Mother Teresa: Inspiration from ‘The First Great Televised Saint’ keeps flowing through new books and a movie

Planning to see the movie Oct 3 or 4?

Our tip is: Don’t miss the new book about Teresa.

COVER STORY—As biographer Jon M. Sweeney puts it: Mother Teresa is the world’s first televised saint. That’s an important spiritual truth. We feel we know her because we’ve seen her in action—many, many times over the decades. So, it is fitting that the 25th anniversary of her death is linked to the debut of a major new movie about her life (showing in 600 theaters nationwide on October 3 and 4, 2022)—and two new biographies of the saint as well. Our Cover Story has links to learn about the movie, plus a recommendation of Jon Sweeney’s new book about Teresa that is perfect for all those readers who want to learn about her life—and also may want to spark discussion in small groups in their congregations.

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Holidays & Festivals

Yom Tov!

Fast of Yom Kippur starts Tuesday

To our Jewish friends:
‘A good Yom Kippur!’ and ‘Have an easy fast.’

YOM KIPPUR often is described as somber—but Rabbi Lenore Bohm makes it clear that this holy day is not intended to dwell on suffering and sadness. On the contrary, she writes in her holiday column, “Regret and remorse may have their place, but they are not the essence of the season. Rather, we strive to look at life with fresh eyes and trust that the new year will grant us opportunity to renew our purpose, hope and belief.”

THEN, our Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton explains the basic Yom Kippur traditions followed by millions of Jewish men, women and children around the world.

AND STEPHANIE REMINDS US that the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot is coming soon with its colorful array of outdoor shelters assembled in many families’ back yards.

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And among our Hindu friends, celebrations of Durga unfold

AS STEPHANIE FENTON REPORTS, celebrations of the culmination of a Hindu festival honoring Durga can be found in more than 100 cities across the U.S., this week.

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

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From Suzy Farbman—

Age is no barrier to Maureen Kaiser’s dream of performing her music

IN HER GOD SIGNS COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman introduces us to Maureen Kaiser, who Suzy as a business colleague years before Maureen reinvented herself as a singer- songwriter. Plus, Suzy shares with us links to Maureen’s music and videos. You’ll want to share this inspiring column with friends!

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From Howard Brown—

Plan ahead for gift giving!

THIS IS A WONDERFUL OFFER FOR HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING! Howard Brown’s new book, Shining Brightly, is taking off like a shot on Amazon, after the worldwide launch last week. His book debuted with a “No. 1 Best Seller in Books about Cancer” last week! And, of course, his book is about the keys to living a resilient life but it’s about much more than cancer. Right now, Howard is offering to personalize copies of the book for readers who order through Amazon or other online bookstores. The way it works is explained in this Front Edge Publishing column by Susan Stitt. It’s simple, but you should act right away before autumn delays in book shipments start to pile up.

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From Carolyn Winfrey Gillette—

AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST BILL TAMMEUS wrote about the wonderfully creative work of contemporary hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette recently. Now, just a couple of weeks after Bill posted his column, Carolyn is releasing a new hymn that’s free for congregations to use right now. She describes it this way: “O God of All Creation is for churches to support relief efforts after the hurricanes. Sojourners, Presbyterian News Service and Presbyterian Outlook have all shared this hymn. Permission is given for free use of this hymn. Please share it with others.” Here’s the link to visit Carolyn’s website and download that hymn.

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Click on this movie 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 discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

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

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Shanah tovah 5783! Rosh Hashanah heralds new hope for friendship across our communities!

This celebration is a time for reconciliation

Friendship is the pathway to peace in our troubled world

RABBI LENORE BOHM explains the special power of Rosh Hashanah as “a Jewish holiday that celebrates all existence, all people and all possibility.”

ALSO, HOWARD BROWN tells us a true story of a Muslim friend who carried a holiday shofar halfway around the world as a symbol of their interfaith friendship. This is a wonderfully inspiring column to share with friends via social media or email this week to spread the joyous message: “Shanah tovah 5783!”

Then, regular Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton fills in more details about the holiday, especially geared to our non-Jewish readers. And regular readers know that the gems in Stephanie’s columns are her links to other resources—in this case to some delicious recipes.

WHY SHOULD WE REACH OUT ACROSS RELIGIOUS BOUNDARIES? That’s the timely question! And, after a lifetime of interfaith work, Howard Brown is also sharing this downloadable list of great ideas, headlined: Interfaith Bridge Building—Why do this work? That free-to-share one-page list is an ideal discussion-starter for your small group if you want to get involved in interfaith work with your friends.

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Holidays & Festivals

Colorectal cancer awareness

THIS MONTH, actor Ryan Reynolds got the whole world talking about the preventative power of early colorectal screening with his public colonoscopy. As Reynolds and his friend Rob McElhenney learned first hand: Early screening can catch problems before full-scale cancer emerges. That’s one reason folks also are talking about a lesser-known observance, World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day, which is September 30 in 2022 and has been picking up media attention mainly across the British Commonwealth in Canada, the UK and Australia. Here’s a story about the day from a Canadian website. Of course, as Reynolds and McElhenney just proved: Any time is a healthy time to encourage family and friends to undergo early screening. And this, of course, is one of the major themes of Howard Brown’s new book Shining Brightly, as Howard described in this earlier column.

 

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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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News about our authors—

John Harnish

His book about E. Stanley Jones is reviewed in world’s oldest Methodist weekly newspaper

WE’RE CELEBRATING the praise for John Harnish’s inspiring book, 30 Days with E. Stanley Jones, in the world’s oldest continuously published weekly newspaper, the UK-based Methodist RecorderReviewer Cathy Bird recommends this book, which includes a discussion guide, to congregations for special small-group series during Advent, the Christian season that leads up to Christmas.

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Click this image to read Ed McNulty’s review of the movie Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

Faith & Film

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to learn more about the September 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, packed with discussion guides of movies including: A Love Song, Peace by Chocolate, My Name is Sara, Breaking, Emily the Criminal and Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

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

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

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Cover Story: ‘Shining Brightly’ on the power of mentors to pay it forward.

A message we need now more than ever:

Howard Brown shows how paying it forward strengthens generations

IT’S A MESSAGE WE ALL NEED TO HEAR: “We’re not given life to see how much we can get—we’re given life to see how much we can give.” That’s one of the central messages that runs throughout Howard Brown’s new book, Shining Brightly, and it’s a message he delivers in TV and radio broadcasts, podcasts and public appearances nationwide. His book won’t be officially released until the Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah under the theme: New Year; New Hopes! But already Howard is crisscrossing the nation with his inspiring message and you can preorder his book from Amazon right now.

We’re devoting three weeks of ReadTheSpirit magazine to the three central themes of Shining Brightly: resiliency in the face of cancer was last week, interfaith peacemaking will come next week. This week, we’re focusing on Howard’s lifelong passion for mentorship, which he sometimes performs in a style he calls “whispering” and is a key to the entrepreneurial successes in his own life.

What do we mean by “successes”? Consider Howard’s brother Ian. These days, Ian is virtually Howard’s real brother, but their relationship began when Howard was a budding Silicon Valley entrepreneur who devoted spare time to helping a kid from a troubled family find a hopeful pathway in life. That’s little Ian, in the photo above, when Howard first became his Jewish Big Brother.

Please, read our Cover Story this week and share it with friends. Word of Warning: If you buy a copy of Shining Brightly and enjoy Howard’s stories—you’ll likely find yourself wanting to become a mentor, too (if you’re not already doing that). This is a potent book that you should consider giving as a gift to a friend or loved one who could use such a dose of resiliency, hope and strength! If you care to help in spreading this good news into the world, please start right now by visiting Amazon and pre-ordering your copy of Shining Brightly.

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And Speaking of Inspiration—

Bill Tammeus celebrates the songs of Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

AWARD-WINNING RELIGION JOURNALIST BILL TAMMEUS, author of Love Loss and Endurancehas asked his nationwide audience to help celebrate a major milestone for Christian songwriter Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. In his column, Bill writes: “One of the important sources of new Christian hymns these days is the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a Presbyterian pastor who, with her husband, helps lead a small church in upstate New York. She has just published a new collection of her hymns in a book called I Sing to My Savior: New Hymns from the Stories in the Gospel of Luke.” For anyone who has ever sung a hymn by Gillette, this is terrific news you’ll want to share. Plus—Bill’s column includes links to Gillette’s personal website, where she has posted many of her hymns that are free for congregations to use right away.

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And we all celebrate Dr. Gushee’s milestone with Changing Our Mind

SUSAN STITT writes about the 300-review threshold on Amazon that Dr. David Gushee is likely crossing this week with his inspiring and helpful book, Changing Our MindWhy is this so important? More than numbers and stars, it’s the ever-growing number of lives that have been changed by this message.

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Holidays & Festivals

Rosh Hashanah is coming!

THIS YEAR, WE’VE GOT TWO WONDERFUL COLUMNS: First, Rabbi Lenore Bohm, author of Torah Tutor, shares a series of inspiring thoughts that you’ll want to enjoy—whatever your faith may be. Her column is a perfect preparation for the Jewish New Year but it also ends with reflective questions that all of us can benefit from asking.

Then, regular Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton fills in more details about the holiday, especially geared to our non-Jewish readers. And regular readers know that the gems in Stephanie’s columns are her links to other resources—in this case to some delicious recipes.

 

And, the Equinox is coming

STEPHANIE ALSO WRITES, this week, about the change-of-season milestone coming later in September.

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

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Click on this movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of the new Netflix film Trees of Peace.

Faith & Film

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to learn more about the September 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, packed with discussion guides of movies including: A Love Song, Peace by Chocolate, My Name is Sara, Breaking, Emily the Criminal and Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

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

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

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Cover Story: Why should you read ‘Shining Brightly’? It’s a true story of cancer survivorship against long odds.

‘I met death.’

Howard Brown beat Stage IV cancer twice and now shares keys to resiliency to help others

WHY SHOULD YOU ORDER YOUR COPY OF ‘SHINING BRIGHTLY’ TODAY? This week and over the next two weeks, we are sharing with our readers the three major themes of this book, which is now available for pre-order.

The first theme is resilience in our struggles with cancer. Howard Brown is nationally known as a rare survivor of advanced Stage IV cancer—not just once, but twice! Regularly, he speaks to groups about the principles of resiliency. On a daily basis, he is a “cancer whisperer” for families facing this traumatic struggle. This is why Dr. Anna D. Barker, co-founder of the American Association for Cancer Research’s special Scientist Survivor Program, is endorsing this book for everyone touched by cancer: “As a mentor in our program, Howard motivates everyone to build mutually beneficial relationships that educate, inspire and ultimately heal. Shining Brightly offers a compelling landscape of possibilities for cancer patients, survivors and indeed anyone who wants to become their best self!”

So, this week, here are some of the resources you can share with friends and loved ones about the resiliency that can help us to survive cancer:

What are the ‘Keys to Resiliency when Confronting Cancer?Howard is freely sharing this part of the Discussion Guide for his new book, which lists 18 keys to resiliency that have proven valuable in his life and in the lives of people he has mentored through cancer. The list ends with two open slots for you and your friends to fill in during your discussion of the book, based on your own experiences. Howard also invites discussion groups to get in touch with him to share your ideas and experiences.

Then, timeless questions arise at each New Year: ‘Who shall live and who shall die?’ In this inspiring column, Howard shares how this question asked by families facing cancer is addressed directly with timeless spiritual wisdom during the Jewish high holidays. We have chosen to launch Howard’s book at Rosh Hashanah this year under the theme: New Year; New Hope. Please read and share this moving column with friends.

If you care to help in spreading this good news into the world, please start right now by visiting Amazon and pre-ordering your copy of Shining Brightly.

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Remembering—

Queen Elizabeth II

CANADIAN-AMERICAN AUTHOR LUCILLE SIDER writes about why she, and millions of others around the world, cried when the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had died.

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Dr. Ronald J. Sider

THIS WEEK, LUCILLE SIDER also shares with us a personal remembrance of her brother—Dr. Ronald J. Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action and for half a century an international voice for progressive Christianity. Ron died late this summer.

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Shahina Begg

ALL OF US ARE MOURNING THE PASSING OF SHAHINA BEGG, the wife of author and peace activist Victor Begg and a pioneering community leader in her own right. Among Shahina’s many accomplishments was the co-founding of the WISDOM women’s organization based in Michigan, which promotes friendships across religious lines. In this tribute to her life, we celebrate Sharhina’s daring life of crossing boundaries.

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Holidays & Festivals

 

The Equinox is coming (and for some Mabon)

STEPHANIE ALSO WRITES, this week, about the change-of-season milestone coming later in September.

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

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Click on this movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of Three Thousand Years of Longing.

Faith & Film

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to learn more about the September 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, packed with discussion guides of movies including: A Love Song, Peace by Chocolate, My Name is Sara, Breaking, Emily the Criminal and Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

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

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

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Cover Story: Where were you this summer? Benjamin Pratt shows us his JazZen Journey

Postcards from the Road by Benjamin Pratt …

Healing our divisions through jazz and Zen

ONE OF THE JOYS OF FALL, since the first days of school in our childhoods, has been the question: “What did you do this summer?” Well, this summer, the answers from our community of writers have been quite inspiring! So, this week, we are featuring what we might describe as colorful postcards and notes sent to us by Benjamin Pratt as he and his wife Judith traveled in the hills of Tuscany through a unique pilgrimage program called JazZen. Please, if you enjoy this story, share it with friends—and consider sending us your own inspiring letter from the road.

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Holidays & Festivals

 

Labor Day

STEPHANIE FENTON writes about some of the religious history connected with this major American holiday.

The Equinox is coming (and for some Mabon)

STEPHANIE ALSO WRITES, this week, about the change-of-season milestone coming later in September.

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

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From Suzy Farbman

Sarah discovers that 12 Steps are part of a life-long journey

IN HER GOD SIGNS COLUMNS, Suzy Farbman introduces us to remarkable people who face challenges in trying to make our world a better place. Our readers learn that spending a few minutes with one of Suzy’s stories makes their day a little better, as well. That’s certainly true this week as Suzy shares the story of a lifelong friend, Sarah, who wound up turning to two 12-Step programs in her long journey toward wellbeing.

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From Howard Brown

Want be part of Shining Brightly?

Watch the movie version.
(It’s less than 2 minutes!)

WE’RE EAGERLY SHARING THE GOOD NEWS about the upcoming launch of Howard Brown’s Shining Brightly—and, this week, we’re adding the book trailer. Don’t worry. It’s less than 2 minutes long!

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From Susan Stitt

What is a hybrid publisher?
We are joining with colleagues in strengthening our commitments.

SINCE THE FOUNDING OF A NATIONAL PLEDGE of “best practices” among hybrid publishers, the Independent Book Publishers Association has been monitoring our segment of the industry. Now, the IBPA and co-signers of the pledge are strengthening our commitment to helping authors produce timely, professional and successful books. Please read Susan Stitt’s new column about the latest list of principles we share with other top publishing houses across the nation.

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CLICK ON THIS IMAGE to learn more about the September 2022 issue of Ed McNulty’s Visual Parables Journal, packed with discussion guides of movies including: A Love Song, Peace by Chocolate, My Name is Sara, Breaking, Emily the Criminal and Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

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Faith & Film

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

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

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Cover Story: ‘Enchanting stories’ welcome us into the adventure of Howard Brown’s new ‘Shining Brightly’

‘Learn anew about the American Dream’

Please, welcome and support the debut of this inspiring memoir

THE TWO QUOTATIONS IN OUR HEADLINES, this week—”enchanting stories” and “learn anew about the American Dream”—come from the Foreword to Shining Brightly, a new memoir by Howard Brown that celebrates the resilient power of hope, friendship and family. The book’s Foreword was written by best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Robert J. Wicks, an internationally sought-after expert on building resilience as we try to cope with life’s traumas.

Right now, we already are promoting this book that will be released officially at Rosh Hashanah this year in late September. That’s perfect timing because this is an uplifting vision of new hope that is perfect for a new year. So, this week, we are encouraging all of our readers to visit Amazon and order your copy either in paperback or hardcover. If you pre-order now, your book should be on your doorstep on September 27.

In the weeks leading up to that launch, we also are going to take readers inside our publishing house for glimpses of the many ways we share such good news with the world. So, over in our Front Edge Publishing website this week, we are sharing a sample email we encourage authors to send to their readers to build excitement about a new book.

This is a perfect moment to become one of Howard’s growing global circle of friends by ordering your copy of his book.

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Bill Tammeus on …

Timely News from Rabbi James Rudin

FOR MANY DECADES, journalists who specialize in covering religious diversity have known Rabbi James Rudin as a wise and helpful interpreter of global news events. In this review of Rabbi Rudin’s new book, The People in the Room, author and journalist Bill Tammeus writes about the urgency of Rudin’s concern about the current rise in hatred. “How Christian-Jewish relations play out on Main Street America is now more decisive and important than ever,” Rudin writes. At age 87, Rabbi Rudin still is an important voice guiding community leaders and peacemakers.

And another tip for the peacemakers in our community of readers: This is a timely moment to order your own copy of Bill Tammeus’s own memoir—and his approach to “unplugging extremism.” It’s available from Amazon, titled: Love, Loss and Endurance: A 9/11 Story of Resilience and Hope in an Age of AnxietyThis week, we just learned that Bill’s memoir was nominated for the prestigious Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award. We won’t know if Bill won the prize until October 1, but the nomination is a significant honor.
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Holidays & Festivals

Paryushan

HOLIDAYS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON, this week, brings us the story of Paryushan, the most important festival in the Jain religious calendar.

Labor Day

STEPHANIE FENTON also writes, this week, about some of the religious history connected with this major American holiday.

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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 LOGO to read Ed McNulty’s special column highlighting two of Leonard Cohen’s most memorable spiritually themed songs. One of Ed’s recommendations is especially timely as we approach the Jewish High Holy Days in late September.

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Faith & Film

Click on this movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of the delightful new South Korean series Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

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

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

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Cover Story: Reflecting on our lives as Elul prepares us for New Year 5783

Illustration generated by AI via DALL-E 2

Elul reveals not what we want but what we need: spiritual grounding.

RABBI LENORE BOHM wrote our Cover Story this week, reflecting on an annual milestone that most of our readers overlook—Elul, the final month of the Jewish year. Rabbi Bohm’s thoughtful column reaches out across religious boundaries. All of us can learn lessons from Elul, which “is about widening our horizons and releasing our dis-eases and our mis-takes.” As summer draws toward its close and a busy autumn looms on the horizon, please enjoy this column and share it with friends via social media or email.

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Dr. David Gushee—

Four opportunities to join Dr. Gushee online

THIS WEEK, Dr. David Gushee is inviting all of our readers to join him at upcoming events. The author of the best-selling call for the inclusion of LGBTQ Christians, Changing Our Mind, writes: “The following are events where you might enjoy finding a new network of people, organizations you want to support, and insights and information that will bring light to your life.”

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Suzy Farbman—

A love born in sharing spiritual adventures

IN HER GOD SIGNS COLUMN, this week, Suzy Farbman introduces us to Ross Quigley, a former monk, and the love of his life, Suzanne Duca, whose relationship now includes bringing the best of Americana music to intimate crowds.

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Click on this movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of the documentary, Hallelujah—Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song.

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Click this image to learn more about the August 2022 issue of Visual Parables Journal, offering complete discussion guides to films that include Everything Everywhere All at Once, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Resurrection and Vengeance.

Faith & Film

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

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

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