Cover Story: Judith Valente and St. Benedict share ‘a timely book for troubled times’—’How to Live’

Click to read our Cover Story.

What a 6th Century Text Can Teach Us About Our Communities Today

WELCOME JUDITH VALENTE—You’ve probably read her, heard her or seen her over the years—most likely on public television or radio reporting on an intriguing religious practice. We have occasionally welcomed her to the pages of our online magazine over the past decade. Now, Judith is back with a fascinating book that connects ancient wisdom with the turbulent problems we face today.

In fact, her book is so timely that we invited Judith to write our Cover Story, this week, focusing in particular on wisdom from the 6th Century Rule of St. Benedict about leadership—drawing on just one of the nearly two dozen reflections in her new book. This is a terrific choice for holiday gift giving. You—or someone you love—may want to read a chapter a day for several weeks.

How are monastic values relevant today?

Judith answers: “Immigration, health care, care of the environment—there are echoes of each of these issues in the Rule. Long before church leaders and progressive politicians began touting health care as a right, St. Benedict identified “care of the sick” as a sacred trust. The Rule also offers a counter-balance to the debate on immigrants and refugees. Throughout history, monasteries have been obliged to open their doors to whomever knocks, and to ‘treat all guests as Christ.’ Benedict was also one of the earliest environmentalists. Finally, in a time of so much political division, it is important to remember what Benedict says about creating a civil society: ‘Be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior.’ ”

Relevant? Certainly. Spiritually challenging? Definitely. As 2019 looms just four weeks away, you may want to start the New Year with a month-long pilgrimage through Judith Valente’s new book.

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Click the photo to read the PW article.

ANOTHER INSIGHTFUL BOOK FOR 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Anni Reinking, who is publishing a thought-provoking book about the racial challenges faced by a growing number of American families. Anni’s upcoming book was just selected by Publishers Weekly (PW) magazine in its roundup of Notable African-American Titles. As PW describes the upcoming book: “Reinking, an academic researcher and mother of a biracial son, recounts her experiences as the white mother of a black child who is striving to understand and prepare him for the world of racial bias and discrimination he will have to navigate.” Stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit magazine for news about the release of Anni’s book.

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HOLIDAYS: Seasons of Light

HANUKKAHAlthough Hanukkah is a relatively minor Jewish festival, it is one of the most easily recognizable Jewish observances each year to non-Jews. This year, in particular, this celebration of religious freedom is timely in the face of a rising tide of anti-Semitism in the U.S.

ADVENT—This year, in an unusual convergence, Hanukkah coincides with the Western Christian season of Advent, which also is marked by the lighting of candles. Eastern Christians began their reflective period of preparation for Christmas, the Nativity Fast, weeks earlier.

ST. NICHOLAS DAYAll Christians unite in celebrating St. Nicholas on December 6—the religious figure behind the tales of Santa Claus. Stephanie Fenton has this story, too, including helpful links to the world’s biggest St. Nicholas website!

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—As you plan for the holidays, consider giving great books to the readers you love. 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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‘SHOULD I MENTION MY DOG?’

HOW TO WRITE YOUR BIOThis week’s Front Edge Publishing column explores a subject relevant to many of our readers—whether you’re an author, or not. David Crumm’s column explores The Art of the Author Bio. Even if you’re not a writer, these principles may inspire you to rethink your own style of introducing yourself. These days, millions of Americans create “bios” for everything from work-related websites to social media.

Our guest star this week in David’s column is humorist Bob Alper—and his dog Barney. Bob’s a master at introducing himself—and Barney, too. And, wait! There’s more! We’ve got a wonderful video of Barney in action.

Want to learn more about publishing today? Please, share this home address with friends: www.FrontEdgePublishing.com

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

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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