Cover Story: How can we respond to that mysterious evil in Las Vegas?

REDISCOVERING OUR HOPE AND COURAGE

COVER STORY—Thanks to two of our popular contributors: Benjamin Pratt and James Truxell!

Our top story this week is their reflection on the truly inscrutable evil we all witnessed in Las Vegas. Journalists from major U.S. newspapers have just published in-depth reports that find Stephen Paddock’s motivation a mystery. But, along the way, those journalists did spot some clues that prompted Pratt and Truxell to compare Paddock’s mindset to a character created nearly 60 years ago by author Ian Fleming.

Their provocative column today is no joke. It’s a serious look at how such mysterious evil can stun all of us into a kind of spiritual helplessness. And, in the end, these two writers conclude that there are some classic spiritual disciplines we can follow to reconnect with our wellsprings of hope, compassion and community. Please, enjoy this reflection by Pratt and Truxell, then share it and discuss it with friends.

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AMERICA AT ITS BEST: CHAUTAUQUA

FeedTheSpirit—By coincidence, our columnist Bobbie Lewis and her husband returned recently from one of America’s most uplifting communities: Chautauqua. As Bobbie describes it: “Chautauqua is a combination of college campus, music festival, writers’ workshop, arts enclave and summer resort, with a little more than a hint of the religious movement that gave it its start 143 years ago.” Or, in other words, Bobbie writes: “summer camp for the adult brain.”

Like our team here at ReadTheSpirit, are you still shaken this week by the events we all witnessed in Las Vegas? Need some news from a completely different vision of what is possible in a community?

Please, read Bobbie’s inspiring description of Chautauqua (complete with a delicious recipe, as always). It’s not too early to think about planning your own cross-country trip for Chautauqua’s next season!

 

THE MEANING OF COMMUNITY

GodSigns—Want more inspiration this week? Columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the Bat Mitzvah of her granddaughter Alexis. This milestone of claiming one’s adult responsibility in the community is specifically Jewish, but this story about Alexis’s reflections on the occasion points to larger truths for all of us.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

SUKKOT, AND THEN … The Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot is ending this week, so you may still see Jewish families enjoying their foliage-topped outdoor shelters. But, then, Jewish communities celebrate the gift of the Torah! Stephanie Fenton reports on the holidays Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

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DIWALIIn Indian homes around the world, the festival of lights is coming! You may find Indian friends and colleagues planning well in advance for this popular observance. In gratitude for the triumph of light over darkness, Diwali holds great significance for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike.

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HISTORIC BAHA’I CELEBRATION

TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS—Five million Baha’is worldwide will celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the “Twin Holy Birthdays” this year, as adherents of the faith rejoice in the birth anniversaries of the two figures most central to their faith: Baha’u’llah and the Bab. This year is the bicentennial of Baha’is most central figure—Baha’u’llah—and the Bab is being honored alongside him.

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image to read Ed’s 5-star review of the new movie about Thurgood Marshall.

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 Journala 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 latest free movie reviews are:

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