CELEBRATING 1,000 QUESTIONS
MEET THE BIAS BUSTERS—Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm writes about the milestone of 1,000 questions asked—and answered—by MSU School of Journalism students working with experts nationwide on a popular series of guidebooks. Each title begins “100 Questions & Answers About …” and these students—with input from blue-ribbon panels of expert readers—answer the common questions we often ask among friends and co-workers. The key to living successfully in our diverse communities, today, is understanding the meaning of our individual customs and traditions so that we can see how much we ultimately share. Please, read Joe Grimm’s story about how much has been learned in this years’ long process of asking 1,000 questions. And share this news with friends. These guides are perfect for anyone who wants to know more about family, friends and co-workers from different backgrounds.
ALSO FROM MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS—“Leaders drive change,” writes Bill Donohue, a Distinguished Professor of Communication at Michigan State University. “That driving process happens through a series of critical conversations.” As we work each day, we talk with managers, co-workers, clients—but we rarely think about how we are approaching these conversations that define our lives. In this “must-read primer for anyone interested in leadership,” Donohue describes our possible approaches to these conversations as a card game he calls Card Talk. Please, read the news about this remarkable, practical—and downright fun—new book that helps us approach often stressful interactions with an eagerness that comes with these fresh insights.
Happy Memorial Day!
MAKING MEMORIAL DAY PLANS? Stephanie Fenton’s column also turns back to excerpts from the landmark essay on “Civil Religion in America” by sociologist Robert Bellah—well worth a moment to read this week. If you’re intrigued, she also has a link to find the entire text of Bellah’s lengthy essay. Bellah writes, in part: “Memorial Day observance, especially in the towns and smaller cities of America, is a major event for the whole community involving a rededication to the martyred dead, to the spirit of sacrifice, and to the American vision.” Whether you agree with Bellah or not, there are lots of thought-provoking ideas in this piece that was published half a century ago!
FASTING & HOSPITALITY—The vast majority of the world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims are observing the annual fast of Ramadan, which continues through mid June, some of the longest days of any calendar year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story, including the background on this important month.
In addition, we have lots of other inspiring (and delicious) stories related to Ramadan. For example, Christian ethicist Matthew Kaemingk’s new book addresses evangelical Christians, making the case that Christianity calls on the faithful to welcome our Muslim neighbors.
WHY WE FAST—Muslim educator and writer Najah Bazzy explains the benefits of the Ramadan fast in this chapter from her book The Beauty of Ramadan.
MUSLIM PUBLISHING—In our FrontEdgePublishing section, we take a look at the challenges Muslim writers and readers face in trying to get their books published in the U.S., these days.
THROUGHOUT MAY—Two special national observances honor centuries of American Jewish history and Asian Pacific American heritage. Our column has links to resource-rich Library of Congress websites for both months.
Want to see all the holidays? www.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 are:
- WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR—Fred Rogers was the most famous Presbyterian minister in North America before his death in 2003, beloved by millions of children and parents, most of whom did not know that he was a minister. Ed McNulty gives this documentary by Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville 5 out of 5 stars.
- SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY—Director Ron Howard delivers a deep space heist/cowboy film packed with thrills and a few surprises. (4 stars)
- ITZHAK—Lovers of great music will find much to enjoy in Alison Chernick’s documentary about violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. (4 stars)
- LEAN ON PETE—Yes, the film features a boy and a horse named Pete, but it’s really a story of the boy’s search for happiness and wellbeing. Ed urges us not to miss this film. (5 stars)
RBG—Co-directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West not only document Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s great contributions to American law, but also present what could be called “one of the great love stories of the 20th century.” (4.5 stars)
- POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD—Documentary filmmaker Wim Wenders presents an inspiring look at the work and travels of this pontiff, who is bringing hope to many around the world. (5 stars)
- RED DUST—With an excellent cast, director Tom Hooper brings to life a fictional story that mirrors many dramas played out across South Africa as Apartheid ended and reconciliation was unfolding. (4.5 stars)
- AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR—The movie is so jam-packed with action and colorful characters that it certainly is exciting, if a bit disorienting as well, writes Ed. (4 stars)
- HEART OF NUBA—You’ll have to make a point of seeking out this deeply moving documentary, set in a war-torn region of Africa, but the search is well worth the effort, Ed writes this week. He gives the film 5 stars.