Cover Story: Celebrating American Values for the 4th!

Cover Story: Strong Values Unite Us

WHAT’S YOUR IMAGE OF AMERICA? Whether you are cheering or disagreeing with the landmark Supreme Court rulings, rest assured: Americans are united around 10 core values, which include the very values moving our nation toward opening marriage. One of the 10 values: Ninety percent of Americans strongly support the value of equal treatment under our laws. Sociologist Wayne Baker has a powerful way of showing us how our values unite us as a nation. He starts by showing famous pictures, like this image of a WWII hero. Come along this week for an inspiring tour through Images of America! Part 1 is called “Black Lives Matter.”

What’s your plan for the Fourth? Whatever you’re planning for Independence Day, Stephanie Fenton’s column is packed with ideas and DIY resources that will enrich your holiday.

On the 4th,
how do we remember …

… OUR VETERANS AND OUR FALLEN? The head of the Michigan State University journalism team that has published a new book to help appreciate our more than 20 million veterans tells Cheyenne’s story, this week. It’s the true story of a daughter honoring her fallen father—by helping to remember his name, share his hard-earned insights and tell his story to the world.


As Americans, research shows that we’re strongly committed to national security. And, we’re very proud of our veterans. But we also yearn for peace and www.Interfaith is an online treasure trove of stories about men and women who risked their lives for peace. Among the recent stories: Cesar Chavez, Daniel Hunter and Dorothy Day.

NEW this week—International peacemaker and author Daniel Buttry launches an online Summer Music Festival.


IT’S A CHURCH-GROWTH ISSUE—There’s no question: Most Americans are welcoming the new definition of marriage and, as a result, millions of LGBT men and women will be more visible as we welcome them in our communities and congregations. It’s also true that thousands of churches do not welcome this change, which means they, in effect, don’t welcome millions of Christians who have LGBT friends and family. Even religious pollsters are issuing this warning. This is, indeed, a major “church growth” issue and is pushing many evangelical churches to explore bridging this chasm. Two authors are in the national vanguard of helping churches become welcoming communities.

KEN WILSON—Pastor and author Ken Wilson (along with his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter) are making a big difference in opening up evangelical congregations coast to coast. Ken was just cited for his work in a New York Times story. The few pioneering churches that have followed Ken’s vision of a “Third Way” include the influential City Church in California. This week, you’ll want to read …

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind spoke in Kansas City to Welcoming and Affirming Baptist on June 28, 2015. Now, Dr. Gushee is becoming one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service. In news coverage of Americans’ rapidly changing attitudes toward LGBT Christians, Dr. Gushee’s book and his nationwide series of talks this year are often credited with changing hearts and minds. As a leading evangelical himself, Dr. Gushee’s work is especially helpful as other conservative Christians struggle with this new reality in American life.



We’re still wishing, ‘Ramadan Mubarak!’

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Tell friends about, our master list of holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

TASTES OF RAMADAN—Muslims know that the fasting month of Ramadan also is the month when families and friends gather to break the fast with favorite foods! This week, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis brings us the story of Master Chef contestant Amanda Saab—and one of her delicious recipes.

ALSO, THIS WEEK, IN BUDDHISMColumnist Stephanie Fenton tells us about the Buddhist festival of Asalha Puja or Dhamma Day, which recalls the Buddha first teaching the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

IN JUDAISM, THE THREE WEEKSJewish households traditionally mourn a series of tragedies, including the destruction of two temples in Jerusalem.


1,200 is a treasure trove of faith-and-film reviews by Edward McNulty.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings. This week, if you live in a “Christian household” (especially if you’re Catholic), you’re guaranteed to chuckle at comedian Jim Gaffigan’s utterly honest routine about the conflicting emotions when trying to balance faith with the distractions of everyday life. Ken found a wonderful video clip to share!


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

SUZY FARBMAN & GodSigns—Today, author Suzy Farbman shares the first part of a story headlined, “Diamonds of wood spark inspiration from work of the often homeless artist Ed Lantzer.” It’s a remarkable story about lives interconnecting to spread awareness of Lantzer’s huge Christian murals.

DEBRA DARVICK—Author Debra Darvick also writes, this week, about the importance of remembering and sharing a community’s most important stories in a column called, “It was called the Spanish house.”

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This continues to criss-cross the nation. On July 9, he’s appearing at Temple Adas Israel, Long Island’s oldest synagogue.






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