept my mouth shut.)

British and Irish historians are also quick to remind us that “All Hallows Eve” did not originate as a gruesome night of devil worship—though I’ll be the first to admit that American retailers, film producers, and merchants who cash in on Halloween are guilty of adding their own mythology—and gore. Regardless, in my view, what most of us seem to enjoy about the holiday is the creativity factor.

Stepping over age limits, Halloween extends an open invitation to play dress-up. It inspires us to raid attics and local thrift shops for the most outlandish outfits we can jumble together. If only for one magical night, it gives us permission to drop the dull disguise of conformity.

For flea-market junkies like me, Halloween is reason enough to hoard pieces of vintage clothing and jewelry that, by all rights, should have been donated to charity ages ago. My husband now refers to our attic as “the clothing museum,” and with good reason. Friends who have trouble rustling up an outfit will often call for help during dress-up emergencies. (“Can I borrow one of your medieval jester hats for a clown costume?” is not an unusual request.)

Over the years, in fact, I’ve collected so many crazy hats that we have to store them in a large steamer trunk behind the living room couch. Those hats get the most wear near Halloween, when even the most reserved engineer who visits will try on a pith helmet or a plumed pirate hat and wear it to the dinner table.

And why not? Historically speaking, the holiday has always been a celebration of the harvest, a madcap prelude to the more dignified ceremonials of Thanksgiving.

Halloween’s deep roots weave back more than 2,000 years to the early Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It was originally known as the festival of Samhain, according to Caitlin Matthews, a Celtic scholar and author of The Celtic Book of Days (Destiny Books). The festival, she explains, marked the end of the farming season and the beginning of the Celtic new year. Lavish banquet tables were prepared for the ancestors, who were believed to pierce the veil between the living and the dead on the eve of Samhain. It was also time to rekindle the bonfires that would sustain the clans in winter.

“In the Christian era,” Matthews writes, “the festival was reassigned to the Feast of All Saints; however, many of the customs surrounding modern Halloween still concern this ancient understanding of the accessibility of the dead.”

And we can thank our Irish immigrants for the jack-o’-lantern, which reputedly wards off evil spirits. This custom evolved from the old practice of carving out large turnips and squash, then illuminating them with candles. The term jack-o’-lantern was derived from a folk tale involving a crafty Irishman named Jack, who outwitted the Devil.

On cool October nights, when the moon is bright and leaves scatter nervously across the sidewalk, a bittersweet chill runs up and down my spine. I like to recall a favorite quote from Ray Bradbury, whose affection for Halloween surpasses even mine: “If you enjoy living, it is not difficult to keep the sense of mystery and wonder.”

And I think of my beloved Scottish grandparents, who left their exhausted farms in the Orkney Islands to begin new lives in United States in the 1920s. I recall the knee-cracking highland folk dances they taught me, and the silly lyrics to their rural old-country tunes. I remember their hard-won wisdom, and how much I still miss their love.

Like my Celtic ancestors, I’m moved to take stock of my own “harvest”—how much I’ve accomplished throughout the year, and how many things I’ve left undone. My to-do list is yards long. There are parts of the world I haven’t seen; stories I haven’t written; debts and favors to repay. I marvel at the mellow beauty of the season, which has always been my favorite, but also feel a little sad that one more year is drawing to its close.

All said and done, I like to think of Halloween as the big good-bye party we throw for autumn’s final weeks. And a toast to the year ahead. All in good fun.

CARE TO READ MORE?

Cindy La Ferle is a nationally published essayist and author of Writing Home, an award-winning collection of essays. Her writing has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Catholic Digest, The Detroit Free Press, Michigan BLUE, Reader’s Digest, Victoria, and many other publications. She enjoys posting inspirational quotes with her photography on her blog, “Things that Make Me Happy” Cindy visited ReadTheSpirit earlier with a story about her appreciation for Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Comments: (0)
Categories: Christian

Let Undead (vampires & more) inspire your church

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0827_Clay_Morgan_UNDEAD_cover.JPG.jpgThe Undead are more popular than ever! On October 14, AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead returns to television for its third season. On November 16, millions will flock to the debut of the Twilight movie series’ Breaking Dawn Part 2. As the fall term begins on college campuses, the elaborate HvZ (Humans vs. Zombies) game—a long-running form of “tag”—will revive again on more than 600 college campuses across the U.S. Never heard of HvZ until today? Serious gamers and college-age adults know about it. In fact, only seven years after its creation, HvZ is graduating to other venues across the U.S. For example, a version of the game will be played at the Escapist Expo, a mecca for gamers in Durham, North Carolina, in September.

Good news for congregations:
This isn’t a taboo topic.
This is home turf for Christians!
In fact, the resuscitation of the dead runs throughout the Bible—most famously Jesus’ own resurrection, of course, but there are many other gripping tales of the dead/undead in the pages of scripture. Historian, college lecturer, author and Christian educator Clay Morgan’s debut book, UNDEAD: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn, couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment in American culture. That’s Clay Morgan’s mantra: Connecting spiritual themes with popular culture to inspire a new appreciation of our religious traditions. That’s also in line with ReadTheSpirit’s own slogan: Spirited Inspiration for a Connected World.

Our recommendation today: Visit Amazon and order your copy of UNDEAD today. Consider organizing a small group to discuss the book. You’ll have lots of fun. We certainly are at ReadTheSpirit!

AND, enjoy our author interview with Clay Morgan.

WHAT’S IN CLAY MORGAN’S STRANGE NEW BOOK: ‘UNDEAD’?

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0827_Zombie_art_from_Clay_Morgan_Undead_book.jpgCOMICS: The first details you’ll notice when picking up this book are a series of 1-page comics sprinkled among the chapters. These mini tales, drawn in black and white, are perfect for enticing fans of comics (and there are many these days) toward a small-group discussion on Undead. The comics are deliberately left open to spirited debate about their meaning. At right, we’re showing you just half of a 1-page story about a Zombie plague hitting Clay Morgan’s own hometown of Pittsburgh. And, yes, that’s Clay himself looking terrified in the middle of the tale!

From popular culture genres like comic books, Clay Morgan makes dozens of other connections between the Christian faith and pop culture appearances of Undead, Zombies, Vampires and related ghoulish creatures. CLICK HERE to read our second story, today, about some of those pop culture tales.

UNDEAD: ELISHA AND THE DEAD BOY

One of the most dramatic stories from ancient Hebrew scriptures features a grief-stricken mother calling on the prophet Eilsha for help after her child dies. The story in 2 Kings Chapter 4 is as dramatic a scene as anything we might see on Grey’s Anatomy today. The boy dies, the Bible says, but Elisha stretches himself out and touches mouth to mouth. The boy becomes warmer, then coughs and sneezes back to life. Sure sounds like CPR today doesn’t it? To this day, thousands of years later, we still are talking about what happened with Elisha in that bedroom in the Shunammite Woman’s home. Gripping! And that’s just the first Bible story retold in Clay’s book.

UNDEAD: Elijah Shows the Way

Clay Morgan starts with Elisha’s story—before he relates an earlier account involving Elijah—partly because there are more details in the Elisha scene. While the Elijah scene may not be quite as vivid in the 17th Chapter of 1 Kings, Elijah clearly seems to have provided the model of resuscitation that Elisha later would follow. In fact, in the way the Shunammite Woman calls Elisha, we are seeing evidence that Elijah’s pattern was quite well known. People assumed that prophets of God knew how to bring back the dead—and the first step was laying the corpse out on the bed, then calling the prophet as soon as possible.

UNDEAD: JESUS CLAIMS THE MANTLE AND THE FAME

Understanding the close association between God’s anointed messengers and their power to grapple with the forces of death—we see more clearly how Jesus’s miracle working quickly claimed the prophetic mantle. Most people today recognize the name Lazarus. We barely remember the other two very lucky people who Jesus reportedly raised from the dead. (Do you recall them? They’re in Clay’s book along with the other stories.)

Why do we recall Lazarus so vividly? Clay points out that Jesus’s revival of Lazarus must have appeared like something out of a Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster. Lazarus’s story in the 11th Chapter of John makes it clear that his body had been wrapped up and left in a tomb for four days! Not only that, John also emphasizes that people were complaining about the stench—even though Lazarus’s wrapped body was inside a cave sealed with a rock. If that weren’t enough high drama, Lazarus’s miraculous return to life came with him stumbling out of the tomb still wrapped like a mummy. John describes it this way: “The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth.” People witnessing the scene were so awestruck that Jesus had to remind them to get moving again and cut away the stinking strips of cloth.

UNDEAD: JESUS’S FOLLOWERS DO IT, TOO

“Tabitha get up!” Does that line from the book of Acts ring bells? Peter, the supposed rock on which Jesus established the Christian church, finds himself called in the same kind of tragedy that was a noted specialty in the careers of Elijah, Elisha and Jesus. Clay Morgan’s careful overview of the Tabitha story is an eye opener, indicating that Peter probably was sweating bullets on this occasion. Was his faith strong enough to accomplish this challenge? As it turns out, the Bible says, Peter’s faith brought the dead woman successfully back to life. Most Christians won’t even recall the story of Tabitha, also known as Dorcas. Whether you know the story or not, you’ll see it from new perspectives in Morgan’s book.

And Paul? Of course, Paul also was equal to the challenge of grappling with the dead. Who did Paul bring back from the dead? Here’s a hint: The incident involves a man who did the equivalent of falling asleep in church. Unfortunately, in that jammed Christian gathering 2,000 years ago, he was sitting in a third-story window at the time he nodded off.

No, Clay Morgan isn’t arguing that churches should hang out shingles offering to do the same today. But, these are powerfully enticing mysteries from thousands of years ago. He writes, “What I’m trying to say is that miraculous events of this magnitude probably weren’t much easier to explain in the 1st Century than they are now.” The central lesson Morgan underlines is: There’s nothing taboo in the pop culture fascination with death, the undead and people who somehow inhabit mysterious, miraculous boundaries of life and death. That is bedrock Judeo-Christian culture.

We can bring the whole discussion of the ultimate meaning of life and death right into our congregations, today. And, while we’re at it, questions will arise about other forms of death we all face—like spiritual death and zombie-like depression in times of global anxiety. Clay Morgan is arguing that churches have a whole lot to say about revival and rebirth.

Care for more about Clay Morgan’s Undead?

READ OUR SECOND STORY TODAY: We’ve headlined it simply “Inspiring Zombies and Vampires and Ghouls (oh my!)” In the first story (above) we’ve shown you some examples Clay Morgan highlights from the Bible. In the second story, we look at some of the many pop culture references Morgan explores.

ENJOY OUR AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Meet Clay Morgan in our weekly author interview.

ORDER THE BOOK: Visit Amazon and order your copy of UNDEAD today.

Care for more about Vampires and Bible study?

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0827_Glitter_in_the_Sun_Twilight_Bible_study_large_cover.jpgClick the book’s cover to learn more.ReadTheSpirit publishes Glitter in the Sun: A Bible Study Searching for Truth in the Twilight Saga. You can read more about that Bible study in our earlier ReadTheSpirit story about Twilight. In that story, we explained: There are many connections to make as you enjoy this Bible-study series! According to author Jane Wells, the single biggest connection is: Love. For all of its supernatural trappings, the series has sold well over 100 million copies worldwide because of the compelling quality of the immortal love story at its heart. At the heart of Christian conversion is the search for God’s eternal love, Jane writes.

Please help us to reach a wider audience

We welcome your Emails at ReadTheSpirit@Gmail.com
We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. 
You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed.
Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.

Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

Comments: (0)
Categories: BibleChristianGreat With GroupsMovies and TV

Coach Joe Gibbs tells how the Bible turned his life around

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0820_Coach_Joe_Gibbs_of_Redskins_and_NASCAR_with_DC_players_in_2005.jpg“I‘m an average Joe.”

That’s how Joe Gibbs describes his life—and it sounds absolutely ridiculous! Coach Joe Gibbs stands alone in pro-sports coaching after having dominated two completely different sports—football and auto racing with multiple national championships in both sports. He’s not “average” at all.

But, when he makes that sincere disclaimer about his life, Joe is talking about our daily struggle to find inspiration and direction from our faith. In that arena of life, everyone faces the same challenge: How do we crawl out of bed the next morning after a failure? How do we make it through another stressful day? What truly matters in life?

THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD ORDER THE BOOK NOW: The new Game Plan for Life Bible, NIV: With Notes by Joe Gibbs is sure to be a hugely popular choice for inspirational reading this winter. Got a “guy” in your life who shies away from Bible study and is leery of opening up about the challenges of his faith? Get him this Bible now—or grab it now and save it for Christmas. At ReadTheSpirit we don’t normally comment on the prices of books we recommend, but we have to say: Amazon’s discounted prices for hardback and Kindle editions are surprisingly low. One more tip: Think about buying both the new hardback and the Kindle version. That way you can flip open the book for more relaxed devotional times at home—and carry the Kindle version with you wherever you go.

WHO IS THIS LEGENDARY COACH JOE GIBBS?

If you’re a big-time sports fan—you can skip to the next part of this story. But, for those of us who don’t follow sports quite so avidly, here’s the background on Joe Gibbs’ greatest accomplishments …

IN FOOTBALL at the Super Bowl level: Gibbs’ Washington D.C.-based team beat Coach Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins in 1983 at Super Bowl XVII; then Gibbs’ team beat the Denver Broncos, led on the field by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, in 1988 at Super Bowl XXII; and the D.C. team with Gibbs at the helm beat Coach Marv Levy’s Buffalo Bills in 1992 in Super Bowl XXVI.
IN NASCAR auto racing, Coach Gibbs’ list of accomplishments also is lengthy, including several major cups and series wins. Most important are three NASCAR championships with Bobby Labonte driving in 2000 and Tony Stewart driving in 2002 and 2005.

HOW DID A SPORTS GUY CREATE A BIBLE? Come back later this week for our author interview with Coach Gibbs and you will find him refreshingly down to earth about his role in this new inspirational Bible. He certainly is not setting himself up a a Bible scholar, trying to dominate yet another professional field. The key to understanding his approach to this inspirational study Bible is our opening line today: “I’m an average Joe.” Zondervan formed a team of scholars to provide the Bible analysis on important passages. The publisher asked Joe to write the “average Joe” meditations to appear within each chapter. It’s a very engaging combination.

SAMPLE OF THE GAME PLAN FOR LIFE BIBLE BY COACH JOE GIBBS

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0819_Coach_Joe_Gibbs_GamePlan_for_Life_study_Bible.JPG.jpgCLICK THE BIBLE COVER to visit its Amazon page.To show you what we mean, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm compared the new Bible meditations with Gibbs’ earlier inspirational book, Game Plan for Life CHALK TALKS. In our author interview later this week, Joe Gibbs explains that many of his new Bible meditations are taken from chapters in the earlier Chalk Talks book. But that explanation is misleading, because the new Bible material actually is better than the earlier book. Case in point is one of Joe’s most important Bible meditations—on the book of James. We compared the James chapter in the Chalk Talks book with the version in the new Bible—and the new version of the story is closer to Joe Gibbs’ own original version of the experience. Plus, the new version is more thought-provoking in small but important ways.

In Part 2 of this story, Coach Joe Gibbs talks with ReadTheSpirit about his work on this new Bible. Here is a sample of the new Bible—Joe Gibbs’ introduction to the Book of James …

It was a traumatic time in my life. Our coaching staff on the St. Louis Cardinals—led by my first boss, Don Coryell—had been fired at the end of the 1978 season. But then I received a phone call from John McKay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He wanted me to become his offensive coordinator—I jumped on it!

The season didn’t go well. After losing the first two games, I’ll never forget the post-game press conference when a reporter asked Coach McKay what he thought about the team’s execution. “I think it’d be a good idea,” was his sarcastic response.

He was a great coach, but he was used to calling his own plays. He reinserted himself as the offensive play caller, reducing my role and responsibility. I was deeply frustrated. No one would want to take a guy from a losing program and make him their head coach. And to top it off, a big part of my job was gone.

As the season wound down, I began agonizing over whether to stay or to find another coaching situation. I learned that Don Coryell had accepted an offer to coach the San Diego Chargers. I loved coaching for Don, so I prayed, “Lord, don’t  have him call me unless you want me to leave Tampa Bay.” He called the next morning. But he wanted an assistant coach, a demotion for me. I was torn. If I went, I’d be stepping backward, and if I stayed, there was no guarantee anything would get better.

When I met with Coach McKay about my future at Tampa, he asked me to stay as offensive coordinator, but he still wanted to call the plays. I asked for some time to think about it, and we decided to meet again the next morning. It was a long night—losing my dream kept me awake. As I left for the meeting the next morning, I told Pat, “I still don’t know what we should do here.” Her advice was perfect: “Just let him do the talking, Joe. Say nothing until you hear all of his thoughts and plans.”

When we met, he pulled out a yellow legal pad and started down his list of things he wanted to talk about, reiterating his desire to call the plays. The longer he talked, the more I knew it was not the right situation for me. We parted friends. I accepted the job at San Diego with Coach Coryell, but I had little peace.

I decided to hop a plane to meet with my “spiritual father,” George Tharel, back in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was snowing hard, and my connecting flight was cancelled. I was now stuck in a snowstorm at the airport in Fort Smith, Arkansas. After collecting my bags, I overheard two guys talking about driving to Fayetteville, and without giving them a chance to say no, I said, “I am going with you.” About a mile down the snow-covered freeway, it dawned on me these guys were not going to make it. I asked them to pull over, got out, and climbed over the center divider line in the freeway, bags and all, and hitchhiked back to the airport. I was freezing and dejected.

Thawing out at the gate, my eye caught a Bible laying on a table next to my seat. Though it was a little unusual to find a Bible sitting in an airport terminal, I picked it up and began reading James. I’d been studying this particular chapter where it talks about godly wisdom in making decisions. Out of the blue, a guy nudged me on the shoulder and told me that he’d recently claimed that chapter of James in his own life. “What?” I sputtered, truthfully taken aback.

This guy—a total stranger—was a pharmacist. He’d left his position to chase a dream job in another state. Upon arrival, he learned he’d have to take a tough test to be certified. He’d uprooted his family, left a comfortable life and now faced a career nightmare.

At the end of his rope, he read James for wisdom, telling the Lord, “I’m done. I’m turning this over to you. You know what I want to do in life, but I can’t do this. I’m just going to have to trust you.” He took the test. “I breezed the test, which seemed like an impossibility at the time.”

To this day, I don’t know if the guy was real—I think he was—or an angel God put there for me at a low point early in my career. What I did know then was that I had to give my career over to the Lord and trust Him. I had to do my best and let God handle the rest. The only open door I had was in San Diego, and I walked through it.

Two weeks after we arrived, the offensive coordinator left, and the job became mine. Two years later, after setting many offensive records with quarterback Dan Fouts and the famous Air Coryell offense, Jack Kent Cooke asked me to be head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Are you currently facing a career decision? Have you trusted God to direct your steps? My life is a testament to placing your career in God’s hands. It is the best move I ever made. No matter what He has called you to do in life, you can rely on Him to put you exactly in the right place that you need to be.

In Part 2, our interview with Coach Gibbs, he talks more about James and the whole Bible.

WANT MORE ON THE BOOK OF JAMES AND MEN’S BIBLE STUDY?

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0820_James_Bond_Ian_Fleming_Seven_Deadly_Sins_study_book.jpgClick the cover to learn more about this book.ReadTheSpirit writers collectively were drawn to Joe Gibbs’ writings, when we realized that Joe himself had a life-changing experience of immersing himself in the often-overlooked Letter of James in the New Testament. For several years, ReadTheSpirit has been promoting Bible studies starting with James—based on the fresh approach by literary scholar and pastoral counselor Dr. Benjamin Pratt in his Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass: A Bible Study with James Bond.

Want to learn more about the Letter of James? We have an overview of James, and samples of the Letter of James, which you can read right now on our website.

How do books like Gibbs’ new Bible and our own James Bond Bible study work in churches? ReadTheSpirit just jointly published a new column about this challenge, written by Dr. Pratt for the website of the nationwide Day1 radio network. You can read Pratt’s article either on the Day1 website or posted here at the ReadTheSpirit site, as well. After years of working with this kind of material, Pratt knows what he’s talking about when he advises congregations on attracting inactive men, straying 20-somethings and other men and women who wouldn’t think of joining a Bible study group.

Please help us to reach a wider audience

We welcome your Emails at ReadTheSpirit@Gmail.com
We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. 
You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed.
Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.

Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

Comments: (0)
Categories: Author InterviewsBibleGreat With Groups

Explore the world of parenting with Mei-Ling Hopgood

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0305_Mei_Ling_Hopgood_parenting_around_the_world.jpgFROM THE TOP: Mei-Ling Hopgood’s new book; Inuit Moms with a baby (Mom on left wears traditional sealskin and Mom on right wears caribou); a fish head delicacy for dinner in Asia; a huge dragon-shaped kite; boys playing marbles in Vietnam; and Ache children in the rainforest of Paraguay. Photos from Wikimedia Commons.You’ll Have Fun with Mei-Ling
as Your Global Guide

Mei-Ling Hopgood is a top journalist who now teaches at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. That means she’s a lifelong storyteller, which you’ll discover when you dip into this book of stories circling the globe.

She is famous in her own right. Born in Taiwan and adopted by an American family at an early age, the bittersweet story of her reunion with her Taiwanese family as an adult appears in her earlier book, Lucky Girl. For most of her early life, Mei-Ling was a typical American: She grew up as a smart, enthusiastic Midwest school kid and even got a spot on her high school pom pom squad. When she became a journalist, her award-winning work appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. Before moving with her husband and children to the Chicago area recently, they lived for years in Buenos Aires. Given her global wealth of family experiences, Mei-Ling was fascinated by the vast differences in parenting choices as she circled the planet.

As she was completing her new book, How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between), two other controversial best sellers in this niche began making headlines and burning up websites: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.
Given Mei-Ling’s background as a journalist, always seeking accuracy and balance, it’s not surprising that Mei-Ling’s book on global parenting now is widely compared by reviewers to Tiger and Bebe as the kinder, gentler book in this trio. Or, as Mei-Ling herself puts it in the conclusion of her book:

“I’ve reached a pretty optimistic conclusion after observing the adaptability and resilience of families in many circumstances and environments. Despite vast differences in beliefs, religion and culture, moms, dads and caregivers in most societies share a common desire: to raise children who can thrive in the reality in which they live. While no culture can claim to be the best at any one given aspect of parenting, each has its own gems of wisdom to add to the discussion.”

If you’ve read Tiger or Bebe, then you know that viewpoint marks Mei-Ling’s book as a distinctively different voice. As a parent myself and as editor of ReadTheSpirit, I was struck by how much fun I had flipping the pages of her new book. Among her journalistic talents, Mei-Ling has an eye for overall pacing, which means delivering those special gems that she promises at regular intervals to keep readers flipping page after page. Among those gems are little sections between chapters that are packed with fun facts. If you’re drawn to this book, it’s because you want to discover a whole Noah’s ark of fascinating stories about families. Mei-Ling understands that desire and delivers lots of gee-whiz stories.

We are publishing our coverage of Mei-Ling’s new book—this opening overview and, later this week, an author interview with Mei-Ling—in the same week that globally celebrated marketing guru Seth Godin has dropped his own new bombshell book about revolutionizing education. Seth’s book is more about rethinking our public schools, but it’s also really a book about parenting—how to raise kids who know more than a collection of facts, how to spark creative thinking in our children and how to make the world a more adaptable and compassionate place for future generations. In her book, Mei-Ling really is doing the same thing from a parent’s point of view.

What’s fascinating in comparing the two new books is that there are many converging conclusions. One of them is Mei-Ling’s and Seth’s recommendation that parents go back to some tried-and-true conclusions in global parenting. We’ll write about one of Seth’s conclusions—about toys and the nature of play—in a separate story today. But here are a few gems from Mei-Ling’s book …

KIDS TRULY WILL EAT ANYTHING
(AND THAT’S NOT A BAD THING)

American parents lose sleep over kids’ picky eating habits, but that’s something they’ve picked up from our culture. In fact, kids around the world eat nearly anything. Mei-Ling gives these examples:

IN THE ARCTIC: Aboriginal children in the Arctic traditionally start at a young age eating the raw meat and blood of deer, seal and other animals their parents kill. On frigid nights, when food supply and preparation is limited, families eat their kill as is in order to survive; raw meat has more vitamins than cooked meat. Anthropologist Nelson Graburn observed the efforts of Inuit parents, who now go to the grocery store as often as they hunt, as they tried to introduce children to niqituinak, an Inuit diet, which includes maktak (whale skin and blubber), qisaruaq (chewed cud in a caribou’s stomach), and foods fermented in oil or served raw. “Inuit uniformly reported that if you do not get a child to eat raw meat by the age of three, they never learn to like it,” he wrote.

IN TAIWAN: Friends and family from my birthplace recall some childhood favorites: fish eyes, salted watermelon seeds, dried cuttlefish, fried anchovies, wasabi peas, bean pops, lotus seeds, jellyfish, sea cucumber and eel.

AROUND THE WORLD, THE OLD TOYS ARE THE BEST TOYS

Seth Godin and Mei-Ling both put in a plug for toys that have circled the globe for thousands of years. One reason, Seth points out, is that these toys are far less structured than the step-by-step games and kits American children often receive from parents today. Mei Ling reports on several toys, including:

KITES: The exact origin of the kite is unknown, but some legends say that a Chinese farmer tied string to his hat to keep it from being blown by the wind. Around 200 BCE, General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty flew a kite over the walls of a city he was attacking, according to the American Kitefliers Association. The kite, which has been used by adults for everything ranging from carrying bait out to sea in Micronesia to flying military banners and studying weather, remains a popular toy in many countries and cultures today.

MARBLES: Historians believe that this toy dates back to the Harappan civilization in the western part of South Asia (which flourished around 2500 BCE and is one of the earliest-known civilizations); stone marbles were found in an excavation site near Mohenjo-Daro. In ancient Greece and Rome, children played games with round nuts, and Jewish children played games with filberts at Passover, according to iMarbles.com.

TALENTS OF TOTS AROUND THE WORLD WILL SURPRISE YOU

Both Seth and Mei-Ling argue that kids can do far more than parents allow them to do in typical American households and schools. Mei-Ling has a section of her book, called “Talents of Tots,” which includes these examples:

Ache children by the age of eight can find their way in the seemingly impenetrable (to outsiders) trails (consisting of “bent leaves, twigs and shrubs”) in the rain forests of Paraguay. They also get their first bow and arrow at the age of two, though they won’t master the hunt until around ten years old.

Zapotec kids in Oaxaca, Mexico, can name many of the hundreds of local flora as well as some seasoned ethnobotanists.

In the grasslands of Tibet, kids as young as six tend to herds of dzo (a type of cattle), yaks sheep, and other animals.

Read Part 2 of our coverage: our author interview with Mei-Ling Hopgood.

Remember: How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between) is on sale now at Amazon.

You’ll also want a free copy of Seth Godin’s new book about revolutionizing education.

Care to read more about worldwide peacemakers?

ReadTheSpirit publishes   ‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers’ by Daniel Buttry, a collection of real-life stories about the men, women and children who are taking great risks around the world to counter violence with efforts to promote healthier, peaceful, diverse communities.

Please help us to reach a wider audience

We welcome your Emails at ReadTheSpirit@Gmail.com
We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. 
You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed.
Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.

Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

Comments: (0)
Categories: CaregivingChildren and FamiliesGreat With GroupsPeacemaking

Movies: Kevin Kline plays chess; PBS explores terrorism

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0815_Kevin_Kline_plays_chess_in_Queen_to_Play_DVD.jpg

Play chess with Kevin Kline and the talented French actress Sandrine Bonnaire! You can do that by watching a delightfully surprising love story in a gorgeous French setting—with a long-shot competitive challenge to stir suspense. TODAY, we have a review of the new-to-DVD Queen to Play.
BUT FIRST, a preview of two provocative PBS POV offerings, which you can enjoy for free.

FIRST, UPCOMING ON PBS POV SERIES … FOR FREE

Check the PBS POV website for more information about these movies, including local showtimes.

IMAGE FROM THE OATH COMING TO PBS POVTHE OATH. TUESDAY AUGUST 16: ReadTheSpirit published a full review of this disturbing documentary, The Oath, in 2010.
The feature-length documentary explores the deeply emotional ties that form through terrorists’ family relationships. In our 2010 review, we wrote: “This is a world of shadows and boasts and dangerous relationships. The Oath is not a History Channel-style … exploration of terrorist history. It’s an intimate portrait of people and families who are deeply enmeshed in these deadly relationships.”

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR POV SHORT CUTS AUGUST 23: Set your recording devices now for an entire evening of short documentaries, ranging from the competitive sport of bird watching to some family stories captured in the StoryCorps project.

SECOND, KEVIN KLINE IN QUEEN TO PLAY FROM ZEITGEIST

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-0815_Qeen_to_Play_Kevin_Kline_DVD.jpgHere’s what you expect in Queen to Play:

It’s another “chess movie.” And, we’ve had a century of chess movies! The game’s fan base may be dwindling in this new millennium, but there has never been a shortage of movies built around the chessboard!
It’s another “Rocky.” Yes, there is an obvious competitive challenge that drives this drama, but we won’t spoil the film by revealing the outcome.
It’s another “chick flick.” Sandrine Bonnaire clearly is the star of this film as a French woman suddenly blossoming in middle age.

So what will “delight” and “surprise” you—as we promised in the introduction today?

For nearly 100 years, the French have made the world’s best chess movies. In 1927, renowned French director Raymond Bernard (who later made one of the first movie versions of Les Misérables) directed The Chess Player, which also is available from Amazon and is well worth viewing all these years later. Silent film historian Kevin Brownlow regarded this as such a milestone in world cinema that Brownlow personally spearheaded the revival of Bernard’s epic. The Chess Player is famous for its many twists and turns.

The same is true of Queen to Play, starting with the main character played by Sandrine Bonnaire. A typical American take on such stories involves a diamond in the rough who is unveiled as a fully formed world champion. Searching for Bobby Fischer doesn’t end until the little boy is revealed as a world-class chess prodigy! In Queen to Play, the main character’s skills build through fits and starts, and the point of the movie does not rest on what trophies she may—or may not—win in the end.

This is a delightfully complex story of romance and the reawakening of wonderment in life, overall! We won’t reveal spoilers. But threads are woven through this plot that are likely to startle you. For example, one of the mature accomplishments of a chess player is the ability to envision a game without a physical chess board—so vividly that players can call out moves to each other through letter-and-number symbols. Sound boring? There’s a uniquely romantic scene in Queen to Play involving that mental ability.

Click on any of the Queen to Play links or the DVD cover to jump to Amazon and buy a copy.

Please connect with us and help us to reach a wider audience

Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture. So, please, email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!

We welcome your Emails! . We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed. Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.

Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

Comments: (0)
Categories: Movies and TV

631: The Case of Sherlock Holmes’ Creator Wanting to Believe in Fairies

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-101109_Cottingley_Fairies.jpg

(Update below on death of “debunker” Geoffrey Crawley)

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own words:

In Doyle’s own book, “The Coming of the Fairies,” he boasted: The series of incidents set forth in this little volume represent either the most elaborate and ingenious hoax ever played upon the public—or else they constitute an event in human history which may in the future appear to have been epoch-making in its character.
 

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-101109_Cottingley_Fairies_2.jpgWhat a story!

The brilliant creator of Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a world-famous, best-selling writer now in his 60s—publishes a major new non-fiction book that he insists will rank among his most important works! Why such a stunning claim? Because he has “actually proved the existence upon the surface of this planet of a population which may be as numerous as the human race.”

That newly discovered “population”? Fairies.

Conan Doyle is absolutely convinced they are real—and he claims to have scientific proof. Actual photos! (The black-and-white photos today are part of his “proof.”)

Turns out, the Cottingley Fairies weren’t even an especially elaborate or ingenious hoax. The whole infamous incident unfolded because two curious little girls borrowed cameras to take pictures of some paper “cut outs” of fairies, which they held up in their garden with hat pins.

They were just having fun. Just kids.

Kids love fairies to this day. If you missed it, read our review of “The Night Fairy,” a wonderful new book by Newbery Medal Winner Laura Amy Schlitz about some back-yard connections with fairies.

But, in Conan Doyle’s life—this was a historic milestone for all the wrong reasons. These two girls’ handful of black-and-white photographs spiraled way beyond their control. At the time, speculation on mysterious spiritual forces ran rampant in popular culture. Conan Doyle announced to the whole world that he had proof of fairies.

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-101109_Cottingley_Fairies_3.jpgIn fact, these photos weren’t even good fakes. The images just struck a desperately wanting-to-believe old man at the right moment to rocket fairies into orbit for years to come.

It wasn’t until the early 1980s—more than 60 years after the photos were taken—that the “girls” admitted the photos were made from cut-out pictures held up by pins. To contemporary eyes, that’s exactly what they appear to be—photos made with cut outs carefully poised in the frame. Today, it looks like a fun elementary-school project—photographing your favorite illustrations in an outdoor setting. If only Conan Doyle hadn’t become so overly enthusiastic, right?

You may be wondering: How could these women spend most of their lives “keeping mum”? Well, that’s obvious, said one of them in an interview: “Two village kids and a brilliant man like Conan Doyle—well, we could only keep quiet!”

Was it a “fraud”? No, they insisted. “I never even thought of it as being a fraud—it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun and I can’t understand to this day why they were taken in! They wanted to be taken in.”

And there’s the truth, I think. We do want to believe. And in our desire to believe we wager our lives and reputations on some beliefs that are timeless and noble and have changed the world in wonderful ways. But, let’s be honest, shall we? We also hold tight to lots of beliefs that are in fanciful shades of gray and pastel.

Who exposed the Cottingley fairies?
October 29, 2010, Cottingley debunker Geoffrey Crawley dies

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-101109_Fairy_Tale.jpgA number of people have taken credit for the final exposure of the hoax. In the early 1980s, revived interest in the Cottingley fairies prompted a number of interviews with the elderly women, who readily admitted to the hoax. One filmmaker interviewed them at the time. A journalist named Joe Cooper also is credited with an interview in which they were fairly open about the hoax. Meanwhile, Geoffrey Crawley, a world-renowned expert on photography and editor of the esteemed British Journal of Photography, launched a careful study of how these photographs were created. In addition to the easy-to-detect method of using little paper figures, Crawley also exposed some later darkroom wizardry when the original prints were created—indicating that the entire hoax was more than an afternoon lark by a couple of little girls who barely knew how to take photos. Crawley’s series was so elaborate that it spanned issues of the journal from 1982-1983.

The fairies were such a hot topic that they eventually spawned two Hollywood movies: “Fairy Tale – A True Story” and “Photographing Fairies [VHS]” We recommend the first of the two films, which features Harvey Keitel as Harry Houdini. The second film was a British indie production that never received much attention in the U.S. and, so far, hasn’t been released on DVD. The main criticism of “Fairy Tale” is that, in the end, it waffles on whether the photos were fake—in the interest in celebrating youthful fantasy.

Geoffrey Crawley’s death and the Cottingley Fairies

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-101109_Geoffrey_Crawley.jpgGeoffrey CrawleyGeoffrey Crawley was not interested in crushing anyone’s spirits. The New York Times obituary, which filled most of a page on Sunday, November 7, is headlined, “Geoffrey Crawley, 83; Gently Deflated a Fairy Hoax.” The Times requires readers to register to read its stories online, so here’s a link to the Telegraph obituary in the UK, which appeared on November 7 as well.

The Journal, where he worked so successfully for many years, posted a lengthy tribute, which includes these lines:

Crawley joined the British Journal of Photography in the 1960s … and became editor-in-chief around 1967, a position he held for more than 20 years. From 1987, … he continued as technical editor, working through into his seventies up until 2000. His reputation as one of the world’s leading figures in photographic science was without parallel during this period, and in all probability, no one in the post-analogue age will likely command the same all-round technical expertise and authority. In addition to his brilliant technical articles, he developed many chemical formulae … He also provided invaluable technical help to the industry during this time, advising Stanley Kubrick during the making of 2001, after which the filmmaker kept in touch with Crawley, suggesting article ideas for BJP. And, Crawley foresaw the impact of digital long before it became mainstream, embracing the new technology with his usual vim. Among his many talents, he was an accomplished concert pianist, and probably could have made a career as a musician, but he will probably be best remembered for his work uncovering one of the greatest photographic hoaxes of the 20th Century.

Cottingley Fairies 4 Read more on Cottingley Fairies?

READ DOLYE: Click here to buy a recently republished edition of the original Conan Doyle book “The Coming of Fairies” (with all of the original black and white photos) from Amazon.

WIKIPEDIA WEIGHS IN: Not every detail in the Wikipedia article is correct, but in this case Wikipedia does have a pretty good overview on the case of the Cottingley Fairies. Despite a few flaws, the page is worth a visit.

THE LARGER CONTEXT: Lock Haven University’s Dr. Donald Simanek maintains a popular Web page about Conan Doyle, Spiritualism and the case of the fairies.

THE DEBUNKING EXPERT: James Randi Educational Foundation—one of the most important de-bunking projects—devotes a page to the fairies. It’s intriguing because the page also has copies and transcripts of some of the letters related to the fairy photos.

We want our international conversation to continue

Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture recently. So, please, email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!

We welcome your Emails! . We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed. Plus, there’s a free Monday-morning “Planner” newsletter you may enjoy.

(Originally published at http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/)

Comments: (0)
Categories: Children and Families

546: “Why I Still Love Halloween,” Cindy LaFerle captures its enduring wonders

 

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-book_of_halloween_early_20th_centur1.jpg
S
OMETIMES, we republish particularly popular stories like this one from last year by writer Cindy LaFerle.

Recently, we published a special cross-cultural look at Halloween from Jewish and Muslim friends.
    That story prompted reader Anne Wilson from Denver to Email our Home Office, asking for help on finding “that OTHER Halloween story you had with some old-fashioned pictures and about Scottish lore. … I want to send it to a friend and can’t find it.”
    Well, Anne—you’re not alone in recalling this delightful holiday piece. (As Halloween nears again, we’ve also got coverage of the “holiday weekend” in this week’s “Spiritual Season” column.)
    And, for your continued enjoyment, here is …

WHY I STILL
LOVE HALLOWEEN

By CINDY LaFERLE

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-a_halloween_skeleton_goes_trick_or_1.jpg
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties,

And things that go bump in the night,

Good lord, deliver us!
    A Scottish saying

Halloween
always stirs a delicious cauldron of memories.
    Baby boomers are a
nostalgic bunch, and most of us can recall at least one costume we wore
in grade school. Wearing yards of pink tulle and a homemade foil crown,
I dressed up as Miss America when I was in the first grade in 1960. And
who could forget trick-or-treating in packs until our pillowcases were
too heavy to lug around the block?
    While the holiday suffered a lull in the 1970s, the “season of the
witch” now competes with Christmastime as the biggest party season of
the year. And with all due respect to religious groups refusing to
celebrate it, I never thought of Halloween as inherently evil.
    In fact, I always felt a little sad for one of my son’s
grade-school pals, whose born-again Christian parents refused to let
him wear a costume, attend Halloween parties, or go trick-or-treating
with the neighborhood kids on Halloween night. While I respected the
family’s religious devotion, I disagreed with their conviction that the
holiday’s pre-Christian history was a threat to their faith. (I wanted
to remind them that Christmas trees and Easter baskets also boasted
pre-Christian, pagan origins. But I kept my mouth shut.)

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-halloween_party_in_early_20th_centu1.jpg
    British and Irish historians are also quick to remind us that “All
Hallows Eve” did not originate as a gruesome night of devil worship—though I’ll be the first to admit that American retailers, film
producers, and merchants who cash in on Halloween are guilty of adding
their own mythology—and gore. Regardless, in my view, what most of
us seem to enjoy about the holiday is the creativity factor.
    Stepping over age limits, Halloween extends an open invitation to
play dress-up. It inspires us to raid attics and local thrift shops for
the most outlandish outfits we can jumble together. If only for one
magical night, it gives us permission to drop the dull disguise of
conformity.
    For flea-market junkies like me, Halloween is reason enough to
hoard pieces of vintage clothing and jewelry that, by all rights,
should have been donated to charity ages ago. My husband now refers to
our attic as “the clothing museum,” and with good reason. Friends who
have trouble rustling up an outfit will often call for help during
dress-up emergencies. (“Can I borrow one of your medieval jester hats
for a clown costume?” is not an unusual request.) Over the years, in
fact, I’ve collected so many crazy hats that we have to store them in a
large steamer trunk behind the living room couch. Those hats get the
most wear near Halloween, when even the most reserved engineer who
visits will try on a pith helmet or a plumed pirate hat and wear it to
the dinner table.
    And why not? Historically speaking, the holiday has always been a
celebration of the harvest, a madcap prelude to the more dignified
ceremonials of Thanksgiving.

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2013/03/wpid-no_halloween_without_jackolantern1.jpg
    Halloween’s deep roots weave back
more than 2,000 years to the early Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and
Wales. It was originally known as the festival of Samhain, according to
Caitlin Matthews, a Celtic scholar and author of The Celtic Book of Days
(Destiny Books).
The festival, she explains, marked the end of the
farming season and the beginning of the Celtic new year. Lavish banquet
tables were prepared for the ancestors, who were believed to pierce the
veil between the living and the dead on the eve of Samhain. It was also
time to rekindle the bonfires that would sustain the clans in winter.
    “In the Christian era,” Matthews writes, “the festival was
reassigned to the Feast of All Saints; however, many of the customs
surrounding modern Halloween still concern this ancient understanding
of the accessibility of the dead.”
    And we can thank our Irish immigrants for the jack-o’-lantern,
which reputedly wards off evil spirits. This custom evolved from the
old practice of carving out large turnips and squash, then illuminating
them with candles. The term jack-o’-lantern was derived from a folk
tale involving a crafty Irishman named Jack, who outwitted the Devil.
    On cool October nights, when the moon is bright and leaves scatter
nervously across the sidewalk, a bittersweet chill runs up and down my
spine. I like to recall a favorite quote from Ray Bradbury, whose
affection for Halloween surpasses even mine: “If you enjoy living, it
is not difficult to keep the sense of mystery and wonder.”
    And I think of my beloved Scottish grandparents, who left their
exhausted farms in the Orkney Islands to begin new lives in United
States in the 1920s. I recall the knee-cracking highland folk dances
they taught me, and the silly lyrics to their rural old-country tunes.
I remember their hard-won wisdom, and how much I still miss their love.
    Like my Celtic ancestors, I’m moved to take stock of my own
“harvest” — how much I’ve accomplished throughout the year, and how
many things I’ve left undone. My to-do list is yards long. There are
parts of the world I haven’t seen; stories I haven’t written; debts and
favors to repay. I marvel at the mellow beauty of the season, which has
always been my favorite, but also feel a little sad that one more year
is drawing to its close.
    All said and done, I like to think of Halloween as the big good-bye
party we throw for autumn’s final weeks. And a toast to the year ahead.
All in good fun. 

CARE TO READ MORE?
    Cindy La Ferle is a nationally published essayist and author of Writing Home,
an award-winning collection of essays celebrating home and family life,
distributed to bookstores by Wayne State University Press. Visit her web site: www.laferle.com
    Cindy visited ReadTheSpirit earlier with a story about her appreciation for Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

 

Please do tell us what you think!

     This is a good time to sign up for our Monday-morning ReadTheSpirit Planner by Emailit’s
free and you can cancel it any time you’d like to do so. The Planner
goes out each week to readers who want more of an “inside track” on
what we’re seeing on the horizon, plus it’s got a popular “holidays”
section.

    Not only do we welcome your notes—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and other social-networking sites as well.
    (Originally published at http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/)

 

Comments: (0)
Categories: Children and FamiliesChristian