COVER STORY: Need sanctuary? Hoping for inspiration?
AWAKENING SOUL—As summer ends, we brace for the challenges of autumn—a “new year” for millions of us in our schools or congregations. Jewish families are looking to Rosh Hashanah 5776 at sunset on September 13. And, in Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals column, you’ll learn that Orthodox Christians mark their liturgical new year on September 1. Most of us are hoping to renew our spiritual energies at some point before the end of the calendar year. This week, our cover story looks at a remarkable November retreat in Ashville, NC, hosted by a longtime friend of ReadTheSpirit: the songwriter and musician Fran McKendree. Fran and collaborator Ann Holtz, once again, are presenting a stirring lineup of artists, musicians and teachers for a three-day retreat in their nationally known AwakeningSoul series.
FAITH GOES POP
THOUGHT-PROVOKING MASH UP—Two popular web sites are combining this week as academic-and-journalist Ken Chitwood publishes a five-part overview of his FaithGoesPop project for readers of OurValues. If you’ve enjoyed some of Ken’s quirky, provocative columns over the past year—here’s a chance to dig into the mission and vision of Ken’s campaign to increase religious literacy in America.
- Part 1—What’s FaithGoesPop all about?
- Part 2—Defining religion is tougher than you may think.
- Part 3—Religion sightings in Philadelphia.
- Part 4—John Oliver and Fake Religions (they have real issues to raise).
- Part 5—New Digital Cathedrals.
HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS & FOOD
Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about www.InterfaithHolidays.com our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.
KRISHNA’S BIRTHDAY—Families of Indian descent around the world, and many others who honor India’s rich spiritual traditions, will celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna this week. Vivid stories of Krishna’s life thousands of years ago have been handed down through Indian tradition. Reverence for Krishna varies by group and region, but the holiday is full of colorful fun in many parts of the world!
LABOR DAY—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reaches back to tell some of the history behind this annual holiday. And, no, it’s not just an excuse for a picnic. Countless labor-movement activists worked long and hard to achieve such an honor.
REMEMBERING KATRINA—Americans are looking back at the 10-year anniversary of the devastating hurricane. By August 31, 2005, the storm had subsided, but most of New Orleans was flooded. On that day, President George W. Bush decided against visiting the disaster area—but he did ask AirForce One to fly low enough so that he could look out the window at the region. Stephanie Fenton marks the anniversary with this newsy column. In our 2010 American Journey series, we reported from a Vietnamese-American community in New Orleans that still was rebuilding from Katrina even at that 5-year anniversary.
FEED THE SPIRIT
SPICE and HEALTH! FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis writes about a red-hot nutritional study that describes an intriguing link between spicy foods and longevity. The story is called Add Spice to Your Life—and Bobbie includes a recipe for spicy Malaysian mee goreng.
- BOUNTY OF SUMMER—Throughout the summer, FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis has been serving up some terrific columns like this recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—and columns she calls Just for the Kale of It and Dishes Pop with Paprika.
SING! SING! SING!
Daniel Buttry’s summer music festival is still going strong. The easy web address to share with friends is: InterfaithPeacemakers.com. This week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry features music videos from around the world—old and new—including Bob Dylan, India Arie and Tracy Chapman. Among our earlier columns in this Sing! Sing! Sing! series …
- ‘SHALOM’—Videos celebrating “Shalom” in the Abrahamic faiths.
- CLASSICS—Dan shares “Classic Songs” of peace from Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Bob Marley.
- SING ALONG WITH FRANCIS—A Catholic-Jewish song-writing duo gives the world a new song based on Pope Francis’s prayer for creation.
- AND WITH THOSE MOURNING—A famous hymn writer raises a new song after the tragedy in Charleston.
& POPULAR CULTURE
1,200 MOVIES—www.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews.
- STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON—Lots of R-rated language, but this true story has a powerful message about racism and American culture. (4 out of 5 stars from faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty)
- END OF THE TOUR—You’ll be surprised by this movie without traditional action sequences or suspense. The film turns on a thoughtful encounter between two men. Intrigued? (4.5 stars)
- IRON JAWED ANGELS—Looking back, Ed recommends this earlier HBO movie about the struggle for women’s rights a century ago. (5 stars)
- GEMMA BOVERY—Yes, it’s Bovery with an “e” and, no, you don’t have to know Flaubert’s famous novel to enjoy this dark tale. (4 stars)
- RICKY and the FLASH—Imperfect, but has its memorable moments. (4 stars)
- GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET—Ed says this film is remarkable (5 stars).
- TESTAMENT OF YOUTH—This powerful story from WWI “is not to be missed” Ed says (5 stars).
- SHAUN THE SHEEP—A delightfully quirky stop-motion animated film (4 stars).
RENAISSANCE WEDDING—Nationwide, millions of men,women and children love to step back through the centuries for a Renaissance Festival. It’s a perfect destination, this time of year—and writer-photographer Rodney Curtis brings us a gorgeous array of photos from a real-life wedding set in the midst of one of the nation’s larger Renaissance Festivals. Come on! You definitely want to see these photos.
SUZY FARBMAN—GodSigns author Suzy Farbman always is looking for striking coincidences and surprises in the lives of the men and women she meets in her travels. This week, she takes us to northern Michigan to an amazing Stone House that has turned into the perfect home for a family … the Stones.