COVER STORY—Bill Tammeus and Mindy Corporon: ‘Together we can shine a light on peace.

Three Inspiring Videos to Spark Discussion in Your Community

IN THIS WEEK’S COVER STORY, we are sharing three inspiring videos featuring Mindy Corporon, Bill Tammeus and others. These are videos that you can share with friends in your congregation or community to encourage discussion of peacemaking and overcoming the challenges of grief and trauma that are so common in our country, these days. We preview each video and provide some of the most intriguing quotes from them. You can watch all three videos in our story—and we hope that you will read this story and reach out to friends via social media and email.

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From Our Authors

Larry Buxton: The Stockdale Paradox

IN HIS LEADING WITH SPIRIT column this week, Larry Buxton talks about values closely related to this week’s Cover Story. He stresses the need to talk honestly about the brutal truths we often face in our world—with our ultimate hope that God and goodness will prevail. The temptation, Larry explains, is to fall into euphemisms, myths or outright lies about our world. However, we can avoid those traps, Larry says. “We can see through the euphemisms and we can have the courage to name reality. I’m an optimist! And, this is not easy! You and I can face harsh realities—and we can still prevail.” In his 4-minute video, he tells the story of the Stockdale Paradox, the strategy U.S. Admiral James Stockdale used during his years as a POW in Vietnam. This is a great short video for individual reflection and group discussion. It’s easy to share via links, social media or email.

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Martin Davis: Ali Kershner dares to show gender inequality

JOURNALIST and AUTHOR MARTIN DAVIS appears in The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) this month with a column about the vast gender inequalities in college athletics. These gaps have been obvious for many years—but there’s a fresh national wave of concern prompted by a viral Instagram post from Stanford University performance coach Ali Kershner. “I think this is going to be a watershed moment,” says another college coach quoted in Martin’s column. These inequalities have “always been there, but every opportunity creates new conversations.” Please, visit the CSM website to read Martin’s entire column and share it with friends.

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WISDOM women: Join us for a unique dialogue on race and gender

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week: One surprise of this pandemic year is the ability for authors to invite people to their public events—wherever those people may live around the world! In this column, Editor David Crumm explains how you can learn about upcoming virtual events—including a unique dialogue on race and gender to be held on May 20, 2021, sponsored by WISDOM women.

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We Are Caregivers

NOW WHAT? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging is our new resource-packed book for families, caregivers and anyone concerned about aging in America. Thanks to video producer Susan Stitt, we now have a 2-minute preview clip to help convince friends across your community and congregation to discuss this book’s many inspiring challenges. That’s just one of the new stories this week in our We Are Caregivers section.
IN ADDITION, co-author Lisa Brown sent us an inspiring new story she spotted about AmeriCorp funding 1,600 new senior volunteers in 16 states and Puerto Rico. It’s all in this week’s We Are Caregivers section. We hope you will share this news with friends, spreading awareness so that you might join other caregiving groups nationwide.

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Holidays & Festivals

 

Are You Ready for Mother’s Day?

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON urges all of us to plan ahead so we are ready to show appreciation for Mom, Grandma and any maternal figure in your life on the second Sunday of May. She’s got the story, plus tips and helpful links.

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As American families are preparing for Mother’s Day, Muslim families also are planning ahead for family gatherings to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast. At this time of year, bakeries specializing in serving Muslim communities will be working overtime to produce all the extra sweets.

Ramadan Continues through May 12

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports this week on the upcoming festivals that are major part of the Muslim fasting month: The mystical Laylat al-Qadr marks the night the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad; and later the Eid ul-Fitr is usually a big family celebration of the end of the fast. For Eid, congregations pray together; visits are paid to family and friends; sweets are enjoyed; and carnivals, vacations and gatherings are common. Although more Eid events will take place this year than did last year, pandemic restrictions are still being enforced at most public events worldwide.

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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 on these photos from Two Distant Strangers to read Ed McNulty’s review of this remarkable 2020 film written by Travon Free. Recently, it won the Oscar for best live-action short film.

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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.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. THUNDER ROAD—Ed writes, “Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”
  2. SARAJEVO—”Austrian director Andreas Prochaska gives us an interesting new slant on the origins of World War One in this speculative story unfolding in the city where the infamous assassination set in motion the Great War.”
  3. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGSTo offer some lighter fair in his recommendations this week, Ed writes about the Coen brothers’ eccentric series of Western tales, which was released in 2018 and still is streaming on Netflix.
  4. WOLFWALKERS—Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  5. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  6. CONCRETE COWBOY—”Director (and co-writer with Dan Walser) Ricky Staub’s film, based on the 2011 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, offers an unusual twist on the old father-son theme.”
  7. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  8. UNCLE FRANK—In contrast, Ed does praise “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.”
  9. 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.”
  10. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”

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Cover Story: Meditation in Motion is a powerful, spiritual Spring Tonic

We Are Caregivers …

In Mind, Body and Spirit

IN THIS SECOND YEAR OF THE PANDEMIC, our entire publishing house team is highlighting news and inspiring columns from around the world that focus on caregiving and spiritual wellbeing. This week, three of our authors contribute columns on the theme “Meditation in Motion.” We’ve placed the first two of these three columns in our We Are Caregivers section of this magazine so they are easy to find as spiritual resources, then the third is in Suzy Farbman’s GodSigns section. So, let’s get moving! In our first column, pastoral counselor and author Lucille Sider writes, “This step, each step, right here, right now.”

MEDITATION IN MOTION 2:
‘Rock on, Brothers and Sisters!’

Then, Clifford Worthy, author of the memoir Black Knight, shares a delightful prose-poem he wrote about his life-long appreciation of simply taking time to sit and rock—a perfect reminder as our days warm in the Northern Hemisphere and many families are bringing their furniture back out onto decks and porches. Please enjoy, ‘Rock on, Brothers and Sisters!

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MEDITATION IN MOTION 3:
Reaching out through art, family and breathing

IN HER GodSigns COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman also reflects on the weariness so many of us are feeling as the pandemic stretches into a second year of isolation. Suzy has the additional burden of serving as a long-term caregiver, yet she finds herself summoning spiritual renewal through the arts, through her family and through one of the world’s oldest disciplines: meditative breathing.

PLEASE, TELL A FRIEND! These are three wonderful columns to share with friends, especially friends who may be weary these days. Please, share these via social media, email—or you can even print them using the easy green print button at the end of each column.

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Holidays & Festivals

Plan Ahead for Mother’s Day

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON urges all of us to plan ahead so we are ready to show appreciation for Mom, Grandma and any maternal figure in your life on the second Sunday of May. She’s got the story, plus tips and helpful links.

Ramadan Continues through May 12

FROM VICTOR BEGG comes a reflection on the fasting month for the world’s Muslims that begins with these lines: “A growing number of Americans today don’t identify with a religion. I reflect upon this trend as I observe a pillar of my Islamic faith in Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn until sunset. … A month-long devotional exercise helps renew and deepen spiritual connection to mind and body through God consciousness, which’s the essence of fasting.” Care to read more? Victor is the author of Our Muslim Neighbors, which invites readers into the story of an American Muslim family.

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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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From Our Authors

Setting a Record: A New Review 13 Years after Publication

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week, we are sharing a record-setting new review of a book we published in 2008: Ian Flemig’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass, by Benjamin Pratt.

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Larry Buxton: A Death No One Will Mourn

IN HIS SHORT LEADING-WITH-SPIRIT VIDEO, this week, Larry Buxton reflects on one death in the national headlines that no one is mourning. What can we learn from such a life? Larry says he has learned a lesson that he shares in this brief video.

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Click to read Ed McNulty’s review of the animated feature Wolfwalkers.

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Faith & Film

Click to learn more about the April 2021 issue of Visual Parables.

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. WOLFWALKERS—Ed writes, “Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  2. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  3. CONCRETE COWBOY—”Director (and co-writer with Dan Walser) Ricky Staub’s film, based on the 2011 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, offers an unusual twist on the old father-son theme.”
  4. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  5. HOW I LIVE NOW—”Based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, director Kevin Macdonald’s apocalyptic WW III novel is a good balance of thrilling story and character study.”
  6. SENTINELLEEd does not recommend writer-director Julien Leclercq’s film, which starts out with the promise of exploring the traumas of war in a serious way—and turns into just another story of violent revenge.
  7. UNCLE FRANK—In contrast, Ed does praise “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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. CRIP CAMP—”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.”
  10. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”

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COVER STORY: As the Spirit of Spring Returns with Opening Day, Let’s Sing a Hymn to the Hot Dog

That’s a Hot Dog, Carolina Style!

For a number of years, our online magazine has welcomed the start of baseball as a uniquely American contribution to the global Holidays & Festivals we have covered on a weekly basis since 2007 (scroll down for more about that). Our chief correspondent from Abner Doubleday’s denomination has been the journalist Martin Davis, who will publish his book 30 Days with America’s High School Coaches just before World Series season this year. Shortly after Opening Day this year, Martin emailed our offices to say: ‘I know our readers love regional recipes—and I thought of a great connection for this year’s start-of-baseball column.’ And here it is … We know you’re going to want to check out this column, share it with friends and you may decide to make this recipe yourself. Bon appétit! And: Play ball!

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We Are Caregivers

 

3 STORIES, A PASTORAL LETTER & A VIDEO

THIS WEEK IN ‘We Are Caregivers,’ we start with a story about a hopeful new project involving dozens of radio, TV and print journalists who are focused on helping caregivers under the collaborative banner of the Journalism Solutions Network. Then, we’re highly recommending a fascinating magazine-style story about America’s aging nuns by Patricia Montemurri. Finally, we’ve found an inspiring example of a pastoral letter to congregations across the upper Midwest as the George Floyd trial nears its conclusion. All three news items—plus a video—are on the front page of We Are Caregivers this week. Please, share this good news with others!

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From Suzy Farbman

How Barbara Loren-Snyder (and Martha Stewart) shaped the style of American homes

IN HER GodSigns COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman concludes her two-part story of design consultant Barbara Loren-Snyder. Among the many successes in her long career, she spotted an up-and-coming star named Martha Stewart and helped to make her a household name.

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Holidays & Festivals

Bahais’ Ridvan and Hindus’ Rama Navami

OUR BAHA’I AND HINDU FRIENDS have major festivals both starting this week. 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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Explore Ramadan

OUR BOOKS ARE DOORWAYS—The fasting month of Ramadan, which began last week on April 12, 2021, is much more than a period of self denial. The world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims are focusing each day 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.

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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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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 on this cover 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. HOW I LIVE NOW—Ed writes, “Based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, director Kevin Macdonald’s apocalyptic WW III novel is a good balance of thrilling story and character study.”
  2. SENTINELLEEd does not recommend writer-director Julien Leclercq’s film, which starts out with the promise of exploring the traumas of war in a serious way—and turns into just another story of violent revenge.
  3. UNCLE FRANK—In contrast, Ed does praise “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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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.”

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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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