COVER STORY—This week’s biggest news in religion is the long-awaited release of a massive new book, The Study Quran, by HarperOne to stand along side the many popular “study Bibles” Americans have enjoyed for many years. The book’s debut comes on the heels of a major study of Americans’ religious lives that says religiously affiliated men and women are, indeed, spending more time in scripture reading and small-group study of scriptures. Our Cover Story explains why this new edition of the Quran can truly be called unique. Also: We explain some of the bias in other earlier editions of English commentaries on the Quran. And we talk with the head of HarperOne, Mark Tauber, about how Americans are responding to the news.
FOOD and FESTIVALS
DON’T MISS ONE! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.
LEST WE FORGET—As we publish this new week’s issue of ReadTheSpirit magazine, we also remember that 77 years ago, a religious minority was targeted in a horrific and public way. This is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. On the night of November 9, 1938, Jews in Germany and Austria were terrorized by mobs breaking glass. Our Kristallnacht column recommends a number of resources for individuals and teachers to use from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
VETERANS DAY—And in another worldwide day of remembrance—we honor veterans with a holiday that recalls the end, a century ago, of “the war to end all wars.” That phrase originated with author H.G. Wells and was repeated by President Wilson in a solemn way; Wells actually believed that WWI could end the practice of war. Today, what we now call Veterans Day is a bonanza of special offers for veterans, plus countless local and regional events.
DANCING LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS—For more than a billion men, women and children following the cultures of India, this week is full of lights, special treats, dancing and visits to friends and family. It’s Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains! You’ll enjoy Stephanie Fenton’s Holiday column, in part, because we’ve got a super-charged video clip that captures the shopping frenzy associated with Diwali. (And before you roll your eyes at Indian Diwali shopping—Black Friday and the American Christmas-shopping marathon is right around the corner.)
FEED THE SPIRIT—The host of our FeedTheSpirit section, Bobbie Lewis, brings us a special guest column for Diwali, describing the holiday from the perspective of one American family. Whether living in India or elsewhere around the world, families with roots in India are likely to spend weeks planning for their Diwali celebrations. Guest writer Anjali Charankar-Vale also shares a recipe for a simple, savory snack she prepares each year.
SEASONAL HOLIDAYS—Our November-themed column looks at a number of observances coming up.
AND POPULAR CULTURE
1,200 MOVIES—www.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of movie reviews by veteran faith-and-film expert Edward McNulty.
- LABYRINTH OF LIES—A gripping drama about the search for truth about Nazi war crimes. This German film is based on the true story of several relentless prosecutors who struggled against entrenched resistance to tracking down war criminals in Germany. Their work resulted in the trial of hundreds of war criminals in the mid-1960s. (4.5 out of 5stars)
- THE MARTIAN—Ed says: What a wonderfully exciting and thought-provoking film about survival on Mars! (5 stars)
- BRIDGE OF SPIES—Make sure this new Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg collaboration also is on your “must see” list. (5 stars)
- MEET THE PATELS—A unique new documentary about a young Indian-American filmmaker searching for a wife. It’s delightful. (4 stars)
- OUR BRAND IS CRISIS—This drama, starring Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton, is based on a 2002 documentary about American political operatives in South America. (3.5 stars)
IN THE WORLD
One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …
SUZY FARBMAN—This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the personal and spiritual transformation that can accompany weight loss. She tells the story of Pauline Katz, who has wrestled with this challenge for many years—and finally succeeded!
STORIES CIRCLING THE GLOBE—The couple in this photo are Lance and Christina Muteyo, whose names greet readers on the dedication page of Daniel Buttry’s inspiring new book We Are the Socks. They just received their copy in Zimbabwe as the book continues to make its way around the world. Order your Socks now to discover dozens of inspirational stories about peacemakers worldwide. Read about Dan’s adventure in writing this new book. And, in a short video, Dan tells the surprising story behind the title.
Congratulations Dr. Gushee!
ELECTION BY SCHOLARLY PEERS: Dr. David P. Gushee, author of Changing Our Mind was just elected vice president of the American Academy of Religion. The three-year cycle will move him on to president-elect and then president of the world’s largest professional association of scholars who study religion, with 9,000 members representing some 900 colleges, universities, seminaries and schools in North America and abroad. Read more in this Mercer University report on Gushee’s election.