ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: Master Spiritual Guide Kent Nerburn Lights up the New Year with an Invitation

Click this cover image to read about Kent.

‘DANCING WITH THE GODS’

KENT NERBURN RETURNS—Our regular readers know that Kent Nerburn visits our online magazine at least once a year. Right now, he’s celebrating the news that the entire state of South Dakota has the goal of reading his classic Neither Wolf nor Dog. Amazing, but true! South Dakota launches a statewide reading campaign each year and Kent’s book is the 2019 focus.

This news comes just as Kent is releasing his latest book, Dancing with the Gods—Reflections on Life and Art. He’s now 72 and regards this phase of his life as time for an “elder” to share some hard-won wisdom with others. So, this new book explores the ups and downs—and the joyous surprises—of a life devoted to the arts and to writing. This book is a great choice for group discussion in 2019, especially if you have friends who enjoy writing. So, please, share this story with friends.

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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

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News about Our Authors

ANNI REINKING IN ST. LOUIS AREA—The Telegraph—a daily newspaper based in Alton, Illinois, and serving the St. Louis metro-east area—started the new year with a story about Anni Reinking, author of the new book Not Just Black and WhiteThe Telegraph’s headline focuses on Anni’s role at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and says: Publishers Weekly Highlights SIUE’s Reinking’s Book.

LYNNE MEREDITH GOLODNER IN MICHIGAN—Metro Parent Magazine named Lynne Meredith Golodner an admired mom who the editors chose to interview to kick off the new year 2019. Among many accomplishments in her career, which you can read about in the Metro Parent profile, Lynne also wrote The Flavors of Faith—Holy Breads, a fascinating book about the wide array of breads that are a part of religious traditions.

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HOLIDAYS TELL OUR STORIES

A BREATH-TAKING LOOK—Since our founding in 2007, the writers producing ReadTheSpirit online magazine have tried to lift up news about books, films and cultural milestones that celebrate the best in our religious and cultural diversity. One cornerstone of that coverage is the weekly coverage by Holidays & Festivals expert Stephanie Fenton. Now, she is starting 2019 with a breath-taking list of the vast array of holidays and festivals awaiting us this year. Want to be inspired? Just take a look at all of the observances you can enjoy, this year, with friends and family. It’s all ahead of us in this New Year! Please, take a moment to look over this 2019 calendar—and contact us if you spot an error, or if you want us to include a holiday that we have overlooked.

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

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‘Hot Off the Presses, for the Lucky’

A SQUEEZE BECOMES A CRISIS—The good news is this: There’s not a better time to publish a new book than 2019! So, what’s this “Crisis”? In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm writes about how an annual holiday squeeze in book production became a full-scale crisis in December 2018. Did you experience problems trying to order a copy of a book for the holidays this year? Do you know someone who received a damaged book? Please read David’s column, which tells the story of how an industry-wide squeeze suddenly spilled into an obvious crisis of capacity over the past month or so.

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Click on the movie still to read about ‘At Eternity’s Gate.’

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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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: Celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year in a Diverse Chorus of Voices!

‘SURELY SOME REVELATION IS AT HAND’

‘FOLLOWING THE STAR’—To close out 2018 and welcome 2019, journalist Martin Davis gives us a deeply stirring vision of the search for hope in the midst of the dark night most Americans are weathering right now. Martin writes as one of the millions of pilgrims who are outside the walls of organized religion, these days, looking for a welcoming spiritual home. The numbers of these pilgrims are swelling with each passing year.

He writes: “Right now, millions of us are trying to follow a star of hope. We take this journey not alone, but with a moral compass that helps to steer our course. We are standing outside your houses of worship asking if there is room for us. Perhaps in 2019, more will say ‘yes’ and open doors in true hospitality.”

Please, enjoy this holiday gift to our readers—and share it with friends.

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HOLIDAYS: Christmas Around the World

A GLOBAL CELEBRATION—As our Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes, “The Old English Christ Mass celebrates the birth of Jesus for Christians worldwide, hailing from snow-covered mountains to sandy beaches, crowded cities to rural fields—and everywhere in between. Pew Research tells us that, even with declines in religious affiliation nationwide, half of all Americans say they attend church on Christmas Eve. Central to the liturgical year, Christmas closes Advent and begins the Twelve Days of Christmastide.”Kwanzaa Is Coming

Click the photo to learn about Kwanzaa.

‘CELEBRATION OF FAMILY AND CULTURE‘—Learn about the history and contemporary meaning of this African-American festival in Stephanie Fenton’s column, this week. She quotes from the holiday’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who says: “An African American and pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa is—in both conception and practice—a world-encompassing celebration.” Stephanie’s column also is packed with fascinating links to learn more about this observance—from the official Kwanzaa website to the Smithsonian website and other sources as well.

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

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‘AT OUR BEST AS AMERICANS …’

MEET A REAL-LIFE KNIGHT—Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to take steps toward uniting our deeply divided nation. That’s why our online magazine is so proud to report, this week, on the remarkable new memoir: The Black Knight—An African American Family’s Journey from West Point to a Life of Duty, Honor and Country.

This is the memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy, who was among the first courageous African-American cadets sent to West Point in the era when President Harry Truman was trying to integrate the U.S Army. In his Foreword to this book, retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr. says that all Americans will benefit by reading this true story.

Dingell writes: “This memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy may seem like the story of one family, but it really is the story of many American families. Cliff’s story reminds all of us that—at our best as Americans—we are called to help each other build a stronger, healthier community. America’s great strength is that we come together here—we come together in all of our wonderful diversity, reflecting our families’ origins in places around the world.”

Please, read our Cover Story this week about The Black Knight. Please, consider ordering a copy of this book—and share this news with friends.

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HONORING COURAGEOUS AUTHORS …
… WHO WELCOME DIVERSITY

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

CONGRATULATIONS, KEN AND EMILY!

Our staff just learned that Ken Wilson’s and Emily Swan’s book Solus Jesus was selected by the QSpirit online magazine as one of the Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2018—in the category of Theology. That online magazine is the work of the Rev. Kittredge Cherry—who is a pastor, theologian, journalist and has been writing books about Christian inclusion for more than 20 years.

This honor for Solus Jesus is especially important because Big Five publishing houses have been avoiding new Christian books about LGBTQ inclusion. Meanwhile, so-called “Christian” or “evangelical” publishing houses have doubled down on releasing new books that condemn gender diversity. That’s tragic for the millions of American families, including churchgoing families, who have LGBTQ loved ones.

Pew Research continues to show that two thirds of all Americans now welcome inclusion. The majority of Americans, including churchgoing families, are past that old era of condemnation. They want to find ways to include their loved ones. We are proud be part of a publishing community of authors who write from many different faith traditions and who appreciate diversity as a sign of spiritual health.

Congratulations Ken and Emily!

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GO FAYGO WITH JOE GRIMM

DECEMBER 27 in DETROIT—Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm will make a personal appearance to welcome fans of the beloved soft-drink brand Faygo—at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Shop on December 27. (We have not forgotten that our readers live in all parts of the world, so attending a “local” event in the American Midwest is impossible for most of our regular followers. However, we couldn’t resist also celebrating Joe’s Faygo book on our front page, this week.)

Joe is a tireless voice for welcoming cultural diversity. And, as we celebrate Joe’s wonderful work on Faygo, we also urge our readers to explore the ever-growing series of books Joe and his students at the MSU School of Journalism are publishing. Here’s a convenient link to the Amazon index of all the MSU books.

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click to learn about the new December issue of Ed’s 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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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: In ‘The Black Knight,’ Clifford Worthy welcomes readers to the courageous adventures of a real-life American knight

‘AT OUR BEST AS AMERICANS …’

MEET A REAL-LIFE KNIGHT—Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to take steps toward uniting our deeply divided nation. That’s why our online magazine is so proud to report, this week, on the remarkable new memoir: The Black Knight—An African American Family’s Journey from West Point to a Life of Duty, Honor and Country.

This is the memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy, who was among the first courageous African-American cadets sent to West Point in the era when President Harry Truman was trying to integrate the U.S Army. In his Foreword to this book, retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr. says that all Americans will benefit by reading this true story.

Dingell writes: “This memoir of retired Col. Cliff Worthy may seem like the story of one family, but it really is the story of many American families. Cliff’s story reminds all of us that—at our best as Americans—we are called to help each other build a stronger, healthier community. America’s great strength is that we come together here—we come together in all of our wonderful diversity, reflecting our families’ origins in places around the world.”

Please, read our Cover Story this week about The Black Knight. Please, consider ordering a copy of this book—and share this news with friends.

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HOLIDAYS:

Christmas Traditions

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The colorful, lively nights of Las Posadas begin the countdown to Christmas in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the United States tonight, as an ancient tradition is reenacted.

DECEMBER 21—Wherever you live—and as long as men and women have walked the earth—the solstices have been marked as auspicious turning points in the calendar. For our Northern readers, this is the winter solstice!

WHEN IS CHRISTMAS? For centuries, the date of Christmas—like the date of Easter—has varied in Christian communities around the world. Around the world, some Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate The Nativity at the end of the first week of January. Each year, the “last” Christmas is celebrated by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem on January 19. However, across most of the United States, Eastern and Western Christians will celebrate together on December 25. In the U.S., our Orthodox neighbors began their period of fasting and reflection—the Nativity Fast—weeks ago. Then, on Sunday December 2, Western Christians joined this season of lights and special prayers, called Advent.

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—There’s still time! Need a few more gifts for the loved ones? Consider giving great books. (As of Monday, December 17, Amazon still is promising to deliver books before Christmas!) To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

Kwanzaa Is Coming

Click the photo to learn about Kwanzaa.

‘CELEBRATION OF FAMILY AND CULTURE‘—Learn about the history and contemporary meaning of this African-American festival in Stephanie Fenton’s column, this week. She quotes from the holiday’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who says: “An African American and pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa is—in both conception and practice—a world-encompassing celebration.” Stephanie’s column also is packed with fascinating links to learn more about this observance—from the official Kwanzaa website to the Smithsonian website and other sources as well.

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

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Finding a Book’s Community

THE POWER OF WEB DOMAINSIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, our Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok describes how authors and publishers help readers to find the online communities that surround popular books. This is a valuable column for authors and other media professionals—but Dmitri also includes some fun information for readers who simply enjoy a good book. For example, he has a list of some intriguing Web links to best-selling authors and books. See if one of your favorites is included in his list.

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A Close Shave with Rodney

SPIRITUAL … uhhh … WONDERER—For years, photo journalist Rodney Curtis has been known to our readers as The Spiritual Wandererthe title of his first book. This week, he reminds us that he’s still avidly “wondering” about the mysteries of life—wherever he finds himself. Even … uhhh … in the face of his shaving mirror.

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click to learn about the new December issue of Ed’s 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: For the New Year, Let’s Take a Small Step in Learning about Our Neighbors (You Can Make a Huge Difference!)

Click the cover to read our story.

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS ARE CALLING FOR ACCEPTANCE

SO, LET’S LEARN THE FACTS—It’s time to plan ahead for New Year’s Resolutions that can contribute to healthier, safer communities. Right now, nearly two-thirds of Americans are calling for acceptance of sexual minorities among us. Millions of men and women now feel safe enough to be open about their orientations. These are our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers—sparking fresh questions. As conversations buzz in living rooms, coffee shops, small groups and around office water coolers—we are helping Americans to avoid stereotypes and share accurate information.

This week, Michigan State University School of Journalism instructor Joe Grimm returns to our online magazine to describe this latest guidebook in this MSU series—books that now are used by readers nationwide. This series’ goal is simple: Grimm’s MSU team is answering the questions everybody is asking, these days, but no one seems to be answering in a helpful way.

This is a terrific resource book to order now and have handy for your own reading—and to share with friends. Please, read our Cover Story this week and make a New Year’s Resolution to get a copy of this book—so you can have the information you need to navigate our increasingly diverse communities.

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HOLIDAYS: THIS WEEK

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPEMillions of Catholics around the world now celebrate the traditions surrounding this centuries-old account of Mary’s appearance in the Americas.

Celebrating Christmas Together

WHEN IS CHRISTMAS? For centuries, the date of Christmas—like the date of Easter—has varied in Christian communities around the world. Each year, the “last” Christmas is always celebrated by the Armenian Orthodox, who follow traditional rules about the Christian calendar that place The Nativity on January 19 for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Many Eastern churches celebrate The Nativity at the end of the first week of January.

However, across most of the United States, Eastern and Western Christians will celebrate together on December 25.

Of course, our Orthodox neighbors began their period of fasting and reflection—the Nativity Feast—weeks ago. Then, on Sunday December 2, Western Christians joined this season of lights and special prayers, called Advent.

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—There’s still time! Need a few more gifts for the loved ones on your Christmas list? Consider giving great books to the readers you love. (As of this week, Amazon still is promising to deliver books before Christmas!) To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. And, please, consider sharing this column with friends. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We all hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

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

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BOOKS BY THE NUMBERS

THE POWER OF THE ISBNIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, our Director of Production Dmitri Barvinok continues our Metadata 101 exploration of publishing by explaining the ubiquitous—yet little understood—ISBN. They’re on every book you buy, but the purpose and rules for using ISBNs are among the more arcane mysteries of publishing. Dmitri unlocks that realm to help authors (and readers) understand a lot more about what those numbers can tell us about a book.

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of What They Had.

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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:

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

 

 

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Cover Story: Amy Julia Becker Invites Us to Explore the ‘White Picket Fences’ We Have Built

SHE WELCOMES US—AS A FRIEND TO PARENTS

Click Amy’s photo to read our story.

LIKE MISTER ROGERS BEFORE HER, Amy Julia Becker knows how to share compelling stories about everyday family life that inspire us to break down barriers. She’s already a popular Christian writer, known for her books about the richness of family life. Now, Amy Julia’s sixth book tells the true story of how her family discovered the walls (or ‘White Picket Fences’) that they had helped their neighbors build over many years. Without even thinking about the cost of these walls, they shut out people who seem different—people we have instinctively learned to fear.

Her book could not be more timely in our deeply divided America. This is not a political manifesto. She’s not out to shame or blame anyone. As readers of her earlier books know, Amy Julia is a loving Mom who simply wants the brightest and most loving future for her kids. Like Mister Rogers told all of us for many, many years: Bad things happen in our world. We need to clearly see those dangers and divisions—and keep on welcoming each other as neighbors, despite our fears.

Her book is perfect for small group discussions in congregations. She even includes a seven-page discussion guide. We hope you will read our story about Amy Julia and her new book—and share this story with friends.

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SLOWING DOWN FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL

ALSO THIS WEEK, our columnist Henry Brinton writes about the overwhelming challenge we all face with the 24/7 pace of social media. In our Cover Story, this week, Amy Julia Becker urges us to find doorways—and walk through them into a new awareness of our world. Henry asks: How can we even hope to glimpse a doorway, if we don’t slow down for a moment?

We’ve headlined this column from Henry: Seeking True Christmas Spirit? Consider Diving Deeper This Year. Like our Cover Story, this is a column that you’ll want to share with friends.

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HOLIDAYS: Seasons of Light

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

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

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

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—As you plan for the holidays, consider giving great books to the readers you love. To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. And, please, consider sharing this column with friends. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We all hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

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

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

THE ART OF THE BOOK TITLEIn this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, our Marketing Director Susan Stitt explores one of the great challenges in book production: the art of titling a new book. This is the most important step we take with authors in planning for the launch of a new book. Lots of factors—and guidelines—shape that handful of words that will wind up on a book’s front cover. Did you know that Amazon has rules that govern book titles? Susan touches on all these issues, and more.

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of The Green Book.

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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:

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

 

 

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

Click to read our Cover Story.

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

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

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

How are monastic values relevant today?

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

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

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Click the photo to read the PW article.

ANOTHER INSIGHTFUL BOOK FOR 2019

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

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HOLIDAYS: Seasons of Light

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

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

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

HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING—As you plan for the holidays, consider giving great books to the readers you love. To help, we’ve published an overview of some terrific gift-giving ideas, whatever your year-end occasion might be. And, please, consider sharing this column with friends. Speaking for our entire family of authors: We all hope you’ll join us in encouraging Peace on Earth!

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

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‘SHOULD I MENTION MY DOG?’

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

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

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

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:

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Cover Story: We All Can Use a Little Thanksgiving, Now! Enjoy These Resources as You Reflect

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GATHER IN GRATITUDE—”Count your blessings and savor the smells and tastes of the season,” Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes this week. As usual, Stephanie shares some fascinating background on the holiday tradition—and fresh links to tasty recipes as well as Do It Yourself crafts, including ideas for kids!

Obviously, we all could use a little Thanksgiving, now!

In recent days, many friends of ReadTheSpirit magazine have chimed in with ideas for this special American Thanksgiving edition. For example, over many years, poet and peace activist Ken Sehested has contributed inspiring and thought-provoking pieces from his home base in Ashville, NC. For this week, Ken suggested we share his Prayer for Gratitude, along with a short column he wrote explaining why he thinks our culture misunderstands this challenging spiritual idea. You may want to read Ken’s Prayer at some point in this holiday week.

AN INTERFAITH REMINDER—Victor Begg, author of the upcoming memoir Our Muslim Neighbors, sent us a link to this inspiring column, which he wrote for newspapers in Florida, headlined: Thanksgiving Provides Opportunity to Celebrate Collectively. In that column, Victor reminds all of us that many communities nationwide host some form of interreligious gathering, each year, to mark this holiday—a sign that many Americans continue to embrace diversity.

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Click on these clouds to enjoy Rodney’s Postcards.

NEED VISUAL INSPIRATION?

LOOK UP!—This week, author and photographer Rodney Curtis once again adds his remarkable visions to our magazine’s offerings. Rodney has posted a dazzling collage of photographs that he calls A Seattle Slew of Scenic Skies—a Post Card JournalThere’s no way to enjoy those photos without feeling a humble sense of gratitude for the world around us. Thanks Rodney!

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Click the photo to read Doug’s story.

REMEMBERING
WAR’S END

A GRANDSON’S STORY—A heart-stirring, personal story arrived in recent days from Doug Todd, a master among the world’s journalists who specialize in covering religion and spirituality. Among his efforts to improve the profession, Doug was elected by his peers as Chair of the International Association of Religion Journalists.

Doug sent us a very different approach to gratitude, this week: his story of thankful wonderment over the life of his grandfather, a Canadian who was multiply wounded in one of the most horrific battles during World War I. Doug’s story and video is headlined Riddled with Machine-gun Fire, My Grandfather Showed the Resilience We Need Today.

Thanks, Doug! And, yes, we do know that our Canadian readers celebrated Thanksgiving in October.

REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN

Click the BBC photo to read that story.

MINORITY VOICES—Over the past couple of weeks, friends of ReadTheSpirit have emailed quite a few links about the centennial of the end of World War I. American media reports reduced this humbling, reflective occasion to a political story about President Trump. In fact, if one dug deeper into the news, world leaders lifted up important, thought-provoking analysis of global conflict and peacemaking. Not one U.S.-based media outlet published the complete text of France’s Emmanuel Macron as he marked the centennial. But, but it was published by the French government. It’s in French, of course, but Google’s Translator function, or other browser translators, can help those who don’t read Macron’s language.

MUSLIM VETERANS—From Algeria, scholar and religion writer Larbi Mageri sent us several links to world-news reports about Muslim soldiers in World War I. Given the turbulence caused by anti-Muslim extremists in the West, it is timely to remember that Muslims were part of the Allied campaign in that war. First, Larbi sent us this link about a wreath-laying commemoration in Algiers. Then, here’s a story about the 40,000 Moroccan soldiers who served as Allied soldiers. Finally, from the BBC’s Asian service, Larbi sent us this link about the “forgotten Muslim soldiers” from India. That BBC article points out: “Increased awareness could silence the anti-Muslim rhetoric of British far-right groups today.”

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FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty

Click these movie stills to learn about the new November 2018 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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