Watching More Films These Days?
You’ll Enjoy This Monthly Guide to Faith & Film
CELEBRATE WITH US! In 2011, we welcomed the nation’s leading Faith & Film writer Ed McNulty into the pages of ReadTheSpirit magazine. Back in 2011, we began with a series of articles drawn from Ed’s many decades of work—including a series of fun and faith-filled columns Ed wrote about how Hollywood translates religious themes on the big screen. Readers loved this new voice! So, two years later, we moved Ed’s entire Visual Parables online magazine—thousands of these inspiring reviews—into ReadTheSpirit as its own stand-alone section of our online magazine. (Scroll down, today, to see this week’s new headlines in Visual Parables.)
To celebrate, we are inviting new and long-time readers to visit Ed’s Visual Parables section and purchase an annual subscription to his premium content—at a half-off discount. Every week, Ed freely publishes film reviews with a special focus on relating these films to our religious traditions. For many years, he has supported this pro bono work by selling annual subscriptions to his monthly Visual Parables Journal. Each issue is packed with complete discussion guides—and is delivered in a convenient PDF format.
Now through December 31, 2020, we are offering a half-off coupon for new Journal subscribers—and for long-time subscribers who renew during this period. HERE’S HOW: Click on this link to go to the Visual Parables Journal subscription page. On that page, you’ll learn more about the monthly Journal. You can see a sample issue from earlier this year. Then, go to the red-colored section of the page to use the coupon.
And please, tell friends and family about this. What’s more fun than personally reflecting on the movies you’re streaming these days? Talking with others about it! With the Journal in hand, you can start a virtual discussion group in your family or in your congregation. If you’re subscribing to Ed’s Journal, each month, you’ll have dozens of thought-provoking questions about lots of new and classic films.
And, reading more books, too?
YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
THE WHOLE WORLD IS READING MORE IN 2020! As surprising as this may seem, Americans are reading more books than ever before—and they’re preferring to read those books in traditional paper. It’s true.
Even school children and young adults prefer paper books! Kids say they love the feel of books. Young adults say they’re just tired of staring at screens all day and want a break.
From Our Authors:
Now, like Lincoln, We’re All Hoping for ‘Yonder’
IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF OCTOBER 2020, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer reminds us of a powerful vision that sprang from Lincoln’s boyhood at his mother’s side: Yonder. It’s a yearning millions of Americans are feeling intensely right now.
‘These are universal questions’
AS AMERICA MOVES TOWARD ANOTHER RISE in COVID-19 infections, thousands of families are addressing grief and frustration. In a timely collection of spiritual wisdom, headlined What to Say and What Not to Say to Someone Who Is Grieving, UpJourney online magazine included advice from our Rodger Murchison.
Rodger is well known across both the U.S. and the UK for his helpful, research-based book, Guide for Grief: Help in Surviving the Stages of Grief and Bereavement after a Loss. The editors at UpJourney invited two dozen experts on grief to contribute their answers to the headline question. Rodger’s response is easy to find: He’s the fifth writer in the UpJourney collection of sage advice.
Holidays & Festivals
Dia de los Muertos
THE VEIL IS THIN—From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin and ancestors are held close.
Don’t worry, it’s not all solemn and bone-chilling, though—today’s secular Halloween also brings out bright Jack-o-lanterns, loads of candy and a pretty good excuse for adults to join in on the costuming fun with kids. So grab your best ghoulish mask and get the (Halloween) party started! We’ve got the story—and a fun little 1-minute video of a 2020 “candy chute” that’s 2-stories tall!
Dussehra: In India, Hindus gather even in pandemic
JOYOUS FESTIVAL—For Navaratri and Dussehra, Hindus in India will be permitted to gather in temples—some of which have been closed since the lockdowns began. Religious functions may be held, with a limit of 100 people (outside of containment zones). The wearing of masks, social distancing, sanitizing and other health precautions will remain mandatory. From the Sanskrit words for “remover of bad fate,” Dussehra brings towering effigies to the streets of India, along with a host of ancient rituals. Stephanie Fenton has the story.
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
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:
- THE WAY I SEE IT—Ed writes, “Director Dawn Porter’s documentary exploring the work of White House photographer Pete Souza is a combination of cinematic Valentine to Barack Obama, the man as well as President, and a polemic against the current occupant of the White House.”
- THE GOOD LORD BIRD—“Ethan Hawke has the role of his life as fiery Abolitionist John Brown in this tongue-in-cheek Showtime mini-series that he created and helped produce and write. The true part comes from James McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name, on which the series based.”
- TIME—This gripping documentary was produced and directed by Garrett Bradley. It follows Sibil Fox Richardson, fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2020, where it won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.
- NEW ORLEANS—Ed reaches back to 1947 to recommend this film, now streaming on YouTube. He writes, “When I discovered this 1947 film on YouTube, the main reason for watching it, other than the hope for some good jazz, was that it featured singer Billy Holiday in her only film, other than a short made back in the ’30s. She plays a singer named Endie whose boyfriend is Louis Armstrong, playing himself.”
HOSEA—Ed writes, “Director/writer Ryan Daniel Dobson was inspired by the ancient prophet when he wrote and directed this love story that unfolds in the darkness of human lust and depravity. However, instead of the story focusing on the prophet and his mission to a fallen nation, Dobson centers his film on the former prostitute turned wife in present day Oklahoma City. Unlike the Biblical prophet, we are given the back story of how Gomer—here renamed Cate—became a prostitute.”
- BORGEN—For years, the Danish series has been praised by critics in the U.S., but the series has not been available to most TV viewers. Now that Netflix is streaming three seasons of Borgen, Ed McNulty offers his own strong praise for these nearly 30 hours of exceptional TV. And, Ed adds some thought-provoking questions to consider as you begin to watch the series.
- RESIDUE—Merawi Gerima’s debut film explores the complex costs of gentrification—in this case, in Washington DC. Ed compares it to the other 2019 film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
- RUBY BRIDGES—Ed writes, “Ruby Bridges tells the story of how a six-year old Black girl integrated a New Orleans segregated school in 1960. … Not expecting a whole lot of it because it was a Disney film, it turned out to soar way beyond my expectations.”
- ALL IN—THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY—Ed writes, “Directors Lisa Cortes’ and Liz Garbus’s well-produced documentary could not be more timely, coming out just a month or so before the 2020 national elections.“
- BY THE GRACE OF GOD, originally Grâce à Dieu—”Francois Ozon’s rivetting drama joins two other excellent films—Our Fathers and Spotlight—that personalize the issue of the abuse of boys by priests and its cover-up. The script, written by the director, is based on the real lives of three men abused as boys by Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley).”