Diversity sparking peace, not violence
RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY JOURNEYS—In southeast Michigan, a broad array of religious leaders and educators in public school systems have developed a popular program called, “Religious Diversity Journeys.” This unique curriculum is designed for students who want to be on the cutting edge of combatting bigotry through immersive experiences. Students travel as a group and learn about the religious traditions shaping their communities. Our story includes a helpful link to learn more about the program and perspectives from two recent newspaper reports on Religious Diversity Journeys.
INDIA’S HUGE FESTIVAL—If you care about inter-religious relationships, you’ll be fascinated to learn that an enormous interfaith festival of arts and music recently occurred in northern India on the plains along the sacred Yamuna River. Most Americans probably would never have heard of this story, except for the efforts of the International Association of Religion Journalists, which published this overview of the enormous festival by an Indian reporter. If you care about religion news from around the world, be sure to check out the Twitter feed of headlines from this organization of journalists.
‘THIRD WAY’ CATCHES ON—Gender diversity also is emerging as a huge issue within religious groups worldwide, but especially in the United States. One place to look for news about peaceful approaches to this diversity is The Third Way Newsletter. Then, recently, journalist Kay DeMoss, who reports on news within the United Methodist Church’s Michigan Area, wrote about this movement within that denomination.
And a reminder from last week …
MSU BIAS BUSTERS—A highly respected series of books on understanding American minorities adds a new volume on American Jews—as Jewish news is moving to front pages. What news? Passover is coming with Americans’ annual conversation over “crossover” themes with Easter. This new book has a special section helping non-Jews to understand the major Jewish holidays. Learn more about the latest volume in the Bias Busters series in a new story by Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm.
HOLIDAYS and FESTIVALS
COMING APRIL 22—When is the ancient Jewish festival held this year? 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.
Before Passover, watch ReadTheSpirit for holiday coverage—and a special column from Bobbie Lewis in FeedTheSpirit. Bobbie often marks the changing seasons of the year in her stories about food traditions (with recipes). As temperatures rise in spring, you may enjoy reading her story about the importance of urban farming. (Note: The editors at ReadTheSpirit have tried her recipe for kale salad—and it’s terrific!)
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.
A REMARKABLE WALK—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman’s columns celebrate life’s wonders even in the midst of tragedy. This week, she tells the story of three sisters who suffered a devastating loss in their family, yet gathered to support their family. They made time to care for others—and themselves. While on a walk along the beach one day … Well, please, read Suzy’s column for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
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 AND—Please consider subscribing to the one resource Ed sells—his long-running Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete study guides for individual reflection and small-group discussion.
- THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS—Most Americans completely missed this sensitive drama starring Tim Robbins, Sarah Polley and Julie Christie in a smaller role. The film explores the potential of human healing after the trauma of war and its effects on civilians. Originally released in 2005, Ed is urging viewers to seek out the film. Note: We just spotted, this week, for $5.98 on Amazon. (Ed gives this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.)
- GOOD VIBRATIONS—Ed also is urging movie fans reach back to 2013 to watch an unusual movie about the enthusiastic owner of an Irish record store. (4 stars)
- THE YOUNG MESSIAH—Based on Anne Rice’s novel about the early life of Jesus, the movie does a fair job of exploring a phase of Jesus’s life that is rarely the subject of Hollywood films. (3.5 stars)
- THE WITCH—Director-writer Robert Eggers’ “New England folk tale” is set in a small New England farming community in 1630. (4 stars)
- SON OF SAUL—Ed reviews this new, controversial Holocaust film, a fictional account of one man caught up in the horrors of a death camp. The film will be released via Amazon in April. (4 stars)
- DEADPOOL—Yes, it’s a violent superhero movie from Marvel—but Ed says this is a very engaging movie with an unusual script, well worth watching. (4 stars)
- A WAR—This Oscar contender from Denmark serves as a good reminder that it is not just American families that are disrupted by the war in Afghanistan. (5 stars)
- SIN NOMBRE—Ed McNulty writes: “I wish every American would see this film” about Honduran refugees. (5 stars)
- LADY IN THE VAN—Don’t miss Maggie Smith in this movie, says Ed. (5 stars)
- 45 YEARS—A wonderfully sophisticated story about questions that surface in a long-time marriage. (5 stars)