Cover Story: In ‘Healing a Shattered Soul,’ Mindy Corporon invites us to join her tribe of peacemakers

An Invitation to Connect and Help Others

LAUNCHING ‘HEALING A SHATTERED SOUL’ WITH MINDY CORPORON

COVER STORY—In 2021, we are launching books that not only inspire readers—but also invite them quite literally to become part of new communities of hope and kindness. That’s the theme of Mindy Coroporon’s upcoming memoir, Healing a Shattered Soul. Her book now is available for pre-order and will ship from Amazon (and other online retailers) in a couple of weeks. However, right now—this week!—Mindy is inviting all of us, across the nation, to join in some inspiring virtual events. So, please read our Cover Story this week—which includes a short video from Mindy and links to register for the free programs she is offering. And, please, share this Cover Story with friends. You’ll have a lot more fun with Mindy if you bring along some folks you know and love.

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We Are Caregivers

3 STORIES WITH 2 INVITATIONS

THE NEWS THIS WEEK IN ‘We Are Caregivers’ circles the globe. First, we are featuring Zaman International-founder Najah Bazzy with tips for a healthy Ramadan. Then, we share news from the Vatican, which includes an invitation to download a new teaching document about caregiving during the pandemic. Finally, we have author Bill Tammeus’s invitation to sign up for a free online workshop he’s leading about ‘Writing Your Spiritual Will.’ Lots to share with friends, this week, in We Are Caregivers!

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Holidays & Festivals

AND SPEAKING OF RAMADAN …

… LET’S LEARN ABOUT OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS

OUR BOOKS ARE DOORWAYS—As the fasting month of Ramadan approaches, the world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims are preparing to focus, once again, on the Quran. This worldwide faith truly is focused on reading, scholarship and sharing stories. Please, read this Front Edge Publishing column that introduces some of our books that are open doorways, inviting us to meet our Muslim neighbors.

THEN, STEPHANIE FENTON has the story about the world’s Muslim communities approaching their second fasting month of Ramadan under pandemic restrictions. Among the reassuring news reports: A British study indicates that last year’s Ramadan, which unfolded at the start of the pandemic, did not lead to an increase in COVID. Also, Muslim authorities are reassuring faithful families that continuing to receive vaccinations—even if an appointment falls during Ramadan—will not violate the strict fasting rules. This is a great column to share with friends and co-workers.

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AND COMING NEXT WEEK …

OUR BAHA’I AND HINDU FRIENDS have major festivals both starting in the second half of April. The most holy Baha’i festival worldwide is the 12-day period known as Ridvan. Named “Ridvan” for “paradise,” this sacred festival commemorates Baha’u’llah’s time in the Najibiyyih Garden—after he was exiled by the Ottoman Empire—and the first announcement of his prophethood. Then, starting a few days after that in Hindu communities: The story of Lord Rama has been read, recited, and reviewed by Hindus worldwide, during a period known as Ramayana Week—all leading up to the climactic festival of Rama Navami.
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From Our Authors—

Suzy Farbman:
Understanding what Americans want—next!

THAT’s THE KEY to the nationwide success of marketing consultant Barbara Loren-Snyder, whose remarkable career sprang from a lonely childhood in a struggling immigrant family. As columnist Suzy Farbman writes this week, Barbara was determined from a very young age to carve out a unique career. And she did! Among her many successes? Barbara is the visionary who spotted Martha Stewart as the next big thing—and made it happen. In Part 1 of this story, Suzy Farbman reaches back to Barbara’s roots, including one of her first big successes in the 1960s. Anyone remember the Wendy Ward charm schools?

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Ken Whitt:
Inviting us to ‘A Global Creation Care Conversation’

MARK EARTH DAY on April 22, this year, by Zooming with a worldwide circle of Christian climate activists coordinated by our author Ken Whitt. “This series of climate-change conversations began within our American Baptist Churches, but the conversations now are spreading around the world,” Ken said this week in extending this free invitation. “We welcome anyone who is interested in these issues to join us on April 22.” Here are details about this free program—and how to request a Zoom link to attend.

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Finding ethical and spiritual values in this year’s Oscar-nominated films“—that’s the title of a special column faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty wrote for the Presbyterian Church (USA) website. Nomadland is just one of 10 Oscar contenders Ed covers in this column, which makes connections between these films and various passages from the Bible. Are you a preacher, teacher, small group leader or writer among our readers? If you love movies, then you’re likely to find some great ideas in Ed’s helpful overview of these 10. Just click on the Nomadland photo above to visit Ed’s page on the PC-USA website.

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Click this image to learn more about the April 2021 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:

  1. UNCLE FRANK—Ed writes, “Writer/director Alan Ball’s semi-autobiographical story of family conflict and love moves between Creekville, South Carolina, and Manhattan. It is told by the teenaged Betty beginning in the summer of 1969 when her Uncle Frank returns from Manhattan where he is a college professor to join the family celebration of his father’s birthday.”
  2. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”
  3. CHARLOTTE FORTEN’S MISSION: Experiment in Freedom—”Although virtually everyone knows of Harriett Tubman, especially since the release of the 2019 film Harriet, I suspect far fewer are familiar with Tubman’s contemporary, Black activist Charlotte Forten.” Ed highlights this 1985 PBS film and provides a link to watch it online.
  4. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Voice of Freedom—This episode of American Experience, directed by Rob Rapely and aired on PBS in February 2021, centers on the great singer Marian Anderson, but is just as much about the grip that Jim Crow had on America in 1939.” AND NOTE: This film and the Charlotte Forten documentary are just two of the films featured with complete discussion guides in the April issue of Visual Parables Journal.
  5. CRIP CAMP—Ed writes, “Directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht have given us an inspiring stand up and cheer film about outsiders knocking and kicking at the door of society until at last it is opened.”
  6. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”
  7. DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM—”You don’t have to be a Dolly Parton fan to appreciate Francis Whately’s heart-felt documentary about the singer/song writer. The music alone should make it enjoyable, and the comments of a stage full of friends and admirers will add to your knowledge of the singer.” Related to this documentary film, which is streaming on Netflix right now, Ed also recommends a book about Dolly Parton. Here is his review of Unlikely Angel by Lydia Hamesseley.
  8. THE DIG—Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  9. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  10. VIA AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.

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Cover Story: 50 million caregivers have questions. We’ve got answers.

Today, We’re Launching a New Resource for Caregivers & Families

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DISCOVER FRESH IDEAS, INSPIRATION, NEWS—AND INVITATIONS TO LEARN FROM EXPERTS.

APRIL 2021 marks the launch of a permanent resource-section within ReadTheSpirit magazine—which we will pack with helpful news, week by week, for America’s more than 50 million unpaid caregivers. We hope you’ll help us spread the news by sharing a simple Web address to find the stories and other resources in this new section. You can get there on any online device simply by typing in: www.CaregiversPortal.com

What’s new this week?

Visit this Caregivers home page right now and you’ll find:

  • AN INVITATION FROM AUTHOR BILL TAMMEUS to sign up for a free Zoom class he’s teaching on April 22, 2021, about “How to Write Your Spiritual Will.” That’s a unique opportunity to spend time learning from this veteran journalist and wise teacher.
  • ALSO, WE’VE GOT NEWS ABOUT THE VALUE OF MEDITATION for often-stressed caregivers. This story—both in text and audio versions—is part of the Journalism Solutions Network that is focusing on publishing news about the challenges of caregiving.
  • FINALLY, YOU CAN SEE VIDEO of our nationwide launch event for the book Now What? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging. This 49-minute video has now become a free online resource. It’s an information-packed video you can share, featuring brief messages from experts who can help you spark discussions in your family, community or congregation about caregiving.

PLEASE? Visit the Caregivers home page—and invite friends to join you. It takes just a moment to share this news via social media or email. As a result, you could raise fresh interest in helping caregivers in your community. (And, quite frankly, that’s all of us, because most Americans at some point in their lives will wind up as caregivers.)

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Holidays & Festivals

Planning Ahead for Ramadan

SOME REASSURING NEWS FOR MUSLIMS

STEPHANIE FENTON has the story about the world’s Muslim communities approaching their second fasting month of Ramadan under pandemic restrictions. Among the reassuring news reports: A British study indicates that last year’s Ramadan, which unfolded at the start of the pandemic, did not lead to an increase in COVID. Also, Muslim authorities are reassuring faithful families that continuing to receive vaccinations—even if an appointment falls during Ramadan—will not violate the strict fasting rules. This is a great column to share with friends and co-workers.

CARE TO READ MORE? We’ve got books related to Ramadan, including: The Beauty of Ramadan and Our Muslim Neighbors and 100 Questions and Answers About Muslim Americans with a Guide to Islamic Holidays..

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From Our Authors

Suzy Farbman: A Boy Finally Finds His Dream Car

THIS WEEK, God Signs columnist Suzy Farbman introduces to a “boy” who finally found his dream car, an Excalibur from famed designer Brooks Stevens, who developed products ranging from beer bottles and Harley Davison motorcycles to the contemporary Wienermobile.

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Martin Davis: ‘Don’t Count Titles. Count These Instead—’

JOURNALIST MARTIN DAVIS, author of an upcoming book about the wisdom of America’s high school coaches, published a column on his own website headlined What Every Parent Should Know Before Their Children Begin High School Sports. Marty reports to us that he was surprised at the immediate positive reaction to this column. We think you’ll appreciate his advice, as well, and may want to share it with friends.

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Click this photo to read Ed McNulty’s review of The Dig, newly released this year for streaming. The film co-stars Carey Mulligan, who is Oscar-nominated as Best Actress for her 2020 role in A Promising Woman.

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:

  1. CRIP CAMP—Ed writes, “Directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht have given us an inspiring stand up and cheer film about outsiders knocking and kicking at the door of society until at last it is opened.”
  2. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”
  3. DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM—”You don’t have to be a Dolly Parton fan to appreciate Francis Whately’s heart-felt documentary about the singer/song writer. The music alone should make it enjoyable, and the comments of a stage full of friends and admirers will add to your knowledge of the singer.” Related to this documentary film, which is streaming on Netflix right now, Ed also recommends a book about Dolly Parton. Here is his review of Unlikely Angel by Lydia Hamesseley.
  4. THE DIG—Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  5. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  6. VIA AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  7. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  8. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  9. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  10. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.

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COVER STORY Ancient Wisdom for Our Troubled Times: Journey through Holy Week with the Holy Twins, a rich soup and more

Benjamin Pratt is our 1st guide …

… IN THIS WEEK’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

COVER STORY—At ReadTheSpirit magazine, since our founding in 2007, we have asked writers of various faiths to describe for us the experience of traveling through their holy seasons. This week, our longtime columnist and author Benjamin Pratt invites us on a journey through Christian Holy Week—including a visit with the famous Holy Twins. Along the way, whatever your faith, he lays spiritual breadcrumbs that follow ancient practices on a journey of restoration and transformation. (And, to our Orthodox friends in the eastern branches of Christianity: We know your calendar places Holy Week in the final days of April this year. May this column be an inspiring preview for you.) Please, enjoy Benjamin Pratt’s column and share it with friends.

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Doug Yunker Invites us to …

… Explore Tastes and Mysteries of Holy Week

WHAT DO ‘CORN SCHOOL,’ ‘The Jesus Cabinet of Curiosities’ and a rich Ecuadorian bean soup have in common? They’re all part of the Holy Week journey Doug Yunker invites us to take with him, complete with photos—and, yes, recipes, too!

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Luncille Sider Reminds Us …

… of the Freedom of Forgiveness

HOLY WEEK is a call to spiritual reflection for millions of Christians around the world. Much like the Jewish call during the High Holy Days, Holy Week calls Christians to reflect on our relationships with God and with other people. This moving column about forgiveness by author Lucille Sider relates to the larger story she tells in her book, Light Shines in the Darkness.

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Stephanie Fenton Describes …

… the joy (and adaptations) of Easter 2021

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on Easter 2021, including the ongoing pandemic restrictions. This year, most families will have the option of streaming masses and services again this year—or, as many churches have begun holding “parking lot” services, gathering outdoors in a socially distant environment. And, as she always does, Stephanie adds helpful links to Easter recipes, DIY crafts and even kid-friendly activities.

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Continuing to Wish Jewish Friends …

… an inspiring Passover

LAST WEEK IN ReadTheSpirit, we devoted our Cover Story to Passover, which began March 27 this year with the first seders. Passover runs through most of this week, so we continue to wish our Jewish friends around the world an inspiring season. This story celebrates the Jewish authors who are part of our publishing house—and highlights the Passover themes of freedom, diversity and compassion.

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Concerned about tragic violence?

We are, as well, and recommend …

MINDY CORPORON is one of the wisest and most compassionate voices we know in the national conversation about reducing hate crimes and gun violence. That’s why we’re just weeks away from officially launching her helpful new book, Healing a Shattered Soul: My Faithful Journey of Courageous Kindness after the Grief of Domestic Terrorism. In this timely new book, Mindy Corporon invites readers to join her search for inspiration and hope after domestic terrorism took the lives of her father and son. With a wealth of compassion and professional expertise, Mindy’s vocation now focuses on reaching out to audiences around the world, encouraging people to overcome life’s challenges, one day at a time. This week, because such violence continues to erupt nationwide, we are sharing this video dialogue between Mindy Corporon and the Kansas City Star staff about how to respond to such tragic news—transforming our horror and anger in positive directions.

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Click on this image from the movie to read Ed McNulty’s review of the Oscar-nominated documentary Crip Camp.

Faith & Film

Click this cover image from the March 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn about this new issue.

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:

  1. CRIP CAMP—Ed writes, “Directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht have given us an inspiring stand up and cheer film about outsiders knocking and kicking at the door of society until at last it is opened.”
  2. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”
  3. DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM—”You don’t have to be a Dolly Parton fan to appreciate Francis Whately’s heart-felt documentary about the singer/song writer. The music alone should make it enjoyable, and the comments of a stage full of friends and admirers will add to your knowledge of the singer.” Related to this documentary film, which is streaming on Netflix right now, Ed also recommends a book about Dolly Parton. Here is his review of Unlikely Angel by Lydia Hamesseley.
  4. THE DIG—Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  5. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  6. VIA AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  7. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  8. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  9. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  10. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.

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Cover Story: As we celebrate freedom, Passover asks us to care for our needy neighbors as well

‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’

Our Jewish Authors Inspire Us to Celebrate Freedom, Diversity and Compassion

WHEN PASSOVER begins Saturday evening, March 27, millions of Jewish families around the world will host seders, lengthy dinners with traditional symbolic foods, readings, songs and lots of conversation. The seder combines both a detailed remembrance of God leading the people out of slavery in Egypt—and a pointed challenge to those around the table to relate that ancient story to the needs of the world today. Many seder hosts spend weeks preparing for these meals, both the menu and the kinds of questions that will spark discussion among the guests.

Here at Front Edge Publishing, we are proud to showcase the many Jewish authors we publish. Whatever your faith may be, this is an excellent time to order one of these inspiring books to lift your spirits—and your social awareness this spring. Please, read our Cover Story this week that highlights these books as we approach Passover. Then, please, share this story with friends.

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Please, join us on Tuesday, March 23

AS THIS WEEK’s issue of ReadTheSpirit magazine launches, there’s still time to sign up for the free, live launch event for our important new book, Now What? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging. Please, visit www.NowWhatBookLaunch.com and register to attend the free March 23 launch event where you’ll meet some of our co-authors in a 45-minute session of news and inspiration.

NOTE: If you are reading this news item after March 23, we plan to place video of the launch event on our Front Edge Publishing YouTube channel.

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Good News from Our Authors

Suzy Farbman: Just a little love story

IN HER GOD-SIGNS COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman writes about a couple who found each other late in life, in part, because of the cancer-care activism of “Doc” Werlin.

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Larry Buxton: ‘File This One Under Gratitude

IN HIS LEADING-WITH-SPIRIT VIDEO THIS WEEK, Larry Buxton makes a turn from his usual leadership themes—to remind us all of how much we have to be thankful for in our world today. You’ll be surprised where Larry takes us in this short video. And please, we always hope you will share these stories with friends—and this little story is a gem..

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Ken Whitt: Guess Who Else Steps Out?

LIKE LARRY BUXTON, above, Ken Whitt (author of God Is Just Love) stepped outside his comfort zone this week for a video in which he’s standing in—well, he’s standing in his compost pile. Meet Ken in a new way through this short video and encourage him to create more of these videos. Ken’s family has a whole host of fascinating family-friendly skills from baking bread in an outdoor oven—to making precious topsoil for the garden. It’s all part of the long list of ideas for families that is part of his new book.

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Holidays & Festivals

Passover

JEWISH FAMILIES around the world are planning for Saturday evening March 27, the first night of Passover this year, which is the second Passover families have experienced in the midst of a global pandemic. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

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RECOMMENDING A MOVIE AND A BOOK, this week. Ed McNulty admits, “I am late to the Parton Party,” but he’s making up for lost time. Clicking on this photo takes you to his review of the documentary Unlikely Angel on Netflix. Scroll down to the links below to read his review of a book about Dolly that you may enjoy reading.

Faith & Film

Click this cover image from the March 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn about this new issue.

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:

  1. DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM—Ed writes, “You don’t have to be a Dolly Parton fan to appreciate Francis Whately’s heart-felt documentary about the singer/song writer. The music alone should make it enjoyable, and the comments of a stage full of friends and admirers will add to your knowledge of the singer.” Related to this documentary film, which is streaming on Netflix right now, Ed also recommends a book about Dolly Parton. Here is his review of Unlikely Angel by Lydia Hamesseley.
  2. A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION—Ed writes, “The New York Times has been offering a series of short films they call Op-Docs that are very informative and inspiring. The offering for March 6, 2021, features Oscar contender (composer for The United States vs. Billie Holiday) Kris Bowers speaking with his 91-year-old grandfather Horace about the family’s past and the composer’s own musical career.”
  3. THE DIG—Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  4. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  5. VIA AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  6. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  7. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  8. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  9. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.
  10. DARA OF JASENOVAC—”Every year another filmmaker reveals new aspects of the Holocaust. Peter (Predrag) Antonijević’s Oscar-nominated film reveals that a vast number of Serbs also perished with other victims of Nazi hatred. This is the first film set in the Croatian extermination camp Jasenovac.”

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Cover Story: Calling all caregivers for a hopeful, helpful event! (And, that’s more than 50 million of us.)

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Please, take a moment to join us on March 23

WE ARE HEARING from readers nationwide who want to help with this effort to celebrate the tireless work of caregivers—and to share fresh inspiration and ideas to help all of us as we face the challenges of aging. We’ll make this week’s Cover Story very simple:

Please, visit www.NowWhatBookLaunch.com and register to attend the free March 23 launch event where you’ll meet some of our co-authors in a 45-minute session of news and inspiration.

Want to help? We’re welcoming allies every day. After all, more than 50 million Americans already are caregivers—and all of us are aging. In a special Front Edge Publishing column, we describe many ways that allies can help with this effort.

If you do attend our virtual launch on March 23, you’ll meet some truly remarkable women and men, including our author Najah Bazzy, who is nationally known for her tireless work in helping needy families. For her work, Najah has received honors ranging from the CNN Heroes program—to having her face featured on a special edition of Lays potato chips. Just this week, the CBS network’s 62Detroit aired this 2-minute video about Najah’s work. On March 23, you’ll meet Najah as one of the first speakers in our launch event. Please, join us.

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Good News from Our Authors

Suzy Farbman: ‘The Power of a Story

IN HER GOD-SIGNS COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman writes: “Grandparents don’t always know the impact they have on grandchildren.  My husband, Burt is lucky to get that chance.  Our  grandchild Alexis received an  assignment for an English class.  The prompt: What is the power of a story in your life?  Her essay brought Burton and me to tears.” 

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Holidays & Festivals

St. Patrick’s Day

ST. PATRICK’S DAY may be a secular occasion in many communities, but it also has deep religious roots that matter to millions.

LEADING OFF OUR COVERAGE IS Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton, who previews the festival—with delicious and fun links as well. She also has links to three different versions of St. Patrick’s beloved “Breastplate” prayer—including the original Gaelic. And, of course, to recipes and DIY holiday ideas. This year, we also invited the Rev. Dr. Kate Jacobs to write a column from her religious perspective on how St. Patrick’s legendary battle with serpents is relevant today.

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Nowruz, Naw-Ruz, Ugadi & Ostara

SPRING! All across the Northern Hemisphere, men, women and children welcome the season of spring, marked by the vernal equinox. This ancient cycle fuels celebrations worldwide and Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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Plan Ahead for Passover

JEWISH FAMILIES around the world are planning for Saturday evening March 27, the first night of Passover this year—and the second Passover in the midst of a global pandemic. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

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FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD STUDY GUIDE. Visual Parables founder Ed McNulty was invited by national leaders in the Presbyterian Church USA to create a study guide for engaging racism through discussions of five films. Click on this logo to visit the Presbyterian Church USA website and download this free resource.

Faith & Film

Click this cover image from the March 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn about this new issue.

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:

  1. DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM—Ed writes, “You don’t have to be a Dolly Parton fan to appreciate Francis Whately’s heart-felt documentary about the singer/song writer. The music alone should make it enjoyable, and the comments of a stage full of friends and admirers will add to your knowledge of the singer.”
  2. A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION—Ed writes, “The New York Times has been offering a series of short films they call Op-Docs that are very informative and inspiring. The offering for March 6, 2021, features Oscar contender (composer for The United States vs. Billie Holiday) Kris Bowers speaking with his 91-year-old grandfather Horace about the family’s past and the composer’s own musical career.”
  3. THE DIG—Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  4. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  5. VIA AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  6. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  7. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  8. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  9. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.
  10. DARA OF JASENOVAC—”Every year another filmmaker reveals new aspects of the Holocaust. Peter (Predrag) Antonijević’s Oscar-nominated film reveals that a vast number of Serbs also perished with other victims of Nazi hatred. This is the first film set in the Croatian extermination camp Jasenovac.”

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Cover Story: Join us in launching ‘Now What? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging’

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Join the Authors and Sponsoring Nonprofits in This Launch

You’ll Learn Ways to Help Others—and Your Own Family!

OUR COVER STORY this week is our launch announcement for one of the most important books we have published since our founding 15 years ago. This book is a practical guide to dozens of issues families face as we age. Millions of American families have discovered these challenges with little warning or help.

Over the past year, more than a dozen community agencies and nonprofits joined with 15 authors to share their expertise in creating a one-volume resource for families and caregivers. The book is called simply, Now What? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging. And please note: This is about much more than the problems we may face in aging. This book represents a “strengths-based” encouragement for all of us to rethink and appreciate the gifts of aging, as well.

Please, click this link to visit the registration page for our national launch event at Noon (Eastern Time) on Tuesday March 23. The landing page explains more about the book. The event is free and is open to everyone. In this 45-minute event, you will meet some of the book’s expert authors and sponsors and will come away energized to help others. Tell friends about this opportunity by sharing the registration-page link: www.NowWhatBookLaunch.com

When you sign up, you will receive an email confirming your registration—and providing several options to connect to this Zoom gathering. Closer to the launch date, you will receive a reminder, as well.

Also on that page, you will find a link to pre-order this book on Amazon right now. If you order now, books will ship from Amazon on the launch date. Please, join us! You’ll learn how you can help others—and your family as well.

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More Good News and Views from Our Authors

Brenda Rosenberg: Girl Scouts Build Interfaith Unity

INTERFAITH PEACE ACTIVIST BRENDA ROSENBERG has been working with Girl Scouts to establish a widespread appreciation of religious diversity. This effort fits perfectly into the Girl Scouts’ longstanding encouragement of religious awareness through its My Promise, My Faith program. One year ago, our magazine covered a huge Michigan-wide event Brenda co-sponsored at the Detroit Institute of Arts to kick off this new effort to encourage interfaith awareness. This year, a special educational event celebrating religious diversity is scheduled for National Girl Scout Week, March 7-13, which includes what is sometimes called National Girl Scout Day. That’s March 12, each year. In 2021, that is the 109th anniversary of the date in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low formally registered the organization.

Brenda explains that this year’s special interfaith event runs from March 11 through March 14—all online this year—and helps girls in grades 4 through 12 to earn their My Promise, My Faith pin. Brenda emailed us this week to ask ReadTheSpirit readers to spread the news to any girls who may want to register. “This event is not limited to current Girl Scouts,” she said. So, if you know a girl who would enjoy attending—please spread the news with this link to register.

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Suzy Farbman: ‘The soundtrack that makes up a life’

THIS WEEK, OUR GOD-SIGNS COLUMN by Suzy Farbman asks us to “listen” back on our journeys through this pandemic year through musical memories. For Suzy, those memories include the late great Leonard Cohen and New York-area drama critic Arlene Epstein.

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Larry Buxton: Welcoming guests

HOSPITALITY AMONG OUR AUTHORS continues to spread, this week, as Larry Buxton’s weekly Leading With Spirit video series welcomes a guest. That’s Larry at left (above) introducing his guest (at right)—and, by extension, he’s welcoming yet another guest as well: Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer. This national conversation among our authors raises fascinating questions about our lives together as Americans. And, “questions” may be a key to learning how to talk with each other without shouting, Larry Buxton tells us this week. He says, “A certain uncertainty is the road to wisdom.” Please, visit Larry’s website to watch this 4-minute video. While you’re there, sign up for a free email reminder, each week, of his latest Leading with Spirit messages.

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Ken Whitt: Talking with Authority

QUITE LITERALLY, our author Ken Whitt’s new book God Is Just Love is so newsworthy that he wound up talking with Authority this week. Authority online magazine, that is. This is becoming a popular online hub for stories that connect influential “thought leaders.” Authority is the brainchild of self-described “thought leader” and “positive influencer” Yitzi Weiner who wants to use the Internet to spread helpful information. Ken was interviewed in a series on “social impact authors” by Edward Sylvan, who also is a leading media influencer. In this online circle, Ken was lifted up in this inspiring profile because of his multi-faceted approach to helping families adapt to the world’s many challenges. Want to help with that kind of positive effort? Go read this story in Authority and share it with friends—better yet, hop over to Amazon and buy a copy of Ken’s book.

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Holidays & Festivals

St. Patrick’s Day

ST. PATRICK’S DAY may be a secular occasion in many communities, but it also has deep religious roots that matter to millions.

OUR COVERAGE OFTEN focuses on Catholic traditions—so, this year, we invited a Protestant-Anglican writer to reflect on the holiday. In her long and remarkable career, the Rev. Dr. Kate Jacobs has been both a leading Baptist and an Episcopalian. She sent us this fascinating column from her religious perspective on how St. Patrick’s legendary battle with serpents is relevant today.

WANT MORE? INCLUDING RECIPES AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS? Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton previews the festival—with delicious and fun links as well. She also has links to three different versions of St. Patrick’s beloved “Breastplate” prayer—including the original Gaelic.

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Maha Shivaratri

THURSDAY, MARCH 11: Fasting, worship and ritual baths for Lord Shiva are followed by a nighttime vigil on Maha Shivaratri, a holiday observed across India and by Hindus around the world. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story for us.

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Judy’s Proofreading Day

MONDAY, MARCH 8, these days, is sometimes labeled “National Proofreading Day,” which shows what online entrepreneurs like Judy Beaver, aka “The Office Pro,” can do when they are determined to leave their mark—at least on some calendars. Judy dreamed up this “holiday” with a well-placed press release in 2012 for a noble purpose: She wanted an occasion each year when all “professionals” who write would be reminded of the importance of copy editors. From her Chicago base, Judy sells training services in writing and editing so the “holiday” was originally a clever sales pitch. After eight years, though, her holiday keeps showing up online. So, we are sending out a “thank you” to Judy—because we wholeheartedly agree with her instinct. Yes, everyone who writes needs and editor. In fact, that’s what our Dmitri Barvinok writes in this fun and informative Front Edge Publishing column about copy editing. This column already has become a favorite with readers—and editors!

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WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this cover image from the March 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn about this new issue.

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:

  1. THE DIG—Ed writes, “Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  2. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  3. AMAZON: SEE THE ENTIRE ‘SMALL AXE’ SERIES—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  4. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  5. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  6. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  7. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.
  8. DARA OF JASENOVAC—”Every year another filmmaker reveals new aspects of the Holocaust. Peter (Predrag) Antonijević’s Oscar-nominated film reveals that a vast number of Serbs also perished with other victims of Nazi hatred. This is the first film set in the Croatian extermination camp Jasenovac.”
  9. NOMADLAND—Ed give this 5 stars and writes, “Frances McDormand, optioning Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century writer, made a wise choice when she joined forces with director/writer Chloé Zhao.”
  10. LAND—Five stars also go to this film. “Actress Robin Wright made a wise decision in choosing screenwriters Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam to write the script for her directorial debut.”.

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Cover Story: Welcoming the millions of “other” Christians around the world as they prepare for Great Lent

Learning about the lives of nearly 300 million Christians

ORTHODOX GREAT LENT BEGINS THIS MONTH

Right now in America, there’s not a hotter question than: What does it mean to be “Christian”? Of course, that question is freighted with our own “local” political meaning in the United States today. Here at ReadTheSpirit magazine, our goal week after week is to cover global religious and cultural diversity—because we believe that learning about diversity leads to healthier communities.

Around the world, Christians make up nearly a third of the total population, according to Pew Research. However, North America is home to only about 12 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians. That means our American battles over who can be called a “Christian” can sound like a local family feud among the nearly 2 billion Christians who live in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

This week’s cover story reminds us, as Americans, about a vast swath of Christianity—nearly 300 million Christians who most Americans tend to forget: the Orthodox. Thanks to researcher Kevin Vollrath and our long-time friend Mae Cannon, ReadTheSpirit plans to bring readers a monthly story from this ancient Eastern branch of Christianity.

We start this week with a story about Father Elias Khoury, a Greek Orthodox priest in Jadeidi, Israel, who is preparing for Great Lent to begin on March 15. That may surprise many of our readers, because we reported on the start of Lent for Western Christians last month! In fact, this year, the Western and Orthodox calendars vary by almost an entire month. Please, read this week’s Cover Story, enjoy learning about how this vast Christian community marks the days leading up to Easter—and share this story with friends.

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WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

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News and Views from our Authors

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Rabbi Krakoff at a book signing for Never Long Enough.

RABBI JOSEPH KRAKOFF: ‘The Forgiveness Tour’

RABBI KRAKOFF is a leading expert on grief and end-of-life decisions. He is the author of Never Long Enough: Finding Comfort and Hope Amidst Grief and Lossand he also appears as an expert in a couple of the other books we are publishing this year: Now What? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging as well as Shining Brightly, an upcoming memoir by Howard Brown.

Krakoff’s expertise also is showing up in national headlines, these days, because he appears in Susan Shapiro’s new book from Simon & Schuster, The Forgiveness Tour: How to Find the Perfect Apology. There’s a family connection between Shapiro and the rabbi, so he was on her short list of sages she consulted for her book.

Now, as Shapiro and her book are turning up in various national media stories, so is Rabbi Krakoff since he was part of her “tour” of scholars. An example this week is an NBC News story headlined, The Britney Spears effect: Is Justin Timberlake’s Janet Jackson apology too little too late? Can you guess how Krakoff might play a role in that celebrity story? Well, take a look at the NBC story; Krakoff’s advice appears briefly in the second half of that NBC story.

The point of this ReadTheSpirit news item is: Our authors work on books with us because their real vocation is to add helpful wisdom to the national conversation. Rabbi Krakoff certainly is doing that in many ways.

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SUZY FARBMAN: ‘We’re the artists of our own lives’

THIS WEEK, GOD-SIGNS COLUMN by Suzy Farbman invites us to explore the remarkably creative life of Junia Doan, who continues to inspire the world now through online videos.

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VICTOR BEGG: ‘Where can we find light?’

INDIAN-AMERICAN MUSLIM PEACE ACTIVIST Victor Begg opens his column in the huge IslamiCity web magazine by reminding us of Amanda Gorman’s poem at the inauguration in January. Then, Victor reflects on what should be the legacy of Black History Month for Americans of all colors.

He calls on readers to expand their awareness of how much we all have benefitted from the civil rights activism of those who have come before us—especially immigrant families. Thinking of all the people of color who risked their lives in this movement, Victor writes, “The path to my own successes in America is paved by their sacrifices, while they continue to struggle under institutionalized racism to this day.”

Victor is the author of Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving the American Dream, an Immigrant’s Memoir.

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Clifford Worthy, center, and his extended family.

CLIFFORD WORTHY: ‘Think about how things could change’

AND SPEAKING OF THE STRUGGLE for inclusion, Col. Clifford Worthy—author of The Black Knight: An African-American Family’s Journey from West Point-a Life of Duty, Honor and Country—is featured in Business Insider online magazine this week, talking about his own history as the oldest living Black graduate of West Point. Business Insider contacted “two celebrated Black veterans” to comment on the nation’s first African-American defense secretary.

Worthy, who will be 93 years old in March, was one of the two Black leaders who told Insider it was “amazing” how much racial attitudes have changed in the US military.

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A community of authors sharing good news

A LITTLE HOSPITALITY GOES A LONG WAY! In our Front Edge Publishing column this week, Editor David Crumm writes about the powerful ways our authors can extend hospitality to each other—with a timely example from Ken Whitt’s Traces of God Ministries website. The Traces news item we are highlighting includes an inspiring 4-minute video about the nearly lost core value of integrity, courtesy of Larry BuxtonWhen we work together like this, our good news moves farther and faster in the world.

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Click this image from the movie The Dig to read Ed McNulty’s review of this Netflix film.

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:

  1. THE DIG—Ed writes, “Director Simon Stone and writer Moira Buffini’s adaptation of John Preston’s fact-based novel deals with classism as well as archaeological excavation, friendship, and romance. Beautifully photographed, it could serve well as family entertainment in that one of the characters is a winsome boy eager to explore the world and who finds a substitute father in the main male character.”
  2. MANGROVE—”Americans have Aaron Sorkin’s social justice film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and now our British cousins have Steve McQueen’s masterful Mangrove, the true story of The Mangrove Nine. Just as Selma led to the passage of major voting legislation by exposing the depth and violence of racism, so the trial of West African-Brits brought about similar exposure and passage of anti-racist legislation in the UK.” The film is streaming now for free on Amazon Prime in the Small Axe series of films.
  3. AMAZON: SMALL AXE series—Ed also reviews and recommends other films in Steve McQueen’s series of films, which are clustered under the series title Small Axe on Amazon Prime. After Mangrove, Ed’s other Small Axe reviews are Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle and Education.
  4. COME BEFORE WINTER—”There have been numerous films about the martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but Kevin Ekvall’s  2017 docudrama gives us an unusual take on him by pairing his story with that of a British team commissioned to broadcast anti-Hitler views and false stories to deceive the enemy.” The film also is streaming on Amazon.
  5. BOOGIE—”Director/writer Eddie Huang comes up with a new twist for a basketball film—a Chinese-American player. Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is the player living in Queens, New York.”
  6. BOBBY JO: UNDER THE INFLUENCEThis is a thrilling documentary, well produced by Brent L. Jones, his wife Donna, and a skilled team of local cinematographers. It’s about the real-life hero Bobby Jo Reed, who moved from homeless to helper of hundreds.
  7. BLACK EARTH RISING—”NetflixWriter/director Hugo Blick’s suspenseful eight-part political thriller is set in the aftermath of the horrible Rwandan genocide of the 90s.
  8. DARA OF JASENOVAC—”Every year another filmmaker reveals new aspects of the Holocaust. Peter (Predrag) Antonijević’s Oscar-nominated film reveals that a vast number of Serbs also perished with other victims of Nazi hatred. This is the first film set in the Croatian extermination camp Jasenovac.”
  9. NOMADLAND—Ed give this 5 stars and writes, “Frances McDormand, optioning Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century writer, made a wise choice when she joined forces with director/writer Chloé Zhao.”
  10. LAND—Five stars also go to this film. “Actress Robin Wright made a wise decision in choosing screenwriters Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam to write the script for her directorial debut.”.

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