Cover Story: ‘We the People …’ letters to America from our writers

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At This Moment in Our History …

OUR WRITERS HOPE TO SPARK OUR CONSCIENCE

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From Larry Buxton—
‘Signs of Hope’

IN HIS BRIEF LEADERSHIP VIDEO this week, Larry Buxton begins, “All over our country right now, people are discussing variations on one central question: What kind of leadership does our country most need right now? It hasn’t been an easy question to answer even for those of us who ground our beliefs in a religious faith.”

We open this unusual ReadTheSpirit Cover Story with Larry’s video because of the remarkable balance—and geographic breadth—of his short video. Larry expands his central question into a national conversation about the kinds of leaders we need in our world, our communities and our families. He describes two groups who recently invited him to speak with them virtually, beginning with a group at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This wasn’t a partisan discussion, Larry explains. “These church folk felt they were representing the virtues and values of their faith in ways that strengthen our foundations.” Then, Larry also describes meeting with the Washington D.C. chapter of the Rumi Forum, which promotes interfaith dialogue and peace. They asked, “What would it take for us to lay down our metaphorical arms?”

Larry concludes, “I believe these gatherings are signs of hope.” And, he’s right! This is a wonderfully balanced and brief YouTube video (only 5 minutes) that you can share right now with friends by visiting Larry’s website and using social media to spread the message. (Want to get a free email reminder each week when Larry posts a new video? Go to LarryBuxton.com and sign up. Don’t worry; you can cancel anytime.)

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From David Gushee—
‘We the People …’

AUTHOR OF THE BEST-SELLING ‘CHANGING OUR MIND,’ Dr. David Gushee was one of the early progressive Christian endorsers of the Biden campaign this summer in an interfaith coalition of 350 endorsers that included the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Diana Butler Bass, Ron Sider, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Anju Bhargava, Imam Talib Shareef and Brian McLaren.

Gushee also is a supporter of a progressive-Christian manifesto called Christians Against Trumpism and Political Extremism that says in part: ” ‘We the people’ need to awaken to the ideals that animate us as people of faith and Americans.”  This national effort draws together scores of Christian leaders, scholars and political activists who generally have been described as evangelical. The founders of this group are popular authors, speakers and activists John Kingston and Joel Searby. On the front page of their website, there is a space to add your name, if you wish. Supporters of this particular effort include writers who have appeared in the pages of our ReadTheSpirit magazine over the years, among them: Miroslav Volf, Randall Balmer, Tony Jones and Ron Sider.

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From Duncan Newcomer—
‘We are elected!’

IN THREE WORDS, LINCOLN CAPTURED IT:We are elected.” After months of heated political claims about which 2020 presidential candidate may be more like the great Abe Lincoln—our resident Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer explains how distinctively expansive Lincoln was in his understanding of our political process. Throughout Lincoln’s life, it was all about—we.

And please note: Like so many of our columns, this week, you’ll definitely want to share this one with friends.

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From Victor Begg—
‘A Fork in the Road …’

WE MUST CHOOSE HOPE, NOT FEAR, argues Victor Begg, who has devoted decades of his life to interfaith peacemaking. The author of Our Muslim Neighbors—a memoir that tells the story of his adventures in peacemaking—says that his faith in America’s conscience is undimmed, despite the tumultuous campaigns this year. We have weathered so much in 2020, he writes. Now, we must act.

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From Benjamin Pratt—
‘Want to talk with me, or only at me?’

WATCHING THE RUSH TO FORCE a new justice onto the Supreme Court, pastoral counselor and author Benjamin Pratt advises that we need to step back and discern the moral consequences of such brute political force. Ben is one of the most popular contributing columnists over the past decade of ReadTheSpirit magazine and, in this column, he reaches back to his 2008 book Ian Fleming’s Deadlier Sins to grapple with the spiritual and moral forces that are clashing among our nation’s leaders at this moment.

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From Henry Brinton—
‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it meant to—Wesley’

THAT’S THE INVITATION from pastor, author and educator Henry Brinton, who writes about why it’s so important to recover respect at this turbulent time in our nation’s history. Love may be out of the question, but at least we can start with a civic value on which we can begin to rebuild community. Religious leaders have been teaching this wisdom for centuries, Brinton writes, including the founder of the worldwide Methodist movement: John Wesley.

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World’s Most Expensive Gift Books

Our Love Affair with Paper Books Continues

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHINGIn the second of two FEP columns about our timeless love for paper books, Editor David Crumm reports on what is surely the world’s most expensive gift-book offering for the holidays—a new three-volume set from Callaway Arts for the 2020 holiday shopping season. Callaway has a long history of touching off global buzz in the publishing industry. Back in 1992, the company collaborated with Madonna on the R-rated coffee-table book, “Sex.” In sharp contrast, the subject of the 2020 project is sacred: “The Sistine Chapel.” Our story includes a link to a fascinating 3-minute video about how these remarkable books were created.

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Holidays & Festivals

Have you seen a candy chute? We’ve got a video!

Halloween and—

Allhallowtide,
Samhain,
Dia de los Muertos

THE VEIL IS THIN—From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.

Don’t worry, it’s not all solemn and bone-chilling, though—today’s secular Halloween also brings out bright Jack-o-lanterns, loads of candy and a pretty good excuse for adults to join in on the costuming fun with kids. So grab your best ghoulish mask and get the (Halloween) party started! We’ve got the story—and a fun little 1-minute video of a 2020 “candy chute” that’s 2-stories tall!

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Another way to prepare for Veterans Day is to order a copy of the 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans, a book that’s packed with information veterans told us they wish more Americans understood about their lives and experiences. Click this image to visit Amazon.

Plan Ahead for Veterans Day!

ON NOVEMBER 11, this year, a new National Museum of the United States Army will open in Virginia with a live-streamed ceremony followed by public access following COVID-19 safety procedures. Stephanie Fenton’s column includes a 3-minute video about the new facility. And, at the close of her column, she has a convenient link to the online clearinghouse for news-updates about special restaurant offers to treat vets on this national 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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SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER! To celebrate a decade of Ed McNulty’s involvement with ReadTheSpirit magazine, we are offering a half-price annual subscription to Ed’s premium content, his Visual Parables Journal. These monthly PDF-format magazines are packed with complete discussion guides for lots of films, both current and classic. It’s great for individual reflection and small-group discussion. Clicking on this image takes you to the Visual Parables Journal page where you can scroll down to the red-colored section and learn more about this special offer, now through December 31.

FAITH & FILM 

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. CHI-RAQEd reaches back to 2015 to highly recommend this unusual Spike Lee production, describing it this way: “Spike Lee’s musical satire borrows its plot from the racy classic Lysistrata by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. It will make you laugh and think about the terrible problem of black on black violence in our society. Some critics have called it “a mess,” and at some points it is, but what an entertaining and stimulating mess. And, for people of faith, there is the most powerful social justice sermon that I have ever seen in my 40 years of writing about film!”
  2. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7—”West Wing lovers might well be ecstatic while viewing writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s new film that Netflix picked up after the pandemic forced Paramount Pictures to scrap plans for a theatrical release. Sorkin’s film is full of the conflict between the powerful and the vulnerable and the fast-paced repartee that made the White House-based series so enjoyable to watch. The infamous trial, dragging out over 4 ½ months, was almost ready-made for a film, with its colorful, controversial characters.”
  3. THE WAY I SEE IT—”Director Dawn Porter’s documentary exploring the work of White House photographer Pete Souza is a combination of cinematic Valentine to Barack Obama, the man as well as President, and a polemic against the current occupant of the White House.”
  4. THE GOOD LORD BIRD—Ethan Hawke has the role of his life as fiery Abolitionist John Brown in this tongue-in-cheek Showtime mini-series that he created and helped produce and write. The true part comes from James McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name, on which the series based.”
  5. TIMEThis gripping documentary was produced and directed by Garrett Bradley. It follows Sibil Fox Richardson, fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.
  6. Click this photo to read the review of ‘Hosea’ (2019).

    HOSEA—Ed writes, “Director/writer Ryan Daniel Dobson was inspired by the ancient prophet when he wrote and directed this love story that unfolds in the darkness of human lust and depravity. However, instead of the story focusing on the prophet and his mission to a fallen nation, Dobson centers his film on the former prostitute turned wife in present day Oklahoma City. Unlike the Biblical prophet, we are given the back story of how Gomer—here renamed Cate—became a prostitute.”

  7. BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
  8. RESIDUEMerawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
  9. 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. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  10. 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..

 

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Cover Story: Celebrating a decade of Faith & Film—with a holiday discount for you and your friends

Watching More Films These Days?

You’ll Enjoy This Monthly Guide to Faith & Film

CELEBRATE WITH US! In 2011, we welcomed the nation’s leading Faith & Film writer Ed McNulty into the pages of ReadTheSpirit magazine. Back in 2011, we began with a series of articles drawn from Ed’s many decades of work—including a series of fun and faith-filled columns Ed wrote about how Hollywood translates religious themes on the big screen. Readers loved this new voice! So, two years later, we moved Ed’s entire Visual Parables online magazine—thousands of these inspiring reviews—into ReadTheSpirit as its own stand-alone section of our online magazine. (Scroll down, today, to see this week’s new headlines in Visual Parables.)

To celebrate, we are inviting new and long-time readers to visit Ed’s Visual Parables section and purchase an annual subscription to his premium content—at a half-off discount. Every week, Ed freely publishes film reviews with a special focus on relating these films to our religious traditions. For many years, he has supported this pro bono work by selling annual subscriptions to his monthly Visual Parables Journal. Each issue is packed with complete discussion guides—and is delivered in a convenient PDF format.

Now through December 31, 2020, we are offering a half-off coupon for new Journal subscribers—and for long-time subscribers who renew during this period. HERE’S HOW: Click on this link to go to the Visual Parables Journal subscription page. On that page, you’ll learn more about the monthly Journal. You can see a sample issue from earlier this year. Then, go to the red-colored section of the page to use the coupon.

And please, tell friends and family about this. What’s more fun than personally reflecting on the movies you’re streaming these days? Talking with others about it! With the Journal in hand, you can start a virtual discussion group in your family or in your congregation. If you’re subscribing to Ed’s Journal, each month, you’ll have dozens of thought-provoking questions about lots of new and classic films.

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And, reading more books, too?

YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

THE WHOLE WORLD IS READING MORE IN 2020! As surprising as this may seem, Americans are reading more books than ever before—and they’re preferring to read those books in traditional paper. It’s true.

Even school children and young adults prefer paper books! Kids say they love the feel of books. Young adults say they’re just tired of staring at screens all day and want a break.

Editor David Crumm writes this week’s Front Edge Publishing column about our collective love affair with paper books.

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From Our Authors:

From Duncan Newcomer—

Now, like Lincoln, We’re All Hoping for ‘Yonder’

IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF OCTOBER 2020, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer reminds us of a powerful vision that sprang from Lincoln’s boyhood at his mother’s side: Yonder. It’s a yearning millions of Americans are feeling intensely right now.

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From Rodger Murchison—

‘These are universal questions’

AS AMERICA MOVES TOWARD ANOTHER RISE in COVID-19 infections, thousands of families are addressing grief and frustration. In a timely collection of spiritual wisdom, headlined What to Say and What Not to Say to Someone Who Is GrievingUpJourney online magazine included advice from our Rodger Murchison.

Rodger is well known across both the U.S. and the UK for his helpful, research-based book, Guide for Grief: Help in Surviving the Stages of Grief and Bereavement after a Loss. The editors at UpJourney invited two dozen experts on grief to contribute their answers to the headline question. Rodger’s response is easy to find: He’s the fifth writer in the UpJourney collection of sage advice.

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Holidays & Festivals

Have you seen a candy chute? We’ve got a video!

Halloween and—

Allhallowtide,
Samhain,
Dia de los Muertos

THE VEIL IS THIN—From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.

Don’t worry, it’s not all solemn and bone-chilling, though—today’s secular Halloween also brings out bright Jack-o-lanterns, loads of candy and a pretty good excuse for adults to join in on the costuming fun with kids. So grab your best ghoulish mask and get the (Halloween) party started! We’ve got the story—and a fun little 1-minute video of a 2020 “candy chute” that’s 2-stories tall!

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Dussehra: In India, Hindus gather even in pandemic

JOYOUS FESTIVAL—For Navaratri and Dussehra, Hindus in India will be permitted to gather in temples—some of which have been closed since the lockdowns began. Religious functions may be held, with a limit of 100 people (outside of containment zones). The wearing of masks, social distancing, sanitizing and other health precautions will remain mandatory. From the Sanskrit words for “remover of bad fate,” Dussehra brings towering effigies to the streets of India, along with a host of ancient rituals. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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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 on this image to learn more about the October 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes study guides of Ruby Bridges, Hosea, Comey Rules and All In—Fight for Democracy among many others.

FAITH & FILM 

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. THE WAY I SEE IT—Ed writes, “Director Dawn Porter’s documentary exploring the work of White House photographer Pete Souza is a combination of cinematic Valentine to Barack Obama, the man as well as President, and a polemic against the current occupant of the White House.”
  2. THE GOOD LORD BIRD—Ethan Hawke has the role of his life as fiery Abolitionist John Brown in this tongue-in-cheek Showtime mini-series that he created and helped produce and write. The true part comes from James McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name, on which the series based.”
  3. TIMEThis gripping documentary was produced and directed by Garrett Bradley. It follows Sibil Fox Richardson, fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.
  4. NEW ORLEANS—Ed reaches back to 1947 to recommend this film, now streaming on YouTube. He writes, “When I discovered this 1947 film on YouTube, the main reason for watching it, other than the hope for some good jazz, was that it featured singer Billy Holiday in her only film, other than a short made back in the ’30s. She plays a singer named Endie whose boyfriend is Louis Armstrong, playing himself.”
  5. Click this photo to read the review of ‘Hosea’ (2019).

    HOSEA—Ed writes, “Director/writer Ryan Daniel Dobson was inspired by the ancient prophet when he wrote and directed this love story that unfolds in the darkness of human lust and depravity. However, instead of the story focusing on the prophet and his mission to a fallen nation, Dobson centers his film on the former prostitute turned wife in present day Oklahoma City. Unlike the Biblical prophet, we are given the back story of how Gomer—here renamed Cate—became a prostitute.”

  6. BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
  7. RESIDUEMerawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
  8. 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. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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).”

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Video Cover Story: Talking with futurist Rita J. King, Craig Lemasters shares how leaders can get ‘Unstuck’

In This Turbulent Time, Are You Stuck?

THE STORY BEGINS WITH …

RITA: I met Craig years ago when he came to Science House in Manhattan to work on business development. At that time, he was CEO of Assurant Solutions and now he is CEO of GXG helping other leaders to get unstuck. His new book documents his methods.

CRAIG: Let me define “stuck” because some people find it offensive when I ask them: “What are you stuck on?” It’s important to explain this: The way I define stuck is that we’re simply not moving fast enough to whatever the destination is. There’s a whole bunch of stuff we get stuck on. And the truth is: We all get stuck at some point.

I don’t want people to misinterpret. When I talk about getting “stuck,” I’m not saying that these are not good people, or they’re not working hard enough or that they don’t care. That’s usually not the problem. The problem almost always is …

Please, enjoy our two-video Cover Story this week—and we know you’ll want to share one this with friends—which is so easy to do on social media.

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From Our Authors: Letters to America

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Look Up into the Starry Night Sky

IN OUR FIRST LETTER THIS WEEK, author Ken Whitt invites us to visit his newly launched Traces of God Ministries website.

Ken’s letter of invitation appears in our Front Edge Publishing column this week—because our publishing-house team encourages all writers to carefully consider where they can welcome community conversation online. In answer to that question, Ken decided to launch a full-scale website, aided by web designer Michael Thompson. This letter from Ken explains what he hopes readers will find at his new online home, each week.

And, please, if you find them helpful, please share these letters with friends.

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And, from Duncan Newcomer—

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson!

LINCOLN SCHOLAR Duncan Newcomer salutes Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson’s appeal for a rebirth of America’s grand vision in this week’s New York Times. That’s a call to action that Lincoln himself often made during the turbulent years of the Civil War.

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Holidays & Festivals

What do we do with a holiday after toppling three dozen statues honoring its “hero”?

TUMBLING ALONG WITH COLUMBUS DAYAmerican journalists are unsure how to cover this “holiday” in a year when three dozen Columbus statues have been toppled nationwide—and protests are inspiring a growing number of regional leaders to distance themselves from this observance. We’ve got the story, which you may want to share with friends.

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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 on this image to learn more about the October 2020 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which includes study guides of Ruby Bridges, Hosea, Comey Rules and All In—Fight for Democracy among many others.

FAITH & FILM 

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

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns:

  1. THE GOOD LORD BIRD—Ed McNulty writes, “Ethan Hawke has the role of his life as fiery Abolitionist John Brown in this tongue-in-cheek Showtime mini-series that he created and helped produce and write. The true part comes from James McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name, on which the series based.”
  2. TIMEThis gripping documentary was produced and directed by Garrett Bradley. It follows Sibil Fox Richardson, fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.
  3. NEW ORLEANS—Ed McNulty reaches back to 1947 to recommend this film, now streaming on YouTube. He writes, “When I discovered this 1947 film on YouTube, the main reason for watching it, other than the hope for some good jazz, was that it featured singer Billy Holiday in her only film, other than a short made back in the ’30s. She plays a singer named Endie whose boyfriend is Louis Armstrong, playing himself.”
  4. Click this photo to read the review of ‘Hosea’ (2019).

    HOSEA—Ed writes, “Director/writer Ryan Daniel Dobson was inspired by the ancient prophet when he wrote and directed this love story that unfolds in the darkness of human lust and depravity. However, instead of the story focusing on the prophet and his mission to a fallen nation, Dobson centers his film on the former prostitute turned wife in present day Oklahoma City. Unlike the Biblical prophet, we are given the back story of how Gomer—here renamed Cate—became a prostitute.”

  5. BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
  6. THE CIRCLE—This week, Ed also reaches back across the years to recommend another important film (in this case from 2000). He writes, “Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s movie begins and ends with a woman peering through a small window with a sliding panel as they seek information from someone in authority. Hence the title refers to a metaphorical circle … of women struggling to survive.”
  7. RESIDUEMerawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
  8. 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. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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).”

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Cover Story: Letters to America (that we need to read right now)

Voices of Reassurance—

Every week for more than 13 years, men and women across the nation have written to our online magazine about the inspiring and challenging stories we have published. Occasionally, these writers send us full-fledged columns they hope we will consider for publication. Over the past week, we have seen an exceptional wave of these messages, which we are calling “Letters to America” and “Voices of Reassurance.” And we will begin this series with—

From Lucille Sider: ‘You Are Not Alone’

‘DEAR FRIENDS,’ Lucille begins. Her letter starts our series, because Lucille’s concern always is the health and wellbeing of the men and women she encounters—certainly our physical health, but also our mental health. Please read Lucille’s letter and also the invitations she offers at the close of her note—and share these letters with friends.

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From Larry Buxton: ‘A Better Way to Win’

LARRY BUXTON asks us: “This autumn, how often do you find yourself asking this question: How will this battle end?” Well, there are more possibilities than a zero-sum struggle to the end, Larry tells us this week in a video letter. Like Lucille, Larry also extends an invitation for readers to connect with his ongoing teaching and storytelling.

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From Duncan Newcomer: ‘Do we need another Lincoln?’

LINCOLN SCHOLAR Duncan Newcomer asks us: “Have you noticed, this autumn, that there is a lot of talk about how we need another Lincoln? Wherever you turn in major magazines and newspapers and even on air, these days, we keep hearing this question: Whose Lincoln do we want and need right now?”

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From Michael McRay: ‘The stories that might help save us’

THE FOURTH LETTER in our series this week comes from the opening pages of a remarkable new collection of true peacemaking stories by Michael McRay—a book called I Am Not Your Enemy. In a grant-funded educational project to promote peacebuilding, Michael carefully collected these stories from places such as Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and South Africa. As Michael explains in his opening pages: When he was finished with his long journey, he realized how important it was to tell everyone—everyone around the world—that their individual story truly matters.

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From Craig Lemasters: Join a “first” on Oct. 6

CRAIG LEMASTERS is a business innovator, which means his unique “letter” this week has been shared across multiple platforms, including social media, email and newsletters. On Facebook, he puts it this way: “Is your business stuck? Feel like you’re just not growing or changing fast enough? What if you could tap into the knowledge and experience of a handful of people who have been exactly where you are?” The big news this week is that Craig is focusing his message in a global book launch via YouTube streaming. We’ve got the details and, yes, you can join that event.

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From Rabbi Bob Alper: ‘And I’ll take a side of laughter with that, too, please.’

BOB ALPER’s letter also is a multi-media invitation. The nation’s only practicing rabbi who also is a full-time standup comic, Bob has had to adapt to pandemic distancing. First, he offered daily Quick Laugh videos. Now, he’s inspired to share a series of daily cartoons. You’re sure to want to get these—so please read this short letter from Bob. And, share it with a friend who needs a good laugh.

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Click on this photo from the 1947 production of ‘New Orleans’ to read Ed McNulty’s full review.

FAITH & FILM 

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with 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. NEW ORLEANS—Ed McNulty reaches back to 1947 to recommend this film, now streaming on YouTube. He writes, “When I discovered this 1947 film on YouTube, the main reason for watching it, other than the hope for some good jazz, was that it featured singer Billy Holiday in her only film, other than a short made back in the ’30s. She plays a singer named Endie whose boyfriend is Louis Armstrong, playing himself.”
  2. Click this photo to read the review of ‘Hosea’ (2019).

    HOSEA—Ed writes, “Director/writer Ryan Daniel Dobson was inspired by the ancient prophet when he wrote and directed this love story that unfolds in the darkness of human lust and depravity. However, instead of the story focusing on the prophet and his mission to a fallen nation, Dobson centers his film on the former prostitute turned wife in present day Oklahoma City. Unlike the Biblical prophet, we are given the back story of how Gomer—here renamed Cate—became a prostitute.”

  3. BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
  4. THE CIRCLE—This week, Ed also reaches back across the years to recommend another important film (in this case from 2000). He writes, “Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s movie begins and ends with a woman peering through a small window with a sliding panel as they seek information from someone in authority. Hence the title refers to a metaphorical circle … of women struggling to survive.”
  5. RESIDUEMerawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
  6. 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. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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).”
  9. 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.”
  10. 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.”

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COVER STORY: How can we remember what we share as Americans? Meet 2 spiritual guides inviting us on a pilgrimage.

Discovering the Sacred in Our Heartland

GREAT FOR INDIVIDUAL READING, FAMILIES AND SMALL GROUPS

What’s the last thing most of our families are thinking about this fall? Taking a road trip. But, that’s exactly what two spiritual guides are inviting us to undertake in a pair of unique, beautifully illustrated volumes that will be a welcome addition to your reading list this autumn and winter. That’s true even if your spiritual “road trip,” for now, is only the start of a plan for yourself as an individual or with your family, friends or congregation. Now is the time to open your horizons, once again, as you think about what defines—and unifies—this vast and diverse nation of ours.

Please, read this week’s cover story and share it with friends via social media, email or your own newsletters.

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And Speaking of American Inspiration …

What Shaped Lincoln’s Soul?

FROM QUIET FIRELincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer takes us from the pages of the current issue of The New Yorker to Lincoln’s nose on Mount Rushmore in a sweeping overview of the many forces that shaped Lincoln’s soul—a reflection that holds out hope for all of us to reinvent ourselves and our nation.

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Milestones and Memorials

Remembering Linda Jarkey’s Love of the Whole World

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN—“I miss Linda!” That’s the most appropriate way to begin our remembrance of the first author in our 13 years as a publishing house to die—and leave our worldwide community of authors, journalists and editors feeling such a personal loss. That line is appropriate because the climactic line in her picture book for young readers, Sadie Sees Trouble

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Yom Kippur

THIS YEAR, YOM KIPPUR began 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 A SPECIAL FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, 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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BORGEN is streaming now on Netflix. Click this image to read Ed’s entire column about the series.

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. BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
  2. THE CIRCLE—This week, Ed also reaches back across the years to recommend another important film (in this case from 2000). He writes, “Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s movie begins and ends with a woman peering through a small window with a sliding panel as they seek information from someone in authority. Hence the title refers to a metaphorical circle … of women struggling to survive.”
  3. RESIDUEMerawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
  4. 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. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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).”
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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.”

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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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