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.
Holidays & Festivals
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.
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
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.
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 are these films available for streaming now.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.”
- 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)
- 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.“
- 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.”
- 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)
- HAMILTON—Ed gives 5 out of 5 stars to the film version of the award-winning Hamilton play.
- GREYHOUND—Ed 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.”
- 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)