COVER STORY: Inspiring Gift Ideas for Hanukkah and Christmas!

Choose books that will make your life—and your community—healthier and happier

AS WE REACH THE YEAR-END HOLIDAYS in 2022, we are pleased to recommend wonderful Hanukkah and Christmas “gifts of reading” that will enrich the lives of your loved ones well into the New Year.

After publishing weekly editions of this online magazine for 15 years, we know that our thousands of readers love to read and learn and find new sources of hope and resiliency. This 2022 shopping guide features eight choices that fill that bill.

We know you’ve all got someone on your shopping list who is especially “tough to shop for,” but just might light up with a special new book that will serve as a lively companion as 2023 unfolds. We also know folks who always are looking for books that might “keep on giving” across our communities by serving as discussion starters for small groups. You’ll find some great choices in our shopping list!

Please, take a moment to look over our 2022 holiday-shopping list and please share this list with friends. Perhaps you’ll find something here that you would like to receive yourself at the holidays.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of the documentary Good Night Oppy.

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.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: What are we thankful for? Our writers are making the world a better place.

Thanks to Michigan State University Bias Busters,
17 government offices are more welcoming to minorities

For more than a decade now, the Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Bias Busters program has partnered with Front Edge Publishing to produce a series that now includes 20 books that answer the most frequently asked questions about ethnic, racial, religious and other groups within our diverse population. Now, we’re all celebrating a great example of that outreach as these student-produced guides are now helping the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services with its work.  Please read this Cover Story and share it with friends, colleagues and neighbors who work with institutions, congregations and nonprofits that also could benefit from having an MSU easy-to-read “diversity library.

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We also are thankful for—

Families who assist their disabled loved ones

DID YOU KNOW THAT MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES will be on the move this week all across America? Howard Brown, author of Shining Brightlyis well aware because his family is among those millions who don’t allow disabilities to keep anyone from the Thanksgiving table.

In Howard’s column, he tells a story that will be familiar to so many families—the challenges of helping his disabled Mom (the family’s matriarch) to reach that Thanksgiving table.

AND THIS IS KEY—His column also includes links to some national data you can share with others this week to heighten awareness of disabilities all around us—among our relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors. PLUS—he’s got a printable guide to making a safe wheelchair transfer, so you’ll be ready to help with that disabled friend or loved one. Perhaps sharing this column might inspire someone else to make an extra effort this week to ensure that a disabled person joins the family feast. Do a good deed right now by reading Howard’s column and sharing it with others via social media or email.

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And, we’re thankful for—

Finally getting home again!

IN HER GOD-SIGNS COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman tells us about Jim and Karin Billings’ true story of ‘Planes, Trains and—a Wheelchair, too.’

Suzy begins her column this way: “Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, fun or exciting, right? For Karin and Jim Billings, this year’s annual trip to Europe proved a little too exciting.”

At this time of year, we all love to swap travel horror stories. This one certainly tops all the true stories we’ve heard so far this year!

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We also are thankful for—

All those who help boost the resiliency of families facing cancer 

CANCER-SURVIVAL cheerleader, coach and philanthropist Jeanine Patten-Coble is featured in PEOPLE magazine in a feel-good feature, headlined: Mom Who Beat Breast Cancer Gives Free Vacations to Patients and Their Families to Make ‘Priceless Memories’ Please enjoy that PEOPLE feature and learn more about Jeanine’s work through her memoir, Struck by Hope.

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Holidays & Festivals

Thanksgiving—

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS expert Stephanie Fenton starts her holiday column: Express gratitude and savor the smells and tastes of the season, for the holiday of (American) Thanksgiving. Many foods common on the Thanksgiving table are native to North America and to the season, such as corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squashes and cranberries.” AND—as always—she’s got links to some great recipes as well as instructions for DIY Thanksgiving crafts for families.

AUTHOR MARTIN DAVIS also wrote about Thanksgiving, as editorial page Editor for the Fredericksburg, VA, Free-Lance Star newspaper. The annual “Turkey Day” has lots of competition, these days, Martin writes and then tries “to make the case for pausing this Thursday, if just for a bit, to share some time with family and friends.” Martin always has his finger firmly on the pulse of American life and culture and is the author of 30 Days with America’s High School Coaches.
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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click on the movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Faith & Film

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

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: America is opening up to our LGBTQ neighbors, thanks in part to allies like Dr. David Gushee.

Dr. Gushee saw this coming—

A rec0rd-breaking embrace of LGBTQ candidates nationwide.

THE NEWS FLASH THIS WEEK was striking: “This election made history for the diversity of candidates running. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people ran for office in all 50 states for the first time.” At our Front Edge publishing house, we are encouraged by this news because we publish the most influential book helping Christian families to welcome their LGBTQ relatives, friends, coworkers and neighbors: Changing Our Mind. Please read our Cover Story this week and share it with friends and family who want to encourage more welcoming communities.

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What’s the importance of a memorable book cover?

It leaps into your mind’s eye?

WANT SOME FUN READING and VIEWING? Here’s a celebration of the brilliant kinds of book covers artist Rick Nease has been designing for our publishing house.

 

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Holidays & Festivals

 

Christmas is coming, especially from the East

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS around the world begin looking toward Christmas, the Nativity of Jesus, this week as the annual Fast of the Nativity begins. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story, including links to a couple of convenient apps that provide daily readings from the Orthodox tradition.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Why are teens ignorant of the Bible?

 

Consider asking a teen you know …

AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST and AUTHOR Bill Tammeus writes some of the most thought-provoking columns about religion in America—as demonstrated by how many people wind up widely sharing his articles. Recently, he shared some intriguing data about teen-agers and their experiences with the Bible, including their attitudes toward these scriptures. This is a column well worth reading and sharing with friends.

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Click this movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of the movie Armageddon Time, co-starring Anthony Hopkins.

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Faith & Film

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

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: Celebrate our 10th anniversary with Visual Parables by giving yourself and friends a gift of Faith & Film

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Pop some popcorn and invite your friends.

Make a New Year’s Resolution to enjoy Faith & Film

COVER STORY—For a decade, Read The Spirit magazine has appeared every Monday with a popular Faith & Film section closing out our weekly issues. We’ve heard from readers around the world who enjoy Film Critic Edward McNulty’s thought-provoking reviews along with the connections he draws to religious wisdom. This week’s Cover Story looks at the monthly Visual Parables Journal that we co-publish with McNulty for the enjoyment of men and women who want to explore the many faith connections in popular films. The upcoming Holiday Season is a terrific time to subscribe to that Journal and make plans to enjoy some movies and conversation with friends.

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Thank a Caregiver with a gift of inspiration

Help families honor National Family Caregivers Month

MOST AMERICANS either have been caregivers—or know a caregiver currently currently serving as an unpaid lifeline for a loved one. That’s why Americans mark November, each year, as National Family Caregivers Month. Please, read our story, which includes information about this observance and suggestions of some great books that would make perfect gifts for those who serve.

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And also a milestone this week—remember Veteran’s Day

STEPHANIE FENTON writes about Veteran’s Day, this week, including ideas for reaching out to veterans among family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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From Suzy Farbman

A True Tale of Two Sisters—Whose Lives and Wisdom Intertwined

IN HER GOD SIGNS COLUMN, this week, Suzy Farbman introduces us to remarkable sisters: Shanda Sullivan and Penny James. While neither may be household names, Penny James’ image was all over magazines and advertisements in the ’60s and ’70s—until various challenges forced her to step away from the Jet Set. Although she began collecting her hard-earned wisdom in a memoir, Penny died before she finished. Now, Shanda has completed that inspiring project.

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Yes, we’re publishers—but we “do” video, too!

Howard Brown is on the air around the world

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, this week, we’re featuring the latest video by Howard Brown, author of Shining Brightly. Howard’s long career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and public speaker means he’s a veteran at inspiring crowds, so he has been keeping up a blistering pace of appearances on podcasts and videos.

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Faith & Film

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

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: Tina Welling’s ‘Tuesdays in Jail’ tells how she began unlocking some of America’s imprisoned souls with pencil and paper

Outreach to our imprisoned neighbors is central to our religious traditions

COVER STORY: Author Tina Welling does not represent any particular religious tradition, but she has spent years demonstrating the spiritual power of writing—specifically writing in journals—to unlock souls who feel trapped within a maze of trauma, addictions and violence.

Many of our Read The Spirit readers, in recent years, have expressed their concern with America’s crisis of “mass incarceration.” We imprison more people than any other country in the world and make little effort to figure out how these millions of men and women can find a healthy way to reintegrate into our communities, when they are released. Tina’s grassroots program to address that problem sprang from her own long experience as a writer—and is a wonderful example of what is possible in outreach to our imprisoned neighbors. Please, read this Cover Story and share it with friends via social medial, email or in your congregation’s small groups to spark discussion.

Want one more good reason to read this story? Because, toward the end, we describe a workbook that Tina provides within her book—a very helpful resource that can inspire anyone to get started with journaling.

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Remembrance of Things Past—

From the journals of Benjamin Pratt

IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT JOURNALING, you’ll definitely enjoy the journal entry sent to us this week by Benjamin Pratt, the author of many books and a popular columnist for our online magazine. Here’s the story we are unfolding for you: Above, we have just shared a Cover Story with Tina Welling, who has developed life-changing “journaling” workshops with inmates. And, below, we are sharing Howard Brown’s story of honoring a friend who died last year by planting trees. In this part of our “triptych of memory” is Benjamin Pratt’s story about a pilgrimage with friends back to the campus where they met.

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Remembering while Planting the Future

Here’s another bright idea for building healthy communities

HOWARD BROWN IS ALWAYS SHARING GREAT IDEAS. This week, he writes: “I live every day as an affirmation of my own resilience—something I take very seriously after two near-fatal bouts with cancer—and as an opportunity to give back gratefully to my community and our larger world. There are lots and lots of ways you can do this from simply mowing the lawn of a neighbor who’s having trouble getting around—to organizing larger efforts with friends.” Please enjoy this column—and a mini-gallery of photos—about the Greening of Detroit. It’s such an inspiring idea that you’ll want to share this one with friends.

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Holidays & Festivals

Happy Halloween!

And Allhallowtide, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos

Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes, “From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.”

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LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK, Stephanie reports: “Deeply rooted in a centuries-old Gaelic and Irish seasonal festival known as Samhain, ‘Halloween’ is considered by many to be the only time of year that spirits can roam the earth. From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.”

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this image from the movie to read Ed McNulty’s review of the new Storied Life of AJ Fickry.

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Click on this image to learn about the October 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete discussion guides to movies including Don’t Worry, Darling, The Railway Children, Fanny Lou Hamer’s America, Indignation, and Catherine Called Birdy.

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.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: Did you know that joining a congregation actually is a healthy thing to do?

Illustration generated by AI via DALL-E 2

Public Health Research Shows the Value of Congregations in our Health and Wellbeing

AN URGENT QUESTION IN CONGREGATIONS OF ALL FAITHS: “After more than two years of pandemic, how can we encourage people to join our congregation?” That single question pops up in nearly every conversation with religious leaders. And, as it turns out, there’s one terrific reason to join a congregation: It’s good for you! Becoming part of a congregation is a proven predictor of health and wellbeing across our communities around the world. In this Cover Story, we are sharing with all of you an entire chapter from our book, Now What? about the public health research into the benefits of being part of a congregation. You also can feel free to share this with others. It’s good news!

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And Speaking of Health and Wellbeing—

Are you waiting for your copy of ‘Healing the World’? Meanwhile, you can see the movies.

LAST WEEK, we published the announcement of an upcoming biography of public health pioneer and peacemaker Dr. Gustavo Parajón, complete with glowing endorsements from former President Jimmy Carter and Sojourners founder Jim Wallis.

THIS WEEK, we have two short movies about the book—and about Parajón’s dramatic life. They’re both easy to share with friends if you are thinking about organizing a small-group discussion about the upcoming book.

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Even More Healthy Inspiration—

Howard Brown’s ‘Shining Brightly’ is celebrated by the doctors who saved his life.

A SIMPLE CHECKUP JUST MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE, TOO—Author Howard Brown and our entire publishing house team thank Beaumont Hospital for heroically saving Howard’s life in his second battle with aggressive stage IV cancer. The hospital staff graciously organized a “media day” to share Howard’s story with others—encouraging anyone who hears, sees or reads Howard’s story to schedule regular checkups and appropriate early screenings. It was just such a regular visit to see his doctor that ultimately saved Howard’s life. Here’s the story that thousands of people are sharing with friends and loved ones to encourage that simple step: “Have you had a checkup lately?” Please, share this with others via social media and email.

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Holidays & Festivals

Diwali—

Will you be displaying lights?

ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2022—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on the biggest Indian festival of the year, which is celebrated by more than 1 billion people around the world.

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Baha’is celebrate ‘Twin Holy Days’

THEN ON TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY this week are the “Twin Holy Birthdays,” as adherents of the Baha’i faith rejoice in the birth anniversaries of the two figures most central to their faith: Baha’u’llah and the Bab.

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A ‘Trio of Halloween’

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK, Stephanie reports: “Deeply rooted in a centuries-old Gaelic and Irish seasonal festival known as Samhain, ‘Halloween’ is considered by many to be the only time of year that spirits can roam the earth. From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.”

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click on this movie still from the movie Tár to read Edward McNulty’s review.

Click on this image to learn about the October 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete discussion guides to movies including Don’t Worry, Darling, The Railway Children, Fanny Lou Hamer’s America, Indignation, and Catherine Called Birdy.

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.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: Who is Gustavo Parajón? ‘Healing the World’ tells the story that has inspired millions

Summoning the courage to help the world’s most vulnerable

IN THIS WEEK’S COVER STORY, our magazine staff is proud to announce the debut of a remarkable book: Healing the World—the biography of peacemaker and public health pioneer Dr. Gustavo Parajón—which now is available for pre-order from Amazon. This Cover Story, posted in our Front Edge Publishing website, explains why millions look to Parajón for wisdom and inspiration. Now is a perfect time to learn more about Parajón and prepare to talk with friends about his courageous story.

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From Howard Brown—

The Surprising Joy of Sharing Hope Each Day

THIS WEEK, Howard Brown—author of Shining Brightly—shares a column that will inspire anyone who needs a shot in the arm as they start this week. It’s all about the energy we generate when we share “Hope” with others. To make his point, Howard shares with us five surprising things about his life that most people would not guess—including how he safely played basketball with a diverse circle of friends through the pandemic.

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From Dr. David Gushee—

The political challenges of Purple Churches

AMERICA’S LEADING CHRISTIAN ETHICIST, Dr. David Gushee writes this week in his Baptist News Global series about the huge challenges facing leaders of “Purple Churches,” congregations that are trying to hold together members from both ends of America’s political spectrum. As nearly impossible as it may seem, holding these congregations together is a sign of hope, Dr. Gushee argues. “In a society tearing along red/blue lines, such purple churches are playing a very significant political role simply by existing, by holding in community those who disagree in their partisan and ideological commitments.”

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Holidays & Festivals

Diwali—

Will you be displaying lights?

HOLIDAYS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FESTIVAL reports on the biggest Indian festival of the year, which is celebrated by more than 1 billion people around the world.

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Baha’is celebrate ‘Twin Holy Days’

STEPHANIE FENTON also reports on the “Twin Holy Birthdays,” as adherents of the faith rejoice in the birth anniversaries of the two figures most central to their faith: Baha’u’llah and the Bab.

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October Book Birthdays—

PUBLISHERS and AUTHORS celebrate “Book Birthdays” each year, recalling some of the big hits that they have launched in any given month. In this “October Book Birthdays” column, we look at three enduringly popular books we have published in earlier Octobers with two authors: Benjamin Pratt and Dr. David Gushee. All three books are as timely today as they were when we originally released them—especially the book we sometimes call our “James Bond Bible study.”

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click on the Amazon movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of the epic series, The Rings of Power.

Click on this image to learn about the October 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete discussion guides to movies including Don’t Worry, Darling, The Railway Children, Fanny Lou Hamer’s America, Indignation, and Catherine Called Birdy.

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.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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