GATHER IN GRATITUDE—”Count your blessings and savor the smells and tastes of the season,” Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes this week. As usual, Stephanie shares some fascinating background on the holiday tradition—and fresh links to tasty recipes as well as Do It Yourself crafts, including ideas for kids!
Obviously, we all could use a little Thanksgiving, now!
In recent days, many friends of ReadTheSpirit magazine have chimed in with ideas for this special American Thanksgiving edition. For example, over many years, poet and peace activist Ken Sehested has contributed inspiring and thought-provoking pieces from his home base in Ashville, NC. For this week, Ken suggested we share his Prayer for Gratitude, along with a short column he wrote explaining why he thinks our culture misunderstands this challenging spiritual idea. You may want to read Ken’s Prayer at some point in this holiday week.
AN INTERFAITH REMINDER—Victor Begg, author of the upcoming memoir Our Muslim Neighbors, sent us a link to this inspiring column, which he wrote for newspapers in Florida, headlined: Thanksgiving Provides Opportunity to Celebrate Collectively. In that column, Victor reminds all of us that many communities nationwide host some form of interreligious gathering, each year, to mark this holiday—a sign that many Americans continue to embrace diversity.
NEED VISUAL INSPIRATION?
LOOK UP!—This week, author and photographer Rodney Curtis once again adds his remarkable visions to our magazine’s offerings. Rodney has posted a dazzling collage of photographs that he calls A Seattle Slew of Scenic Skies—a Post Card Journal. There’s no way to enjoy those photos without feeling a humble sense of gratitude for the world around us. Thanks Rodney!
A GRANDSON’S STORY—A heart-stirring, personal story arrived in recent days from Doug Todd, a master among the world’s journalists who specialize in covering religion and spirituality. Among his efforts to improve the profession, Doug was elected by his peers as Chair of the International Association of Religion Journalists.
Doug sent us a very different approach to gratitude, this week: his story of thankful wonderment over the life of his grandfather, a Canadian who was multiply wounded in one of the most horrific battles during World War I. Doug’s story and video is headlined Riddled with Machine-gun Fire, My Grandfather Showed the Resilience We Need Today.
Thanks, Doug! And, yes, we do know that our Canadian readers celebrated Thanksgiving in October.
REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN
MINORITY VOICES—Over the past couple of weeks, friends of ReadTheSpirit have emailed quite a few links about the centennial of the end of World War I. American media reports reduced this humbling, reflective occasion to a political story about President Trump. In fact, if one dug deeper into the news, world leaders lifted up important, thought-provoking analysis of global conflict and peacemaking. Not one U.S.-based media outlet published the complete text of France’s Emmanuel Macron as he marked the centennial. But, but it was published by the French government. It’s in French, of course, but Google’s Translator function, or other browser translators, can help those who don’t read Macron’s language.
MUSLIM VETERANS—From Algeria, scholar and religion writer Larbi Mageri sent us several links to world-news reports about Muslim soldiers in World War I. Given the turbulence caused by anti-Muslim extremists in the West, it is timely to remember that Muslims were part of the Allied campaign in that war. First, Larbi sent us this link about a wreath-laying commemoration in Algiers. Then, here’s a story about the 40,000 Moroccan soldiers who served as Allied soldiers. Finally, from the BBC’s Asian service, Larbi sent us this link about the “forgotten Muslim soldiers” from India. That BBC article points out: “Increased awareness could silence the anti-Muslim rhetoric of British far-right groups today.”
FAITH & FILM: Ed McNulty
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:
- BOY ERASED—This gripping film about an evangelical family sending their son to a so-called gay “conversion” camp is sure to promote good discussions, Ed writes in recommending the movie. (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- VIPER CLUB—Susan Sarandon is terrific as the fierce mother of an American journalist who is captured by terrorists in Syria and held for ransom. (4 stars)
- THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS—Ed writes, “For those seeking family fare Disney’s fantasy film is a visual treat, but story-wise rather bland.” (3 stars)
- CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME—Ed gives 4 stars to this biographical film about real-life biographer-turned-forger Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy plays the main character in a way that’s both true to the quirky life of the real writer—yet compelling for viewers.
- THE HATE U GIVE—Ed says this is the one film all Americans should be sure to see this year. (5 out of 5 stars)
- FIRST MAN—This film tells us as much about Neil Armstrong the family man as it does Armstrong the astronaut. (5 stars)
- CHANGE IN THE AIR—When a mysterious, unattached woman moves into a small town, neighbors begin to wonder at the huge sacks of mail she receives. What’s her story? Ed says it’s a terrific movie. (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- GENERATION WEALTH—Another can’t-miss-it documentary is Lauren Greenfield’s thought-provoking project, both in book and cinematic forms. (4 stars)