Cover Story: Rusty Rosman is ‘keeping chaos from overlaying grief’ in ‘Two Envelopes’

As Rusty Rosman’s ‘Two Envelopes’ ships from Amazon this week

Early readers already are telling Rusty about challenges they have faced

COVER STORY—This week, we want to thank all the readers who pre-ordered copies of Rusty Rosman’s Two Envelopes: What You Want Your Loved Ones to Know When You Die—the book we promoted in a ReadTheSpirit Cover Story earlier in February. As is the case with most book releases, Rusty already has been meeting with groups of pre-release readers who want to discuss her book. She has been learning a lot from families about what makes this book especially valuable.

“The stories I’ve heard!” she tells us this week. “I was surprised by some of the things that can cause big problems in families when a loved one dies.”

Here’s one of the most surprising questions: What do you want to wear when you’re laid out in coffin? Maybe that’s a somber thought, but lots of families remember funerals for years where the “viewing” was either handled perfectly—or someone chose an inappropriate outfit and left a bad memory that simply won’t go away.

Please read our Cover Story this week and share it with friends. Sharing this resource is truly a good deed in our troubled world. One thing we have learned from the eager interest in Rusty’s book—even before the February 20 national release of the book—is that these issues loom large in families nationwide.

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From Our Authors—

Howard Brown

‘Shining Brightly’ on a cruise through a sunny sea

THIS WEEK’S Front Edge Publishing column was written by Howard Brown, author of the memoir Shining Brightly, and an in-demand speaker on recovering our resilience in the face of life’s crises. As a two-time stage IV cancer survivor, Howard has an inspiring message—and he found that a recent ocean-going “Resilience” cruise was a perfect setting for connecting with readers.

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Rodney Curtis

The sheer beauty of going ‘Up-North’

PHOTOGRAPHER and AUTHOR Rodney Curtis invites us all to head “Up-North,” a region of Michigan that is well known in the Great Lakes state that Rodney calls home—but is likely to surprise readers from other parts of the world who haven’t yet explored the natural wonders of this region.

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Bill Tammeus on Leanne Friesen

And, finally …

FINALLY, THIS WEEK, we must return to end-of-life issues because so many of our writers are reflecting with the rest of the world on major losses we share—from the latest mass shooting in Kansas City to the death of Alexei Navalny and, well, too many tragedies to count from Ukraine to the Middle East. Our best recommendation is a column from journalist and author Bill Tammeus that begins with a heart-felt recommendation of Leanne Friesen’s new book, Grieving Room. Bill headlined his column: Without room to grieve, we’ll never recover from a death.

And, please come back to ReadTheSpirit next week, when our Cover Story will be an interview with Leanne Friesen about this unique and powerful new memoir she has just published.

 


Holidays, Festivals & Observances

Clearing up confusion about Black History Month

THANKS TO JOE GRIMM AND THE MSU BIAS BUSTERS, we have this Holidays & Festivals column clearing up confusion about the widely regarded “father” of annual observance.

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And also this month—

MILLIONS OF AMERICANS are observing Lent, which started last week with Ash Wednesday for Western Christians. Most Eastern Orthodox churches will begin their Lenten fast on March 18 this year.

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MID FEBRUARY also is the start of the festival of Vasant Panchami—when yellow will be especially popular in Indian communities around the world. Stephanie Fenton reports on the roots and cultural significance of this colorful season.

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AND MARCH IS Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month—and we have a column from Howard Brown that readers can share to help spread that awareness.

 

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 poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of Ava DuVernay’s new film Origin.

Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front of the February 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with reviews and discussion guides. Films covered in this issue include the new Genius series MLK/X, Origin, The Book of Clarence, Mean Girls and the Dreamseller.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: Millions of Americans consider themselves ‘Religiously Unaffiliated,’ but please don’t call them ‘Nones’

 

MSU Journalism School’s Bias Busters Explain One of America’s Largest Religious Groups

OUR COVER STORY this week reveals something surprising: National headlines may suggest that America is becoming less religious—when in fact America is becoming more religiously diverse. Have you seen those headlines in nearly every major news publication about ‘Nones’ or ‘Unaffiliated’ becoming the largest single portion of our nation’s religious landscape?

Well, what a lot of those reports miss is that these Americans actually prefer many other ways to define themselves religiously or spiritually. One reason their numbers have grown is that they refuse to identify with the neat check list of traditional denominations that pollsters keep offering. This is a historic shift in the way Americans define their own spiritual lives—and thank goodness the award-winning Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters team is publishing a complete guide to this major change in American life and culture.

Please read this week’s Cover Story by the founding director of the MSU Bias Busters project, Joe Grimm, and you’re likely to be surprised by some of the findings. And, then, share this story with friends via social media and email. That simple act of sharing this good news can contribute to a healthier community.

In fact, this story is so timely that journalists nationwide are publishing fresh perspectives every week. One of the most thoughtful columns we spotted is by our own colleague, journalist and author Bill Tammeus, headlined, “Would you be OK if institutional religion just disappeared?” If you click on that link to go read Bill’s column, you’ll realize how important this new MSU book really is.

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From Our Authors—

Laura Elizabeth

Plan waaay ahead to run beneath Daufuskie’s giant live oaks

IN HER FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER TO READERS, cozy-mystery author Laura Elizabeth urged everyone who has become fascinated by Daufuskie Island through her debut mystery, All Is Now Lost, to register in advance for the January 2025 Daufuskie Marathon. Considering the long-range effort for readers across the U.S. to plan for a visit to this Atlantic Coast island, that’s a very timely suggestion. So, here’s the direct link to find out more about that 2025 Daufuskie Marathon.

If this news item intrigues you—and you’re wondering about this mystery and this gorgeous, historic island—then click here to visit the Amazon page for All Is Now Lost.

Want to know more about Laura’s many appearances with her readers? Here is the Events page on her Island Mysteries website. She has events booked in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Care to book your own author appearance? You can contact Laura through that website.

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Rusty Rosman

And plan ahead to invite Rusty Rosman to your group or event

SPEAKING OF PLANNING AHEAD WITH AUTHORS, Rusty Rosman already is embarking on a nationwide series of talks in person (and via Zoom). In fact, she just recorded an hour of spirited conversation with Portland-based Mark Turnbull, the host of the popular Aging Today podcast. Mark tells us that episode will air later this month. Stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit for a link!

But, the best way to keep up with Rusty is to connect with her directly. Here is Rusty’s new author-themed Linkedin page, where you can make a direct connection. You also can connect via her main website.

You can learn more about the timely value of her book in this recent ReadTheSpirit cover story. And, of course, right now you can pre-order your own copy of her book.

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Jeffrey Munroe

Thanks to readers who made this launch a bestseller

“THANK YOU” TO ALL OF OUR READERS who helped to push Jeffrey Munroe’s inspiring new book Telling Secrets in the Dark to No. 1 bestselling status among Amazon’s January new releases in the category “Christian Pastoral Counseling.” And, while counselors are indeed praising the book’s wisdom, this really is book for all of us.

In fact, because so many people are asking us about this new book, we asked Jeff many of your questions as he embarks on a series of public outreach events. Here is that Q-and-A in which Jeff answers many of those questions.

Care to order your own copy? Here’s a direct link to the Amazon page..

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Holidays, Festivals & Observances

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday

MILLIONS OF AMERICANS will observe the start of Lent, this week, in some way—from receiving ashes on their foreheads in a special service on Wednesday or perhaps via a beloved custom like eating a sugar-packed paczki. Holidays and Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has our story.

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Valentine’s Day

DID YOU KNOW that we all should thank Geoffrey Chaucer on Valentine’s Day for the role he played in popularizing a culture of love? That’s just one of the historical gems in Stephanie Fenton’s column about Valentine’s Day. And, yes, she also has links to some recipes for delicious Valentine’s Day desserts.

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Vasant Panchami

FEBRUARY 14 IS ALSO the start of the festival of Vasant Panchami—when yellow will be especially popular in Indian communities around the world. Stephanie Fenton reports on the roots and cultural significance of this colorful season.

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Blue is the color of hope in March

COLORECTAL CANCER HAS TOUCHED MILLIONS OF LIVES and, in 2024, the latest news is ominous: Rates of these cancers are rising among adults in their 30s and 40s. We are publishing this column about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month early so that you can help maximize the sharing of this life-saving campaign that will unfold in March.

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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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Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front of the February 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with reviews and discussion guides. Films covered in this issue include the new Genius series MLK/X, Origin, The Book of Clarence, Mean Girls and the Dreamseller.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: Rusty Rosman invites us to shape our own legacies through ‘Two Envelopes’

 

A New Book for Everyone Who Cares about How We Will Be Remembered

OUR COVER STORY this week may seem somber—planning for how we each will leave this world someday—but we are hearing from early readers nationwide that Rusty Rosman’s unique new book, Two Envelopes, is a reassuring and even liberating experience of self expression.

Please, consider: Read our Cover Story this week, then share it with friends and loved ones via social media and email. That simple “good deed” of sharing this story just might help a family avoid a future feud.

That’s no exaggeration! Rusty’s wisdom about family fears and hopes is that valuable. Let her guide you through this fascinating process—and she is available to speak with your class or small group, as well. Please: Meet Rusty this week.

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From Our Authors—

Jeffrey Munroe

‘Telling Stories in the Dark’ invites readers to discover the healing power of community

Many people are eager to talk about Jeffrey Munroe’s life-affirming message of finding resilience and hope—even in the face of deep and sometimes long-lasting trauma. After one such discussion, Jeffrey told us about a surprising, spontaneous response from a man whose story illustrates why such a book is needed.

We asked Jeffrey to write up that experience for us.
And here is that story …

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Mindy Corporon

Telling her inspiring story of compassion in the face of hatred

OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week highlights author Mindy Corporon, who has dedicated her life to encouraging kindness, faith and healing in congregations, companies and communities.

And there’s even more valuable information here: We are using Mindy’s newest YouTube podcast, hosted by Matt Gilhooly, to illustrate the vast reach of YouTube. The latest Pew Research study of Americans’ social media use has just been released and, once again, YouTube dominates all other forms of social media.

Please enjoy this column—including the podcast video as well as the new Pew data—and share this news with friends this week.

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MSU’s Joe Grimm and the Bias Busters:

American Sikhs are joining in a global vote

IN 2024, the award-winning Bias Busters—a long-running program of the Michigan State University School of Journalism under the direction of MSU’s Joe Grimm—will be adding new volumes to their series of guides to understanding racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Please stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit and to Joe Grimm’s own Bias Busters columns for updates on new guides that will be appearing throughout 2024.

In his latest column, Joe reports on an issue close to the heart of the worldwide Sikh community—a question of possible independence within India that gets very little attention in American news media. In this column, Joe gives us a fascinating introduction to that global issue along with links to read more.

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Holidays, Festivals & Observances

Chinese Year of the Dragon

ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10, the Chinese Year of the Dragon begins. Unrivaled among Chinese holidays, the New Year begins weeks in advance with families cleaning and hanging paper cutouts in their homes, shopping for fish, meats and other specialty foods, and purchasing new clothing.

On the eve of the New Year, a Reunion Dinner is shared with extended family members. Dumplings, meat dishes, fish and an assortment of hot and cold dishes are considered essential for the table. Sociologists who study religious diversity around the world refer to the annual New Year’s homecoming in China as the greatest annual human migration on the planet.

Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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Blue is the color of hope in March

COLORECTAL CANCER HAS TOUCHED MILLIONS OF LIVES and, in 2024, the latest news is ominous: Rates of these cancers are rising among adults in their 30s and 40s. In fact, an NBC News reports: “Colorectal cancer is the deadliest cancer for men under age 50—and the second deadliest cancer among women in the same age group, behind breast cancer.” We are publishing this column early so that you can share this story with friends and loved ones and maximize the sharing of this important news that will unfold in March.

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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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Faith & Film

Click on this poster for the latest season of the Genius TV series to read Edward McNulty’s review.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: Launching this week—’Telling Stories in the Dark’ invites readers to discover the healing power of community

And readers already are sending enthusiastic thanks for author Jeffrey Munroe’s inspiring new book

COVER STORY: Our entire team of writers and editors is thankful this week for the shower of encouraging notes from early readers of author Jeffrey Munroe’s new Telling Stories in the Dark: Finding healing and hope in sharing our sadness, grief, trauma, and pain

His book is officially launching this week via Amazon in hardcover and paperback, as well as via Barnes & Noble, Walmart and other booksellers.

One of the warmest emails was from a therapist who had received a pre-publication copy and loves the book so much that she has decided to place a copy on the table in her waiting room. She emailed Jeff to tell him she’s now ordering more copies, because that book is so attractive that she knows some of her clients will want to take it home! She needs more copies to keep the book available on her table.

And, please, don’t simply take our word for it about the value of this book: We also are pleased to share a link with our ReadTheSpirit readers this week to veteran journalist Bill Tammeus’s review of Jeff’s book in which Bill calls this “an enormously helpful book.” Bill headlined his review: Confronting trauma not with explanations but with love

Want to read a sample? This is the first book in our new Reformed Journal Books imprint and that online magazine—The Reformed Journal—has published their own column heralding the book’s official publication-date this week. The Journal editors chose to provide a brief excerpt from Jeff’s book, headlined: The Thing with Feathers, which was Emily Dickinson’s famous description of “hope.”

Got more questions? Perhaps we’ve already asked Jeff a question that might be in your mind. Last week, we published this Q&A with Jeff, based on the kinds of questions folks have been raising as they have learned about the launch of this new book.

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From Our Authors—

Dr. David Gushee:

Best-selling ‘Changing Our Mind’ becomes ‘Cambiano nuestra mente’

THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES AROUND THE WORLD have been helped in reconciling with their LGBTQ loved ones through the inspiring message of Christian ethicist Dr. David Gushee in his best-selling book, Changing Our Mind. Now, in response to requests from Spanish-speaking Christians, his influential book is now available for pre-order in Spanish. Please read this week’s Front Edge Publishing column and share it with friends who might be interested in this news. In doing so, you just might be playing a small role in reuniting a family.

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MSU’s Joe Grimm and the Bias Busters:

‘Do Amish people shop at Walmart?’

IN 2024, the award-winning Bias Busters—a long-running program of the Michigan State University School of Journalism under the direction of MSU’s Joe Grimm—will be adding to their series of guides to understanding racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

Stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit and to Joe Grimm’s own Bias Busters columns for updates on new guides that will be appearing throughout 2024. (If you care about diversity issues, please use the “subscribe” box on that Bias Busters page to get the latest columns directly from Joe.)

In his latest column, this week, Joe previews the upcoming 100 Questions and Answers About Mennonites and the Amish. The answer to the question he raises—”Do Amish people shop at Walmart?”—will surprise you.

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Holidays, Festivals & Observances

Four Chaplains Day

ON FEBRUARY 3, each year, memorial services are held in communities nationwide to recall the four chaplains of various religious affiliations who sacrificed their lives to save as many soldiers and sailors as possible, after their WWII transport ship was hit by a torpedo. Our columnist Stephanie Fenton has this inspiring story, which is especially timely in 2024, when the FBI is reporting a rising tide of hate crimes across the U.S.

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Blue is the color of hope in March

COLORECTAL CANCER HAS TOUCHED MILLIONS OF LIVES and, in 2024, the latest news is ominous: Rates of these cancers are rising among adults in their 30s and 40s. In fact, an NBC News reports: “Colorectal cancer is the deadliest cancer for men under age 50—and the second deadliest cancer among women in the same age group, behind breast cancer. The incidence of colon cancer has been rising for at least the last two decades, when it was the fourth-leading cause of cancer death for both men and women under 50.”

We are publishing this column early—well before Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March—so that you can share this story with friends and loved ones and maximize the sharing that will unfold in March.

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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 the movie poster to read Edward McNulty’s review of the new Mean Girls movie.

Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front cover of the January 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this resource enjoyed by individuals and small groups nationwide.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: Jeffrey Munroe on the power of ‘Telling Stories in the Dark’: ‘When we tell our stories, others find their own healing and hope’

A heartfelt story of family and friends—in which you are likely to recognize your own story, too

THAT’S THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER JEFFREY MUNROE WRITES ABOUT in his new book Telling Stories in the Dark. When we honestly share our stories of sadness, grief, trauma and pain—we discover that others are living out these same stories. We find hope and healing—and our friends and families do as well.

In our Cover Story this week, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm interviews Jeff, asking questions many of Jeff’s early readers have raised about this unique book. Please read this story and share it with friends this week via social media and email. You may be surprised, when you share this story, how many people will thank you.

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From Our Authors—

Laura Elizabeth:

The challenges and the fun of launching a first book

In our recent Front Edge Publishing columns, we have been reporting on ways to develop and to participate in successful podcasts, which are a vital gateway to expanding your audience—whether you are an author or a scholar or a community or religious leader. This week, we are featuring a really engaging podcast hosted by author Peter Greenwood, interviewing our cozy mystery author Laura Elizabeth. It’s a great glimpse into the experience of first-time publishing and it’s a solid example of a well-produced podcast by Peter.

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‘We are not born to hate’

HERE’S A POWERFUL AND TIMELY AFFIRMATION from our author Howard Brown—thanks to writer Debra L. Eckerling and the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal. Debra’s profile of Howard shares some of Howard’s very practical advice for making the world a little better, each day. It’s the kind of story that’s inspiring to read and is likely to bring a smile to your friends if you share it on social media.

Of course, the best way to get a dose of Howard’s wisdom is to get a copy of his book, Shining Brightly.

Or, you can visit Howard at his website, where you can download free PDFs with wisdom distilled on several themes: Mentorship, Survivorship and Interfaith Bridge Bulding. Those download links are in the navy blue area on this page.

 


Holidays & Festivals

Holocaust Remembrance

ON JANUARY 27 EACH YEAR, people around the world observe one of the two annual days to memorialize the Holocaust—a remembrance that is especially timely and sorely needed in 2024. Our columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story and includes lots of helpful links to further reading and resources.

Still Honoring Dr. King

IF YOU MISSED IT LAST WEEK, we marked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a special cover story featuring author Greg Garrett and his new book about James Baldwin. We’ve heard from a number of readers who were “off” when last Monday’s issue of ReadTheSpirit appeared, so we are repeating a link to that inspiring cover story about Jame Baldwin’s prophetic life and legacy, this week, as well.

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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 the movie poster for The Book of Clarence to read faith-and-film critic Edward McNulty’s review.

Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front cover of the January 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this resource enjoyed by individuals and small groups nationwide.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: Greg Garrett amplifies James Baldwin’s prophetic call from ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’ to ‘The Welcome Table’

‘Any Myth that Denies a Person’s Humanity Has to be Excavated and Repented’

THAT’S A COMMITMENT made by scholar and author Greg Garrett in his newest book, which we are featuring as our Cover Story to mark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2024. Please read this interview with Greg about the prophetic value of encountering James Baldwin’s body of work in a fresh way—including new research Greg has undertaken on Baldwin’s final, unfinished play The Welcome Table.

As you read this Cover Story, please also take a moment to share a link to this story via your social media or email contacts. That simple act helps to spread good news in our troubled world at a time when we need resources like this one.

About the MLK Day Holiday

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST Stephanie Fenton reports on the King holiday, which this year falls on King’s actual birthday. Of course, she includes a helpful link to the national website for this day of service, as well.

SINCE 2007, we have been pleased to bring Stephanie’s coverage of the world’s major observances to readers far and wide. As we launched this new year, we recently unveiled Stephanie’s 2024 calendar—and we invited readers to contact us if they have questions: Have you spotted a “missing” observance that you would like us to include? Found a typo or an issue to clarify? Please email us at [email protected] (And we’re sending a sincere “Thank you!” to the readers who did email us with suggestions and also words of appreciation for this wonderful service.)

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 Our Authors—

Howard Brown:

Each week, he makes a daring promise to ‘Inspire!’ his podcast audience

Does he succeed? Now you can test that claim yourself with a “Top Stories” roundup Howard has prepared for us, highlighting some of the very best of his 61 podcasts produced so far. This is a story you’ll want to share with friends who will thank you for recommending this unique, weekly podcast.

In this Front Edge Publishing column, we are featuring Howard’s “Top Stories” podcast—and we’re also providing quick links to a half dozen of the very best that he mentions. This is a one-stop column for lots of inspiring listening this week.

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Victor Begg:

The sustaining power of faith in the midst of grief

VICTOR BEGG is the author of Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving the American Dream—which also features stories about his late wife, the remarkable interfaith peacemaker Shahina Begg.

In this recent column, Victor writes about his own reliance on faith in the midst of loss. While friends, family and caring neighbors are vital ingredients in finding a path forward after a life-long partner passes, Victor writes that faith also is an essential part of his journey.

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Jeffrey Munroe:

Our 1st Book Launch in 2024 is Telling Secrets in the Dark

VISIT OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING website for a brief preview and links to pre-order our first new book of 2024—Telling Secrets in the Dark by Jeffrey Munroe.

Our regular readers also may recall our big November 2023 announcement of this new publishing imprint with The Reformed Journal—which has has been, for many decades, one of the leading Christian magazines published in America.

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TO MARK MLK DAY, we know readers may want to see the new feature film Rustin, about the man behind the March on Washington. Clicking on this Netflix poster for the film takes you to Edward McNulty’s full review of that film.

Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front cover of the January 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this resource enjoyed by individuals and small groups nationwide.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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: A Delightful Year of Holidays & Festivals Is Unfolding Around the World

Every week through every year—we celebrate our colorful world!

THANKS TO OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON, our ReadTheSpirit magazine has been covering a variety of celebrations, commemorations and observances around the world since 2007. That’s more than 850 weekly issues in which Stephanie has shared colorful stories of the ways our communities mark spiritual and cultural milestones, each year.

This week’s Cover Story is the unveiling of Stephanie’s 2024 calendar. We know that, over many years, readers both in the U.S. and in other parts of the world have used Stephanie’s calendar as a guide to expressions of religious and cultural diversity. We are aware of her column being used by chaplains in health care systems and other major institutions, community leaders, civic officials, educators and other media professionals. Once again in 2024, please feel free to share Stephanie’s calendar—and her ongoing weekly columns that appear in our online magazine—and please include a credit line for Stephanie and our magazine for this service we have been providing for 17 years.

Got a question about the calendar? Have you spotted a “missing” observance that you would like us to include? Found a typo or an issue to clarify? Please email us at [email protected] 

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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 Our Authors—

Laura Elizabeth announces:

‘Murder Mystery Dinners’ based on her cozy mystery

THE FIRST AUTHOR IN OUR NEW COZY MYSTERY IMPRINT, Laura Elizabeth has become a true innovator in book marketing. This week, she is announcing that—in her home state of Georgia—she will be cooperating with Kaya Vineyard and Winery to host three “Murder Mystery Dinners,” based on the story of her popular novel All Is Now Lost. In her newest newsletter to readers, Laura announced to her fans that her beloved characters “Carr, Barb, and Tripp will come to life under the tent at Kaya Vineyards on March 3rd, 8th, and 9th. More information and ticket options can be found on Kaya’s website.” Bravo to you, Laura! And, if any of our far-flung ReadTheSpirit readers are interested in these Georgia events—please follow that link.

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Jeffrey Munroe:

Our 1st Book Launch in 2024 is Telling Secrets in the Dark

VISIT OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING website for a brief preview and links to pre-order our first new book of 2024—Telling Secrets in the Dark by Jeffrey Munroe.

Our regular readers also may recall our big November 2023 announcement of this new publishing imprint with The Reformed Journal—which has has been, for many decades, one of the leading Christian magazines published in America.

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George Mason on:

The Shifting Landscape for Pastors

IN THE OPENING DAYS OF THIS NEW YEAR, the widely respected pastor George A. Mason appeared in a new Cooperative Baptist Fellowship podcast about “the shifting landscape for pastors and preachers.” George’s new book, The Word Made Fresh, available from Amazon, has brought a new national spotlight on his inspiring style of preaching and teaching while embracing inclusion. We’re sure many of our readers will enjoy this CBF audio conversation with George, focused on emerging issues that thousands of churches are facing in 2024.

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Rodney Curtis:

Award-winning photographer and author showcases a year of favorite photographs

YOU’LL DEFINITELY WANT TO CLICK OVER to Rodney Curtis’s website this week to enjoy his collection of “My Favorite Pictures of the Year.” The selections include, of course, Rodney’s family as well as their adventures in New Zealand and Montreal. Among the best photos of 2023 are some downright cuuuute baby photos as well!

Rodney greets us all in this gallery: “Wow, what a year! I was unbelievably fortunate to have traveled through three countries over the past twelve months and also receive a new granddaughter along the way.” So, c’mon, take a peek!

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Calling All Writers—And Readers:

Please, Join Us on Goodreads in 2024

AS WE BEGIN THIS NEW YEAR, we hope you’ll enjoy connecting with our publishing house team on Goodreads, the worldwide social-media network for book lovers. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm writes about how Goodreads really can become a wonderful community of friends who enjoy reading—and you’ll find easy links to connect with David and Front Edge’s Susan Stitt as well.

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Click this poster for the new version of The Color Purple to read Ed McNulty’s review.

Click this photograph of Edward McNulty from his service in Freedom Summer in Mississippi in 1964 to read our tribute to his remarkable career.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide 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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