Cover Story: Public school teacher William Meyer shares the good news about meditation in 2 new books

‘BIG BREATH’ & ‘THREE BREATHS AND BEGIN’

MEET THE AUTHOR—This week, David Crumm interviews high school teacher, educational consultant and author William Meyer. In his new books, Meyer describes how he developed a meditation practice for his students, which was embraced by other teachers—and the larger community as well. Many of the long-time readers of our online magazine regularly meditate. Most of us would like to share this helpful practice with others, but we wonder if people would welcome such an offer. Meyer’s approach to expanding meditation opportunities involved lowering many of the potential barriers to acceptance. Please, share this good-news story with friends, this week.

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No, Secularization Isn’t a Global Trend

AHEAD of the TREND—Long-time religion writer Richard Cimino writes this month’s Ahead of the Trend column for the scholarly Association of Religion Data Archives. Drawing on two newly published studies, Cimino reports that religious and secularizing forces actually appear to be in a global stalemate. What many observers perceive as an inevitable move away from religion turns out to be the legacy of changes that took place decades ago.

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Holidays & Festivals

Welcome to Autumn

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—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.

NAVARATRIHindus begin the nine-night religious festival known as Sharad Navaratri, an ancient festival that emphasizes the motherhood of the divine and femininity.

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALSAre you an animal lover looking for a St. Francis-themed blessing, this year? As Stephanie Fenton reports, the actual holiday is on Friday October 4—which means that congregations offering these services may do so as early as September 29 or perhaps later in October. If you are interested, check local listings.

Jewish High Holy Days

ROSH HASHANAHAt sundown on Sunday September 29, this year, 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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GOD SIGNS IN A SISTERS TRIP

SUZY FARBMAN—This week, Suzy writes about taking a “sisters trip” to New York City—and beyond. As Suzy and her sister Anne spotted various “GodSigns,” they even wound up connecting with the moon. Readers of her memoir GodSigns will recall that a full moon appears on her book cover. Enjoy the adventure, this week.

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Online Opportunities for Authors are Endless

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING—In this week’s FEP column, Marketing Director Susan Stitt shares some of her techniques for helping authors to connect with media professionals who are eager to help spread their messages.

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Click this photo to read Ed's review of the documentary One Child Nation.

Click on these movie stills to learn more about the September 2019 issue of Visual Parables 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 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: Timothy McMahan King’s ‘Addiction Nation’ encourages all of us to discuss community responses

WHAT THE OPIOID CRISIS REVEALS ABOUT—US

COMMUNITIES CAN RESPOND—Have you been following the latest headlines? Law enforcement agencies nationwide are zeroing in on legal and illegal producers of opioids—but the nationwide rate of addiction and overdose continues at an alarming rate. News this past week about a suburban Eagle Scout who ran a deadly online opioid ring is a reminder that this is truly our problem wherever we live. In fact, the crisis is now more acute in rural areas than in urban centers.

Please, read our Cover Story this week—an interview with Timothy McMahan King, author of the new memoir and manifesto: Addiction Nation—What the Opioid Crisis Reveals about Us. This is an important book for community and congregation discussions this fall and winter. SPECIAL NOTE—This Cover Story even has a newsy, fact-filled section you can print out and share with friends to spark interest in a discussion.

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Want Books for the Holidays? Avoid the Crunch!

BOOK SALES ARE RISING—but the capacity of the publishing industry hits a major backlog during the holiday shopping-season. This has happened during November-December for a couple of years. So, this week, Editor David Crumm reports on the forces causing these slowdowns—and issues a reminder to make your readers happy by shopping early!

 

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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Click this photo to read Ed's review of the documentary One Child Nation.

Click on these movie stills to learn more about the September 2019 issue of Visual Parables 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 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: 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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