Cover Story: Lucille Sider’s ‘Light Shines in the Darkness’—Real help for abuse survivors from an expert counselor who also is a survivor

A BOOK WE NEED IN OUR COMMUNITIES

HELP FOR MILLIONS OF FAMILIES—For many years now, journalists have been covering the news of abuse survivors stepping forward with stories of trauma—and secrecy—in the heart of religious communities nationwide. Now, in the #MeToo era, survivors feel even more encouragement to honestly account for the lingering effects of such abuse. Congregations nationwide need help in encouraging families to talk.

That’s why psychologist and pastoral counselor Lucille Sider’s new Light Shines in the Darkness is such a landmark for readers. Lucille is a survivor herself and honestly tells what happened throughout her life as she suffered, then as she sought spiritual practices to regain her stability and even as she helped to pursue the legal process against the abuser within her extended family. This is an important, compassionate book written to help other survivors and their families. Lucille encourages survivors to talk about their own experiences and also offers wise advice as a professional. Please, read our cover story this week; share it with friends; and consider organizing a discussion group in your community.

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WEST POINT CELEBRATES 150 YEARS

FEATURING ‘THE BLACK KNIGHT’—The U.S. Military Academy traces its roots back to 1801, but the West Point Association of Graduates—its influential alumni organization—was organized in 1869 so this new year is the group’s sesquicentennial. Special events are planned all year long to celebrate the Long Gray Line. That starts with the new Winter 2019 issue of West Point magazine. If you click on that link, you can “flip through” the pages of that special issue—but we urge you to jump right to page 54, where the West Point Authors Bookshelf features Clifford Worthy’s new memoir, The Black Knight: An African-American Family’s Journey from West Point-A Life of Duty, Honor and Country. You also can learn much more about that new book on Amazon.

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PICTURE THIS … A LIFE IN PHOTOGRAPHY

RODNEY CURTIS shares with us a story about the lives of photographers in the dramatically changing world of American media. As many of our readers know, Rodney volunteers each year with the remarkable Mountain Workshops, one of the nation’s most prestigious programs for visual storytellers.

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The Powerful Reach of eBooks

A QUARTER OF ALL AMERICANS read an eBook last year. In our Front Edge Publishing column this week, Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok writes about why eBooks remain a vital part of book distribution nationwide. In this column, Dmitri shares the latest trends in eBook sales and looks at the unique power and reach of several of the major eBook platforms, including Kindle and Kobo. Are you among those millions of eBook readers? You’ll find this a fascinating overview of how publishers are trying to reach out to you.

Want to know more about publishing trends in 2019? Visit our Front Edge Publishing Blog, scroll to the bottom of that page, and sign up for our free weekly email newsletters.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

WHAT’S WITH THIS WEATHER?! So, what will the Groundhogs say? Yes, that’s right—Groundhogs plural. Stephanie Fenton’s column points out that Punxsutawney Phil now has some furry competition: Buffalo Bert, a groundhog in Buffalo, New York! Of course, she also covers other auspicious observances on February 2—Candlemas and Imbolc. Do you know the origins of that term Imbolc? Well, you’ll find it in Stephanie’s column.

DO YOU NEED AN INSPIRING, HEROIC STORY? Well, here’s a classic, thanks to Stephanie Fenton. Coming up February 3, it’s the annual Four Chaplains Sunday. These courageous men of faith have been honored since their self-sacrifice inspired Americans during a tragedy at sea in 1943.

For quick reference, you can easily find Stephanie’s master calendar by going to—www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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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.

Click this image to read Ed’s column on the PC-USA website.

Congratulations Ed!

This month, Ed McNulty has touched off quite a buzz across the Internet with his Top 10 Films for Believers posted on the official Presbyterian Church (USA) website. In particular, many people are discussing Ed’s strong recommendation of the movie Boy Erased, which confronts evangelical gay-conversion-therapy programs. Staunch Fundamentalists continue to defend that practice, which is now legally banned in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Because the scientific and medical communities both oppose such “therapy,” diversity-rights advocates continue to push for a further expansion of these bans. It’s such a hot topic that Gay Times magazine even covered Ed’s recommendation of the movie.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

 

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How Are You Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Vision this Week?

ALL THIS WEEK—
LET’S MOVE TOWARD KING’S ‘BELOVED COMMUNITY’

REMEMBERING KING’S VISION—Over the past decade, many of our writers have published inspiring columns that honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. Let’s start with the column by our Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton. Stephanie’s story reminds us of how King’s life eventually inspired this annual holiday. Then, Stephanie provides a gateway to several other fascinating columns—including one that has a recipe for Dr. King’s favorite dessert: sweet potato pie! There’s a lot to enjoy here.

And there’s a lot you can do, this week, to honor Dr. King’s vision! Please, read on!

REMEMBERING OTHER HEROES OF THE MOVEMENT—The civil rights movement spanned decades and involved millions of heroic men and women who had the courage to live their lives as if America’s ideals of liberty and justice really could be claimed by all of us.

One of those living heroes is Col. Clifford Worthy—who dared to join the first few African-American cadets at West Point after President Truman signed the order integrating the U.S. Army just after World War II. This week, our popular columnist Benjamin Pratt has written a review of Col. Worthy’s memoir, The Black Knightpraising the book as “a memoir of deep integrity, revealing honesty and wisdom.” Want to do a little good in our world this week? Order a copy of The Black Knight and come back to Amazon.com to leave your review of the book. Your voice will make a difference in how many other readers will find this inspiring memoir.

The Black Knight also was highlighted this month among “Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars” by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

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Help an Author Reach the World in 2019

BECOME A CITIZEN OF A ‘COMMUNITY’—In our Front Edge Publishing column this week, David Crumm writes about the powerful world of Amazon.com’s Community of reviewers. The column is written from the perspective of authors who want to encourage more reviews of their books—but the column also is a Call to Action for anyone who would like to become an effective Amazon.com reviewer. Are you starting 2019 with a resolution to make a positive difference in our world? One of the most powerful, easy steps you can take is to become an Amazon.com reviewer and encourage others to find books that will inspire them, this year. And, please, share this column with friends, especially friends who love to read.

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DISCUSS DIVERSITY IN 2019

WE CAN HELP WITH A FREE SAMPLE—Millions of Americans are discussing gender diversity and sexual orientation in 2019. For example, members of the United Methodist church nationwide have identified this issue as a year-long, global conversation. We want to help! Our publishing house is proud of the high praise we’ve received for publishing a pair of guidebooks with Michigan State University School of Journalism. Those books are called: 100 Questions and Answers about Gender Identity and 100 Questions and Answers about Sexual Orientation.

MSU’s Joe Grimm, the head of the educational project that has published this groundbreaking series of books, is offering to send a free sample set of these two new volumes on gender and sexuality to community leaders hoping to organize a discussion group. The trademark of this MSU book series is: We’re answering the questions everybody’s asking but nobody’s answering. Sample copies could prompt others in your community to order these books—and share this accurate, helpful information on these urgent issues.

So, if you are a librarian, preacher, teacher, book-club coordinator—or any other kind of community leader planning to spark a discussion—please contact us ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

UPDATE—We have a few sets of these samples let. Please, email us now.

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Click this cover image to learn about the January 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal with complete faith & film study guides of recent movies.

FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

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: ‘Not Just Black and White’—a Hopeful Vision of How Families Can Respond to Racism

A COMPELLING NEW VOICE: A MOM, AUTHOR, EDUCATOR & STORYTELLER

MEET ANNI REINKING—Every day, headlines tell us that race is a dangerous flashpoint in American neighborhoods. Sometimes, the news can overwhelm us. That’s not something Dr. Anni Reinking can let happen on her watch—as the white mother of a black son, as an educator of university students and as a researcher about the challenges faced by diverse American families.

The fact is: Diversity is our future. Anni has lived with this truth on a daily basis since 2009, when she gave birth to her son Ahmad. Both as a researcher and educator—and as a Mom—she has had to cope with America’s life-and-death friction over racial diversity.

As research shows, millions of new interracial families are forming every year. By 2040, America’s “majority” will be our “minorities.” While there are many important new books emerging each year focused on these issues—Publishers Weekly magazine highlighted Anni’s new book, Not Just Black and White, as unique and especially important. Now, a chorus of other writers and activists are saying the same thing.

Please, read our Cover Story to find out about this book that more and more people are discussing nationwide. Learn how you can start a discussion where you live—and even consider inviting Anni to speak. Share this hopeful news with friends.

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DISCUSS DIVERSITY IN 2019

WE CAN HELP WITH A FREE SAMPLE—Millions of Americans are discussing gender diversity and sexual orientation in 2019. For example, members of the United Methodist church nationwide have identified this issue as a year-long, global conversation. We want to help! Our publishing house is proud of the high praise we’ve received for publishing a pair of guidebooks with Michigan State University School of Journalism. Those books are called: 100 Questions and Answers about Gender Identity and 100 Questions and Answers about Sexual Orientation.

MSU’s Joe Grimm, the head of the educational project that has published this groundbreaking series of books, is offering to send a free sample set of these two new volumes on gender and sexuality to community leaders hoping to organize a discussion group. The trademark of this MSU book series is: We’re answering the questions everybody’s asking but nobody’s answering. Sample copies could prompt others in your community to order these books—and share this accurate, helpful information on these urgent issues.

So, if you are a librarian, preacher, teacher, book-club coordinator—or any other kind of community leader planning to spark a discussion—please contact us ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

UPDATE—This is the second week we are extending this special offer. Last week, we heard from groups from the West Coast, the East Coast, the South and the Midwest. Joe tells us he still has a few sets of these books he can send to a few more groups. Please, email us now.

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News about Our Authors

‘SADIE’ ON IOWA PUBLIC RADIO—Sadie the dog’s best friend Penny received an e-tablet as a gift and as soon as she logged on to the internet, their friendship began to suffer. Sadie Sees Trouble is a colorful children’s book that explores the balance of screen time and real life. Public radio program Idaho Matters speaks to the book’s author, Linda Jarkey, about turning a didactic message into entertaining children’s literature.

JOE GRIMM WINS MICHIGAN AWARD—The Library of Michigan just announced its prestigious list of Michigan Notable Books for 2019. On that list was Joe Grimm’s new Faygo Book, a colorful history of a company that has forged a bond with metro-Detroit and its residents for more than a century. Here’s the complete listing of Michigan Notable Books.

LUCILLE SIDER’S STORY GOING GLOBAL—The roots of the Baptist Global News Service stretch back through almost two centuries of independent reporting for readers around the world. Veteran journalist Jeff Brumley profiled author Lucille Sider about her new memoir Light Shines in the Darkness—My Healing Journey through Sexual Abuse and Depression. Jeff’s story begins: “Lucille F. Sider is an ordained minister called to bring healing to others even as she carried dark, painful secrets inside her for decades.” Please, read Jeff’s excellent profile and share this news with friends.

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PRAYERS FOR UNITY

A CENTURY-OLD TRADITIONHolidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton reports this week on the global Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is more than 100 years old this year. Starting on Friday, January 18, this year—Stephanie has the links to detailed resources for worship and reflection provided by the World Council of Churches as well as the Vatican.

For quick reference, you can easily find Stephanie’s master calendar by going to—www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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Make Google Work for You!

HOW TO SET UP A GOOGLE ALERT—If you’ve never set up a Google Alert, then you may be surprised how easy it is to start one—or to change or even cancel an Alert if you don’t care for the results. This week in our Front Edge Publishing column, marketing expert Susan Stitt walks us through the process step by step. Establishing these Alerts can open windows into the world that automatically greet you each day with news about authors, books or important topics that matter to you. Even if you’re not an author, learning how to set up Alerts can keep you up to date on the latest news and save you hours of web searching.

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Click this movie still to read Ed’s review.

FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

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: Master Spiritual Guide Kent Nerburn Lights up the New Year with an Invitation

Click this cover image to read about Kent.

‘DANCING WITH THE GODS’

KENT NERBURN RETURNS—Our regular readers know that Kent Nerburn visits our online magazine at least once a year. Right now, he’s celebrating the news that the entire state of South Dakota has the goal of reading his classic Neither Wolf nor Dog. Amazing, but true! South Dakota launches a statewide reading campaign each year and Kent’s book is the 2019 focus.

This news comes just as Kent is releasing his latest book, Dancing with the Gods—Reflections on Life and Art. He’s now 72 and regards this phase of his life as time for an “elder” to share some hard-won wisdom with others. So, this new book explores the ups and downs—and the joyous surprises—of a life devoted to the arts and to writing. This book is a great choice for group discussion in 2019, especially if you have friends who enjoy writing. So, please, share this story with friends.

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DISCUSS DIVERSITY IN 2019

WE CAN HELP WITH A FREE SAMPLE—Millions of Americans are discussing gender diversity and sexual orientation in 2019. For example, members of the United Methodist church nationwide have identified this issue as a year-long, global conversation. We want to help! Our publishing house is proud of the high praise we’ve received for publishing a pair of guidebooks with Michigan State University School of Journalism. Those books are called: 100 Questions and Answers about Gender Identity and 100 Questions and Answers about Sexual Orientation.

MSU’s Joe Grimm, the head of the educational project that has published this groundbreaking series of books, is offering to send a free sample set of these two new volumes on gender and sexuality to community leaders hoping to organize a discussion group. The trademark of this MSU book series is: We’re answering the questions everybody’s asking but nobody’s answering. Sample copies could prompt others in your community to order these books—and share this accurate, helpful information on these urgent issues.

So, if you are a librarian, preacher, teacher, book-club coordinator—or any other kind of community leader planning to spark a discussion—please contact us ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com

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News about Our Authors

ANNI REINKING IN ST. LOUIS AREA—The Telegraph—a daily newspaper based in Alton, Illinois, and serving the St. Louis metro-east area—started the new year with a story about Anni Reinking, author of the new book Not Just Black and WhiteThe Telegraph’s headline focuses on Anni’s role at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and says: Publishers Weekly Highlights SIUE’s Reinking’s Book.

LYNNE MEREDITH GOLODNER IN MICHIGAN—Metro Parent Magazine named Lynne Meredith Golodner an admired mom who the editors chose to interview to kick off the new year 2019. Among many accomplishments in her career, which you can read about in the Metro Parent profile, Lynne also wrote The Flavors of Faith—Holy Breads, a fascinating book about the wide array of breads that are a part of religious traditions.

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HOLIDAYS TELL OUR STORIES

A BREATH-TAKING LOOK—Since our founding in 2007, the writers producing ReadTheSpirit online magazine have tried to lift up news about books, films and cultural milestones that celebrate the best in our religious and cultural diversity. One cornerstone of that coverage is the weekly coverage by Holidays & Festivals expert Stephanie Fenton. Now, she is starting 2019 with a breath-taking list of the vast array of holidays and festivals awaiting us this year. Want to be inspired? Just take a look at all of the observances you can enjoy, this year, with friends and family. It’s all ahead of us in this New Year! Please, take a moment to look over this 2019 calendar—and contact us if you spot an error, or if you want us to include a holiday that we have overlooked.

For quick reference, you can easily find Stephanie’s master calendar by going to—www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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‘Hot Off the Presses, for the Lucky’

A SQUEEZE BECOMES A CRISIS—The good news is this: There’s not a better time to publish a new book than 2019! So, what’s this “Crisis”? In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm writes about how an annual holiday squeeze in book production became a full-scale crisis in December 2018. Did you experience problems trying to order a copy of a book for the holidays this year? Do you know someone who received a damaged book? Please read David’s column, which tells the story of how an industry-wide squeeze suddenly spilled into an obvious crisis of capacity over the past month or so.

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Click on the movie still to read about ‘At Eternity’s Gate.’

FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

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: Celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year in a Diverse Chorus of Voices!

‘SURELY SOME REVELATION IS AT HAND’

‘FOLLOWING THE STAR’—To close out 2018 and welcome 2019, journalist Martin Davis gives us a deeply stirring vision of the search for hope in the midst of the dark night most Americans are weathering right now. Martin writes as one of the millions of pilgrims who are outside the walls of organized religion, these days, looking for a welcoming spiritual home. The numbers of these pilgrims are swelling with each passing year.

He writes: “Right now, millions of us are trying to follow a star of hope. We take this journey not alone, but with a moral compass that helps to steer our course. We are standing outside your houses of worship asking if there is room for us. Perhaps in 2019, more will say ‘yes’ and open doors in true hospitality.”

Please, enjoy this holiday gift to our readers—and share it with friends.

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HOLIDAYS: Christmas Around the World

A GLOBAL CELEBRATION—As our Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes, “The Old English Christ Mass celebrates the birth of Jesus for Christians worldwide, hailing from snow-covered mountains to sandy beaches, crowded cities to rural fields—and everywhere in between. Pew Research tells us that, even with declines in religious affiliation nationwide, half of all Americans say they attend church on Christmas Eve. Central to the liturgical year, Christmas closes Advent and begins the Twelve Days of Christmastide.”Kwanzaa Is Coming

Click the photo to learn about Kwanzaa.

‘CELEBRATION OF FAMILY AND CULTURE‘—Learn about the history and contemporary meaning of this African-American festival in Stephanie Fenton’s column, this week. She quotes from the holiday’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who says: “An African American and pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa is—in both conception and practice—a world-encompassing celebration.” Stephanie’s column also is packed with fascinating links to learn more about this observance—from the official Kwanzaa website to the Smithsonian website and other sources as well.

Want to see all the holidays? www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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‘AT OUR BEST AS AMERICANS …’

MEET A REAL-LIFE KNIGHT—Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to take steps toward uniting our deeply divided nation. That’s why our online magazine is so proud to report, this week, on the remarkable new memoir: The Black Knight—An African American Family’s Journey from West Point to a Life of Duty, Honor and Country.

This is the memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy, who was among the first courageous African-American cadets sent to West Point in the era when President Harry Truman was trying to integrate the U.S Army. In his Foreword to this book, retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr. says that all Americans will benefit by reading this true story.

Dingell writes: “This memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy may seem like the story of one family, but it really is the story of many American families. Cliff’s story reminds all of us that—at our best as Americans—we are called to help each other build a stronger, healthier community. America’s great strength is that we come together here—we come together in all of our wonderful diversity, reflecting our families’ origins in places around the world.”

Please, read our Cover Story this week about The Black Knight. Please, consider ordering a copy of this book—and share this news with friends.

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HONORING COURAGEOUS AUTHORS …
… WHO WELCOME DIVERSITY

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

CONGRATULATIONS, KEN AND EMILY!

Our staff just learned that Ken Wilson’s and Emily Swan’s book Solus Jesus was selected by the QSpirit online magazine as one of the Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2018—in the category of Theology. That online magazine is the work of the Rev. Kittredge Cherry—who is a pastor, theologian, journalist and has been writing books about Christian inclusion for more than 20 years.

This honor for Solus Jesus is especially important because Big Five publishing houses have been avoiding new Christian books about LGBTQ inclusion. Meanwhile, so-called “Christian” or “evangelical” publishing houses have doubled down on releasing new books that condemn gender diversity. That’s tragic for the millions of American families, including churchgoing families, who have LGBTQ loved ones.

Pew Research continues to show that two thirds of all Americans now welcome inclusion. The majority of Americans, including churchgoing families, are past that old era of condemnation. They want to find ways to include their loved ones. We are proud be part of a publishing community of authors who write from many different faith traditions and who appreciate diversity as a sign of spiritual health.

Congratulations Ken and Emily!

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GO FAYGO WITH JOE GRIMM

DECEMBER 27 in DETROIT—Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm will make a personal appearance to welcome fans of the beloved soft-drink brand Faygo—at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Shop on December 27. (We have not forgotten that our readers live in all parts of the world, so attending a “local” event in the American Midwest is impossible for most of our regular followers. However, we couldn’t resist also celebrating Joe’s Faygo book on our front page, this week.)

Joe is a tireless voice for welcoming cultural diversity. And, as we celebrate Joe’s wonderful work on Faygo, we also urge our readers to explore the ever-growing series of books Joe and his students at the MSU School of Journalism are publishing. Here’s a convenient link to the Amazon index of all the MSU books.

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click to learn about the new December issue of Ed’s 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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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: In ‘The Black Knight,’ Clifford Worthy welcomes readers to the courageous adventures of a real-life American knight

‘AT OUR BEST AS AMERICANS …’

MEET A REAL-LIFE KNIGHT—Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to take steps toward uniting our deeply divided nation. That’s why our online magazine is so proud to report, this week, on the remarkable new memoir: The Black Knight—An African American Family’s Journey from West Point to a Life of Duty, Honor and Country.

This is the memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy, who was among the first courageous African-American cadets sent to West Point in the era when President Harry Truman was trying to integrate the U.S Army. In his Foreword to this book, retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr. says that all Americans will benefit by reading this true story.

Dingell writes: “This memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy may seem like the story of one family, but it really is the story of many American families. Cliff’s story reminds all of us that—at our best as Americans—we are called to help each other build a stronger, healthier community. America’s great strength is that we come together here—we come together in all of our wonderful diversity, reflecting our families’ origins in places around the world.”

Please, read our Cover Story this week about The Black Knight. Please, consider ordering a copy of this book—and share this news with friends.

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HOLIDAYS:

Christmas Traditions

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The colorful, lively nights of Las Posadas begin the countdown to Christmas in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the United States tonight, as an ancient tradition is reenacted.

DECEMBER 21—Wherever you live—and as long as men and women have walked the earth—the solstices have been marked as auspicious turning points in the calendar. For our Northern readers, this is the winter solstice!

WHEN IS CHRISTMAS? For centuries, the date of Christmas—like the date of Easter—has varied in Christian communities around the world. Around the world, some Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate The Nativity at the end of the first week of January. Each year, the “last” Christmas is celebrated by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem on January 19. However, across most of the United States, Eastern and Western Christians will celebrate together on December 25. In the U.S., our Orthodox neighbors began their period of fasting and reflection—the Nativity Fast—weeks ago. Then, on Sunday December 2, Western Christians joined this season of lights and special prayers, called Advent.

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—There’s still time! Need a few more gifts for the loved ones? Consider giving great books. (As of Monday, December 17, Amazon still is promising to deliver books before Christmas!) To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

Kwanzaa Is Coming

Click the photo to learn about Kwanzaa.

‘CELEBRATION OF FAMILY AND CULTURE‘—Learn about the history and contemporary meaning of this African-American festival in Stephanie Fenton’s column, this week. She quotes from the holiday’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who says: “An African American and pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa is—in both conception and practice—a world-encompassing celebration.” Stephanie’s column also is packed with fascinating links to learn more about this observance—from the official Kwanzaa website to the Smithsonian website and other sources as well.

Want to see all the holidays? www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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Finding a Book’s Community

THE POWER OF WEB DOMAINSIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, our Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok describes how authors and publishers help readers to find the online communities that surround popular books. This is a valuable column for authors and other media professionals—but Dmitri also includes some fun information for readers who simply enjoy a good book. For example, he has a list of some intriguing Web links to best-selling authors and books. See if one of your favorites is included in his list.

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A Close Shave with Rodney

SPIRITUAL … uhhh … WONDERER—For years, photo journalist Rodney Curtis has been known to our readers as The Spiritual Wandererthe title of his first book. This week, he reminds us that he’s still avidly “wondering” about the mysteries of life—wherever he finds himself. Even … uhhh … in the face of his shaving mirror.

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click to learn about the new December issue of Ed’s 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: For the New Year, Let’s Take a Small Step in Learning about Our Neighbors (You Can Make a Huge Difference!)

Click the cover to read our story.

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS ARE CALLING FOR ACCEPTANCE

SO, LET’S LEARN THE FACTS—It’s time to plan ahead for New Year’s Resolutions that can contribute to healthier, safer communities. Right now, nearly two-thirds of Americans are calling for acceptance of sexual minorities among us. Millions of men and women now feel safe enough to be open about their orientations. These are our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers—sparking fresh questions. As conversations buzz in living rooms, coffee shops, small groups and around office water coolers—we are helping Americans to avoid stereotypes and share accurate information.

This week, Michigan State University School of Journalism instructor Joe Grimm returns to our online magazine to describe this latest guidebook in this MSU series—books that now are used by readers nationwide. This series’ goal is simple: Grimm’s MSU team is answering the questions everybody is asking, these days, but no one seems to be answering in a helpful way.

This is a terrific resource book to order now and have handy for your own reading—and to share with friends. Please, read our Cover Story this week and make a New Year’s Resolution to get a copy of this book—so you can have the information you need to navigate our increasingly diverse communities.

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HOLIDAYS: THIS WEEK

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPEMillions of Catholics around the world now celebrate the traditions surrounding this centuries-old account of Mary’s appearance in the Americas.

Celebrating Christmas Together

WHEN IS CHRISTMAS? For centuries, the date of Christmas—like the date of Easter—has varied in Christian communities around the world. Each year, the “last” Christmas is always celebrated by the Armenian Orthodox, who follow traditional rules about the Christian calendar that place The Nativity on January 19 for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Many Eastern churches celebrate The Nativity at the end of the first week of January.

However, across most of the United States, Eastern and Western Christians will celebrate together on December 25.

Of course, our Orthodox neighbors began their period of fasting and reflection—the Nativity Feast—weeks ago. Then, on Sunday December 2, Western Christians joined this season of lights and special prayers, called Advent.

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—There’s still time! Need a few more gifts for the loved ones on your Christmas list? Consider giving great books to the readers you love. (As of this week, Amazon still is promising to deliver books before Christmas!) To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. And, please, consider sharing this column with friends. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We all hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

Want to see all the holidays? www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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BOOKS BY THE NUMBERS

THE POWER OF THE ISBNIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, our Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok continues our Metadata 101 exploration of publishing by explaining the ubiquitous—yet little understood—ISBN. They’re on every book you buy, but the purpose and rules for using ISBNs are among the more arcane mysteries of publishing. Dmitri unlocks that realm to help authors (and readers) understand a lot more about what those numbers can tell us about a book.

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of What They Had.

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

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:

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

 

 

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