Cover Story: Is it time to awaken your soul?

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.


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.


Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about 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 DAYHolidays 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.


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.


Daniel Buttry’s summer music festival is still going strong. The easy web address to share with friends is: InterfaithPeacemakers.comThis week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry features music videos from around the world—old and new—including Bob Dylan, India Arie and Tracy ChapmanAmong our earlier columns in this Sing! Sing! Sing! series …


1,200 is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

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.










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