Holidays Galore in Mid-March!

The following is a “sample” of our Monday-morning “ReadTheSpirit Planner” — a free e-mail service that starts your week with a lively slice of news about spirituality and media …

    IF YOU’D LIKE TO RECEIVE our Planner each Monday morning (it’s free and we don’t share your email address with anyone else) — then, send a quick Email to ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm — and we’ll get our next edition to you on the next Monday morning!)

ReadTheSpirit Planner for March 17: Holidays Galore!

At a glance, here’s what you need to navigate the world of faith this week in a timely and helpful way …


What’s the Spiritual Season?


What a jam-packed holiday week! Today, let’s start with: Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you’re following Ireland, where they’re celebrating today — and happy memories of the day if you celebrated on Saturday! (Click the St. Pat’s link and you can see the Leprechaun video we’ve chosen today at ReadTheSpirit.)


For Western Christians, this is Holy Week, the end of Lent with special services Thursday, Friday and big Easter celebrations on Sunday. (Our Orthodox friends are getting used to the “joyful sorrow” of Lenten fasting and mark Easter in April.)


Purim starts Thursday evening
for Jewish families — a gloriously happy celebration of the victory
in the Book of Esther and it runs until sunset Friday.  Meanwhile,  Muslims celebrate the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad, generally this week although observances vary.


The Equinox on Thursday
may be popularly linked in American culture to “paganism,” but there
are a whole host of spiritual observances around the world. This week
also includes: the Persian New Year, observed by Zoroastrians among others including Baha’is who end a fasting period; and Buddhists also celebrate the new year, many marking it as Buddha’s birthday. Hindus enjoy the high-spirited Festival of Colors; and Sikh’s call the festival period Hola Mohalla.


Around the world this week, it’s tough to avoid feeling happy and hopeful!


Question You May Hear This Week:


“So, what are you observing this week?”

This is a
great week for cross-cultural conversations with friends, co-workers,
neighbors — and even family members in this age of diversity.

This Week, People Will Be Talking About:


What else? Happiness! BUT,
you’ll need help in finding the smartest scoop on joy this week. A buzz
is hovering over Eric G. Wilson’s new book, “Against Happiness,” but
the buzz may be from flies! Wilson’s book ranks among the year’s worst
marketing moves: It’s a rant against happiness debuting in one of the
world’s happiest weeks. Garrison Keillor personally skewered Wilson
yesterday in the New York Times! For a young author, that’s really got to hurt. Want to be smart in talking about happiness this week? Snap up a copy of David Myers’ superb “The Pursuit of Happiness” or Jennifer Hecht’s fascinating, “The Happiness Myth.”


A very positive buzz is rising around Suzanne Strempek Shea’s “Sundays in America: A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith.” She’s also starting an extensive East Coast tour — so you’ll hear more about this book in coming months.


There’s a historic debut on Tuesday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s “Encountering the Mystery.” The book is a masterful weaving together of spiritual linkages between many of the most urgent issues of our era.


Chinese culture keeps popping up everywhere. Vanity Fair editors identified the opening of a Chinese exhibition in Britain this week as a global landmark worth noting. We agree.


Finally, Hollywood must have taken a
page from Mr. Wilson’s rant against happiness, because a fistful of the
hottest DVDs hitting stores on Tuesday might be dubbed: “All About
Alienation.” New this week are the haunting “Atonement,” the weepy
“Love in the Time of Cholera,” the chilling “Ice Storm” and the
melancholy “Battlestar Galactica Season 3.” The solutions? Let’s all enjoy “Enchanted,”
the sunbeam of this crop — which also is an ideal choice for the lull
in family gatherings on Easter. (But, we must point out: the
“Battlestar” series ranks as one of the most spiritually popular series on


New Online:

Check out Guideposts’ new Web hub for people who pray.
Note that Guideposts did not design a flashy, bells-and-whistles site
with glitzy (and time-consuming) video intros. No, this is a sturdy
site for fast and frequent visits by readers. Its handy 3-column format
looks similar to ReadTheSpirit.




This Week Inside ReadTheSpirit

  We’ve got Bart Ehrman, whose red-hot best-seller “God’s Problem”
is sparking a lot of sorely needed conversation nationally about the
nature of suffering — and about Bart’s troubling indictment of
religious responses to the world’s suffering. Bart will be in an
in-depth “Conversation With” ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm on

    Our popular Tuesday Quiz is back this
week with a tantalizing look at what Hollywood can teach us about our
timeless spiritual quest for Truth. Don’t miss it. It’s fun — and
you’ll want to share this one with friends.

   Plus, you’ll read more from our readers — and we’ll have fresh news on spiritual media all this week.
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