COVER STORY: Join a long line of innovators
CELEBRATING CREATIVITY—In this week’s special issue of ReadTheSpirit magazine, we’ve invited writers to tell us about creative ideas that are improving our world. First up, media expert Martin Davis writes about a big surprise in his own life—the innovation of the printed book! Wow, he says, that book idea still turns heads!
PIONEER LES PAUL’S 100th! Musical pioneer Les Paul died a few years ago, but GodSigns author Suzy Farbman writes a tribute to this genius who refused to let even a near-fatal car accident crush his creativity. Before his death, Les said innovation was a part of his healing process: “As I got better … I had newer ideas.” June is the 100th anniversary of his birth as Lester Polfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
TRANSFORMING THE “CHILDREN’S BOOK”—For years, the secret behind great children’s books is that parents love them as much as their kids. Now, there’s more freedom to blend text and illustration aimed at all ages. That’s what you’ll discover in two new remarkable picture books: one about the great Native American leader Red Cloud and the other an inspiring gift from the spiritual life of St. John XIII.
JOHN WATERS—NPR says moviemaker John Waters gave one of the best graduation speeches this year—all about the need to keep innovating! If you dare, we’ve got a short video clip of Waters’ now-viral talk to students. You’ve gotta love a guy who says the key to innovation is: “Read! Read! Read! Be nosy!”
HEALING HERBS—We’ve all heard, “Nothing is new under the sun!” And that’s true of fresh perspectives on the growing use of healing herbs. Among our stories on innovation, this week, FeedTheSpirit’s Bobbie Lewis brings us this delicious column from a 21-year-old student at Antioch College who is a resident dryer of herbs.
OUR VALUES—Thousands of readers have helped to shape one of our greatest innovations: The OurValues Project, founded by University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker. This daily column proves that civil dialogue is possible, even on tough topics. This week, Dr. Baker introduces the young writer Sarah Fowlkes, who returns from Africa with a series you’ll want to share with friends: 5 Myths about Africa.
- PART 1—‘I’ll catch ebola if I visit Africa!‘
- PART 2—‘Everyone in Africa looks the same.’
- PART 3—’African religion is all about witchdoctors and voodoo.’
- PART 4—’In Africa, they’ll make me eat bugs!‘
- PART 5—’Africans are begging for help, so they’ll love our solution!‘
HOLIDAYS: ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’
- THE HOLIDAY—Stephanie Fenton writes about the sacred traditions of the fasting month.
- MAKE FRIENDS—If you want to reach out in a friendly way to Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers—start with this news from the Michigan State University School of Journalism about easy ways you can combat stereotypes.
- NEWS ABOUT ISLAM—You’ll want to share this OurValues series with friends. Did you know that the population of Islam eventually will equal the size of Christianity? Start with Part 1: Why is Islam growing so rapidly?
- IN-DEPTH—For a more in-depth exploration of this month, including health-care issues related to Ramadan, you’ll want Najah Bazzi’s The Beauty of Ramadan.
DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com
- THE 150th OF JUNETEENTH!—Did you know that the holiday established by African Americans in Texas is marking a 150th-anniversary year? This celebration of slavery’s end has been spreading across America with growing awareness of the need to keep working toward civil rights.
- LITHA, MIDSUMMER, SOLSTICE—Whatever you call it, this centuries-old festival marks the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
- DON’T FORGET DAD! Yes, Father’s Day is coming on Sunday, so it’s time to salute America’s 70 million fathers. As usual, Stephanie Fenton’s column has helpful tips and links.
INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—International peacemaker Daniel Buttry looks at three heroes who shaped our values as Americans.
- ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL—He taught that the Jewish prophetic tradition was alive and well in movements toward civil rights and better interfaith relations.
- THOMAS MERTON—He showed that insights from Buddhism and other world faiths could renew Catholic tradition.
- CESAR CHAVEZ—He proved that prayer could play a powerful role even in a dangerous campaign for workers’ rights.
FILM, FAITH AND POPULAR CULTURE
1,200 MOVIES—www.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.
- OH, GOD!—Nearly 40 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, Carl Reiner and George Burns created a reassuring vision of God reassuring us all: “Things will be OK!” Ed McNulty says it’s time to rediscover this peaceful spiritual comedy.
- IRIS—This new documentary is “a tonic” for anyone worried about their age. At age 93, New York fashion icon Iris Afert is going strong! (Ed gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars)
- I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS—Blythe Danner lights up the screen in this late-in-life romantic comedy. (4 stars)
- THE CONNECTION—This gripping new film brings us the French perspective on the famous “French Connection” case. (4 stars)
FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of www.FaithGoesPop.com columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.
DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD
Good media builds healthy communities …
FAIR FOOD NETWORK—Have you heard about this idea to help low-income families afford more locally grown produce? FeedTheSpirit explains the origins of this program. And, of course there’s a recipe!
MEET THE VETS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT—The Michigan State University veterans project is far bigger than a single new book: 100 Questions and Answers About Veterans. Read our first story about the project; and see some videos included in the book; and enjoy our story about “The Hat”—the baseball cap worn by an ever-shrinking number of WWII veterans.
BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On June 17, he’s performing in Proctor, VT. Then, on June 23, he’s performing this month at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.
A MAJOR NEW REVIEW—Ken Wilson and the Third Way Newsletter team are celebrating a major review of Ken’s book A Letter to My Congregation. The new piece was written by Tim Keller, an influential “pastor of pastors,” as Ken puts it in his response to Keller’s piece. And, yes, Ken’s column includes a link to read Tim’s original article, as well. (The www.ThirdWayNewsletter.com is part of the changing Christian landscape that is welcoming diverse men and women.)
DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind spoke at the Atlanta Reformation Project Conference this past week and we’ve got a video link to his latest talk. Conference leaders posted this clip on YouTube with a running time of three hours. If you just want to hear Dr. Gushee, he starts at the 2-hour mark. ALSO—Dr. Gushee will be the dinner speaker for the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists conference n Overland, Kansas, on June 28th.