Cover Story: We Held a National Conversation asking, How Do We Reconnect Communities?

IS YOUR COMMUNITY GROWING ONLINE? Click this “tiled” image to read our Cover Story.

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‘Nothing Is More Important than Helping People to Reconnect’

COVER STORY—“Since the start of this crisis, we are hearing from so many people that we need understanding and a place of refuge. Nothing is more important to us right now than helping people to reconnect with our communities—the communities around us, our communities of faith and culture and heritage.”

And, that’s just one of the inspiring voices we heard in a 90-minute, nationwide conversation we held with two dozen media professionals on Friday.

Please, read this cover story that spans the nation—and is packed with inspiring examples of creative outreach. Then, please share this inspiring cover story with friends.

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Bob Alper:
How a Comic Connects—Without a Standup Stage

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN—One major theme in the national conversation we are featuring in our cover story is the need to build creative new online options to bring people together. So, what’s an author who’s famous as a standup comic supposed to do? Trying to make people laugh—in the stony silence of streaming media—quickly fizzles.

However, like many of our authors, Bob Alper is multi-talented and he has developed two new online programs that he describes as drawing on other parts of his life: his long career as a rabbi and a writer.

Please, enjoy Bob’s story—and, note: There’s a tip at the end about how to get a free laugh from Bob via email.

Click this illustration from Pilgrim’s Progress to read Duncan Newcomer’s Lincoln column this week.

Wisdom from Abraham Lincoln

A SPECIAL ‘QUIET FIRE’—Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer was a key contributor to our national conversation, which is described in this week’s cover story—to the point that other writers across the connection began spontaneously lifting up small figurines and photos of Lincoln in their Zoom screens.

After years of writing about Lincoln—and recording the weekly public radio series Quiet Fire—Duncan believes that one key to Lincoln’s profound wisdom was his ability to decipher and understand spiritual truth in many voices, many tongues.

In this week’s special episode of Quiet Fire, Duncan writes about some of the eclectic inspirations that may have touched Lincoln’s spiritual life—from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress to figures like Johnny Appleseed and Joan of Arc.

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Holidays & Festivals

Pentecost

 

The Holiday

STEPHANIE FENTON’S Holidays & Festivals column reminds us that, this year, many Christians may wind up posting photos of themselves to social media, wearing red to celebrate the ancient “birthday of the Christian church,” commonly called Pentecost.

A Poetic Meditation

BENJAMIN PRATT contributes special Pentecost poetry this year—set in a barroom. This is Benjamin’s hopeful reflection on our deeply troubling times as millions of Christians mark the ancient holiday, this year.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this movie image to read Ed McNulty’s review of the 1954 classic about the lives of poor people, Salt of the Earth.

FAITH & FILM 

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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 are these 10 recommending videos available for streaming right now. 

  1. SALT OF THE EARTH—Ed reminds us of the 1954 classic about the lives of poor people, Salt of the Earth, the subject of great controversy in that era.
  2. CURTIZ—This film about Michael Curtiz, the director of Casablanca, is full of factual errors. “Nevertheless,” Ed McNulty writes, “first-time director Tamas Yvan Topolanszky’ film, streaming on Netflix, is an interesting one thanks to a combination of excellent acting and crisp black & white photography.”
  3. REDISCOVERING ‘INSIGHT’—One of the great gems of classic TV was the Insight series produced by Paulist Productions. This week, Ed looks back at that remarkable and long-running series, which included a Who’s Who of top Hollywood talent. Through its 250 episodes, viewers saw performances by stars including Carroll O’Connor, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, June Lockhart, Celeste Holm, Meg Tilly and Patty Duke. Best of all, Ed shares with us the YouTube link to enjoy many of these classic episodes.
  4. RETURN TO ME—Ed writes, “Director/co-writer Bonnie Hunt’s 20-year-old romantic film could easily have gone astray were it not for its solid cast and attention to details of character. The main characters—two lovers Bob Rueland and Grace Biggs, played by David Duchovny and Minnie Driver—are so appealing that we can overlook some of the film’s sentimental excess.” (4 out of 5 stars)
  5. PROLONGED EXPOSURE—This film might seem slow moving by anyone who has been misled by the false posters that imply this is an action thriller. Mr. Thoms’ insightful script is more of a character study.” (4 stars)
  6. HALA—”Writer/director Minhal Baig brings us a very unusual version of the teenager coming of age story. Who has ever filmed this from the perspective of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, daughter of strict Pakistani parents who are only half acclimated to their new country? Although the pace of the film might try the patience of some viewers, it offers a rewarding time for those concerned about a young woman on the cusp of discovering her freedom.” (4 stars)
  7. 7500—”When a thriller, and Patrick Vollrath’s film is certainly one, begins with a Gandhi quotation, you can be sure that I will be watching with an extra amount of attention!” (4 stars)
  8. A HIDDEN LIFE—Want to learn more about courageous peacemakers? “Terrence Malick raises important questions about faith and loyalty to one’s country versus loyalty to one’s conscience. And how do you know that you are right when most everyone else is of the opposite view? These are universal questions, applicable here today as well as in 1940s Europe.” (The Franz Jagerstatter story is streaming from Amazon; also from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  9. FORBIDDEN—”This 36-year-old TV film, directed by Anthony Page and written by Leonard Gross, is another worthy film to add to the small number that pay tribute to the too-few Germans who opposed Adolph Hitler. Like Alone in Berlin, this film is set in Berlin. It is based on the non-fiction book by Leonard Gross The Last Jews in Berlin and stars the great French actress Jacqueline Bisset as the real life Countess Maria von Maltzan.” (4.5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: As summer begins, we all long for sports—and the coaches who shape our lives

Why We Need Our Coaches

COVER STORY—”My concern about the forthcoming season goes far beyond athletes missing games and communities missing reasons to gather together,” writes journalist (and football coach) Martin Davis. “What I worry about most are the critical life lessons these young athletes aren’t getting from their coaches: lessons about character, humility, dedication, commitment and living for more than yourself. We are not talking about just a few privileged athletes who play football and basketball. About half of all high school students take part in athletics in some way during their teenage years.”

Please, enjoy this cover story. This is a perfect column to share with all those friends who love sports. In reading the handful of short true stories about athletes in Martin’s column—you’ll likely smile. You’ll find wisdom here. Maybe you’ll recognize yourself—or a friend—in these stories. Please, share this inspiring story with others.

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Holidays & Festivals

Memorial Day

The Holiday

STEPHANIE FENTON’S Holidays & Festivals column reminds us: “It’s Memorial Day. 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.”

ORIGINS IN THE SOUTH—In 2010, we published this restored history of Memorial Day’s origins, based on research by Yale historian David Blight. Over the past decade, this has been one of the most-Googled columns in our online magazine. Although written 10 years ago, the sources in this column are both fascinating and inspiring to this day.

There’s a surprising photo with this week’s episode of Quiet Fire. Click on this thumbnail to read Duncan’s column—and learn about this remarkable photo.

Wisdom from Abraham Lincoln

A SPECIAL ‘QUIET FIRE’—Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.” That certainly was true as Lincoln redefined the way we all would remember the tragedy of the Civil War.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Celebrating Inclusion

‘SOLUS JESUS’ WINS ERIC HOFFER AWARD

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING, this week, is celebrating a major book award. Solus Jesus, a theological call for LGBT inclusion in Christian churches, wins the Eric Hoffer Spiritual Book Award for authors Ken Wilson and Emily Swan. “I hope the ideas of Solus Jesus will percolate in the wider Christian community for years to come,” Emily Swan said when she got the news. Want to help them spread that news of Christian inclusion? Please, read Susan Stitt’s column about this award—and share it via social media or email with friends.

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Click this movie poster to read Ed’s review of the romantic ‘Return to Me.’

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Click this image to learn more about the May issue of Visual Parables Journal.

FAITH & FILM 

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. In his book Jesus Christ, Movie Star, Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

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LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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.

Click this photo of Carroll O’Connor to read Ed McNulty’s column about the classic TV anthology series Insight (including a YouTube link to watch episodes).

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending videos available for streaming right now. 

  1. REDISCOVERING ‘INSIGHT’—One of the great gems of classic TV was the Insight series produced by Paulist Productions. This week, Ed looks back at that remarkable and long-running series, which included a Who’s Who of top Hollywood talent. Through its 250 episodes, viewers saw performances by stars including Carroll O’Connor, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, June Lockhart, Celeste Holm, Meg Tilly and Patty Duke. Best of all, Ed shares with us the YouTube link to enjoy many of these classic episodes.
  2. RETURN TO ME—Ed writes, “Director/co-writer Bonnie Hunt’s 20-year-old romantic film could easily have gone astray were it not for its solid cast and attention to details of character. The main characters—two lovers Bob Rueland and Grace Biggs, played by David Duchovny and Minnie Driver—are so appealing that we can overlook some of the film’s sentimental excess.” (4 out of 5 stars)
  3. PROLONGED EXPOSURE—This film might seem slow moving by anyone who has been misled by the false posters that imply this is an action thriller. Mr. Thoms’ insightful script is more of a character study.” (4 stars)
  4. HALA—”Writer/director Minhal Baig brings us a very unusual version of the teenager coming of age story. Who has ever filmed this from the perspective of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, daughter of strict Pakistani parents who are only half acclimated to their new country? Although the pace of the film might try the patience of some viewers, it offers a rewarding time for those concerned about a young woman on the cusp of discovering her freedom.” (4 stars)
  5. THE ELEPHANT QUEEN—”Documentary filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone treat us to some of the most beautiful and intimate shots of African elephants ever made. Shot over a 4-year period in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, the film focuses upon an extended family headed by the long-tusked Athena as she guides them in their quest for food and water.” (5 stars)
  6. DICKINSON—”Those of us who enjoyed A Quiet Passion might well have mixed feelings about Alena Smith’s Apple TV+’s series Dickinson. The approach is very different from that of British filmmaker/writer Terence Davies in his 2016 biopic.”
  7. COME SEE THE PARADISE—Want to learn more about the wartime treatment of Japanese-Americans? Ed gave 5 stars to this 1990 feature. “Alan Parker’s film puts human faces on the dark, tragic era of American history when an entire people were uprooted and moved inland into concentration camps. (Streaming on Amazon)
  8. A HIDDEN LIFE—Want to learn more about courageous peacemakers? “Terrence Malick raises important questions about faith and loyalty to one’s country versus loyalty to one’s conscience. And how do you know that you are right when most everyone else is of the opposite view? These are universal questions, applicable here today as well as in 1940s Europe.” (The Franz Jagerstatter story is streaming from Amazon; also from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  9. TIGERTAIL—Ed writes, “The past is not something we leave behind, but, as long as we have memory, is always with us, inside our heads and hearts. Or so writer-director Alan Yang seems to be saying in the title of his remarkably acted story centering on a failed father-daughter relationship.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: David Finnegan-Hosey Invites Congregations to Help with a Major Healthcare Concern for Millions

TSUNAMI OF NEED RISING BENEATH THE PANDEMIC

COVER STORY—America’s more than 350,000 congregations are working overtime to serve families with a wave of new online inspirational offerings—as well as tangible help including new kinds of community service and food distribution. What no one is discussing, in the midst of this crisis, is the years-long impact of the pandemic on public health as well as the medical debts families will shoulder for many years.

That’s why David Finnegan-Hosey’s new book, Grace Is a Pre-Existing Condition—Faith, Systems, and Mental Healthcare—should be in the hands of clergy and small-group leaders in congregations nationwide, right now. There is not a more timely—and uniquely focused—book for congregations this spring. The book comes from our friends at Church Publishing, the publishing arm of the Episcopal Church.

Please, read our cover story this week and share it with friends. Every one of us can help spark this important national conversation.

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Remembering Motoko

MANY OF OUR READERS sent us heart-felt notes, this week, about the passing of Motoko Huthwaite (our cover story last week), including links to additional media coverage of her remarkable life. Among the most inspiring is this video report from the TODAY show, which includes images many of us had never seen before of Motoko’s early life. (Because it’s a network show, you will have to watch a short ad first, but it’s worth the wait.)

Motoko lived through World War II as a Japanese-American—living both in the U.S. and Japan during the war—and developed a deep commitment to peacemaking that spanned the rest of her life. She is most famous for serving, after the war, in the now-famous corps of Monuments Men and Monuments Women, specializing in recovering and restoring looted cultural treasures.

Missed this story last week? Here’s a direct link to last week’s tribute to Motoko—along with other links to stories about her life. And please remember our suggestion: You can honor Motoko by ordering a copy of Friendship & Faith, which benefits the women of WISDOM, a group she strongly supported.

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HELP FOR CAREGIVERS AND THOSE WHO GRIEVE

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING offers a variety of books to help families coping with the burdens and the grief of the COVID-19 pandemic. Susan Stitt recommends and describes four books, including our Guide for Grief, Never Long Enough and Dying Well—plus the valuable Guide for Caregivers.

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Ramadan Ends

MUSLIMS WORLDWIDE FACE AN EID—
MINUS THE CELEBRATIONS

Ramadan usually ends with the joyous festival of Eid al Fitr on May 23 this year. Please remember our many friends, neighbors and professional colleagues who are in the midst of this challenging season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AN EID WITH NO CROWDS? In Muslim communities around the world, families are contemplating the unthinkable. No one alive today can recall an era when the celebration ending the Ramadan fast was all but cancelled. Of course, the intention of the celebration remains the same and will be observed in individual homes—but public gatherings define the Eid, so it feels as though the heart of the festivity is missing this year.

Thanks to our colleagues Stephanie Fenton—as well as Larbi Megari reporting from Algeria—we have a full story on the dramatic changes Muslim families are facing this week.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Looking toward Washington

 

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

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Click this photo from the movie to read Ed’s entire review of Hala.

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Click this image to learn more about the May issue of Visual Parables Journal.

FAITH & FILM 

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. In his book Jesus Christ, Movie Star, Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

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LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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.

Click this photo of Carroll O’Connor to read Ed McNulty’s column about the classic TV anthology series Insight (including a YouTube link to watch episodes).

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending videos available for streaming right now. 

  1. REDISCOVERING ‘INSIGHT’—One of the great gems of classic TV was the Insight series produced by Paulist Productions. This week, Ed looks back at that remarkable and long-running series, which included a Who’s Who of top Hollywood talent. Through its 250 episodes, viewers saw performances by stars including Carroll O’Connor, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, June Lockhart, Celeste Holm, Meg Tilly and Patty Duke. Best of all, Ed shares with us the YouTube link to enjoy many of these classic episodes.
  2. PROLONGED EXPOSURE—Ed writes, “This film might seem slow moving by anyone who has been misled by the false posters that imply this is an action thriller. Mr. Thoms’ insightful script is more of a character study.” (4 out of 5 stars)
  3. HALA—”Writer/director Minhal Baig brings us a very unusual version of the teenager coming of age story. Who has ever filmed this from the perspective of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, daughter of strict Pakistani parents who are only half acclimated to their new country? Although the pace of the film might try the patience of some viewers, it offers a rewarding time for those concerned about a young woman on the cusp of discovering her freedom.” (4 stars)
  4. THE ELEPHANT QUEEN—”Documentary filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone treat us to some of the most beautiful and intimate shots of African elephants ever made. Shot over a 4-year period in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, the film focuses upon an extended family headed by the long-tusked Athena as she guides them in their quest for food and water.” (5 stars)
  5. DICKINSON—”Those of us who enjoyed A Quiet Passion might well have mixed feelings about Alena Smith’s Apple TV+’s series Dickinson. The approach is very different from that of British filmmaker/writer Terence Davies in his 2016 biopic.”
  6. In honor of Motoko Huthwaite’s passing: MONUMENTS MEN—Ed writes, “I love it when an old genre, such as the war film is revisited from a fresh perspective–such as this George Clooney WW 2 film.” NOTE: The Clooney production, based on a best-selling book, helped to make this remarkable team world famous—but the movie focuses only on the European theater. Motoko worked in the Pacific theater. (4 out of 5 stars; rents for streaming from Amazon for as low as $2.99; also available from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  7. COME SEE THE PARADISE—Want to learn more about the wartime treatment of Japanese-Americans? Ed gave 5 stars to this 1990 feature. “Alan Parker’s film puts human faces on the dark, tragic era of American history when an entire people were uprooted and moved inland into concentration camps. (Streaming on Amazon)
  8. A HIDDEN LIFE—Want to learn more about courageous peacemakers? “Terrence Malick raises important questions about faith and loyalty to one’s country versus loyalty to one’s conscience. And how do you know that you are right when most everyone else is of the opposite view? These are universal questions, applicable here today as well as in 1940s Europe.” (The Franz Jagerstatter story is streaming from Amazon; also from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  9. TIGERTAIL—Ed writes, “The past is not something we leave behind, but, as long as we have memory, is always with us, inside our heads and hearts. Or so writer-director Alan Yang seems to be saying in the title of his remarkably acted story centering on a failed father-daughter relationship.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: Remembering Motoko Huthwaite, a member of our author community lost to COVID-19

Clicking on this photo of Motoko as a young woman will take you to the text of her chapter in our book Friendship & Faith.

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Caught in Enemy Camps—Committed to a Life of Peace

REMEMBERING MOTOKO—The opening sentences in the brief memoir she wrote for Friendship and Faith are as gripping as any lines we’ve ever published: “When the sirens went off again, we all went and sat in the air raid shelter expecting to die there. There was no stopping the atomic bombs if they hit.” As a result of living through World War II as a Japanese-American—living both in the U.S. and Japan during the war—Motoko developed a deep commitment to peacemaking that spanned the rest of her life.

Always an inspiring and encouraging friend to all of us who knew her, Motoko lived such a unique life that The New York Times devoted an extensive obituary, saluting her life as an “Art Preserver.” That’s because Motoko served, after the war, in the now-famous corps of Monuments Men and Monuments Women, specializing in recovering and restoring looted cultural treasures. She worked in the Pacific theater with the team and eventually was the last surviving member of the Monuments Women, who had numbered 27. There had been 318 Monuments Men. In 2015, Motoko traveled to Washington to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for the Monuments team. At that time, she was one of six surviving members of the entire WWII team. Only one survivor remains, now: Richard M. Barancik.

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page. Sales of this book benefit the interfaith WISDOM organization that Motoko actively supported.

As amazing as that sounds, the Monuments work was only one small chapter of her life! Motoko earned a doctorate in education and devoted a long career to teaching from elementary to university students. Given her wartime concern for children, Motoko was best known through much of her career as an expert in teaching children’s literature to college students preparing to become educators themselves.

Later in life, she became part of the “Raging Grannies,” a community of older peacemakers whose signature strategy was staging colorful, song-filled demonstrations often draping themselves in big shawls to emphasize their elder status. Motoko wrote some of the protest songs herself, including this verse set to the tune of America the Beautiful:

O beautiful for wise ones’ dreams
For Sanger, Tubman, King
Who saw a vision through the years
Of great awakening
America, America, oh how we hope for thee
Restore the sense of siblinghood
Across both land and sea.

Motoko was a dear friend who never failed to encourage those around her to do more on behalf of peacemaking than they thought was possible.

MOTOKO in her 80s taking part in the public launch of the Friendship & Faith book. From left, contributing authors Gail Katz, Brenda Naomi Rosenberg, Mona Faroukh, Motoko Huthwaite and Padma Kuppa. (Care to honor Motoko? Order a copy of Friendship & Faith from Amazon.)

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HELP FOR CAREGIVERS AND THOSE WHO GRIEVE

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING offers a variety of books to help families coping with the burdens and the grief of the COVID-19 pandemic. Susan Stitt recommends and describes four books, including our Guide for Grief, Never Long Enough and Dying Well—plus the valuable Guide for Caregivers.

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IN THESE SEASONS OF LIFE AND DEATH

BENJAMIN PRATTthe author of Guide for Caregivers that Susan Stitt is recommending this week—brings us a true story of his own community’s compassionate care for—a mother duck. They named her Patience. Yet, as Ben writes, these seasons of life and death are teaching us many lessons about caring, community and remembrance of our friends, even those who live on life’s wild side. Ben is also a master storyteller and invites us to travel with him through several stories, within stories, in the course of this column. Please, share this story with friends, this week.

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Ramadan

 

Ramadan ends this year with the joyous festival of Eid al Fitr around May 23 this year, depending on moon sightings and national consensus among Islamic leaders. Please remember our many friends, neighbors and professional colleagues who are in the midst of this challenging fast during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HELP US TO CONGRATULATE VICTOR BEGG. Victor Begg’s memoir Our Muslim Neighbors has now circled the globe welcoming readers to experience the life of a family with deep roots in the history of Islam—sometimes funny, sometimes somber, sometimes suspenseful. Recently, Victor was honored as a finalist for the annual Eric Hoffer Awards Montaigne Medal. Eric Hoffer (1898-1993) is the famous American laborer and migrant who emerged as one of our greatest writers about American social movements. The Montaigne medal honors the Renaissance writer and statesman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592). Order a copy of Victor’s book for yourself and a friend. Simply reading this book carries us a step further to reaching out in a compassionate way to our Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers. The book is available from Amazon—as well as Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

THE HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS column by Stephanie Fenton reports background about the fasting month of Ramadan and provides links to other fascinating resources, as well.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Lincoln’s wisdom for us …

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

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IN HONOR OF MOTOKO HUTHWAITE, consider streaming Monuments Men via Amazon. Click this image from the movie to read Ed’s full review.

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Click this image to learn more about the May issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete study guides of Alone in Berlin, The Laundromat, Atlantics, Tigertail—and more.

FAITH & FILM 

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. In his book Jesus Christ, Movie Star, Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

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LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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 are these 10 recommending movies that are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. In honor of Motoko Huthwaite’s passing: MONUMENTS MEN—Ed writes, “I love it when an old genre, such as the war film is revisited from a fresh perspective–such as this George Clooney WW 2 film.” NOTE: The Clooney production, based on a best-selling book, helped to make this remarkable team world famous—but the movie focuses only on the European theater. Motoko worked in the Pacific theater. (4 out of 5 stars; rents for streaming from Amazon for as low as $2.99; also available from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  2. COME SEE THE PARADISE—Want to learn more about the wartime treatment of Japanese-Americans? Ed gave 5 stars to this 1990 feature. “Alan Parker’s film puts human faces on the dark, tragic era of American history when an entire people were uprooted and moved inland into concentration camps. (Streaming on Amazon)
  3. A HIDDEN LIFE—Want to learn more about courageous peacemakers? “Terrence Malick raises important questions about faith and loyalty to one’s country versus loyalty to one’s conscience. And how do you know that you are right when most everyone else is of the opposite view? These are universal questions, applicable here today as well as in 1940s Europe.” (The Franz Jagerstatter story is streaming from Amazon; also from Netflix’s DVD service.)
  4. TIGERTAIL—Ed writes, “The past is not something we leave behind, but, as long as we have memory, is always with us, inside our heads and hearts. Or so writer-director Alan Yang seems to be saying in the title of his remarkably acted story centering on a failed father-daughter relationship.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  5. REEL REDEMPTION—”Writer/director Tyler Smith’s well balanced survey of the sometimes troubled relationship between Christians and Hollywood should be of interest to every VP reader.” (5 stars)
  6. DADS—”This is a light-hearted yet thought-provoking film montage of fathers speaking about fatherhood.” The Dads interviewed in the film include: include Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ken Jeong, Conan O’Brien and Kenan Thompson.
  7. SELAH AND THE SPADES—”Selah is more like a teenage crime don than a college student—more than one reviewer has compared her story to The Godfather.” (3.5 stars)
  8. FINDING GRACE—”Writer/director Warren Fast’s first feature film provides inspiring entertainment for a family looking for non-violent fare.” (3 stars)
  9. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: Thanking Our Mothers and Grandmothers for their Legacy of Love

Innovative Ideas for a Mother’s Day without Hugs

REMEMBERING OUR MOTHERS & GRANDMOTHERS—”Her home was a palace!” writes Martin Davis in the first part of our Cover Story this week. Martin is describing, from a little boy’s perspective, the wonders of his grandmother Martha’s house that still stands, but now seems surprisingly small. Have you had that experience revisiting long-ago homes from your childhood? Martin opens our Cover Story cluster of columns, this week, by inviting us to travel with him as he revisits memories of a grandmother with a granite foundation in faith that God’s world remains a beautiful place. Please, enjoy this column and share it with friends via email, your own newsletters and social media.

Click this cover image to read Susan Stitt’s column recommending great books for Mom.

This story is sure to inspire many of us to revisit such indelible family memories. As you share Martin’s story with others on social media, consider adding a vintage photo of your own grandmother or mother—and encourage others to share their own inspiring memories.

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SPEAKING OF SHARING STORIES THIS WEEK …

BOOKS MOM WILL LOVE—Susan Stitt writes our Front Edge Publishing column this week, recommending a wide array of books that Mom or Grandma will enjoy. One of these books introduces diverse bread-making traditions. Maybe one of those cultures connects with your family.

Yes, books still are shipping. Americans are reading more books than ever. Got a little loving sibling rivalry in your family? Susan playfully headlines her column: Books to Buy for Mother’s Day that Will Make YOU Her Favorite Child!

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Virtual Hugs
for the Holiday

Click Rogers and Astaire to read Suzy’s column.

THE HOLIDAY STORYHolidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton tells us the history of Mother’s Day and points out that hand-made cards this year would have made the pioneers of this idea—Ann Reeves Jarvis and her daughter—quite happy. Stephanie also has links to other helpful resources for a virtual Mother’s Day.

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SUZY FARBMAN’S GOD SIGNS also has a terrific idea, this week. All of us could use some tips (and taps) from great sages (and a song-and-dance duo) to help us “Pick ourselves up—Dust ourselves off …” Suzy even gives us a 2-minute video clip of the hit song. Come on! This column will make you smile.

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Ramadan

Clicking on this medal will take you to the Amazon book page for Victor Begg’s memoir, Our Muslim Neighbors.

HELP US TO CONGRATULATE VICTOR BEGG. Want to do a good deed, right now? Celebrate the honor received by interfaith peace activist Victor Begg for his memoir Our Muslim Neighbors. His book has now circled the globe welcoming readers to experience the life of a family with deep roots in the history of Islam—sometimes funny, sometimes somber, sometimes suspenseful.

This week, Victor was honored as a finalist for the annual Eric Hoffer Awards Montaigne Medal—which means he can display the awards star-shield with his book. Eric Hoffer (1898-1993) is the famous American laborer and migrant who emerged as one of our greatest writers and philosophers, especially focusing on American social movements. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. The prestigious Hoffer book awards were launched in 2001. The Montaigne medal honors the Renaissance writer and statesman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).

Celebrate this honor with us by ordering a copy of Victor’s book for yourself and a friend. Simply reading this book carries us a step further to reaching out in a compassionate way to our Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers. The book is available from Amazon—as well as Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

THE HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS column by Stephanie Fenton reports background about the fasting month of Ramadan and provides links to other fascinating resources, as well.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Yes, We Need a Little …

 

What would Lincoln do?

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

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Click this image to read Ed’s review of Tigertail, now streaming on Netflix.

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FAITH & FILM 

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page. Ed’s book also is available through Barnes & Noble.

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

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LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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 are these 10 recommending movies that are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. TIGERTAIL—Ed writes, “The past is not something we leave behind, but, as long as we have memory, is always with us, inside our heads and hearts. Or so writer-director Alan Yang seems to be saying in the title of his remarkably acted story centering on a failed father-daughter relationship.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  2. Click to read Ed’s review of Atlantics.

    ATLANTICS—”This is a film well worth sitting and puzzling through. The only one I can think of that it resembles is Jordan Peel’s ghost story Us. If you appreciated that somber tale, you will enjoy this one as well.” (4 stars)

  3. REEL REDEMPTION—”Writer/director Tyler Smith’s well balanced survey of the sometimes troubled relationship between Christians and Hollywood should be of interest to every VP reader.” (5 stars)
  4. DADS—”This is a light-hearted yet thought-provoking film montage of fathers speaking about fatherhood.” The Dads interviewed in the film include: include Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ken Jeong, Conan O’Brien and Kenan Thompson.
  5. SELAH AND THE SPADES—”Selah is more like a teenage crime don than a college student—more than one reviewer has compared her story to The Godfather.” (3.5 stars)
  6. FINDING GRACE—”Writer/director Warren Fast’s first feature film provides inspiring entertainment for a family looking for non-violent fare.” (3 stars)
  7. J.E.S.U.S.A.—Ed writes, “Writer/director Kevin Miller’s film is a polemical documentary that provides an excellent history of what some regard as the fall of Christianity, and others its perversion. The filmmakers are disturbed by the antics of conservative Evangelicals who would wrap Jesus in the American flag and pretend that this is a ‘Christian nation.’ ” (5 stars)
  8. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  9. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: ‘Unstuck’—How wise leaders are strengthening their communities even in COVID-19 isolation

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NOW IS THE TIME
FOR CREATIVE,
COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP

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COVER STORY—How can overwhelmed leaders hope to cope with a pandemic? One of the nation’s top business consultants—Craig Lemasters of GXG in Atlanta—is sharing his answers to that question.

His book Unstuck was underway before any of us had heard the term “coronavirus”—but Craig’s long experience with global disruption had taught him that catastrophic upheavals are inevitable. From hurricanes to technological transformations that can devastate entire industries, Craig has seen tidal waves of change move faster and faster. In Atlanta, his team helps Fortune 500 executives grapple with such seemingly insurmountable challenges every day.

Craig decided to write this book and publicly share his hard-earned wisdom, because he believes we all will be better off if we learn to adapt, survive and thrive—if we face each new challenge and know how to get … Unstuck, together.

Please, read our cover story this week and share it with friends via email or social media. Want to know more? There’s a link in this column to visit Craig’s website, connect with Craig and get a free update when the book is ready to launch. We’re sure you’re going to want to read it—and give a copy to a friend.

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10 TIPS FOR AUTHORS IN THE MIDST OF COVID

READERS ARE WAITING FOR YOU! Are you a writer feeling stuck in the midst of this pandemic? Or are you a reader who wants to help a writer you love? If so, our Marketing Director Susan Stitt shares 10 Tips for Authors in the Midst of COVID—because now is a time that millions of men and women are waiting for books.

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AN ACTIVE FAITH MAY HOLD THE KEY TO A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE

THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE—Our friends at the International Association of Religion Journalists—Elisa Di Benedetto from Italy and Larbi Megari from Algeria—have just published a remarkable, inspiring report about research into the connections between religious communities and health. Their conclusion: “Social and medical sciences are increasingly finding evidence to support how religion promotes better health, including living longer.” This is a story you’ll want to share with friends.

JOURNALISTS AROUND THE WORLD are reporting on the unique challenges and adaptations from religious groups coping with isolation and the lethal threat of COVID-19. Elisa DiBenedetto published this roundup of fascinating headlines that circle the globe. This is a rare invitation to look into our world’s diverse spiritual cultures, thanks to these journalists who shared their headlines and links from many countries.

 

Yes, We Need a Little Lincoln

Remembering All We Share

WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

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Holidays & Festivals: Ramadan

DID YOU KNOW? Dates are a traditional way to break the fast each night for Muslims. Learn more in Stephanie Fenton’s Ramadan column.

A Perfect Time to Learn about Our Neighbors

A SIMPLE GREETING MEANS SO MUCH! We heard this week from a reader who simply asked her Muslim physician how the start of Ramadan was affecting his family—and that simple, kind question was deeply appreciated by him to the point that she shared the story with us. Consider wishing a Muslim friend, neighbor or co-worker: “Ramadan Mubarak.” Jews and Christians recently completed their first-ever Easter and Passover with COVID-19 social distancing. Now, the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims are just entering the fasting month when they usually enjoy big family dinners and visits to local mosques after sundown.

VICTOR BEGG REPORTS ON FAITH COMMUNITIES, including Jews, Christians and Muslims generously reaching out—from a safe distance—to help the world even in the midst of their own holidays.

Click to visit the book’s Amazon page.

MEET THE NEIGHBORS—Victor is the author of Our Muslim Neighborswhich is available in all formats, including audio, from Amazon. Or you can order from Barnes & Noble as well as our own bookstore in hardcover as well as paperback.

LEARN ABOUT THE NEIGHBORS—The Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters series offers two very helpful books, designed for non-Muslim readers. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking, but nobody is asking.

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Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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FAITH & FILM 

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page. Ed’s book also is available through Barnes & Noble.

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

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LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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 are these 10 recommending movies that are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. J.E.S.U.S.A.—Ed writes, “Writer/director Kevin Miller’s film is a polemical documentary that provides an excellent history of what some regard as the fall of Christianity, and others its perversion. The filmmakers are disturbed by the antics of conservative Evangelicals who would wrap Jesus in the American flag and pretend that this is a ‘Christian nation.’ ” (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  3. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  4. I, THE WORST OF ALL—”Thanks to someone on YouTube, Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg brings to us gringos the enlightening biographical film of one of Mexico’s early and still read poets, the 17th century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). It is a beautifully costumed and acted historical drama about a woman still very relevant on a universal basis—she was the first writer in the Americas to defend the rights of women.” (5 stars)
  5. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)
  6. THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.” (4 stars)
  7. I LOST MY BODY

    Click this image to read Ed’s review of this unusual Netflix feature film.

    Ed writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.” (4.5 stars)

  8. THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.” (4 stars)
  9. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  10. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 stars)

 

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Cover Story: What Truly Great Americans Are Doing to Meet COVID-19 with Compassion

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WISDOM OF GIRL SCOUTS:
FACING COVID-19 WITH COURAGE & COMPASSION

THREE SHORT STORIES—AND A MUSIC VIDEO—That’s what author and peace activist Brenda Rosenberg brings us this week along with contributions from other writers and artists. Who knows more about our core American values than the millions of Girl Scouts in the U.S.—connected with 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world? Please, read these short stories from Brenda and these inspiring young women! Prepare to be inspired. And, please, share their stories with friends on social media.

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Need a Little Lincoln?
Let’s Remember All We Share

REKINDLING LINCOLN’S ‘QUIET FIRE’ 

COVER STORY—During COVID-19 distancing, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer’s public radio studio (WERU in mid-coast Maine) is closed for recording. So, he has been unable to broadcast any new weekly episodes of his long-running series of spiritual meditations on the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, called Quiet Fire. As of this week—and until Duncan can get back to the studio—we will be publishing the texts of his weekly columns each Monday.

WHY NOW? The second half of April 2020 is marked by a tragic return to hyper-partisan political attacks sparked from Washington D.C.—as if Americans should be angry enemies as we face this global crisis. We’ve all seen the explosive tweets calling on partisan groups to begin divisive protests. Just as we need a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19—we need an antidote to that kind of dangerous political rabble-rousing.

WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Duncan writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

THIS WEEK, please read and share these episodes of Duncan’s weekly series, Quiet Fire. Collectively, these Lincoln stories represent a call back to our true greatness as Americans.

Care to Enjoy More Lincoln Right Now?

GET A COPY Duncan’s 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. Each of the 30 stories in this book includes a link to listen to the original radio broadcasts. The book is available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle versions. ALSO, you can order hardcover and paperback from Barnes & Noble. In addition, our own publishing house offers these bookstore links to order hardcovers as well as paperbacks directly from our supplier.

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Holidays & Festivals: Ramadan

… And Speaking of Great Americans …

MUSLIMS FOCUS ON COMPASSIONATE OUTREACH

A CENTRAL THEME OF RAMADAN is fasting from dawn to dusk partly to encourage a spiritual connection with the millions of poor and hungry families around the world. Of course, CNN Hero and PEOPLE magazine hero Najah Bazzy lives every day with that awareness as the founder and CEO of Zaman International, a multi-faceted program that focuses on at-risk women and children.

‘THE BEAUTY OF RAMADAN’

Don’t these photos and inspiring stories make you curious about how Islam shapes such a life of tireless service? Well, this week’s Front Edge Publishing column describes Najah’s book, The Beauty of Ramadan.

Najah Bazzy’s overall mission in life is teaching people about Islam and the deep compassion that lies at the heart of all the Abrahamic faiths. From her global perspective, Najah wrote The Beauty of Ramadan to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand the many complex traditions associated with the month of fasting. The book is especially helpful to community leaders who are trying to understand what Muslim families experience. It includes sections of special interest to Muslim—and non-Muslim—human-resources, healthcare and public-service professionals.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Many of Our Authors Are Offering Free Resources

FROM ‘QUICK LAUGHS’ to DISCUSSION GIUDES—Our Publisher John Hile put out the call: “We’re known for publishing books that help people. In the middle of this pandemic, let’s find ways to do more.” Many of our authors are responding with free spiritual resources from teaching and stories and videos—to a Quick Laugh from a famous standup comic. Here’s a Front Edge Publishing column about these free opportunities to let our authors spark a little joy in your life.

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Trying Meditation?

Guess who finally convinced Suzy Farbman?

GOD SIGNS—Author Suzy Farbman headlines her column this week: Meditation, vocab and other productive ways to spend time during a pandemic. Like most of us, she’s tried a host of ways to cope with isolation and anxiety—from clever ideas for virtual birthday parties to learning new vocabulary words. Most recently, she taking a fresh shot at meditation—a spiritual practice that has eluded her for years. Who does she credit with convincing her that meditation has real credibility? Well, read her column to find out.
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FAITH & FILM 

‘JUMP SHOT’—Here’s a movie you’ll likely overlook without Ed’s help! He gives it 5 out of 5 stars and says this true-life story is perfect for all those of us who are missing the thrill of sports at the moment. Click this photo to read Ed’s entire review.

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Click this image to learn about the April issue of Visual Parables Journal.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

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 are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  2. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  3. I, THE WORST OF ALL—”Thanks to someone on YouTube, Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg brings to us gringos the enlightening biographical film of one of Mexico’s early and still read poets, the 17th century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). It is a beautifully costumed and acted historical drama about a woman still very relevant on a universal basis—she was the first writer in the Americas to defend the rights of women.” (5 stars)
  4. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)
  5. THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.” (4 stars)
  6. I LOST MY BODY

    Click this image to read Ed’s review of this unusual Netflix feature film.

    Ed writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.” (4.5 stars)

  7. THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.” (4 stars)
  8. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  9. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 stars)
  10. EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)

 

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