Cover Story: 6 Inspiring Books for Christians on LGBTQ Inclusion

Resources to Inspire Inclusion

6 BOOKS THAT CAN HELP—Front-page headlines in newspapers nationwide are describing the challenge faced by millions of Christian families, who are discussing the religious inclusion—or exclusion—of LGBTQ family, friends and neighbors. What set this off was a narrow vote at a global conference of United Methodist leaders in St. Louis last week—a vote by a narrow margin that doubled-down on that denomination’s traditional condemnation of sexual minorities. As a result, this week, tens of thousands of congregations nationwide are caught up in discussions of these issues.

We can help! Since our founding in 2007, ReadTheSpirit.com magazine and Front Edge Publishing have pledged to celebrate diversity, to encourage inclusion—and to publish the rich and inspiring stories of many minorities. That includes religious minorities, cultural minorities, racial minorities and gender minorities.

At this historic moment, our Editor David Crumm speaks to us directly this week in a special video message that describes our six books that can help. We hope to see that individuals, families and congregations discuss these issues with solid information—and inspiring ideas—to guide them.

Click the image to read Emily’s column.

THE COST OF UNITED METHODIST CONDEMNATION

PASTOR & AUTHOR EMILY SWAN also writes this week about the impact of the painful news from St. Louis on countless families nationwide. As delegates to the global conference voted by a narrow margin to defend their condemnation of LGBTQ members of our communities—they once again traumatized many non-Methodist people who have suffered through many other painful rejections. Although the majority of delegates in St. Louis focused on their own narrow interests, many others were wounded in the process. Emily also is the co-author—along with Ken Wilson—of one of the six books we are recommending, this week.

Gather with Nadia and Friends

Our readers circle the globe! However, just in case you’re in Michigan on the evening of Tuesday March 19, you’ll find a warm welcome for an evening with best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor. All are welcome at this inclusive church! The event is free—for the first 525 people who arrive. That’s the capacity and it’s possible Nadia could fill the place. Here are all the event details.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

ARE YOU READY FOR LENT?

LENT FROM EAST TO WEST—Christians around the world soon will be observing the Lenten season of reflection that leads to Easter. Western Christians—the majority of Christians in the U.S.—begin with Ash Wednesday on March 6. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton takes a look at Ash Wednesday, including news items about the popularity of Lent in 2019. AND—Stephanie’s column also has a recommendation of our popular book for the season, Our Lent: Things We CarryTHEN—Eastern Christians—perhaps better known as the “Orthodox”—begin their Fast of Great Lent with Clean Monday on March 10.

HINDU REMEMBRANCE of the great teacher Sri Ramakrishna also takes place this week. Stephanie Fenton has the holiday story for us. Considering our Cover Story this week about current religious divisions, Sri Ramakrishna’s lessons seem timely, indeed! He saw God’s calling as all-encompassing, even in the midst of our diversity. As Daniel Buttry describes him, “People of many religious traditions sought out Ramakrishna for his teaching, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and even atheists and humanists. He didn’t seek conversion but called people to deeper connection to God within the fullness of each faith.”

Want to see all the upcoming Holidays & Festivals?

www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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Meet ‘The Black Knight’

ON PUBLIC RADIO—Lester Graham, a veteran public radio host in Michigan, spent time in the studio with the author of  The Black Knight, retired Col. Cliff Worthy. They began by talking about the challenges Cliff faced trying to enter West Point in the era when President Truman was just issuing his formal order integrating the armed forces. To listen to their entire 12-minute interview—visit this public-radio Stateside web page and you’ll find the audio listed as the third audio clip on the page. Its worth the effort, you’ll enjoy hearing this remarkable veteran, now in his 90s, sharing his stories with Lester and the radio audience..

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We’re in a Carnival!

‘IT’S ABOUT CONNECTION’—In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Susan Stitt reminds us of a founding principle our entire team shares: “It’s about connection, not competition. Our messages should call people together, not divide them.” One example: Our publishing house team welcomes participating in something called The Carnival of the Indies. Intrigued? Susan’s got the story.

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What Really Happened in Rome?

TAKE A TOUR WITH ’10 CAESARS’—Ancient Rome has never been more popular! No respectable cable channel, these days, isn’t offering some kind of TV series about Rome. That era is continually a part of Bible study for churches nationwide. So, historian Barry Strauss has just released a new book that’s a page-turning tour through 10 Caesars who crop up repeatedly in our discussions and in popular culture. David Crumm shares this review.

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Faith & Film

CLICK on THIS MOVIE STILL from Tender Mercies to find Part 1 of a special 40-day series of movie reflections that can inspire your journey through the Christian season of Lent this year.

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: In ‘For the Life of the World,’ Miroslav Volf argues, ‘Christian theology has lost its way …’

OUR LIVES DEPEND ON ASKING THESE QUESTIONS

WHAT IS ‘FLOURISHING LIFE’?
In our Cover Story, this week, Editor David Crumm talks with one of the leading theologians of our age: Yale’s Miroslav Volf. In his latest book, Volf grabs religious leaders by their collars and demands to know when they will return to teaching about the questions that truly matter. Questions like: How should we live? What is the purpose of a good human life?

Volf and Crumm share a crucial historical perspective on these questions. As Volf explains in his new book, he was born in what was then Tito’s Yugoslavia and grew up energized by theological questions as an alternative to Soviet-era totalitarian regimes. These questions could open cracks in these seemingly insurmountable walls of oppression, Volf discovered at an early age. Of course, he was right. By the late 1980s, those regimes toppled one after another. As they fell, Crumm was one of the journalists who chronicled that historic transformation for American newspapers.

This week’s cover story touches on the importance of that era—but is far more than a history lesson. As they talk, Volf and Crumm argue that Volf’s new book raises questions as urgent as world-news headlines in 2019.

Care to read more? We also have an excerpt from Volf’s book so you can sample for yourself what Volf has written.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

ARE YOU READY FOR LENT?

RODNEY CURTIS TAKES US TO NEW ORLEANS—Author, photographer and all-around raconteur Rodney Curtis takes us on an unexpected vacation that includes Mardis Gras preparations in New Orleans. Please, enjoy this vivid column!

LENT FROM EAST TO WEST—Christians around the world soon will be observing the Lenten season of reflection that leads to Easter. Western Christians—the majority of Christians in the U.S.—begin with Ash Wednesday on March 6. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton takes a look at Ash Wednesday, including news items about the popularity of Lent in 2019. AND—Stephanie’s column also has a recommendation of our popular book for the season, Our Lent: Things We CarryTHEN—Eastern Christians—perhaps better known as the “Orthodox”—begin their Fast of Great Lent with Clean Monday on March 10.

BAHA’Is WORLDWIDE soon will be marking a series of days “outside of time,” which help to re-orient their 19-month religious calendar. They also are approaching their own annual season of fasting and reflection.

Want to see all the upcoming Holidays & Festivals?

www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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Please, Congratulate Our Authors with Us

UofM FUNDS DR. WAYNE BAKER
The UofM regents awarded $500,000 to Give and Take, an Ann Arbor-based company co-founded in 2016 by sociologist Wayne Baker, the Robert P. Thome Professor of Business Administration at UofM’s Ross School of Business—and the author of United America. The company developed a software platform called Givitas that encourages collaboration, information sharing, and problem solving and transforms workplaces into communities of productive generosity. “I am thrilled to have my university involved,” Baker said. “My dream is it would be useful for the university.” Here is the complete UofM news story.

A BROTHER’S TRIBUTE TO HIS SISTER
Praise from family members is common in most families—but this is an especially notable public example of family support. Ron Sider, a well-known evangelical writer, teacher and activist, wrote the preface to his sister’s new memoir Light Shines in the DarknessThat’s the story of Lucille’s life-long journey to live with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Her book already is helping countless readers nationwide, as we explained earlier in our profile of Lucille. Now, Ron has continued his support of Lucille’s work of helping others by recommending her book to his nationwide audience.

‘HOW WEST POINT LIFTED UP A YOUNG BLACK MAN’
We are thrilled to see that many journalists are highlighting the life story of retired Col. Clifford Worthy, which is captured in the memoir The Black KnightOne of the latest is courtesy of Michael Hodges of The Detroit News. Please take a look at Michael’s story and share it with friends.

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REGERTS?
We’ve Had a Few …

DO I NEED A COPY EDITOR? 
In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Dmitri Barvinok answers one of the most common questions when publishers meet with new authors. The short answer is: Yes! That is, if you don’t want to wake up as the author of a brand-new book full of embarrassing errors. Dmitri writes about the many reasons you’ll sleep sounder and wake up refreshed as an author—if you’ve got talented copy editors on your side.

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Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn more about the February 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete study guides to Beale Street, Roma, Bumblebee, Stan & Ollie and many more movies.

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: Inspiring Stories of Courageous Compassion—Pick up the Portable New eBook of ‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers’

‘In these Pages, You Will Meet Heroes’

In the pages of Blessed are the Peacemakers, you will meet more than 100 heroes, but most of them are not the kind of heroes our culture celebrates for muscle, beauty and wealth. These are peacemakers—and the world needs to hear their stories now more than ever.

That’s why our publishing house has just released an inexpensive, easy-to-carry eBook edition of the Rev. Daniel L. Buttry’s international collection of real-life stories. Whether you prefer Kindle or an Apple tablet—or you’ve never read an eBook before—we’ve got easy links for you to pick up a copy of this remarkable book that you can read anywhere. If you don’t have a dedicated e-reading device, there’s a free app for your smartphone to enjoy reading right now.

Profiles include many famous names, including Gandhi and Bono of the band U2. But this volume is packed with stories about men and women who you’ll be discovering for the first time. Although he is based in the United States, Buttry’s stories takes us across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America as well.

Buttry calls himself a “peace warrior” after many years of circling our planet to assist grassroots peace movements on behalf of American Baptist Churches (the denomination that proudly counts the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. among its past members).

Do you enjoy a little inspirational reading each day? Get this new eBook edition and you’ll have real-life inspiration as close as the phone in your pocket. Our Cover Story has all the links you need to choose an eBook that will load easily on your devices. You could be reading these stories within minutes!

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Martin Davis:
‘The Letter’

KNITTING RICH NEW BONDS—This week, we welcome back the journalist Martin Davis, whose occasional columns are charting the spiritual lives of millions of American families—through true stories from the everyday world around him. Martin debuted in December with memorable images from his family’s holiday observances. This week, Martin writes about another common experience—writing a letter to a loved one who is far away. In this case, his son dove into the rigorous Marine Corps training at Parris Island. Please, welcome Martin and share his column with friends who will enjoy it, too.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

ARE YOU READY FOR LENT?

COMING SOON TO EAST AND WEST—Within three weeks, Christians around the world will be observing the Lenten season of reflection that leads to Easter. Western Christians—the majority of Christians in the U.S.—begin with Ash Wednesday on March 6. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton takes a look at Ash Wednesday, including news items about the popularity of Lent in 2019. Did you know that Lent is still the hottest season in the American seafood industry?

AND—Stephanie’s column also has a recommendation of our popular book for the season, Our Lent: Things We Carry. 

THEN—Eastern Christians—perhaps better known as the “Orthodox”—begin their Fast of Great Lent with Clean Monday on March 10. Stephanie has that story as well, including recipes for the traditional, unleavened lagna bread.

AND, FREE FROM AMY JULIA BECKER

A GUIDE FOR LENT—In December, our magazine published high praise for author Amy Julia Becker’s new book, White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege. In our profile of Amy, we said this about her book:

The heart and soul of this book is the way Amy Julia describes—in the midst of ordinary family life—how she reaches startling moments of spiritual awareness about the world’s unjust divisions. She describes this through events that any parent will recognize as absolutely true. What’s so helpful about her memoir is the way she regards these moments as doorways. 

Now—just in time for Lent—she is offering a free Lenten Discussion Guide to her new book. You’ll want to check out her website for this offering, because she has some great ideas that can help you prepare for such an experience. Then, you’ll find options: a One-Time guide, a Three-Time guide as well as the new Lenten guide. Well done, Amy Julia! (If you’re among the many authors who regularly read our online magazine for fresh ideas—definitely take a look at the sophisticated and helpful way she makes this offer on her website.)

Want to see all the upcoming Holidays & Festivals? For quick reference, you can easily find Stephanie’s master calendar by going to—www.InterfaithHolidays.com

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The Most Interesting Muslim Man in the World

HAVING FUN WITH VIDEOIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, we celebrate the creativity of author Victor Begg, who has taken our advice about spreading awareness of his new book, Our Muslim Neighbors, by video. He created a basic promo video—then he and his talented family simply had fun with one of the popular video memes. We’ve got the video clip for you to judge for yourself. No question: He’s definitely an interesting man! Take a look. You’ll want to think about making some short videos yourself.

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Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn more about the February 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete study guides to Beale Street, Roma, Bumblebee, Stan & Ollie and many more movies.

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: Benjamin Pratt says, ‘It’s Time to Thank the Millions of Caregivers All around Us

USE THE #NATIONALCAREGIVERSDAY HASHTAG

FROM HIS WHEELCHAIR—This week, a humbled Benjamin Pratt writes, “Wherever I have traveled—and whenever I have written about the challenges of caregiving—I always have been greeted with warm responses from strangers who introduce themselves with stories from their families.”

Now, Benjamin finds himself in the wheelchair—the “great Caregiver” now is a care receiver. So, he has written an inspiring Cover Story this week about the need to be thankful for our blessings each day—including giving thanks to our millions of caregivers.

This is the kind of column you’re going to want to share with friends, perhaps include in your own email newsletter or social media. It’s guaranteed to touch readers and remind them of all those tireless men and women right there in the heart of your family, your neighborhood and your congregation.

Thank you, Ben!

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‘A BONE-CHILLING FEAR’ FOR DIVERSE FAMILIES

DR. ANNI REINKING RESPONDS—If you are part of a racially or ethnically diverse family, you were among the millions who were shocked this week when Cindy McCain targeted an innocent family for police questioning in an airport. This is precisely the danger Anni Reinking writes about in her new book Not Just Black and White. So, this week, we invited Anni to respond to the news—and she has. If you were among the countless families who felt a jolt this week, you’ll be moved to read Anni’s thoughts and share them with friends.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

BLACK HISTORY MONTH—This year, we’re urging our readers to take this opportunity seriously, given the ongoing rise in hate crimes documented by the FBI. Here are our recommendations:

  1. Get a copy of the new book The Black Knight and enjoy the dramatic story of Col. Clifford Worthy’s courage in agreeing to become one of the first black cadets at West Point in the 1940s after President Truman signed the order integrating the U.S. Army.
  2. Read the moving New York Times profile of the late Sgt. Isaac Woodard, a decorated World War II veteran—in uniform—who was returning home in South Carolina by bus in 1946 when he was savagely attacked by a small-town police chief. Pulled off the bus, Woodard was blinded by the beating—such a horror story that it helped to prompt Truman to sign that order. This February 9 Times story underlines the stakes Clifford Worthy also faced in that era.
  3. Read the inspiring Times obituary of U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr., whose family was involved in helping Worthy in the 1940s. Just weeks before his death, Dingell finished the Foreword to Worthy’s book.
  4. Want to learn more about this annual, month-long observance? Stephanie Fenton wrote this fascinating overview.

VALENTINE’S DAY

GET YOUR CARDS IN THE MAIL! As Holidays expert Stephanie Fenton reports, this week, “The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent in the United States each year (not including the inexpensive Valentine cards exchanged among schoolchildren).” Wow!

SAVE THE DATE for WORLD SABBATH—If you happen to be in Michigan on March 3, plan to attend one of the largest and most colorful one-day interfaith festivals in America—the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation. You can find more details on the Sabbath website. You will discover that some of the talented volunteers who produce the World Sabbath also were involved in the publication of the popular book, Friendship & Faith.

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

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Creating a Promotional Video Is Easy

HELP FROM SUSAN STITTIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, marketing expert Susan Stitt reports on how video clips outperform almost any other form of online marketing. Perhaps you knew that already, but you’re looking for a good, basic introduction to making short videos? In this column, Susan suggests some easy, free-of-charge ways to start producing short videos. She’s even got samples of “free” videos she created—and links to online services. This is a great one-stop introduction to marketing through video.

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THE BEST OF COLLABORATION

INSPIRING NEWS FROM DETROIT—This is the kind of professional collaboration we always want to celebrate! Our author Lynne Meredith Golodner, who is the founder of the Your:People network, is featuring our author Faith Fowler, founder of Detroit’s Tiny Homes community, in Lynne’s ongoing series of podcasts about remarkable people and the work that they do to make our world a better place. If you haven’t discovered Lynne’s series, here’s a direct link to Episode 27 featuring her interview with Faith. After you listen to that episode, we’re sure you’ll want to mark more of Lynne’s interviews for future listening. Thanks Lynne and Faith!

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AND … THE BEST IN FILM

RODNEY’S ANNUAL ‘BEST’ LIST …

TIME TO RE-ORGANIZE YOUR MOVIE QUEUEEach year, before the Oscars are awarded, author and photographer Rodney Curtis brings us his Best of the Year list. Sure, some of these movies are on your viewing list already, but you’re also likely to spot an overlooked gem or two on Rodney’s list. For example: Can you identify the movie still with this news item? If not, be sure to click on it and read Rodney’s column. (AND, PSST! Here’s a great tip. Are you eager to start watching—but you find these 2018 “best” movies aren’t available yet? Then, click here to read Rodney’s Best of 2017 list, all of which you can easily find, if you’ve overlooked some of those 2017 films.)

AND FROM 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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Victor Begg’s ‘Our Muslim Neighbors’: Meet a Muslim this year—build a healthier community

ONE FRIENDSHIP CAN CHANGE OUR WORLD

START RIGHT HERE—“This is what interfaith understanding and friendship is supposed to look like.” That’s how the veteran religion writer Bill Tammeus describes Victor Begg’s new book, Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving he American Dream—an Immigrant’s Memoir.

And, that’s what we’re urging you to do, this week. If you haven’t already: Meet a Muslim. Two thirds of Americans have had no meaningful contact with our Muslim neighbors. Research shows that these simple contacts lead to a transformation of community acceptance of these millions of families who, in 2019, suffer from a rising tide of hateful stereotypes.

Victor Begg makes this so easy for us! His memoir is simply entertaining. Whether he’s describing his days trying to sell vacuum cleaners door to door (yes, he actually did that)—or he’s writing about to pull together a mourning community after a national tragedy—you’ll keep turning these pages to find out what happens next.

Please, read this week’s cover story about the release of Our Muslim Neighbors. Then, share that news with a friend. Get a copy of the book. Start a discussion group. As you will learn in our cover story, simply making a new friend among our Muslim neighbors can change the face of America.

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SUZY FARBMAN RETURNS

GOD SIGNSOur columnist Suzy Farbman, beloved by thousands of our readers through the years, returns this week with a column that sums up the importance of friendship. The headline is Love and Loss and the Price We Pay for Friendship, which may sound ominous. But, by the end, you’ll see how powerfully a life of friendships can undergird and color our own lives so vibrantly that we are thankful. In particular, if you love Detroit, you’ll find a Who’s Who of great Detroit women included in this story. Thanks Suzy for this inspiring piece!

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CONFESSIONS OF A VINE PIONEER

THE FABLED KINGDOM OF AMAZONIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm tells the true story of how he was invited into the now-fabled kingdom of Vine—the “invitation only” Amazon program for “elite” reviewers that now is the subject of a New York Times investigative report. As a journalist, David was exiled from Vine, but this story captures some of the strange-but-true adventures in the new realms that sometimes open up in Amazon’s vast global empire.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

BLACK HISTORY MONTH—We’ve got an excellent way to mark this annual observance. Get a copy of the new book The Black Knight and enjoy the dramatic story of Col. Clifford Worthy’s courage in agreeing to become one of the first black cadets at West Point in the 1940s after President Truman signed the order integrating the U.S. Army.

Stephanie Fenton also take a fascinating look at the history of this annual observance. Do you know why February was chosen as an auspicious month? Stephanie tells the story. You’ll also find news about a very helpful guidebook that many institutions, teachers and community leaders are finding invaluable—it’s a resource produced by Michigan State University School of Journalism.

THE YEAR OF THE PIG—February 5 is the dawn of the Year of the Pig. This 15-day celebration that circles the globe. The color red, which is considered auspicious and homophonous with the Chinese word for “prosperous,” dominates décor in nearly every event. The Spring Festival, as it is also termed, ushers in warmer weather and marks the time of great gatherings among family and friends.

This festival also represents the world’s greatest annual human migration. The Reuters news service reported: “People are joining in the world’s largest human migration and are leaving China’s capital by train, making their way home for family reunions during the Lunar New Year holidays.”

SAVE THE DATE FOR WORLD SABBATH—If you happen to be in Michigan in early March, plan to attend one of the largest and most colorful one-day interfaith festivals in America—the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation. You can find more details on the Sabbath website.

You will discover that some of the talented volunteers who produce the World Sabbath also were involved in the publication of the popular book, Friendship & Faith. If you happen to be in Michigan and attend the free event, you’ll get a chance to see these remarkable women in action.

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.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

 

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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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