ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: The Parable of Flight 93

18 YEARS LATER, CAN WE UNITE AGAIN?

COVER STORY—Author Benjamin Pratt returns this week with a Cover Story reflecting on the Flight 93 Memorial, including striking images and Benjamin’s narration walking us through what truly is a parable for our times.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Celebrating the 19th Amendment’s Centennial

THE YEAR IS STARTING—We already are in “the centennial year” of observances and projects planned to mark the August 26, 1920, ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving American women the right to vote. That’s a milestone in human rights that will be marked in many ways: exhibitions, books, documentaries, magazines and events. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm describes the media excitement about the centennial and suggests ways you can be part of it.

AUTUMN IS COMING

EQUINOX & MABON—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the change of seasons—and how many pagans continue to mark the occasion as Mabon.

MESKEL—Later in September, Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian communities will stage processions and light bonfires to recall an ancient story involving the “true cross.” Stephanie Fenton has the story.

MICHAELMAS—Search for an aster blossom, make a blackberry crumble or bake a bannock today: It’s Michaelmas, the Christian feast for St. Michael the Archangel.

NAVARATRI—At the end of September, this year, Hindus begin the nine-night religious festival known as Sharad Navaratri, an ancient festival that emphasizes the motherhood of the divine and femininity.

Jewish High Holy Days

ROSH HASHANAHBefore September ends, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with the New Year 5780. Do you know someone who is Jewish? Get ready to wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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What Is That … Big Bird?

RODNEY CURTIS brings us another terrific illustrated story this week involving an experience most of us have had while enjoying the natural world.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to the challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. This MSU book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Movie still from Brian Banks, which Ed reviews.

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of Brian Banks.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: Labor Day Is Far More than a Holiday

FAITH & LABOR DEEPLY CONNECTED

DIG DEEPER INTO FACTS & PHOTOS—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton produced our multi-faceted Cover Story this week, looking back over the deep connections between faith and a concern for workers’ well being. She also has packed this Cover Story with resources you’ll want to share with friends—and perhaps create your own outline for a discussion in your small group or class. She links to a treasure-trove of images from the sociologist Lewis Hines—plus links to a number of religious resources as well. She closes her column with the latest data from Pew Research.

Please, read this week’s Cover Story and share this news with friends via social media—or, you are always free to print out our stories and share them in a good old-fashioned ink-on-paper format. That option is especially nice if you want to carry a handout into a small group for discussion.

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Tom Brous reading T.S. Eliot in Burnt Norton.

The Power of Poetry

GOD SIGNSColumnist Suzy Farbman brings us a love story this week, woven through with lots of what she calls GodSigns. In this case, that story involves a love of literature, especially T.S. Eliot’s life-long journey from the seeming hopelessness of World Wars toward a rekindled faith and some of the greatest poetry of the 20th Century.

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EDISON’S DREAM OF AUDIO BOOKS

FINALLY BECOMING A REALITY—Since Thomas Edison first appeared in Scientific American magazine in 1877, demonstrating a mechanical process that he said could permanently preserve and replay sounds—publishers have dreamed of making books as easy to hear as they are to read.

We finally are nearing that historic inflection point, 142 years after Edison’s boast.

Please, enjoy Dmitri Barvinok’s column about the rising popularity of audio books and share this with friends. Want to learn much more about trends in publishing? Visit our Front Edge Publishing website.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to the challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. This MSU book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Blinded by the Light movie still

Click this Blinded by the Light movie still to read Ed’s review.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: Indie Days 2019—Bullish on Books, Forecasting Growth in Direct Marketing to Readers

BOOK SALES CONTINUE TO RISE NATIONALLY

A ‘SUMMER CAMP’ FOR PUBLISHERS—That was the up-beat theme of a major conference for independent publishers, held this week at the headquarters of the global giant Ingram’s Lightning Source publishing division. Given the “camp” theme of this year’s gathering of publishing professionals, our Marketing Director Susan Stitt sent a letter home about the highlights. Those include a continuing rise in book sales—and in direct sales of books via Amazon and other online retailers. Please, enjoy Susan’s main story about what is called Indie Days 2019. Then, if you care to learn more, Susan sent a second letter that takes readers on a gee-whiz tour of the flagship printing-and-binding factory.

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Allure of the Shore, Part 3

DAZZLING IMAGERY—That’s what photographer and author Rodney Curtis adds to our August theme of spiritual solace along the shore. Two weeks ago, Martin Davis took us to the shore; then, Missy Buchanan encouraged us to reflect on our lives along the beach. Rodney Curtis uses his considerable talents, now, to provide this literally moving image that he produced along the shore of Lake Michigan, a Great Lake that seems about as big as an ocean.

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Bob Alper & A Shot Heard ‘Round the World

IT’S A JOKE. SERIOUSLY. In this turbulent era of hair-trigger anger, comedian and author Rabbi Bob Alper reflects on how one of the jokes that remains a favorite with his audiences—didn’t seem so funny when transported into another context. Please, enjoy this column by Bob, which includes a complete version of the lengthy story involving a rabbi, a cow and … well, you’ve got to read it for yourself.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! In 2019, daily news stories are making it clear that we all are facing growing problems with bigotry. Among the latest is the August 2019 report by The American Academy of Pediatrics, reminding health care professionals nationwide that racism is a “social determinant of health,” meaning that “failure to address racism will continue to undermine health equity for all children, adolescents, emerging adults and their families.”

The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to this challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism through its Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. The Michigan State University Bias Busters book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Is Secularization Inevitable?

THE REST OF THE STORY—Among people who care about religion, there isn’t a more timely issue than the rising tide of secularism. In the U.S., this often is cast as the “rise of the Nones,” because an ever-growing number of adults respond with “None” when pollsters ask them to identify their religious affiliation. Secularism is a major trend in Europe as well as many other regions of the world.

However, that’s not the entire story! New research suggests that secularization may be counterbalanced by another well-known trend: As they age, people tend to become more religious.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

 

Paryushan Parva

FASTING AND FORGIVENESS—For India’s Jains, this is a season of fasting and forgiveness. Stephanie has that story, as well, including an overview of the 10 values at the core of Jain reflections.

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of The Farewell.

Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn more about Ed’s August 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: The Allure of Shore, part 2. Missy Buchanan invites us to a ‘Beach Calling’

FINDING SPIRITUAL SOLACE IN TROUBLING TIMES

DISCOVER ‘BEACH CALLING’—In a turbulent time with anger and anxiety rising in many corners of the world, our magazine devotes a second week to reflections on the timeless spiritual allure of shorelines. Last week, Marty Davis wrote a column about crowds helping sea turtles—as an example for our best instincts as a community.

This week, we welcome back to our magazine the best-selling author Missy Buchanan, who is famous for her many books about faith and aging. You may have seen her on Good Morning America. Now, Missy is addressing her new book directly to Baby Boomers, offering 20 ways we can step back from the today’s turbulence—and begin to remember the richness of both faith and our better selves.

Please, read our interview with Missy Buchanan. In this column, we compares her new book with Ann Morrow Lindbergh’s classic, Gift from the Sea, a favorite of many of our readers.

Then, take a moment to share this story with friends. This new book by Missy is ideal for individual reflection, a gift for someone you love—or for small-group discussion.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Got Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! In 2019, daily news stories are making it clear that we all are facing growing problems with bigotry. Among the latest is the August 2019 report by The American Academy of Pediatrics, reminding health care professionals nationwide that racism is a “social determinant of health,” meaning that “failure to address racism will continue to undermine health equity for all children, adolescents, emerging adults and their families.”

The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to this challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism through its Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. The Michigan State University Bias Busters book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Artist Bill Staffel and his family hit the road in the '60s

Click the photo to read Suzy’s column.

A Long and Winding Road

AN ARTISTIC RESTING PLACE—This week, Suzy Farbman’s GodSigns column tells the true story of artist and craftsman Bill Staffel, whose long and winding road included turning old railroad spikes into hand-crafted works of art, transforming discarded wood into beautiful boxes and designing a creative home and shop in northern Michigan. Now, Bill’s final resting place is … Well, please, read Suzy’s column to explore the rest of this story.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Krishna’s Birthday

AMERICANS LOVE THIS STYLE—Every year, brave crews of young Indians form human pyramids for Krishna Janmashtami, which honors Lord Krishna’s birth. That same acrobatic style can be seen in the hugely popular performances of Indian dance crew V. Unbeatable on America’s Got Talent. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has that story—including a video clip of V. Unbeatable that has drawn more than 25 million viewers! You’ll enjoy her colorful column.

Paryushan Parva

FASTING AND FORGIVENESS—For India’s Jains, this is a season of fasting and forgiveness. Stephanie has that story, as well, including an overview of the 10 values at the core of Jain reflections.

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of The Farewell.

Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn more about Ed’s August 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: What Draws Us Together on New Shorelines?

Baby loggerhead turtles make their way to the sea.

Moving Beyond Camps of Believers and Nones

LET’S LEARN FROM THE TURTLES—First, these turtles are cute! You will simply enjoy the beautiful photos with this week’s cover story. So, c’mon! Take a moment to let these images lift your spirits.

Then, what is the story here? Each month, veteran journalist Martin Davis contributes a column to our magazine from the perspective of the millions of Americans who answer pollsters’ questions about religious affiliation with the option: “None.” Few writers, today, are exploring this realm as thoughtfully as Martin. And, we keep hearing from our readers that many are looking for such compassionate companions on this journey. Collectively, we need this kind of writing.

Please, if you enjoy Martin’s column this month, share it with friends via social media, email or simply print out this column and pass it along.

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Rodney Curtis in San Francisco

And Speaking of Gorgeous Photos …

THEY CALL THE FOG ‘KARL’—Author, journalist and star photographer Rodney Curtis takes us on another one of his wild rides—this time through the hills of San Francisco with a tale about two friends, one named Kurt and one named Karl. This really is an excuse for some eye-popping photography as well as some fun about the twists and turns of friendship. C’mon! You’ve got a few more minutes to spare. Enjoy Rodney’s tale.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Speaking of Colorful Travels …

RAKSHA BANDHAN 2019—One of the most widely observed and beloved of Indian festivals falls on August 15, this year, as Indian sisters visit their brothers to give them a colorful wrist band, known as a rakshi. Holidays & Festivals expert Stephanie Fenton has the story, complete with lots of fun links to 2019 news about this holiday. A couple of links take readers to holiday foods—from very sweet to savory. And there’s news about one very strange new rakshi this year—and only in India!

Want to see all the stories about Holidays & Festivals & Seasons? Just remember www.InterfaithHolidays.com 

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What Is That Checkerboard Thing Called?

IT’S A QR CODE—This week, in our Front Edge Publishing column, Production Manager Dmitri Barvinok offers some valuable tips about how to find the best, most stable URLs to share in online columns and new books. Following Dmitri’s best practices can help you avoid busting your links—and frustrating your readers.

To read Dmitri’s column, you can click on the text link, above, or you can aim your phone’s QR code app at this image, at right, and you’ll see his column pop up on your phone.

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Leonard Cohen and his friend Marianne

Click this photo of Leonard and Marianne to read Ed’s review.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: Millions, including 20,000 Americans, make the pilgrimage to Mecca—the Hajj

SHARE IN THE POSITIVE SPIRIT OF OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS

INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS—About 20,000 Americans are among the 2 million pilgrims traveling to Mecca this week for the annual Hajj. This is a perfect time to reach out to Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers and ask if they know someone taking part in this journey that usually is a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual adventure. The positive spirit surrounding the Hajj can be an antidote to the toxic anti-Muslim bias that has been so prevalent this year.

NEW THIS WEEKOur Holidays & Festivals expert Stephanie Fenton has the story of the Hajj, plus some fascinating video clips.

Eid al-Adha sweets.AND THE CELEBRATIONStephanie also reports on the Eid al-Adha, which is both a part of the Hajj—and is celebrated by Muslim families around the world. Mosques will fill to capacities; Eid dinners will draw families and friends; and the favorite treats often are sweet!

The Hajj is also a recurring theme in Victor Begg’s new book, Our Muslim Neighbors—Achieving the American Dream, an Immigrant’s MemoirAs he writes in the book, Victor was fortunate enough to make the pilgrimage twice—once as a young man and again many years later in which he was able to write a chronicle of the experience.

Please, use this timely opportunity to reach out across your community this week. Share these stories with friends.

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Novelist Rex Beach.The story of a Beach—and a Beach

SUZY FARBMAN tells a fascinating true story this week of her husband’s efforts to save a Michigan beach for public access—in a location associated with the once-famous American novelist Rex Beach. Never heard of him? Well, you’re in for a treat! Read this story and you may want to reach back and check out one of his tales—or even watch one of the many movies based on his adventurous yarns. One of those movies stars John Wayne. And, if you’re passing through northern Michigan? Take off your shoes and stroll along the Beach-related public beach that Burton Farbman helped to save.

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Australian Christian podcaster Daniel Gettis.

Click Daniel’s photo to listen.

And now, Live from Australia!

DAVID GUSHEE CIRCLES THE GLOBE—It’s a real treat to hear Australian evangelical podcaster Daniel Gettis introduce David Gushee, the noted Christian ethicist and author of Changing Our Mind. As Gettis describes him: “Gushee has thrown himself into this world of Christian ethics, figuring out how, then, we should live in light of what Jesus Christ has done for humanity.” Gettis does not entirely agree with Gushee’s case for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people within the church—nor do many listeners to Gettis’s podcast. As Gettis explains it: “This podcast is about presenting another side of a conversation you might not have heard before—and that’s a good thing.”

We completely agree, and we are impressed with Gettis’s interview of Gushee. In a one-hour conversation, Gettis models the kind of civil conversation that stands in stark contrast to the kinds of angry debates staged in much of American media on these issues. Check out the August 1 podcast yourself. And, if you care to learn more about the book, jump over to Amazon and get a copy.

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Mario Lopez ‘clearly needs a primer on trans issues’

Cover of MSU book 100 Questions and Answers about Gender Identity

Click the cover to learn more about the book.

HOW ABOUT YOU? That recommendation of a primer for Lopez came from Sarah Kate Ellis, head of GLAAD, the media advocacy group on behalf of LGBTQ people. At issue was the confused and admittedly hurtful way TV celebrity Mario Lopez talked about transgender family issues on a recent TV show with a conservative host. Later, Lopez publicly apologized, a story covered by ADVOCATE magazine. In that story, Sarah Kate Ellis was quoted as describing Lopez’s remarks as dangerous, a reflection of his ignorance—and she concluded that he “clearly needs a primer on trans issues.”

In 2018, the Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters team published exactly that kind of primer: 100 Questions and answers about Gender Identity. This week, we are mailing a copy to the offices of both Lopez and Ellis. Want your own copy? Visit Amazon and order a copy today.

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And Speaking of Ignorance?
Here’s Another Way We Can Help

100 Questions and Answers about American Jews‘AMERICANS KNOW LITTLE ABOUT JUDAISM’—That’s the conclusion of the latest Pew Research Center religious knowledge survey, as reported on August 1. The report says: “Compared with other Americans, U.S. Jews have relatively high levels of religious knowledge—including about non-Jewish religions like Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. But most non-Jewish Americans are unable to answer some basic factual questions about Jewish practices.”

That same MSU School of Journalism Bias Busters team publishes 100 Questions and Answers about American Jews. Here’s an overview of that book and the topics it covers. Or, you could simply jump to Amazon and order a copy of that guide, as well.

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20 Marketing Tips for Effective Authors

How many have you checked off? In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, marketing expert Susan Stitt provides a valuable checklist of the most effective steps authors can take to build an audience. Are you an author? A friend of an author? Take a look at Susan’s checklist and see how many of these ideas you—or your friend—have checked off. Social media and digital tools like video are powerful ways to reach readers—but the core of Susan’s message is that authors really are trying to build a community around their books. Many of Susan’s tips involve the basic values of good friendship.

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Movie still from The Lion King 2019.

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: Questions about sexual abuse and mental illness are Urgent. That’s why Lucille Sider is on the road.

‘LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS’

TAKING A MESSAGE OF HOPE ON THE ROAD—Our online magazine takes our vocation seriously: “Good media builds healthier communities.” That’s why we publish stories (and books) like the one featured in our Cover Story this week.

Lucille Sider, a clinical psychologist and clergywoman, is carrying her message of honesty and hope to audiences nationwide. That story begins with her new book-length memoir, Light Shines in Darkness: My Healing Journey Through Sexual Abuse and Depression.

In our Cover Story, Lucille reports on why these issues are so urgent to so many families nationwide. And, she tells us about two recent public appearances in Illinois and New York. Please, read this story and share it with friends via email, social media—or simply print out Lucille’s story and share it with your small group.

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Helping to Reduce Bias in Early Childhood Education

ANNI REINKING APPOINTED—In addition to highlighting the work of Lucille Sider, this week, we are celebrating the appointment of author and scholar Dr. Anni Reinking to a new Illinois-state-wide assessment team of early childhood education programs. In Anni’s column, she explains why this often-hidden bias is difficult to identify and has remained a problem for so many years.

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And speaking of helping others …

SHARING OUR WISDOM—What an appropriate Suzy Farbman column this week! Our magazine, this week, opens with stories from two authors who are traveling far and wide to bring their wisdom to bear on urgent challenges affecting families. This week, Suzy writes a wonderful remembrance about two real-life uncles who knew a thing or two about how to deliver wisdom—so that it would be remembered many years later.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

HARVEST FESTIVALS already are on the horizon, including Lammas and Lughnasadh with centuries of tradition in the UK, including the baking of special loaves for a festival on or near August 1. Stephanie Fenton has the story. If you’re looking for festivals in your corner of the world, remember to Google local events early—because some regional festivals are moved, these days, to more convenient weekend days.

Want to see all the stories about Holidays & Festivals & Seasons? Just remember www.InterfaithHolidays.com 

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Why Do We Have 2 Bookstores?

THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU—We actually sell books from 100s of bookstores around the world. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, David Crumm writes about the two bookstores we maintain. He explains why book distribution can be a huge challenge, facing issues from price fluctuations to random messages about unexplained delays. And, he looks at how we address those challenges by offering our authors and readers lots of options!

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s look back at Do the Right Thing.

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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