Cover Story: ‘Bishop’ Spong on rediscovering Matthew’s Jewish roots

INTERVIEW WITH JOHN SHELBY SPONG

John Spong Author Photo (Photo Credit - Dick Snyder) (2)INSPIRATIONAL SPRING READING—Now in his 80s, retired bishop Spong still draws enormous crowds for his talks and books in recent years about rediscovering the Bible’s Jewish roots. Most importantly, Spong believes that Christians need to understand Christianity’s original context to overturn rigid doctrines associated with Fundamentalist preaching. Whether you agree with his overall mission, or not, his new book lays out a way of understanding the gospel of Matthew that may interest both Christian and Jewish readers. That makes this a great choice for inspirational reading in this season of both Easter and Passover. Please, read Editor David Crumm’s new interview with the irrepressible “Bishop Spong.

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30 FRESH VIEWPOINTS ON AMERICA

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico (1)PBS SERIES DEBUTS—Across most of the United States, PBS will begin a three-week series called 10 That Changed America, which actually will take viewers to a total of 30 landmarks in “our” national story as Americans. The first week looks at 10 homes; the second week takes us to 10 city parks; and the final episode explores 10 culturally innovative towns. What made the list? You may be surprised. This isn’t a romp through the playgrounds of the rich and famous. Read our review and you’ll see why you should catch this new PBS series.

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HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS

Ugadi-tray-of-food-flowersFROM INDIA

UGADI or YUGADI—The English name of the Indian New Year festival is spelled a couple of ways in the West. Celebrations are popping up around the world. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton includes news of a celebration in Netherlands.

RAMAYANA WEEK—This also begins a period when millions of Hindu families remember inspiring events in the life of Lord Rama. Once again, Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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PASSOVER

Rebecca-Starr-by-John-Hardwick (1)COMING APRIL 22—Seder meals will begin this year after sundown on Friday April 22. To keep up with all the holidays, just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com.

FEED THE SPIRIT—Our FeedTheSpirit host Bobbie Lewis brings us a guest column this week from Jewish educator Rebecca Starr, who writes about traditional food-related themes connected with Passover. And  there’s a delicious recipe as well—a Passover-adapted recipe for vegetable kugel.

 

19th century Russian icon of the resurrection (1)EASTER

EASTERN ORTHODOX—The majority of the world’s Christians have celebrated Easter (March 27), but hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians still are in the midst of their fasting season known as Great Lent. They will mark Easter on May 1 this year.

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MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

Monni Must photographerSUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman shares stories of men and women who find hope and new meaning in their lives, often after personal tragedies. That’s the case in this week’s story of photographer Monni Must, best known for making portraits of Holocaust survivors for a series of books.

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100 Questions and Answers about American JewsMSU ‘BIAS BUSTERS’—Naturally, we’re proud of these Michigan State University School of Journalism students who collectively have produced 10 widely used books that combat bigotry and answer common questions about minority groups. Recently, MSU’s Joe Grimm appeared on public radio talking about the project. Here is a link to that 7-minute radio clip. Lots of people, including business executives and community leaders, are using these guides to answer questions commonly asked—yet rarely answered with such clarity. Want to see all of these MSU books lined up in Amazon? Here is the ‘Bias Busters’ Amazon page.

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th-Changing-Our-Mind-cover-with-author-David-P-GusheeGUSHEE GETS THE WILBURMercer University’s David Gushee has received a number of accolades from his colleagues over the past year for his courageous online columns and, ultimately, his book Changing Our Mind. That body of work describes how this prominent evangelical ethicist went from condemning same-sex relationships to defending the inclusion of LGBT men and women in Christian churches. Now, the original version of Gushee’s writing on the subject is being honored in New York with a Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council.

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FILM, FAITH & CULTURE


TALKING ABOUT MOVIES?
Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website by remembering the simple Web address: www.VisualParables.org 

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