COVER STORY: ‘This is a season when we all need courage!’ Meet a teacher who wants to help us find it.

Larry Buxton reminds us of the values we all share

Astonishing but true: We do share a wide range of timeless values

IN A NEW SERIES OF FREE WEEKLY VIDEOS, veteran pastor, teacher, leadership coach, Bible scholar and author Larry Buxton will greet us with a few wise words—reminding us that the core values we need to heal our communities are already within our shared traditions. There is not a more timely message. Don’t take our word for it. Just take a moment and read the Foreword to this book by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a prominent Democrat. Then, read the Preface to this book by Andrew Card, a prominent Republican.

HERE’S HOW TO GET LARRY’S FREE VIDEOS—They arrive in a free weekly email. (Don’t worry, you can cancel anytime.) Simply go to https://www.LarryBuxton.com/, then enter your email address in the box that says “Weekly Updates.” Want to learn more? You also could click on the “Leading with Spirit” link in the upper-right corner of Larry’s front page. That takes you to an ever-growing index of Larry’s videos and columns.

This is an important new voice in the national conversation about unity—and all of us at the publishing house have worked closely with Larry to develop this free resource. Please, will you take a moment and sign up? And, then, please tell a friend about this, as well? That way you’ll know someone who is eager to discuss the latest video each week.

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Holidays & Milestones

Mourning Milestones

RODNEY CURTIS, photographer and author, marked our national milestone this week with a graphic you may want to share with others.

Responding to Evil

REAL GRIEF—REAL HEALING is a podcast hosted by Mindy Corporon, whose online motto is: “Gathering people to shine the light on peace.” Her latest podcast features veteran journalist Bill Tammeus, whose memoir is coming in January 2021, titled Love Loss and Endurance—A 9/11 Story of Resilience and Hope in an Age of Anxiety. In this podcast, you’ll hear Bill talk with Mindy about his own experience of 9/11/2001 and the powerful legacy of that day for our nation, and the world.

Choosing Humility over Humiliation

ABRAHAM LINCOLN‘s instinct was always to greet people—even those with deeply challenging viewpoints—with humility. How should we respond to troubling news? All too often, these days, we see examples of leaders trying to humiliate those with whom they may disagree. Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer reminds us that Lincoln embodied a powerful alternative. Please, share this inspiring column—and others on our ReadTheSpirit front page—with friends this week.

Yom Kippur

THIS YEAR, YOM KIPPUR begins at sunset on Sunday September 27. We are marking the Jewish High Holy Days this year with inspiring true stories from Howard Brown. For Yom Kippur, Howard reminds us of the ultimate questions we all share: Who shall live? And, who shall die?

Best Wishes to All of Our Jewish Authors …

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, this week, we highlight the many Jewish authors who have joined our community of writers and teachers since our publishing house was founded in 2007.

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And, now a big smile …

Can you tell why Najah Bazzy is smiling?

IN RECENT YEARS, we have been honored to publish the writings of Zaman International founder Najah Bazzy—who also has been honored as a CNN network and People magazine hero. In addition to her Beauty of Ramadan, Najah also has contributed to our upcoming book: What Now? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging, due to be published in early 2021. In this fun photo—Najah is smiling from a package of … Well, you can read the story either from The Detroit Free Press or from Click on Detroit.

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Click this image to read Ed McNulty’s review of Ruby Bridges.

FAITH & FILM 

CLICK ON THIS PREVIEW IMAGE to learn more about Ed McNulty’s September issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete discussion guides to the new David Copperfield movie, the new Lovecraft series—and many more films.

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. RUBY BRIDGES—Ed writes, “Ruby Bridges tells the story of how a six-year old Black girl integrated a New Orleans segregated school in 1960. Of course, Ruby didn’t achieve this feat alone– there was the NAACP that chose her; four US Marshalls that kept back the angry mob of haters bent on lynching her; a kind-hearted White teacher who pushed back against her racist superiors; a famous psychiatrist to help her with the stress; and, most of all, her courageous mother who shared the deep faith that gave the girl the strength to persist. Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  2. ALL IN—THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY—Ed writes, “Directors Lisa Cortes’ and Liz Garbus’s well-produced documentary could not be more timely, coming out just a month or so before the 2020 national elections.
  3. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, originally Grâce à Dieu—”Francois Ozon’s rivetting drama joins two other excellent films—Our Fathers and Spotlight—that personalize the issue of the abuse of boys by priests and its cover-up. The script, written by the director, is based on the real lives of three men abused as boys by Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley).”
  4. A CASE OF DEADLY FORCE—Ed reaches back to 1986 to recommend this powerful drama about the shooting of a Black man by police. The film could have been made today, Ed writes.
  5. MILADA—”We should all be grateful to Netflix for bringing us Czech director David Mrnka’s English-language film about a social justice advocate largely unknown in the U.S. Milada Horáková, born in 1901, became a lawyer when few women were able to rise to this status. She championed labor and women’s issues and in the late 1930s tried unsuccessfully to warn the English of Hitler’s true intentions. She returned to her native land to take part with her husband Bohuslav Horák in the resistance to the Nazis.”
  6. DANGEROUS LIES—”Director Michael Scott’s mystery can provide an enjoyable time away from the current turmoil, especially if you enjoyed Knives Out, though his tale revolving around a good-hearted caretaker by no means rises to that level.”
  7. LOVECRAFT COUNTRYIn his review of the new HBO series, Ed writes: “I love road trip movies, and this series looks like it will rate right up there with the best, judging by the incredibly good first segment called Sundown!” Then, this new series transported Ed way back into the roots of his own fascination with science fiction—so he adds this personal column about early sci-fi fans he knew and the genre’s potential to expand our worlds in helpful ways.
  8. PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD—Ed writes, “Regarded as Charles Dickens’ most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield had been filmed 13 times before Armando Iannucci adapted it. Thoroughly enjoying his political satire, The Death of Stalin, I was looking forward to seeing this new version, noted for its color-blind casting and touch of surrealistic absurdity. I was not disappointed, the director and co-writer Simon Blackwell giving us a whimsical romp through the sprawling novel in just under two hours.”
  9. IRON JAWED ANGELS—Ed writes, “Although there are many good films dealing with the Civil Rights movement, there are relatively few about the struggle for women’s rights. Thus we should be glad that HBO saw fit to produce this film for Women’s History Month in March of 2004. … This is a film that should be seen by every American who treasures the progress that genuine democracy has made in this country.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  10. SUFFRAGETTE—”This film, set in England a few years before the First World War, could be considered a prequel to the 2004 movie Iron Jawed Angels. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns both gained experience in the women’s rights movement in England. This newer film mixes real characters with fictional ones.” (4.5 stars)

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COVER STORY: Rosh Hashanah’s and Yom Kippur’s timeless question: ‘Who shall live and who shall die?’

The whole world is asking these questions

When you’re healthy, you may not think twice about a question like: “Who shall live and who shall die?” For Jews, this is a central question of the High Holy Days: a small yet powerful handful of words among the hundreds of traditional words Jewish men and women pray, chant and contemplate between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

This year, millions of non-Jews also are pondering those sacred words, with the total of global cases of COVID-19 approaching 30 million and deaths nearing 900,000. Who else hears those solemn questions each year with high anxiety and often with broken hearts? Anyone who struggles with cancer in their own life or in the lives of loved ones.

For the Jewish High Holy Days, this year, we are pleased to debut the storytelling wisdom of a new author in our global community of authors. He’s Howard Brown, who built his career as a Silicon Valley software and social media developer—while serving as a courageous advocate for the Jewish community and for interfaith peacemaking around the world. Last week, Howard wrote about a shofar that was brought to him—halfway around the world—by a Muslim friend as a sign of peace.

In this week’s inspiring Cover Story, Howard takes us even deeper into Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with this story about the ultimate questions we all share. Please, read this story and share it with friends.

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Need to Smile?

RABBI BOB ALPER: ‘SO, WE’RE LEFT WITH ZOOM?’

THEN, LET’S MAKE THE MOST OF IT, Rabbi Alper writes this week in our Front Edge Publishing column. In this column, he describes several adapted programs he is successfully using to reach out through the Internet. This is a column that any author—or teacher or community leader—will want to read as thousands of community groups are ramping up their online presence. Rather than surrendering to the pandemic, Bob’s road show now cruises the Internet, drawing crowds each time he performs.

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Smile No. 2—

READ BILL TAMMEUS’ WISE, WITTY REVIEW …

… OF LARRY BUXTON’s new book, 30 Days with King David on Leadership. Readers nationwide know Bill Tammeus as a master-journalist in covering religious diversity. He’s also got a wry wit that, this week, he turns toward the many trials and temptations of King David. Bill has a purpose in this witty column: He’s praising the new book by Larry Buxton about David for the remarkable feat of turning this often-flawed ruler into an inspiring lesson about the importance of the classic values that define leadership.

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Want More Good News?

OUR TEENAGERS ARE INTERESTED IN OUR FAITH

FROM PEW RESEARCHThis amazing study by a Pew team of researchers should be downloaded by anyone who cares about the faith of our families and the future of our congregations. Just one example from the report: “For instance, 73% of teens give the same answer as their parent about how important religion is to the parent, and 68% of parents give the same answer about how important religion is to their teen.” Amazing, isn’t it? Our “kids” really are influenced by the way we live out our religious lives.

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How a True Leader Expresses Empathy

 

Abraham Lincoln’s Quiet Fire

HOW SHOULD A LEADER RESPOND? September 2020 has been marked by many tragedies nationwide—from wildfires in the West to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to reflections on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. Our national conversation has often turned to the best examples of leadership in times of tragedy—so, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer reminds us of this famous presidential response in 1862..

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Click this photo to read Ed’s entire review of ‘By the Grace of God.’

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FAITH & FILM 

CLICK ON THIS PREVIEW IMAGE to learn more about Ed McNulty’s September issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete discussion guides to the new David Copperfield movie, the new Lovecraft series—and many more films.

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, originally Grâce à Dieu—Ed writes, “Francois Ozon’s rivetting drama joins two other excellent films—Our Fathers and Spotlight—that personalize the issue of the abuse of boys by priests and its cover-up. The script, written by the director, is based on the real lives of three men abused as boys by Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley).”
  2. THE COMEY RULE—”Director/writer Billy Ray’s two-part miniseries centering on relationship between FBI Director James Comey and President Donald Trump is a political junkie’s dream picture.”
  3. A CASE OF DEADLY FORCE—Ed reaches back to 1986 to recommend this powerful drama about the shooting of a Black man by police. The film could have been made today, Ed writes.
  4. MILADA—”We should all be grateful to Netflix for bringing us Czech director David Mrnka’s English-language film about a social justice advocate largely unknown in the U.S. Milada Horáková, born in 1901, became a lawyer when few women were able to rise to this status. She championed labor and women’s issues and in the late 1930s tried unsuccessfully to warn the English of Hitler’s true intentions. She returned to her native land to take part with her husband Bohuslav Horák in the resistance to the Nazis.”
  5. DANGEROUS LIES—”Director Michael Scott’s mystery can provide an enjoyable time away from the current turmoil, especially if you enjoyed Knives Out, though his tale revolving around a good-hearted caretaker by no means rises to that level.”
  6. LOVECRAFT COUNTRYIn his review of the new HBO series, Ed writes: “I love road trip movies, and this series looks like it will rate right up there with the best, judging by the incredibly good first segment called Sundown!” Then, this new series transported Ed way back into the roots of his own fascination with science fiction—so he adds this personal column about early sci-fi fans he knew and the genre’s potential to expand our worlds in helpful ways.
  7. PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD—Ed writes, “Regarded as Charles Dickens’ most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield had been filmed 13 times before Armando Iannucci adapted it. Thoroughly enjoying his political satire, The Death of Stalin, I was looking forward to seeing this new version, noted for its color-blind casting and touch of surrealistic absurdity. I was not disappointed, the director and co-writer Simon Blackwell giving us a whimsical romp through the sprawling novel in just under two hours.”
  8. IRON JAWED ANGELS—Ed writes, “Although there are many good films dealing with the Civil Rights movement, there are relatively few about the struggle for women’s rights. Thus we should be glad that HBO saw fit to produce this film for Women’s History Month in March of 2004. … This is a film that should be seen by every American who treasures the progress that genuine democracy has made in this country.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  9. SUFFRAGETTE—”This film, set in England a few years before the First World War, could be considered a prequel to the 2004 movie Iron Jawed Angels. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns both gained experience in the women’s rights movement in England. This newer film mixes real characters with fictional ones.” (4.5 stars)
  10. FRANCESCO—”Italian director Michele Soavi serves up a very imaginative version of the life of Christendom’s most beloved saint, Francis of Assisi.” (4.5 Stars)

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Cover Story: As we approach Rosh Hashanah 5781, remembering a shofar that a Muslim friend carried half way around the world

A New Year Is Coming for All of Us

FINDING HOPE WITH OUR JEWISH FRIENDS

NEW YEAR 5781 BEGINS with Rosh Hashanah at sundown on Friday September 18, this year. (And, for all Americans, the post-Labor Day season represents a kind of new year.) As we all enter this new year, let’s learn from the Jewish tradition of peacemaking, especially the annual call to reconcile with others across the many chasms that have formed over the past year.

For our Cover Story this week, we are pleased to debut the storytelling wisdom of a new author in our nationwide community of authors. He’s Howard Brown, who built his career as a Silicon Valley software and social media developer—while serving as a courageous advocate for the Jewish community and for interfaith peacemaking around the world.

In this inspiring story—which we’re sure you’ll want to share with friends—Howard tells about his favorite shofar, a symbol of the Jewish High Holy Days’ call to renewal. This shofar was carried halfway around the world for him by a Muslim friend. It’s a powerful reminder that, however divided our world may seem, peace always is possible.

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Holidays & Festivals

Help Raise Cancer Awareness

AUTUMN IS THE TIME TO PLAN EVENTS

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week, Susan Stitt writes about the more than three dozen cancer-awareness “days,” “weeks” and “months” that are spread through every month of our calendar. She also provides a handy link to download a complete American Cancer Society calendar of all these events. Of all the annual events, however, 15 of them fall in the autumn—including the major push for Breast Cancer Awareness, the famous “pink ribbon” campaign. Then—Susan describes the many books we publish to help families cope with the challenges of cancer. Please, read this important story and share it with friends this week.

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Labor Day 

HAVE YOU SEEN THE HEADLINES? Stephanie Fenton has been following the news about closings, cancellations—and some creative adaptations like a “drive in fireworks” show. Her best suggestion is that Americans use this once-in-a-lifetime Labor Day to look more deeply into the roots of this observance.

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Why 9/11 Matters in Our Troubled World 

EVEN NOW, quarantined work crews in New York City are preparing this year’s Tribute in Light for the 19th anniversary of 9/11. Award-winning journalist and author Bill Tammeus, based in Kansas City writes about why the lessons and legacy of 9/11 still are important—especially now.

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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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Duncan Newcomer and Abraham Lincoln

Myths and wisdom in national conversation about rule of law

OUR WEEKLY QUIET FIRE SERIES suddenly jumped into national headlines this week, in The Atlantic magazine’s coverage of Donald Trump’s selective use of Lincoln’s texts. So, this week, Quiet Fire radio series host and Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer further clarifies why Lincoln’s wisdom remains relevant—if we understand his meaning and don’t manipulate it to serve our political preferences.

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LOVECRAFT COUNTRY—Click on this snapshot from the new HBO series to begin reading Ed’s in-depth coverage.

FAITH & FILM 

CLICK ON THIS PREVIEW IMAGE to learn more about Ed McNulty’s September issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes complete discussion guides to the new David Copperfield movie, the new Lovecraft series—and many more films.

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. LOVECRAFT COUNTRYIn his review of the new HBO series, Ed McNulty writes: “I love road trip movies, and this series looks like it will rate right up there with the best, judging by the incredibly good first segment called Sundown!” Then, this new series transported Ed way back into the roots of his own fascination with science fiction—so he adds this personal column about early sci-fi fans he knew and the genre’s potential to expand our worlds in helpful ways.
  2. PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD—Ed writes, “Regarded as Charles Dickens’ most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield had been filmed 13 times before Armando Iannucci adapted it. Thoroughly enjoying his political satire, The Death of Stalin, I was looking forward to seeing this new version, noted for its color-blind casting and touch of surrealistic absurdity. I was not disappointed, the director and co-writer Simon Blackwell giving us a whimsical romp through the sprawling novel in just under two hours.”
  3. IRON JAWED ANGELS—Ed writes, “Although there are many good films dealing with the Civil Rights movement, there are relatively few about the struggle for women’s rights. Thus we should be glad that HBO saw fit to produce this film for Women’s History Month in March of 2004. … This is a film that should be seen by every American who treasures the progress that genuine democracy has made in this country.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  4. SUFFRAGETTE—”This film, set in England a few years before the First World War, could be considered a prequel to the 2004 movie Iron Jawed Angels. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns both gained experience in the women’s rights movement in England. This newer film mixes real characters with fictional ones.” (4.5 stars)
  5. FRANCESCO—”Italian director Michele Soavi serves up a very imaginative version of the life of Christendom’s most beloved saint, Francis of Assisi.” (4.5 Stars)
  6. A TIME FOR BURNING—”This documentary, shot in 1965, largely at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is of interest to those concerned about the church and racism. Commissioned by a national office of the Lutheran Church in America and directed by Barbara Connell and Bill Jersey, the film focuses upon the Rev. William Youngdahl, Augustana’s pastor. It is a good example of the feebleness of the White church in dealing intelligently and forcibly with racism in America.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  7. JOHN LEWIS: GET IN THE WAY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Kathleen Dowdey does a fine job encapsulating John Lewis’s long life in its short running time of less than an hour.” (5 stars)
  8. CLEMENCY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Chinonye Chukwu has given us a prison film unlike most anything you have seen, in that her focus is not on a condemned prisoner, but on the person in charge of the execution of prisoners, the warden.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  9. HAMILTONEd gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
  10. GREYHOUNDEd gives 4.5 stars to Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Ed writes, “Hanks turns in an excellent performance as the rookie commander who feels the pressure of his baptism by fire.”
  11. THE RESISTANCE BANKER“Dutch director Joram Lürsenfor shows us one more way in which an occupied people resisted Nazi tyranny. I love the way in which through the years such filmmakers manage to present a fresh view of WW 2 and of Nazi persecution.” (4.5 stars)

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COVER STORY—Shining a light on the dangers of extremist thinking at 9/11

Why 9/11 Matters in Our Troubled World

Countering the Dangers of ‘Uncompromising Dogmatism’

THIS YEAR, the 19th anniversary of 9/11, the awe-inspiring Tribute in Light was almost extinguished to protect the health of the 40 professionals who work for a week to make it happen—until the state of New York announced in mid-August that special health-care resources would surround the event and ensure it could keep shining safely. That’s a potent sign of how much we all need to remember this milestone in world history—especially in this season when extremism seems to be running rampant again in many corners of the United States.

This week, we are honored to have this deeply personal Cover Story from award-winning journalist and author Bill Tammeus, based in Kansas City. Please read it and share it with others. We are intentionally publishing this column a week before the 9/11 anniversary so our readers can feel free to pass along Bill’s story to spark conversations well before the anniversary. (Note: We always publish under Creative Commons licensing, which means you are free to share and repost this important voice and other stories we share each week.)

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The Values We Share Can Reunite Us

Larry Buxton and King David

OUR SHARED VALUES CAN REUNITE US. That’s what author, pastor, teacher and leadership coach Larry Buxton says on the front page of his new website: “Larry Buxton … can help you clarify your deep values and foundational principles. As you hold to them in challenging situations, you can grow to act
with courage, character and confidence.” He does that through his professional coaching—and he is sharing this wisdom with all of us through his new book: 30 Days with King David on Leadership.

Become Part of this New Call to Unity

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And Speaking of Our Authors …

JOE GRIMM and MSU BIAS BUSTERS

MSU SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM’S JOE GRIMM is frequently in the midst of national conversations on cultural diversity, including race, religion, ethnicity and generational groups. Currently, Grimm is quoted as an expert in an Ozy.com column about Gen Xers’ anxieties about our nation’s problems. You can follow Joe’s newsy MSU Bias Busters columns at his MSU School of Journalism website. You can learn more about the wide-ranging book series these journalists have produced at their Amazon author page.

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Martin Davis and the Prophetic Voices of Athletes

‘OUR STARS ARE SPEAKING TO US’and we’re long overdue in heeding these prophetic voices, author and columnist Martin Davis writes this week in a powerful overview of the prophetic actions unfolding in professional sports. In fact, these voices have been raised for many years. Martin asks: Will we finally listen?

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Artist Michelle Sider and Barbara Lewis

ARTIST MICHELLE SIDER‘s multi-faceted career includes helping to create the unique and inspiring book Never Long Enoughdesigned to help families reflect on the lives and legacies of their loved ones. Her latest project—which she describes as “painting with glass”—is profiled in the current issue of The Jewish News in a feature story by Barbara Lewis, who also is one of our authors (as a key collaborator in the book Friendship and Faith). AND … THERE’S MORE! In The Oakland Press, Stephanie Sokol reports on Michelle’s work with nature-inspired images.

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Najah Bazzy and Zaman International

NAJAH BAZZY—like Joe and Michelle and Barbara, above—also is deeply engaged in the national effort to highlight the needs of millions of at-risk families, especially families with children that are headed by single parents. Through her Zaman International nonprofit, as well as teaching and public speaking, Najah not only has raised awareness, but also has provided direct help (food, furniture, training and much more) to families. We just learned that Michigan Women Forward has named six women to the HERstory Women’s Hall of Fame. The website currently shows the 2019 winners. These new winners will be honored at a ceremony on October 15. Najah also is a contributing writer in Friendship and Faithhas written a guide to The Beauty of Ramadanand currently is working her memoir to be published in 2021.

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Duncan Newcomer and Abraham Lincoln

IN QUIET FIRE, this week, Duncan Newcomer takes us deep into the woods—both in Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood Indiana and in poet Rabindranath Tagore’s India.

Thanks. And we’ve already got this on RTS to highlight anew with your piece:

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Holidays & Festivals

Labor Day 

HAVE YOU SEEN THE HEADLINES? Stephanie Fenton has been following the news about closings, cancellations—and some creative adaptations like a “drive in fireworks” show. Her best suggestion is that Americans use this once-in-a-lifetime Labor Day to look more deeply into the roots of this observance.

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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 

TRIBUTE TO CHADWICK BOSEMAN—Click on this photo from ‘Black Panther’ to read Ed McNulty’s tribute to the late actor—including links to reviews of many of his best films.

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD—Ed writes, “Regarded as Charles Dickens’ most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield had been filmed 13 times before Armando Iannucci adapted it. Thoroughly enjoying his political satire, The Death of Stalin, I was looking forward to seeing this new version, noted for its color-blind casting and touch of surrealistic absurdity. I was not disappointed, the director and co-writer Simon Blackwell giving us a whimsical romp through the sprawling novel in just under two hours.”
  2. IRON JAWED ANGELS—Ed writes, “Although there are many good films dealing with the Civil Rights movement, there are relatively few about the struggle for women’s rights. Thus we should be glad that HBO saw fit to produce this film for Women’s History Month in March of 2004. … This is a film that should be seen by every American who treasures the progress that genuine democracy has made in this country.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  3. SUFFRAGETTE—”This film, set in England a few years before the First World War, could be considered a prequel to the 2004 movie Iron Jawed Angels. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns both gained experience in the women’s rights movement in England. This newer film mixes real characters with fictional ones.” (4.5 stars)
  4. FRANCESCO—”Italian director Michele Soavi serves up a very imaginative version of the life of Christendom’s most beloved saint, Francis of Assisi.” (4.5 Stars)
  5. A TIME FOR BURNING—”This documentary, shot in 1965, largely at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is of interest to those concerned about the church and racism. Commissioned by a national office of the Lutheran Church in America and directed by Barbara Connell and Bill Jersey, the film focuses upon the Rev. William Youngdahl, Augustana’s pastor. It is a good example of the feebleness of the White church in dealing intelligently and forcibly with racism in America.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  6. JOHN LEWIS: GET IN THE WAY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Kathleen Dowdey does a fine job encapsulating John Lewis’s long life in its short running time of less than an hour.” (5 stars)
  7. CLEMENCY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Chinonye Chukwu has given us a prison film unlike most anything you have seen, in that her focus is not on a condemned prisoner, but on the person in charge of the execution of prisoners, the warden.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  8. HAMILTONEd gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
  9. GREYHOUNDEd gives 4.5 stars to Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Ed writes, “Hanks turns in an excellent performance as the rookie commander who feels the pressure of his baptism by fire.”
  10. THE RESISTANCE BANKER“Dutch director Joram Lürsenfor shows us one more way in which an occupied people resisted Nazi tyranny. I love the way in which through the years such filmmakers manage to present a fresh view of WW 2 and of Nazi persecution.” (4.5 stars)

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COVER STORY—In ‘White Lies,’ Daniel Hill helps readers pull up the roots of racism in churches and communities

Roots of Racism Run Deep in American Christianity

Reports from across the publishing industry tell us that books exploring the roots of racism, especially by Black authors, are booming in 2020. The customers for those books include thousands of congregational leaders, clergy and active lay people, who are building up their own shelves of books for personal reflection and group discussion on this life-and-death range of issues. Now, a book by a White pastor is arriving from evangelical publisher Zondervan, called: White Lies—Nine Ways to Expose and Resist the Racial Systems That Divide Us.

This new book is a tour de force examination of how the lies of racism are deeply entwined within predominantly White Christianity itself.

Please, read our Cover Story this week, which includes an interview with Daniel Hill and information about getting both his book and a free set of discussion resources.

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Three Books to Unite and Heal Communities

A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION 

A month from now, thousands of congregations nationwide will be kicking off virtual fall seasons of programming, complete with small groups and classes. Half a year into the pandemic, congregations now are well-equipped to offer online-streaming groups, many of which like to discuss inspiring new books as they gather. This week, we are highlighting three authors who willing to help you lead and inspire those groups.

As a publishing house, we are issuing a rare public invitation to contact us directly to order early, pre-publication copies you can read and discuss. If you do order books from us and participate in one of these streaming options with our authors—then, we also hope that you and your friends will become part of the emerging national discussion on these timely themes.

PLUS, please consider: Most clergy nationwide are part of small groups that meet online to discuss everything from upcoming sermons to creative planning. All three of these authors are willing to zoom with such planning groups as expert resources as you meet to plan for the fall and winter.

Please read—and then share this cover story with friends via email, social media and word of mouth.

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Holidays & Festivals

Paryushan Parva

A JAIN FOCUS ON PRAYER AND VIRTUE—Though known by various names and observed on a range of dates in some Jain communities, this festival unite Jains through key virtues, including forgiveness, humility, contentedness, truth and control over senses. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story—including a 2020 update on “virtual” observances during the pandemic.

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Labor Day 

HAVE YOU SEEN THE HEADLINES? Stephanie Fenton has been following the news about closings, cancellations—and some creative adaptations like a “drive in fireworks” show. Her best suggestion is that Americans use this once-in-a-lifetime Labor Day to look more deeply into the roots of this observance.

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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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An Aesop’s Fable on Unity

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S QUIET FIRE As a boy, Lincoln would memorize many of Aesop’s fables. Among his favorites was The Old Man and His Sons in which a wise old man asks his sons to break a bundle of sticks. As Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes this week, that simple old tale illustrates a powerful spiritual truth that allowed Lincoln to hold together many opposites—and allow them to strengthen his resolve.

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Click on this image to read Ed McNulty’s review of this inspiring 2004 film.

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FAITH & FILM 

Click on this image from the cover of the August 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this issue, which includes complete study guides to Hamilton, Greyhound, Clemency, The Resistance Banker and more.

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 films available for streaming now. 

  1. IRON JAWED ANGELS—Ed writes, “Although there are many good films dealing with the Civil Rights movement, there are relatively few about the struggle for women’s rights. Thus we should be glad that HBO saw fit to produce this film for Women’s History Month in March of 2004. … This is a film that should be seen by every American who treasures the progress that genuine democracy has made in this country.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. SUFFRAGETTE—”This film, set in England a few years before the First World War, could be considered a prequel to the 2004 movie Iron Jawed Angels. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns both gained experience in the women’s rights movement in England. This newer film mixes real characters with fictional ones.” (4.5 stars)
  3. FRANCESCO—”Italian director Michele Soavi serves up a very imaginative version of the life of Christendom’s most beloved saint, Francis of Assisi.” (4.5 Stars)
  4. A TIME FOR BURNING—”This documentary, shot in 1965, largely at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is of interest to those concerned about the church and racism. Commissioned by a national office of the Lutheran Church in America and directed by Barbara Connell and Bill Jersey, the film focuses upon the Rev. William Youngdahl, Augustana’s pastor. It is a good example of the feebleness of the White church in dealing intelligently and forcibly with racism in America.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  5. JOHN LEWIS: GET IN THE WAY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Kathleen Dowdey does a fine job encapsulating John Lewis’s long life in its short running time of less than an hour.” (5 stars)
  6. CLEMENCY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Chinonye Chukwu has given us a prison film unlike most anything you have seen, in that her focus is not on a condemned prisoner, but on the person in charge of the execution of prisoners, the warden.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  7. RANGOON—”Director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi film is set during WW 2, mostly in a Mumbai movie studio and at the Burmese border where British-led Indian troops are fighting the Japanese invaders.” (4 stars)
  8. HAMILTONEd gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
  9. GREYHOUNDEd gives 4.5 stars to Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Ed writes, “Hanks turns in an excellent performance as the rookie commander who feels the pressure of his baptism by fire.”
  10. THE RESISTANCE BANKER“Dutch director Joram Lürsenfor shows us one more way in which an occupied people resisted Nazi tyranny. I love the way in which through the years such filmmakers manage to present a fresh view of WW 2 and of Nazi persecution.” (4.5 stars)

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COVER STORY—Our authors would like to meet you and your friends to help spark healthy discussion

Three Books to Unite and Heal Communities

A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION 

A month from now, thousands of congregations nationwide will be kicking off virtual fall seasons of programming, complete with small groups and classes. Half a year into the pandemic, congregations now are well-equipped to offer online-streaming groups, many of which like to discuss inspiring new books as they gather. This week, we are highlighting three authors who willing to help you lead and inspire those groups.

As a publishing house, we are issuing this rare public invitation to contact us directly to order early, pre-publication copies you can read and discuss. If you do order books from us and participate in one of these streaming options with our authors—then, we also hope that you and your friends will become part of the emerging national discussion on these timely themes.

PLUS, please consider: Most clergy nationwide are part of small groups that meet online to discuss everything from upcoming sermons to creative planning. All three of these authors are willing to zoom with such planning groups as expert resources as you meet to plan for the fall and winter.

Please read—and then share this cover story with friends via email, social media and word of mouth.

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Holidays & Festivals

Ganesh Chaturthi

One of the World’s Most Colorful Festivals Goes Online

IN INDIAN COMMUNITIES around the world, creative adaptations during the pandemic are moving colorful Indian festivals online in elaborate new ways. Now Indians face one of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 era—because the very heart and soul of Ganesha Chaturthi is experienced through public gatherings and processions. This year, many elements of those festivals will be streamed online. Stephanie Fenton has the story about the holiday and the need for creative adaptations this year.

And, Labor Day Is Downsizing, too

HAVE YOU SEEN THE HEADLINES? Stephanie Fenton has been following the news about closings, cancellations—and some creative adaptations like a “drive in fireworks” show. Her best suggestion is that Americans use this once-in-a-lifetime Labor Day to look more deeply into the roots of this observance.

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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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Presidential Inspiration

Abraham Lincoln’s Quiet Fire

HOW DO WE FIND AND THEN DEFINE Abraham Lincoln’s spiritual life? Reporting on the religious life of presidents and presidential candidates is one of the toughest challenges faced by journalists and historians. In this week’s Quiet Fire episode, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer introduces us to some of the investigators who have joined us on this quest to find Lincoln’s spiritual life.

The Religious Life of Kamala Harris

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE’s senior editor Yonat Shimron published the best overview of Kamala Harris’s religious life we’ve seen online. Yonat calls the piece 5 Faith Facts about Biden’s VP choice Kamala Harris—a Black Baptist with Hindu family. We are sure to see much more reporting on these issues before the November election, but Shimron’s story provides five starting points for the quest to explore Harris’s religious life.

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‘A Time for Burning,’ a 1966 documentary. No, the quality of this black-and-white film is not good. Film historians have not yet gone back and restored it—but they may consider it after The New Yorker magazine published an in-depth feature about the film and the filmmakers. The New Yorker describes this film, which streams on YouTube, as a movie about race “of intimacy, confession, risky self-exposure and forthright confrontation.” Click on this image from the film to read Ed McNulty’s review, which includes links both to The New Yorker and to the film itself.

FAITH & FILM 

Click on this image from the cover of the August 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this issue, which includes complete study guides to Hamilton, Greyhound, Clemency, The Resistance Banker and more.

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 films available for streaming now. 

  1. A TIME FOR BURNING—Ed writes, “This documentary, shot in 1965, largely at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is of interest to those concerned about the church and racism. Commissioned by a national office of the Lutheran Church in America and directed by Barbara Connell and Bill Jersey, the film focuses upon the Rev. William Youngdahl, Augustana’s pastor. It is a good example of the feebleness of the White church in dealing intelligently and forcibly with racism in America.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. JOHN LEWIS: GET IN THE WAY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Kathleen Dowdey does a fine job encapsulating John Lewis’s long life in its short running time of less than an hour.” (5 stars)
  3. WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE? Ed gives this film 5 stars and writes: “Italian-born documentarian Roberto Minervini has added to my list of essential films for understanding racism. Clearly, he is fascinated with America’s South, because this is his fifth film shot in that region. His newest film is an impressionistic weaving together of four groups of Southern Blacks, including a Mardi Gras Indian tribe called the Flaming Arrows, a New Orleans bar owner who has fallen behind on her rent, and a beleaguered family of two brothers Ronaldo and Titus and their single-parent mother.”
  4. CLEMENCY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Chinonye Chukwu has given us a prison film unlike most anything you have seen, in that her focus is not on a condemned prisoner, but on the person in charge of the execution of prisoners, the warden.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  5. HIROSHIMA—Ed reaches back to 1995 to recommend this movie, writing: “This riveting account of the days leading up to and immediately following the atom bombing of two Japanese cities is a joint Canadian/Japanese production for the Showtime TV network.
  6. THE BROKEN CHAIN—And, from 1993, Ed recommends this movie co-starring Pierce Brosnan. “Director Lamont Johnson’s film gives us a different perspective on Native Americans and the American Revolution in this cable film about the Iroquois Confederacy.”
  7. RANGOON—”Director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi film is set during WW 2, mostly in a Mumbai movie studio and at the Burmese border where British-led Indian troops are fighting the Japanese invaders.” (4 stars)
  8. HAMILTONEd gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
  9. GREYHOUNDEd gives 4.5 stars to Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Ed writes, “Hanks turns in an excellent performance as the rookie commander who feels the pressure of his baptism by fire.”
  10. THE RESISTANCE BANKER“Dutch director Joram Lürsenfor shows us one more way in which an occupied people resisted Nazi tyranny. I love the way in which through the years such filmmakers manage to present a fresh view of WW 2 and of Nazi persecution.” (4.5 stars)

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COVER STORY—’30 Days with King David on Leadership’ arrives with rare bipartisan support

Rediscovering Unity in Our Ancient Values

Leading Democrat and Republican both urge us to meet David, again

COVER STORY—In the midst of our deeply divided nation, an ancient voice is rising once again with wisdom that is drawing together Americans from across our political and cultural divides. That ancient voice comes from the life of King David—a world-class hero for defeating Goliath and also a beloved writer of Psalms that millions of us remember in daily prayer and Bible readings. The new book, 30 Days with King David on Leadership is written by Larry Buxton, whose professional career spans both Bible study and leadership consulting.

The proof of the bipartisan appeal of this new book is in its opening pages. Today, as the book appears on Amazon for pre-launch orders, we are publishing—as our ReadTheSpirit cover story—the remarkable Foreword and Preface to the book. These are remarkable because of the two political leaders who came together to write these two letters to readers.

HERE IS the Foreword by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine—a Democrat who represents Virginia, a state where he once served as governor. He also is a former vice presidential candidate. Kaine, like his Republican colleague Andrew Card, explains how deeply the Bible shapes his daily life and invites readers to return to that source of wisdom that can bring people together, once again.

THEN, HERE IS the Preface by Andrew Card—a Republican who has played many roles in industry and in education. During both Bush administrations, Card served in key posts, including as Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. Card closes his Preface urging: “Read this book. You will have new context to help form and launch the leaders of character we so urgently need to send into our world today.”

See the movie, too!

AUTHOR, pastor, educator and leadership coach Larry Buxton also appears this week in a short video about this new book, created by our marketing director Susan Stitt. In our Front Edge Publishing column this week, you can enjoy seeing the King David video—and Susan explains how easy it is for anyone to create such inspiring videos.

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And, Speaking of Our Shared Sacred Values …

Calling Americans to ‘A Most Sacred Right’

ABRAHAM LINCOLN is the subject of the first volume in our 30 Days With series of books with a month’s worth of wisdom that all of us can share. In his weekly Quiet Fire series for public radio in Maine—as well as for the readers of ReadTheSpirit online magazine—Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer explores the wisdom that so valiantly struggled to lift up throughout his life. “Struggled” is an apt term, because—as Duncan explains in this week’s column—Lincoln often was reaching for sacred truths even when he was unable to see how powerfully they would grow throughout his life … and in the years beyond. Please, read Duncan’s column, this week, about Lincoln’s view of “a most sacred right” and share it with friends. These books and weekly stories—from Lincoln to King David—hold the rare potential of drawing together deeply divided Americans.

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Holidays & Festivals

Ganesh Chaturthi

One of the World’s Most Colorful Festivals Goes Online

IN INDIAN COMMUNITIES around the world, creative adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic are moving colorful Indian festivals online in elaborate new ways. Earlier this month, the observance of Raksha Bandhan—in which family bonds are symbolized by bracelets and gifts—was marked virtually in many families. However, in the second half of August, the heart and soul of Ganesha Chaturthi is public gatherings and processions. This year, many elements of those festivals will be streamed online. Stephanie Fenton has the story about the holiday and the need for creative adaptations this year.

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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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Click this historic photo to read Ed McNulty’s review of the documentary, “John Lewis: Get in the Way.”

FAITH & FILM 

Click on this image from the cover of the August 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this issue, which includes complete study guides to Hamilton, Greyhound, Clemency, The Resistance Banker and more.

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 films available for streaming now. 

  1. JOHN LEWIS: GET IN THE WAY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Kathleen Dowdey does a fine job encapsulating John Lewis’s long life in its short running time of less than an hour.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE? Ed gives this film 5 stars and writes: “Italian-born documentarian Roberto Minervini has added to my list of essential films for understanding racism. Clearly, he is fascinated with America’s South, because this is his fifth film shot in that region. His newest film is an impressionistic weaving together of four groups of Southern Blacks, including a Mardi Gras Indian tribe called the Flaming Arrows, a New Orleans bar owner who has fallen behind on her rent, and a beleaguered family of two brothers Ronaldo and Titus and their single-parent mother.”
  3. CLEMENCY—Ed writes, “Director/writer Chinonye Chukwu has given us a prison film unlike most anything you have seen, in that her focus is not on a condemned prisoner, but on the person in charge of the execution of prisoners, the warden.” (5 out of 5 stars)
  4. HIROSHIMA—Ed reaches back to 1995 to recommend this movie, writing: “This riveting account of the days leading up to and immediately following the atom bombing of two Japanese cities is a joint Canadian/Japanese production for the Showtime TV network.
  5. THE BROKEN CHAIN—And, from 1993, Ed recommends this movie co-starring Pierce Brosnan. “Director Lamont Johnson’s film gives us a different perspective on Native Americans and the American Revolution in this cable film about the Iroquois Confederacy.”
  6. RANGOON—”Director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi film is set during WW 2, mostly in a Mumbai movie studio and at the Burmese border where British-led Indian troops are fighting the Japanese invaders.” (4 stars)
  7. HAMILTONEd gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
  8. THE HALF OF IT—Ed writes, “If you are looking for a feel good movie that is also insightful, then director/writer Alice Wu has just the film for you. Centering on three high school seniors, this coming of age film stands far above most others about teenagers that I have seen.”
  9. GREYHOUNDEd gives 4.5 stars to Tom Hanks in Greyhound. Ed writes, “Hanks turns in an excellent performance as the rookie commander who feels the pressure of his baptism by fire.”
  10. THE RESISTANCE BANKER“Dutch director Joram Lürsenfor shows us one more way in which an occupied people resisted Nazi tyranny. I love the way in which through the years such filmmakers manage to present a fresh view of WW 2 and of Nazi persecution.” (4.5 stars)

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