ReadTheSpirit Planner … A Sample …

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 you can un-subscribe anytime) — 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 31:

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?


Tomorrow, it’s time for the annual Hunting of the Gowk! We’re only partially kidding about this, because among April 1 traditions in Scotland was the hunting of the gowk.


This also is Great Lent for Orthodox Christians.


Our favorite observance this week? In Taiwan, Friday is Tomb Sweeping Day! What a great spiritual concept this time of year.


This Week, People Will Be Talking About:


The natural world! Not only is Eckart Tolle
continuing to draw millions into his global discussion, but top
Southern Baptists leaders just recently signed a letter calling
evangelicals to a deeper religious commitment in combatting global
warming. This week, there’s a brand-new voice added to this forum in an eloquent new book by Yale’s dean of environmental studies — a great choice for small-group study.


The Hate Film “Fitna.”
Somewhere you’ll hear a mention of this film, produced by a notorious
Dutch politician. Here’s what we can add to help you this week: The
film was condemned by the World Council of Churches and was called a “a
clear case of Islamophobia” by Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, WCC head
of interfaith relations, adding: “Through graphic images the filmmaker
depicts violent extremism without any attempt to distinguish it from
mainstream Islam. Extremism is a problem for most religions and needs
to be countered through interreligious dialogue.” The WCC posted a more elaborate statement online.


Dark days on DVD — and some sun, too!
It doesn’t get darker than this: Tuesday’s crop of new DVDs, which wind
up playing in countless American homes, includes “Sweeney Todd” — a
terrific musical, but a movie that ends up quite literally wallowing in
a cellar filled with blood and mutilated bodies. Among TV reruns
hitting shelves is another season of “Law and Order: Special Victims
Unit.” I’m not panning either choice, just pointing out they’re dark.
Among the more wholesome family fare is “Father Knows Best” finally
hitting DVD (although accompanied by all the old attitudes of that
era). The brightest ray of sun may be an All-Osmonds concert film! Are you smiling?


A Looming Trio of Spiritual Powerhouses:
Visits by the pope and the Dalai Lama are still weeks away, but the
buzz about them is rising already. What’s really taking off in the
grassroots is renewed interest in C.S. Lewis and the latest Narnia
film, “Prince Caspian,” due out May 16. A great choice for a
small-group discussion on Lewis is a collection of his letters on
spiritual disciplines — newly released this week — called, “Yours, Jack.”


Question You May Hear This Week:


“How shall we live in these troubling times?”
If there ever was an era in which spiritual leaders could make a
difference — this is it! With the earthquake at Bear Stearns and the
Fed making up rules as it goes along, everyone’s in a panic. Fueling
the frenzy are shocking covers on The Economist, Foreign Policy — and
the normally cheery New Yorker just hit newsstands with a cover image
of a ship sinking and an executive tumbling downhill. A bright new
voice in the conversation comes from Yale’s dean of environmental
studies. His newly released book, “A Bridge at the End of the World,” is a terrific choice for small groups.


New Online:


If you’re on Facebook,
check out the Battlestar Galactica and Narnia groups. If you’re not on
Facebook — then you’re not a part of the largest community of young
adults in America. And, in growing numbers, a lot of us older adults
are showing up as well. Feel free to look for me, David Crumm, on
Facebook and — sure, I’ll be your friend.


Hot Reading:


I’m half horrified
by this — and half fascinated! The current No. 13 issue of “Make:
Technology on Your Time” includes a step-by-step, Popular
Mechanics-style guide to building yourself — get this! — a flaming
Bible! Dan Weiss, the son of a stage magician, provides plans for
building a big Bible that you can open up so dramatically that flames
shoot up from the open pages. I am not kidding about this — although
obviously this shouldn’t be explored with children. All I can say is: I
read every word. This truly is — a “hot” read.

This Week Inside ReadTheSpirit

We’re opening the week with spiritual signs of hope in troubling times!


Tuesday’s Quiz
continues that theme. And, Wednesday’s Conversation features a couple
of ordinary people who are changing the world with a spiritual
documentary film that’s circling the globe. (And, no, this is not a
story about “The Secret.”)


Come back throughout
the week as we provide timely resources and spiritual inspiration
related to all of the issues we’ve raised in the Planner.


And, right now, we’re collecting your nominations for Interfaith Heroes. Visit our Heroes hub to learn more!


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