ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: What is your vision for a compassionate 2018?

Click the image to read our story on New Year’s Day.

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KWANZAA’S EXPANDING VISION

Click the image to read Stephanie’s Kwanzaa column.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018! If you’re just catching up with our weekly magazine in a quiet moment before New Year’s Day, we invite you to rediscover Kwanzaa. As Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton reports, the founder’s vision for this African-American festival continues to expand. Dr. Maulana Karenga’s message for 2017 is an inspiring global vision of cooperation, rooted in ancient African practices of sharing community resources. Stephanie’s column not only lifts up an excerpt from Karenga’s letter—she also links to the entire text. Given the global origins of humanity in Africa, this vision may be something you’ll want to share with friends in the year ahead.

GRAPES, CAKES—and PLUNGES! Stephanie also describes the global diversity in New Year’s celebrations. Did you catch the recent Chopped broadcast on Food network in which judges highlighted the custom of eating 12 grapes? Need some fresh ideas for your party? Of course, Stephanie has helpful links to culinary ideas in her column as well!

Check out all the holidays at www.InterfaithHolidays.com!

 

Click the image to read Suzy’s column.

REMEMBERING LOVED ONES

GOD SIGNSColumnist Suzy Farbman reminds us all of a powerful truth: “Holidays are especially hard for those who’re grieving.” As you reflect on your own compassionate plans for this New Year, read Suzy’s column about how one family has journeyed through the five years since the unexpected death of a daughter. Tragic, yes. But the real message of Suzy’s column is underlined in this family’s appeal to the rest of us: Especially at the holidays, reach out to those around you who may be grieving. That compassionate connection can make a world of difference to someone you know.

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FUEL YOUR NEW YEAR INSPIRATION!

Click on the logo to visit our bookstore.

A READING RESOLUTION—Once more, we’re going to share this link to holiday gift-giving recommendations from Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might fuel your inspiration as 2018 begins. Check it out!

LOOKING FOR ‘TINY HOMES’? Many of our readers are asking where they can get a copy of one of the hottest books this winter: Tiny Homes in a Big City, the story of a visionary little community rising in what had been a totally abandoned neighborhood in the heart of Detroit. Well, the answer is: Tell friends about the web address www.TinyHomesBigCity.com, which will take you to Cass Community Publishing’s website where you can order a copy. Want to energize your compassionate creativity in 2018? Read this book!

FRIENDSHIP & FAITH—Finally, there’s no better way to warm your heart in the midst of these dark and chilly days of late December than to read the 51 real-life stories in Friendship & Faith. Women from many different religious traditions tell how they overcame a religious or cultural barrier—and discovered friendship on the other side. We’ve often recommended this wonderful new book. This week, we know you’ll enjoy the perspective of writer and editor Karla Huber, who contributed to the book.

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Click the image to read Ed McNulty’s review of The Shape of Water.

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 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.

LOVE MOVIES & SPIRITUAL REFLECTION? Buy yourself a merry little Christmas present by subscribing to a year of the Journal, now. And, among the hundreds of complete discussion guides you’ll receive in this treasure trove of Journals—you can also enjoy Ed’s popular guide to Christmas movies, originally published four years ago and still very popular.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Happy Yuletide, Hanukkah, and a merry Christmas!

As long as men and women have walked the earth—the solstices have been auspicious turning points in the calendar.
Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton

2 BILLION CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE

YULETIDE—The Winter Solstice on December 21 (that’s Summer Solstice for our readers south of the Equator) is a universal marker of changing seasons around the world. Stephanie Fenton has the story, including the tradition of the yule log and links to delicious recipes.

CHRISTMAS—Then, most of the world’s 2 billion Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Monday December 25. (Some Eastern Christians still follow earlier calendars that push the observance into January.) And, yes, in addition to her short history of the holiday, Stephanie’s Christmas column also includes her suggestions of great links for holiday recipes.

 

Click the image to read Stephanie’s story.

A LATINO TRADITION

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially began December 16 with Posadas Navidenas. Tantalizing dishes, merry carols and the story of the nativity has been bringing together communities in Mexico for more than 400 years in a beloved tradition that lasts nine nights and ends on Dec. 24. Stephanie has that story, too!

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NEED A LAST MINUTE GIFT?

We’ve got a treat for you! You’ll find hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out! And, yes, in most parts of the U.S., Amazon is still delivering these books well before Christmas.

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Click the cover to learn more about Debra’s book.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

HANUKKAH—Jewish families continue to light candles early this week. We recommend that you mark Hanukkah—whatever your faith may be—by visiting this National Public Radio (NPR) website and enjoying the free audio recordings of this year’s Hanukkah Lights series. We are celebrating that Michigan author Debra Darvick was included this year in the NPR series, which features Debra’s true account of of Mike Neulander, who served in the Gulf War as a helicopter pilot in the 1st Cavalry Division, received the Bronze Star for aerial combat actions and retired as a major.

Also, the author and standup comic Rabbi Bob Alper—whose books we also highly recommend at any season of the year—sent us along this delightful Hanukkah gem. It’s a YouTube video of the Seattle Men’s Chorus, performing under the name Captain Smartypants, doing a Country & Western version of the folk song, Dreidel. Thanks, Bob!

And, if you’re just catching up with our Hanukkah coverage, check out our Holidays & Festivals columnist explaining the holiday traditions and, along the way, busting the myth that Hanukkah is just “the Jewish Christmas.”

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GENERATIONS OF GENEROSITY

GOD SIGNS—This week, columnist Suzy Farbman tells us the true story of several generations of the Hamad family, who show how generosity and creativity can take many forms! From music to needlepoint, cooking to scholarships—the Hamads say that “no” isn’t part of their vocabulary.

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal.

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 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.

LOVE MOVIES & SPIRITUAL REFLECTION? Buy yourself a merry little Christmas present by subscribing to a year of the Journal, now. And, among the hundreds of complete discussion guides you’ll receive in this treasure trove of Journals—you can also enjoy Ed’s popular guide to Christmas movies, originally published four years ago and still very popular.

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Happy Hanukkah! Let’s courageously celebrate our diversity.

Click on this cover to learn more about Debra Darvick’s book.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS BEGINS TUESDAY

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO—This year, we recommend that you mark Hanukkah—whatever your faith may be—by visiting this National Public Radio (NPR) website and enjoying the free audio recordings of this year’s Hanukkah Lights series. For the 27th year in a row, NPR celebrates the Festival of Lights with stories of the season. Join Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz as they read tales by Andrea Kamens, Debra Darvick, Elizabeth Graver, Grace Paley and Evan Guilford-Blake.

We want to especially call your attention to the story from Debra Darvick, which is the true account of of Mike Neulander, who served in the Gulf War as a helicopter pilot in the 1st Cavalry Division, received the Bronze Star for aerial combat actions and retired as a major.

The NPR Hanukkah Lights webpage also allows visitors to easily send links to friends via email or social media. Please, do! Help us celebrate the Festival of Lights by sharing these wonderful audio stories with friends!

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Click this photo to read Stephanie’s column.

WHAT IS HANUKKAH?

STEPHANIE FENTONOur Holidays & Festivals columnist explains the holiday traditions and, along the way, busts the myth that Hanukkah is just “the Jewish Christmas.” Stephanie also explores the holiday’s rich food traditions, including latkes with a delicious recipe. And, you’ll find more of Debra Darvick’s reflections on the festival in this column.

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Click the stamp to read the Advent column.

CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Back in November, millions of Eastern Christians began their traditional Nativity Fast in preparation for Christmas. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

Now, Western Christians are in the season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

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NEED A LAST MINUTE GIFT?

We’ve got a treat for you! You’ll find hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out! And, yes, in most parts of the U.S., Amazon is still delivering these books well before Christmas.

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Click the image to read Stephanie’s story.

A LATINO TRADITION

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially begins Saturday December 16 with Posadas Navidenas. Tantalizing dishes, merry carols and the story of the nativity has been bringing together communities in Mexico for more than 400 years in a beloved tradition that lasts nine nights and ends on Dec. 24. Stephanie has the story!

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INVITE SADIE INTO YOUR HOME

Click the illustration to read more about Sadie.

ACTIVE PLAY—The new picture book by noted educators (and sisters) Linda Jarkey and Julie Jarkey-Kozlowski is far more than a quick-and-colorful story to share with kids. It’s an invitation to ongoing creativity! Here’s an interview with the sisters.  We invite our readers to get involved as early allies.

Then, tell your friends about an interactive page that opens the creative doorway into this book: www.SadieSeesTrouble.com

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal by Ed McNulty.

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 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.

LOVE MOVIES & SPIRITUAL REFLECTION? Buy yourself a merry little Christmas present by subscribing to a year of the Journal, now. And, among the hundreds of complete discussion guides you’ll receive in this treasure trove of Journals—you can also enjoy Ed’s popular guide to Christmas movies, originally published four years ago and still very popular.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Celebrate transcendent stories in this holiday season!

Click this image of some of the WISDOM women to read this week’s Cover Story.

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A TRUE STORY OF REFUGEES—AND COMMUNITY

FRIENDSHIP & FAITH—If you give any books to loved ones this holiday season, please consider the 52 inspiring, real-life stories in this collection by the women of WISDOM, who came together from eight different religious traditions to celebrate community.

Yes, we’ve recommended this book before in our online magazine—but this week, we have a special December gift for you … Adey Wassink, pastor of a thriving church in Iowa, this week adds her own story about crossing religious and cultural boundaries—and discovering friendship on the other side. And, please, help us to spread this important message of inclusion, especially at this time of the year. After you’ve enjoyed Adey’s story, please share it with friends, this week.

 

WANT HELP FINDING JUST THE RIGHT BOOK FOR A LOVED ONE?

We’ve got a treat for you—hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out!

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Click this image of Wright to read Suzy’s column.

RETHINKING THE AMERICAN HOME

GodSigns—Columnist and author Suzy Farbman takes us on a cross-country trip, this week, immersed in the later designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. As she does each week, Suzy connects the dots between many Wright-related projects with people and places that span the nation. Enjoy!

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Anytime, visit www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Click this European image to read Stephanie Fenton’s column on St. Nicholas Day.

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CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Click the stamp to read the Advent column.

Back in November, millions of Eastern Christians began their traditional Nativity Fast in preparation for Christmas. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

As of this week, Western Christians begin their season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

St. Nicholas Arrives!

DECEMBER 6Around the world, the forerunner of “Santa Claus” arrives this week! Stephanie’s story describes the wide range of St. Nicholas characters—and she provides lots of links to St. Nicholas Day resources from the amazing St. Nicholas Center website! Then, she closes her column by describing the ongoing controversy of one of St. Nick’s companions, a guy named Pete.

 

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal by Ed McNulty.

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 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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Cover Story: Welcome Sadie into your family! And turn your kitchen into an art studio.

INTERACTIVE EARLY LEARNING

Click the illustration to read more about Sadie.

CHALLENGING ‘SCREEN TIME’—The new picture book by noted educators (and sisters) Linda Jarkey and Julie Jarkey-Kozlowski is far more than a quick-and-colorful story to share with kids. It’s an invitation to ongoing creativity! And, this week, in our Cover Story—an interview with the sisters—we invite our readers to get involved as early allies.

Educators nationwide are zeroing in on the challenge of excessive “screen time” among young children. Tablets and smartphones now have apps so addictive they isolate children and take precious time away from interactive early learning experiences. Sadie Sees Trouble aims to overcome that challenge with a fun-filled opportunity to meet this beloved shaggy dog, Sadie—and then to start coloring along with the little girl Penny. These artful educators show parents and teachers how they turned a kitchen into a paintbox packed with art supplies.

While the book’s formal launch is in January, we are inviting our ReadTheSpirit readers to become early adopters and allies in this unique invitation. Enjoy!

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Click the photo to read Suzy’s story.

 

CHOOSING LIFE
AFTER
THE HOLOCAUST

GOD SIGNS—Each week, columnist Suzy Farbman introduces us to remarkable people and their inspiring stories. This week, she profiles Holocaust survivor Judith Kallman. Around the world, the number of survivors who can continue to tell the first-hand story of the atrocities of the Shoah continues to dwindle with every passing year. Each story is unique and valuable. One reason Kallman’s story is particularly fascinating is that, after the war, she was helped by the courageous Rabbi Schonfeld, a courageous and daring advocate for surviving children. It’s a dark story, but there’s inspiring light in the way Kallman lived her life since that era of horror.

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Holidays & Festivals

Anytime, visit www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Click the image to read Stephanie Fenton’s story on Advent.

CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Click the stamp to read the column.

On November 15, millions of Eastern Christians began their official “Christmas season,” which Orthodox Christians observe as the Nativity Fast in preparation for December 25. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

Coming on Sunday, December 3, Western Christians begin their season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click the image to read Ed McNulty’s 5-star review of Harry Dean Stanton’s final 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 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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Cover Story: ‘Auden, the Psalms and Me’ A hot new book about liturgy?

TREASURE HUNTERS IN EPISCOPAL TRADITION

Click the photo to read our story.

A PILGRIMAGE—That’s what poet J. Chester Johnson invites us to discover in the pages of his new book, Auden, the Psalms and Me. Johnson unearths personal notes and records from half a century ago, when the world-renowned writer W.H. Auden briefly but passionately played a role in the revision of the Book of Common Prayer for Episcopal churches.

Yes, that description may sound like a pretty obscure chapter of history. But then, in Johnson’s artistic hands, we discover a circular narrative that takes us around and around this intriguing subject. Did you know that some of the phrases you may have texted to friends today come from the Book of Common Prayer?

It’s not a stretch to call this book a treasure hunt in the Episcopal tradition. Please, enjoy this week’s cover story about Auden, the Psalms and Me—and share it with friends. It’s entirely possible that this very unsuaul book might fit into your gift list for a tough-to-satisfy person on your holiday list.

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We Wish You All …

A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Click the photo to read the story.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALSAnytime, visit …
www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Our columnist Stephanie Fenton begins her annual Thanksgiving report this way: “Join the millions of Americans giving thanks and expressing gratitude over a savory feast, as family and friends gather for the historical and beloved holiday of Thanksgiving. This year, news sources are reporting the biggest Thanksgiving weekend travel volume in 12 years, while the actual cost of Thanksgiving dinner itself will go down!”

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CHRISTMAS/NATIVITY NEWS

Remember that millions of Eastern Christians already are in the official “Christmas season,” although it is more accurate to describe this period as the traditional Orthodox Nativity Fast in preparation for December 25. Stephanie reports that holiday story, as well.

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We hope your holiday shopping lists will include lots of books!

Already we have recommended a trio of wonderful children’s books from our friends at Candlewick.

This week, we call your attention to the beloved “Spiritual Wanderer,” aka Rodney Curtis, who offers three books infused with his quirky humor and genuine wonderment at life’s blessings. Even facing a dire diagnosis of cancer, Rodney found that laughter was … yes, you know the phrase … the best medicine. Confronting the somber news millions of us have faced in recent years—that is, losing a job—Rodney once again managed to face that situation with a confident chuckle and the love of family and friends. You may find, though, that the best choice for holiday giving is his literary pilgrimage known as The Spiritual Wanderer. Please, take a moment to look over Rodney’s body of work. You may find a gem for someone you love.

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FAITH & FILM

Click the image to read Ed’s entire 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 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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Cover Story: Discovering ‘Our Brave’

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Click the image to read Suzy’s column.

DISCOVERING OUR ‘BRAVE’

GodSigns—Each week, columnist Suzy Farbman introduces us to inspiring men and women and, this week, she brings us the true story of a woman who qualifies as an all-around hero. But, Dr. Karen Hamad credits her amazing accomplishments to discovering what it truly means to be “Brave,” and she spells that with a big B intentionally! You’ll enjoy meeting Dr. Hamad and you’ll want to share this story with friends!

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Click the image to read Stephanie’s column.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

EASTERN CHRISTIANS are starting their “Christmas” season this week. That’s right, even before American Thanksgiving, Orthodox Christians begin what they call the Nativity Fast in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the Orthodox Nativity Fast.

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Click the image to read our story.

We hope your holiday shopping lists will include lots of books! The trio of children’s books we are recommending in mid-November includes the multi-cultural, lift-the-flap picture book Walk This World at Christmastime. We also recommend the latest volume in the beloved Bear-and-Mouse series. And, we’ve spotted a brilliant little pop-up book that engages several senses as adults and children explore the wonders of the alphabet. Please, read our trio of reviews and share this news with friends.

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image to read more about the November 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 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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