WISDOM OF GIRL SCOUTS:
FACING COVID-19 WITH COURAGE & COMPASSION
THREE SHORT STORIES—AND A MUSIC VIDEO—That’s what author and peace activist Brenda Rosenberg brings us this week along with contributions from other writers and artists. Who knows more about our core American values than the millions of Girl Scouts in the U.S.—connected with 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world? Please, read these short stories from Brenda and these inspiring young women! Prepare to be inspired. And, please, share their stories with friends on social media.
Need a Little Lincoln?
Let’s Remember All We Share
REKINDLING LINCOLN’S ‘QUIET FIRE’
COVER STORY—During COVID-19 distancing, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer’s public radio studio (WERU in mid-coast Maine) is closed for recording. So, he has been unable to broadcast any new weekly episodes of his long-running series of spiritual meditations on the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, called Quiet Fire. As of this week—and until Duncan can get back to the studio—we will be publishing the texts of his weekly columns each Monday.
WHY NOW? The second half of April 2020 is marked by a tragic return to hyper-partisan political attacks sparked from Washington D.C.—as if Americans should be angry enemies as we face this global crisis. We’ve all seen the explosive tweets calling on partisan groups to begin divisive protests. Just as we need a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19—we need an antidote to that kind of dangerous political rabble-rousing.
WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Duncan writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”
THIS WEEK, please read and share these episodes of Duncan’s weekly series, Quiet Fire. Collectively, these Lincoln stories represent a call back to our true greatness as Americans.
- Quiet Fire Part 1 is a reflection on the 155th anniversary of Lincoln’s passing in April 1865, titled: In this cruel month of death, what will be our legacy?
- Quiet Fire Part 2 explains why Lincoln was intimately acquainted with fears of epidemics: Coping with the Uncertainty and Mystery of a Deadly Disease
- Quiet Fire Part 3 concludes this week’s series of Duncan’s texts with Lincoln’s advice for responding to such crises: We Must Rise to the Occasion
- Come back next week to ReadTheSpirit for more in this weekly series. Next week, Duncan will be writing about Lincoln’s sources of courage.
Care to Enjoy More Lincoln Right Now?
GET A COPY Duncan’s 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. Each of the 30 stories in this book includes a link to listen to the original radio broadcasts. The book is available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle versions. ALSO, you can order hardcover and paperback from Barnes & Noble. In addition, our own publishing house offers these bookstore links to order hardcovers as well as paperbacks directly from our supplier.
Holidays & Festivals: Ramadan
… And Speaking of Great Americans …
MUSLIMS FOCUS ON COMPASSIONATE OUTREACH
A CENTRAL THEME OF RAMADAN is fasting from dawn to dusk partly to encourage a spiritual connection with the millions of poor and hungry families around the world. Of course, CNN Hero and PEOPLE magazine hero Najah Bazzy lives every day with that awareness as the founder and CEO of Zaman International, a multi-faceted program that focuses on at-risk women and children.
- THE DETROIT PISTONS basketball team posted this feature story about the team’s collaboration in her work, headlined: Detroit Pistons proud to assist Zaman International be a ‘lighthouse’ for the poor during COVID-19 crisis
- THE CNN NETWORK returned to report on Najah’s work at Zaman as part of a story about its CNN Heroes, headlined: Cooking pasta by the ton is just one way these CNN Heroes are persevering during the pandemic
Don’t these photos and inspiring stories make you curious about how Islam shapes such a life of tireless service? Well, this week’s Front Edge Publishing column describes Najah’s book, The Beauty of Ramadan.
Najah Bazzy’s overall mission in life is teaching people about Islam and the deep compassion that lies at the heart of all the Abrahamic faiths. From her global perspective, Najah wrote The Beauty of Ramadan to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand the many complex traditions associated with the month of fasting. The book is especially helpful to community leaders who are trying to understand what Muslim families experience. It includes sections of special interest to Muslim—and non-Muslim—human-resources, healthcare and public-service professionals.
- Stephanie Fenton, our Holidays & Festivals columnist, also reports on Ramadan.
Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
Many of Our Authors Are Offering Free Resources
FROM ‘QUICK LAUGHS’ to DISCUSSION GIUDES—Our Publisher John Hile put out the call: “We’re known for publishing books that help people. In the middle of this pandemic, let’s find ways to do more.” Many of our authors are responding with free spiritual resources from teaching and stories and videos—to a Quick Laugh from a famous standup comic. Here’s a Front Edge Publishing column about these free opportunities to let our authors spark a little joy in your life.
Guess who finally convinced Suzy Farbman?
GOD SIGNS—Author Suzy Farbman headlines her column this week: Meditation, vocab and other productive ways to spend time during a pandemic. Like most of us, she’s tried a host of ways to cope with isolation and anxiety—from clever ideas for virtual birthday parties to learning new vocabulary words. Most recently, she taking a fresh shot at meditation—a spiritual practice that has eluded her for years. Who does she credit with convincing her that meditation has real credibility? Well, read her column to find out.
FAITH & FILM
LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING
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 these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix.
- JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
- AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
- I, THE WORST OF ALL—”Thanks to someone on YouTube, Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg brings to us gringos the enlightening biographical film of one of Mexico’s early and still read poets, the 17th century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). It is a beautifully costumed and acted historical drama about a woman still very relevant on a universal basis—she was the first writer in the Americas to defend the rights of women.” (5 stars)
- ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)
- THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.” (4 stars)
- I LOST MY BODY—
Ed writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.” (4.5 stars)
- THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.” (4 stars)
- REVOLUTION OF THE HEART—Ed’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
- BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 stars)
- EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)