Cover Story: Black History, Chinese New Year (and Lincoln too)

A New Way to Mark Black History Month …

100 Questions and Answers about African Americans copyCONFRONTING RACISM WITH … INFORMATION—The highly respected Bias Busters team at the Michigan State University School of Journalism is marking this year’s Black History Month by adding a new cross-cultural guide to the growing series. These short books now are used widely in professional training programs, cultural-sensitivity seminars—and many other settings where people are trying to build healthier communities. MSU’s Joe Grimm has the story of how—and why—this unusual new book was created. And if you’re impressed with this new book, you’ll want to see the whole array of cross-cultural books the MSU team has produced. You’ll find them all displayed in our bookstore.

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HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

th Groundhog-on-groundCANDLEMAS, IMBOLC …

AND THE RISING GROUNDHOG—Ancient cultures affirm it: Spring is just around the corner! In the depths of North American winter, that may seem ridiculous—but the ancients looked for signs of new life. In addition to writing about Imbolc and Groundhog Day, Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton also writes about a nearly 2,000-year-old Christian festival marking a milestone in the early life of the infant Jesus.

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2016 02 08 Chinese New Year of the Monkey (2)CHINESE NEW YEAR

THE YEAR OF THE MONKEYStephanie Fenton has the story behind this enormous annual festival that now circles the globe. She explains the symbol of the monkey—and also the epic scale of this annual homecoming. The travel period surrounding the New Year now is regularly described as “the world’s largest human migration.”

TEAM TIME? One way Americans commonly salute Chinese culture involves … tea. Yes, we’re a nation with a serious coffee addiction (the U.S. ranks 69th among nations around the world in per capita tea consumption). But Bobbie Lewis in FeedTheSpirit offers this homage to the wonders of tea—and adds a delicious scone recipe!.

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Ash-Wednesday-woman-ashes (1)ASH WEDNESDAY

LENTEN JOURNEY TO EASTER—Speaking of epic religious movements … a third of the world’s population identifies as Christian and the majority of those follow the Western tradition that begins the Lenten period with Ash Wednesday on February 10 this year. Stephanie Fenton has that story in our Holidays column. Looking for inspirational reading during this 40-day period? We also recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi (2)INTRODUCE CHILDREN YOU LOVE TO “ABE”—Did you know that what is today Black History Month began in 1926 and falls, each year, in February because African-American leaders in the 1920s wanted to honor Frederick Douglass (whose birthday is February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12)? To emphasize that historic connection, the creative minds at Wisdom Tales publishing house just released a colorful new book for children about Lincoln’s legacy. Lincoln scholar and frequent ReadTheSpirit contributor Duncan Newcomer reviews the new book.

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass GroundedGET ‘GROUNDED’—In her new book, and in her preaching coast to coast in 2016, Diana takes seriously the classic Wesleyan proclamation: “The world is our parish.” Long-time readers of this historian and congregational consultant may be surprised to open the cover of Grounded. It’s a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection, moving from scholarly observation—to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life. You’ll enjoy our nterview with Diana.

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Suzy Farbman

A beach front event at the Hermitage Artist Retreat copy
SUZY FARBMAN’S ‘GOD SIGNS’—Each week, GodSigns author Suzy Farbman brings us inspiring stories of men and women who demonstrate the huge potential life—if we open our eyes to new possibilities. This week she tells the story of Bruce Rodgers, who took on a run-down beach-side collection of huts and turned it into the prestigious Hermitage Artist Retreat.

 

 

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

FOR MOVIE FANS—Do you enjoy making connections between faith and film? Veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s brand new book—”Jesus Christ, Movie Star.”—is a lots of fun and it’s inspiring as well!

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