Have a meaningful Memorial Day weekend! Consider these tips for conversations.

MSU’s Bias Busters project encourages conversations with our millions of veterans.

AND BIAS BUSTERS FOUNDER Joe Grimm writes, for the Memorial Day weekend, about how to start such conversations.

THEN—HOLIDAYS columnist Stephanie Fenton explains more about the history and customs surrounding Memorial Day.

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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And good news from our writers—Suzy Farbman:

On turning 80 and considering the potential that lies ahead

 

AND WE ALL ARE CHEERING: “Happy birthday Suzy!” This week, our GodSigns columnist and life-long journalist Suzy Farbman sums up the guiding wisdom that she cherishes as she steps into her 80s.

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Faith & Film

Click on this movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of this wonderful, new Ken Loach 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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Cover Story: Why the Korean translation of David Gushee’s Changing Our Mind is So Important

Do you know how deeply Christian roots run in Asian cultures?

OUR COVER STORY THIS WEEK looks at why the new Korean-language version of Dr. David Gushee’s best-selling Changing Our Mind is so important for millions of Americans—and Christians in South Korea as well. The depth of Christianity in Asia may surprise you!

Please, if you are intrigued by this cover story, share it with friends via social media or email. That simple act is a way to spread more of the inspiring news we provide each week into our troubled world.

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More good news from our writers—

Another generation is steps up into community leadership

GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the bar mitzvah of her grandson—and the moving milestone this represents of generations moving into community leadership.

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George A. Mason’s ‘Good God’

Conversations about healing America’s deep divides

IF YOU HAVE NOT DISCOVERED George Mason’s Good God podcast—then this truly is good news for you. Just as he did in his decades preaching from one of the nation’s most prominent pulpits—now, post-“retirement,” George is involved in national conversations about the values that should undergird our nation’s future. Follow this link to the Good God website and you will find three recent podcasts with these headlines:

  • Brian Kaylor: The Surprising Origin Story of Christian Nationalism
  • Courageous Conversations; Sandy Ovalle Martinez on Responding to Social Injustice with Courage
  • Courageous Conversations: Father Michael Lapsley on a Pathway to Wholeness and the Spiritual Wound of Racism

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Jeffrey Munroe

‘This Table Hosts a Feast’

WE’VE BEEN TALKING WITH READERS for months about the inspiring power of Jeffrey Munroe’s new book, Telling Stories in the Dark. Now, there’s an eloquent new review of Jeff’s book by Oakland, California, pastor Beth Carroll that wonderfully sums up the book’s unique value for readers. Beth writes about the book, “This table hosts a feast–a feast where all are fed and drink of the same cup–where no one is alone because all are included.”

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Howard Brown—

He’s waaaay past 100,000 now

JUST LAST WEEK, we published this cover story about Howard Brown sailing past the 100,000-downloads milestone with his weekly podcast. Well, he’s drawing such a nationwide audience now that he’s already at 120,000 downloads this week. One reason his audience is growing is that Howard features authentic experts on a wide range of issues related to finding hope, health and resilience.

This week, he’s featuring nationally known expert in conflict resolution Amy Armstrong. Here’s her online bio if you don’t immediately recognize her name. To listen to Howard’s half-hour conversation with Amy, visit his ShiningBrightly.com homepage and enjoy this week’s episode No. 79, which is at the top of the podcast list.

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Holidays & Festivals

Vesak

HOLIDAYS EXPERT STPEHANIE FENTON writes that, on Thursday: “Lanterns glow in Buddhist communities worldwide, as the collective birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha is observed: it is the holiday known as Vesak.”

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Planning ahead for Memorial Day

PLANNING FAMILY TIME? Stephanie Fenton writes: “The unofficial start of summer in America began, less than two centuries ago, as a solemn observance for the war that had consumed more lives than any other U.S. conflict. While memorial services still abound, the national holiday also means picnics, beaches, fireworks and, of course, travel, as Americans enjoy a three-day weekend.”

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

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Click on this poster image for the PBS American Experience film Nazi Town, USA, to read Ed McNulty’s review.

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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Cover Story: Celebrating with Howard Brown—a podcast host who delivers sunshine and inspiration week after week

More than 100,000 listeners have enjoyed Howard’s half-hour dose of hope and resilience

This week, we’re sharing 6 fan-favorite episodes

COVER STORY—Howard Brown begins this week’s Cover Story with the words: “This celebration isn’t about me—it’s about the more than 100,000 times people have chosen to listen to these stories of hope and resilience. Editor David Crumm invited me to write this column because we want to celebrate the lives this podcast has touched—perhaps yours. … If you’re hearing about my weekly Shining Brightly podcast for the first time—then I’m sharing six samples that will welcome you into our nationwide community of listeners.”

Please enjoy our audio-packed Cover Story this week and, if you enjoy it, take a moment to share a link to that story with friends. As more than 100,000 can attest: They’ll be glad you shared the link.

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More inspiring news, this week—

Laura Elizabeth is taking us back to her island off the Atlantic coast

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, this week, we share the big news that cozy mystery writer Laura Elizabeth has a second Island Mysteries novel in the works. And, we’re giving you an easy link to keep in touch with Laura, so you won’t miss the launch.

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MSU School of Journalism Bias Busters

How might key religious groups shape the upcoming election?

MSU BIAS BUSTERS PROFESSOR JOE GRIMM draws on information from two of the Bias Busters guidebooks as he looks at how key religious groups might shape the upcoming election.

One column is headlined: Do evangelical Christians support Biden or Trump? Yes.

A second column is headlined: Could religiously unaffiliated “nones” swing this election?

THANKS TO THE BIAS BUSTERS for all of their hard work in researching and producing more than 20 books to help combat bias with “100 Questions & Answers” about a wide range of minorities in our communities. They like to say, “We’re answering the questions everybody’s asking but nobody’s answering.” You can see the entire MSU series of books here.
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‘Young Life’ Recommends Jeffrey Munroe’s ‘Telling Stories in the Dark’

ALL OF US AT ReadTheSpirit magazine are honored that the nationwide Young Life ministry network recommended the new book by Jeffrey Munroe, Editor of the Reformed Journal and earlier in his career a Young Life leader. Why is Jeff’s new book so valuable? Because, Young Life’s column says, “Through these stories, Munroe illuminates the transformative power of faith amidst adversity, offering profound insights into the human experience and the enduring hope found in Christ.” To read this entire column about Jeff and his new book, click here to visit the Young Life website.

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What we can learn about embracing our ever-changing world from the Cherokee

THIS WEEK, Editor David Crumm has posted a review in Goodreads, highly recommending a new University of California press book, The People of Kituwah. In recent years, our online magazine has published dozens of stories about the wisdom all of us can find in exploring the Native American traditions that form a spiritual tapestry across our continent. If you find this review helpful, please share a link to it with friends.

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And from a half dozen of our authors

Resources to help your congregation welcome LGBTQ+ friends

OUR MAY 6 COVER STORY was inspired by the historic news that America’s third largest Christian denomination—the United Methodist Church—has reversed more than half a century of LGBTQ+ exclusion. And now—the challenge voiced by United Methodist bishops, pastors and lay leaders nationwide is—”Welcoming all people into the embrace of God.” If you missed it last week, please enjoy that helpful story, which begins with some of the best news headlines about this historic milestone—then offers an inspiring video introduction to a wide array of authors. And, if you are inspired, take a moment to share this cover story with friends this week via social media and email. Together, we can help to expand the compassionate circle in communities nationwide.

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Holidays & Festivals

If you see flames this Sunday—

It’s likely a Pentecost celebration

FLAMES AND RED VESTMENTS are common at Pentecost, a Christian celebration of “the birthday of the church.” Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story for us.

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

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Click this movie poster to read Ed’s review of “The Fall Guy.”

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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COVER STORY: Our authors are ready to help 20,000-plus United Methodist congregations welcoming LGBTQ+ members

Bishops, clergy, lay leaders call for welcoming LGBTQ+ neighbors

Authors, scholars, journalists are ready to help

OUR COVER STORY THIS WEEK starts with the historic news that America’s third largest Christian denomination—the United Methodist Church—has reversed more than half a century of LGBTQ+ exclusion. And now—the challenge voiced by United Methodist bishops, pastors and lay leaders nationwide is: “Welcoming all people into the embrace of God.”

Please enjoy our cover story, which begins with some of the best news headlines from the past week—then offers an inspiring video introduction to a wide array of authors.

And, if you are inspired, take a moment to share this cover story with friends this week via social media and email. Together, we can help to expand the compassionate circle in communities nationwide.

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And also from our writers—

Clicking on this cover image will take you to the Amazon page for Jeffrey Munroe’s book, “Telling Stories in the Dark,” which features Roger Nelson’s story.

Jeffrey Munroe:

A Story of a Church Still Struggling

WHILE OUR PUBLISHING HOUSE is celebrating the United Methodist journey toward inclusion, this week, some Christian denominations remain deeply divided over gender and sexual orientation. Our author Jeffrey Munroe—who heads up the historic Reformed Journal online magazine—has just published such a story by Roger Nelson. Jeff explains, “Roger’s remarkable story of resilience after witnessing his father’s murder appears in my book. For more than two decades, Roger has been a pastor who has compassionately led his congregation through divisions around human sexuality. Now, Roger writes for our Reformed Journal about facing a threat of expulsion from his denomination.”

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George A. Mason:

‘Spend it all now!’

ONE OF THE NATION’S LEADING PREACHERS, George A. Mason wrote this brief column to encourage his fellow writers—urging all of us who write to use our best ideas now. George’s memorable little column encouraging our ongoing flow of ideas, as writers, appears in our Front Edge Publishing blog, this week.

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Holidays & Festivals

 

Are you ready for Mother’s Day?

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS columnist Stephanie Fenton reports in her column, this week, that Mother’s Day continues to draw the largest church attendance of the year after Christmas and Easter.

And, Ascension Day is this week, too

STEPHANIE FENTON has this holiday story, as well. Did you know that this is one of the oldest Christian traditions? Each year, the Feast of the Ascension takes place on the 40th day after Easter.

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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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In honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day (May 5-6 in 2024), our film critic Ed McNulty reaches back to 1970 and suggests that people watch “The Only Way,” about how Danes risked their lives to help save thousands of Jews during World War II.

 

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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Cover Story: Andrea Longton emerges as an important new voice in the national conversation encouraging Social Justice Investing

What is the greatest good we can do in this world?

OUR COVER STORY THIS WEEK introduces an important voice in the national conversation about Social Justice Investing: Andrea Longton—a nationally respected expert in this growing field of finance that encourages people to exercise their spiritual and ethical values while investing their money.

This is such an important area of interest for our long-time ReadTheSpirit readers that we providing two perspectives on Andrea’s work in this week’s Cover Story:

First, this is a Q-and-A with Andrea, interviewed by David Crumm with links to Andrea’s book and some of her free online resources, as well.

Then, in this second story, financial expert and author Jonathan Grimm adds his perspective on Andrea’s new book.

Please, if these stories interest you, share them with friends via social media and email. Andrea is bringing us some good news that’s needed in our world, today.

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Holidays & Festivals

Happy Easter to our Eastern Christian Neighbors

SUNDAY, MAY 5 is Easter—or Great and Holy Pascha—for Eastern Orthodox Christians this year. You may think that Easter came and went a month ago—but millions of families around the world are just getting ready this week to celebrate the most important festival of the Christian year.

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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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And more news—

Mindy Corporon engaging in a national conversation about confronting hatred

As a publishing house, we often talk about our authors “engaging in a national conversation” as one of the primary reasons to do all the hard work of writing, editing and publishing a book. Quite simply: We want to make our world a better place with the creative and compassionate ideas we are sharing.

One author who has accomplished that, despite the trauma that transformed her life a decade ago, is Mindy Corporon. This column illustrates the many way that “national conversation” is taking place around us.

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Click on this poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of the film.

 

Faith & Film

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with 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: As Passover approaches, affirming that peace is a global value

Michigan’s JCRC-AJC model seder brings nations together

‘Confronting all forms of hate is everyone’s responsibility.’

COVER STORY—As Passover begins with the first seder this evening, Monday April 22, 2024, author and peace activist Howard Brown brings us the story of a long-time commitment of the Jewish community in southeast Michigan to host “diplomatic model seders.” This year, despite rising antisemitism around the world, that tradition continued and more than 100 people representing many nations attended and prayed together.

A Prayer for the Seder: ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat’

YACHATZ: THE BREAKINGAuthor Rabbi Roy Furman uses the traditional invocation, ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat,’ in this prayer-poem for Yachatz, the ritual breaking of matzah in the seder.

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And Other Passover Stories—

‘Nema’s Traveling Matzah Ball Soup’

OUR AUTHOR Rusty Rosman is a grandmother who travels with her matzoh ball soup to various family homes as Passover begins—so she has developed a way to make that beloved soup quite portable.

If you enjoy this story about her soup, please share it with friends across social media. All of us want to warmly celebrate with our Jewish friends at a time when antisemitism has risen to the highest levels the FBI has seen in their tracking of hate crimes..

 

An introduction to Passover

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS columnist Stephanie Fenton literally wrote the book for non-Jews about Jewish holidays—meaning that she wrote the section in the MSU Bias Busters’ book about American Jews and their holiday traditions. In this week’s column, she summarizes the basic traditions of Passover—and she includes a link to that valuable MSU book as well. That MSU Bias Busters series was launched to counter bigotry with helpful information about religious, cultural and racial minorities in the U.S. Want to perform a mitzvah yourself this month? Share with friends a copy of this MSU book—or others in what is now a 21-volume Bias Busters series.

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Ridvan

The most holy Baha’i festival worldwide is the 12-day period known as Ridvan—which started on Saturday April 20.

Hanuma Jayanti

Indian communities will soon be honoring one of the most colorful figures in Hindu heritage—the half-human and half-monkey figure Hanuman.

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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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And more news this week—

Mindy Corporon engaging in a national conversation about confronting hatred

As a publishing house, we often talk about our authors “engaging in a national conversation” as one of the primary reasons to do all the hard work of writing, editing and publishing a book. Quite simply: We want to make our world a better place with the creative and compassionate ideas we are sharing.

One author who has accomplished that, despite the trauma that transformed her life a decade ago, is Mindy Corporon. This column illustrates the many way that “national conversation” is taking place around us.

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Click on this image to learn more about the April 2024 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, including films such as One Life, Irena’s Vow, Cabrini and Asphalt City.

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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COVER STORY: Are you preparing for Passover with family and friends?


Author Rusty Rosman invites us into her family holiday traditions

Rusty shows us how she makes—and transports—”Nema’s Traveling Matzah Ball Soup”

OUR AUTHORS and READERS are wishing our Jewish colleagues and neighbors well as they prepare for this traditional festival with family and friends—starting on the night of April 22. Right now, Jewish families around the world already are preparing for their Passover seders. These special meals are a lot of work!

Rusty is a grandmother who travels with her matzoh ball soup to various family homes as Passover begins—so she has developed a way to make that beloved soup quite portable. If you enjoy this story about her soup, please share it with friends across social media. All of us want to warmly celebrate with our Jewish friends at a time when antisemitism has risen to the highest levels the FBI has seen in their tracking of hate crimes.

And, stay tuned, because of course we will have more Passover coverage in our next weekly issue of ReadTheSpirit.com magazine on Monday, April 22—which is the first night families will be gathering for seders.

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And why is interfaith support so important right now?

George A. Mason explains why we need ‘dependable allies in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equity’

IN DALLAS, TEXAS, a century-old coalition of Jewish women honors the Rev. Dr. George A. Mason as a Pioneering Partner in interfaith work—and Mason tells the group why this kind of cooperative work is so urgent right now. You can read his stirring acceptance speech in this column and see photographs from the event. It’s a quotable talk by a prophetic preacher, so you’ll likely want to share this with friends as well.

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Holidays & Festivals

An introduction to Passover

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS columnist Stephanie Fenton literally wrote the book for non-Jews about Jewish holidays—meaning that she wrote the section in the MSU Bias Busters’ book about American Jews and their holiday traditions. In this week’s column, she summarizes the basic traditions of Passover—and she includes a link to that valuable MSU book as well. That MSU Bias Busters series was launched to counter bigotry with helpful information about religious, cultural and racial minorities in the U.S. Want to perform a mitzvah yourself this month? Share with friends a copy of this MSU book—or others in what is now a 21-volume Bias Busters series.

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Ridvan

The most holy Baha’i festival worldwide is the 12-day period known as Ridvan—which starts on Saturday April 20.

Vaisakhi (or Baisahki)

Colorful processions in Indian communities mark the arrival of this month with a wide range of spiritual customs from prayers for crops to pilgrimages. Columnist Stephanie Fenton describes the diversity of cultural connections with this auspicious month.

Hanuma Jayanti

Indian communities will soon be honoring one of the most colorful figures in Hindu heritage—the half-human and half-monkey figure Hanuman.

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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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And more news this week—

Mindy Corporon—

The public TV documentary about her courageous call for transformation  is now streaming online

‘HEALING HATE: Turning Pain into Power’ That’s the name of the new public TV documentary about two courageous women who have transformed the trauma of losing loved ones through hate crimes into campaigns for community healing. Now, thanks to the staff at Kansas City public TV, the entire half-hour film is available to stream online. We’ve got that YouTube streaming link for you right here in our feature story about Mindy that we have updated since last week.

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Suzy Farbman—

Learning from Elie Wiesel and Mitch Albom

IN HER GodSigns column this week, Suzy Farbman writes about hard-won wisdom about resiliency that she sees in the writings of both Elie Wiesel and Mitch Albom.

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Laura Elizabeth teaches the art of cozy mysteries

WE ASKED cozy mystery author Laura Elizabeth to write this column about her recent experience teaching tips and techniques for crafting a cozy mystery, one of the most popular genres in American publishing.

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And speaking of academia—

Another major scholar is changing his mind

MAJOR NEWS THIS WEEK among religious leaders who are encouraging acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals and families is the declaration of evangelical Christian scholar Dr. Richard Hays that he has changed his mind on this issue. Hays has announced that he will publish a book this autumn along with his son, who also is a noted Bible scholar, explaining why churches should welcome LGBTQ+ folks. This Religion News Service story about this milestone describes Hays as “a darling among conservative evangelical Christians who opposed LGBTQ acceptance in their churches and the broader culture and frequently cited Hays’ work in debates.”

The RNS report also cites the influence of Dr. David Gushee’s landmark book, Changing Our MindSince Hays book won’t be out until September, why not get a copy of Dr. Gushee’s book right now to learn more about this movement among our nation’s leading religious academics?

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Click on this movie poster for ‘Wicked Little Letters’ to read Ed McNulty’s review of the film.

Click on this image to learn more about the April 2024 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, including films such as One Life, Irena’s Vow, Cabrini and Asphalt City.

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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