Cover Story: Celebrate pets with Dr. Seuss (and maybe unite the world)


Sound impossible? Well, look at the almost universal excitement greeting Dr. Seuss’s new book about pets—and the vast crowds who just greeted Pope Francis in South America. Millions of men and women around the world care about animals and the fate of our natural world. Among Americans, many of us consider animals a part of the family. This week, we’re showing you how these powerful connections could help us bring our world a little closer together.

AN INTERFAITH ACTIVIST—Pope Francis is not alone in calling people of faith to protect the species that call Earth our home. In this profile, meet Reasa Currier who works for the Humane Society of the United States in connecting religious leaders from traditions that call them to care for animals. (Hint: Nearly every religion does!)

WHY THE POPE MATTERS—Since the historic publication of his letter about the environment, Pope Francis has received mixed reviews from some politicians and business leaders in the U.S. But he continues to be lionized by most Americans as well as millions in the Southern Hemisphere who understand the urgent problems posed by the environmental dangers we face. If you share Francis’s concern for our planet—please read this column, which is packed with news and information you can discuss with friends.

AN ADVENTURE WITH DR. SEUSS—Two decades after Theodor Geisel’s death, his “new book” has Americans excited about setting off on one more adventure with the beloved “Doctor.” Dr. Seuss’s What Pet Should I Get? will be released on Tuesday, but already it’s a best seller. Sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker created the OurValues series to spark widespread discussion on timely issues. So, this week, five OurValues columns will explore Seuss’s pets—and some famous animals embodying our core values.

Start with Part 1Exploring Dr. Seuss and What Pet Should I Get?


We’re publishing inspiring stories about music’s world-changing power. The destination:

This week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry, who is based in South Africa at this moment, is continuing his musical series on the theme “Don’t Shoot! (1965-2015)” with music videos from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carrie Newcomer and Bruce Cockburn. Please, share this latest series of videos with friends. Among our recent “New Songs” columns …


1,200 is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

MR. HOLMESIan McKellan is delightful in this new chapter in the Sherlock Holmes movie canon. Faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty makes Mr. Holmes his Feature of the Week and says: Don’t miss it! Then, more movie reviews to enjoy …

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.



Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

FAST FOR MARY—Christians around the world who follow ancient Orthodox traditions will begin fasting on August 1 and will focus on prayers recalling the Dormition, or the falling asleep of Mary at the end of her life.

ENJOYING ‘FIRST FRUITS’—Millions with English, Irish and Scottish roots, as well as modern Pagans, will celebrate harvest festivals sometimes called Lammas or Lughnasadh. Stephanie Fenton writes about the roots of these traditions and, if you’re wanting to join in the tradition of baking bread this week, she also recommends a book on sacred breads with recipes.

THE BOUNTY OF SUMMER—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis is serving up some terrific food columns (and recipes!) this summer. Readers are raving about the sweet-and-tangy kale-and-mango salad Bobbie gave us last week in “Just for the Kale of It.” This week, she explores the heritage of paprika—and gives us a recipe for a simple, flavorful chicken simmered with paprika.



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

SUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the amazing life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland. Suzy’s column tells Misty’s story of overcoming a chaotic childhood, discovering dance as a teenager—and you’ll also find links to key radio interviews and Misty’s gripping autobiography. In Suzy’s words, this is a “WOW” story.

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This will perform close to his Vermont home on August 5 at the Manchester Community Library. Then, Bob heads to Israel for a three-date tour in his “Laugh in Peace” series. He will perform with his Arab-Muslim comedy colleague Ahmed Ahmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from August 15-17.

ARE VETERANS HEROES? Journalist and educator Joe Grimm reminds us of an important point largely lost in the controversy over whether John McCain—or any veteran—wants to be called a “hero.” Joe heads up the Michigan State University School of Journalism “Bias Busters” program, which recently completed a nationwide effort to talk with veterans. The MSU group finally published an important new book explaining many issues that veterans wish civilians understood. One of those issues? That “hero” label.

KEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Interested? You’ll want to read …

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind also is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS). This week, he’s headed around the world to New Zealand to serve as visiting scholar for Victoria University in Wellington—with lectures also in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Auckland.

For religious intellectuals who have advocated same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s repeated invocation of the word “dignity” in his majority opinion seemed to be a very deliberate reference to religious teaching.

“Dignity, the high value of each individual person, their immeasurable value, their sacred value, is in its roots a Christian value,” said the Rev. David P. Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Macon, Ga. “Dignity language is a widely used cognate for the idea that every person is made in God’s image and is sacred for that reason. So what I think Judge Kennedy did was reach to one of the core concepts of our civilization.”







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