After a traumatic death, you can help by ‘making room’
OUR COVER STORY, this week, follows up on a question that our readers have been asking: When we experience unfair, untimely or tragic deaths, how can we find hope again? From the Middle East and Ukraine to communities in the American heartland—daily news about conflicts, mass shootings and natural disasters can lead to despair.
Canadian pastor and author Leanne Friesen’s new memoir speaks heart-to-heart to those of us grappling with the long journey of grief. Her book—and her work as a speaker and an online host of a rapidly growing Instagram community—are her ways of sharing practical and ultimately hopeful wisdom. In the last few weeks alone, thousands of new readers have flocked to the Instagram community that is related to this book.
Please read our interview with this remarkable teacher, who shares with us stories from her life that are likely to connect with our own. Then, after reading this story, we’re sure you’ll feel good about sharing a link via your own social media or email. That simple act of sharing just might bring a bit of good news into a friend’s challenging week.
Don’t just take our word for it …
FOR ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON LEANNE’S BOOK, you may also want to read veteran journalist Bill Tammeus’s review of her book, a column he headlined, Without room to grieve, we’ll never recover from a death In fact, Bill’s high praise for Leanne’s book compares it favorably to the classic in this genre, C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. Yes, Bill writes about Leanne’s book: “It’s that good.” Like Leanne, Bill also is an author who is well-acquainted with grief. He lost a beloved family member in the “9/11” terrorist attacks and shares his wisdom about that particular journey in his memoir, Love, Loss and Endurance.
And, Howard Brown and Mindy Corporon talk about tragedies in Kansas City
IN HIS SHINING BRIGHTLY PODCAST, this week, Howard Brown welcomes author Mindy Corporon to talk about the challenges of reclaiming hope—after mass shootings in Kansas City. Yes, “shootings” plural. Two of Mindy’s loved ones were murdered in the previous Kansas City shootings. This is the 10th anniversary of that earlier tragedy. In Howard’s column about this podcast, he writes: “We both felt emotional and humbled, because we were talking about that attack at the 10th anniversary—and yet we found ourselves once again needing to talk about overcoming a mass shooting in Kansas City.”
And, speaking of our collective outrage about those shootings
ANOTHER AUTHOR who is mentioned in our Leanne Friesen Cover Story this week—Jeffrey Munroe, author of Telling Stories in the Dark—writes in his online magazine The Reformed Journal about the national outrage at the Kansas City parade shootings.
Jeff headlines his Kansas City column: Armed to the Teeth and Ready to Explode
And, more from our writers—
People are eager to talk about Rusty Rosman’s provocative questions
THIS WEEK, we have chosen our “favorite” from the many responses to Rusty Rosman’s question: “What will you wear when you die?” It’s one of dozens of questions Rusty asks in her new book Two Envelopes, which walks readers step-by-step through the process of writing down their wishes for the end of their life—and beyond. As Rusty’s new book debuted and she is talking about Two Envelopes nationwide, this is one of the questions that is going viral. Who doesn’t feel an emotional pang at that rarely asked question: What will you wear when you’re dead?
Of various emails, notes, texts and messages from readers, our favorite is this wonderful column by veteran writer Barbara Braver reflecting on the twisting paths of family dynamics, including the milestone of an elegant gray blouse her mother wore in her casket.
ALSO THIS WEEK, Rusty appears on Mark Turnbull’s popular Aging Today podcast. Over the years, Mark has become a close friend to our community of writers. He always has a unique perspective in his questions as a podcast host—and he always puts his creative mark on the production. In this case, he added a very catchy headline to his interview with Rusty. He calls this podcast: I Didn’t Want to Die—But I did.
Holidays & Festivals
Much of the world is fasting this week—
First, Ramadan begins
JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to be ready for this worldwide observance.
Eastern Orthodox Christians begin their Lenten fast
HOLIDAYS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports on the start of Eastern Orthodox Lent, which is distinctively different than Western Christian Lent, the season before Easter that is marked as a time for special reflections. Orthodox Christians are called to a period of fasting that begins after “Meatfare Sunday.”
Hindus fast for Maha Shivaratri
And, Baha’i friends also are fasting
FINALLY, STEPHANIE brings us this story about the Baha’i Nineteen Day fast, which begins this week.
And please remember: In March, your social media sharing could save a life
CANCER-PATIENT ADVOCATE HOWARD BROWN writes this column about the importance of sharing messages on social media during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. And he shares a truly inspirational treat! He welcomes into his podcast Allison Rosen who has gone viral on Tik Tok with her cancer-awareness advocacy. It’s not a stretch to say that a moment of your time—reading and sharing this news—just might save a life. That’s the goal of this special month.
WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com
Faith & Film
THIS WEEK, we welcome Joe Grimm, the head of the Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters team to share the “Good News” of GOSPEL, the wonderful new PBS documentary hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Please enjoy this column by Joe and share the good news of this fascinating look at “where song and sermon meet” in the Black church tradition. And here’s a time-sensitive note: This is the final week to enjoy free streaming of the series directly from PBS—and Joe’s column has a link to enjoy that option.
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:
- AMERICAN FICTION—Ed writes, “Jefferson’s film combines social satire with romantic comedy and is even a strong family drama—there’s something for just about everybody in this film.”
- THE ZONE OF INTEREST—Ed gives 5 stars to this unusual and haunting Holocaust drama.
- ORIGIN—Ed urges us to see this unusual film from Ava DuVernay about the origins of racism.
- GENIUS: MLK/X—Ed writes, “The 4th Season of the Genius series provides an inspiring account of the lives of last century’s two great civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.”
- THE BOOK OF CLARENCE—Ed writes, “Some have likened this film to Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but though satirical, it is not a spoof of the old Hollywood Biblical spectacles. Filmmaker Jeymes Samuel is interested in more serious concerns, such as racism and its effects.