Cover Story: You can give ‘Hope for the City’ this season

REAL-LIFE SAINT BRINGS ‘HOPE’

Cover Hope for the City biography of Focus Hope founder Father Cunningham by Jack KresnakCOVER STORY—Father William Cunningham’s courageous pursuit of social justice might seem like a tale out of Hollywood—except that he really did devote his life to overcoming injustice and helping countless men and women lift their families out of poverty. Now, just in time for the year-end holidays, you can give some Hope for the City to friends—by supporting this new biography by award-winning journalist Jack Kresnak and Detroit’s Cass Community Publishing. Please, read our cover story by Dmitri Barvinok.

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BEN PRATT IS BACK!

Harbor_Docks_-_Gulf_to_Table_on_VimeoSALTY GRATITUDE—Yes, this is a big fish story! But it’s not a fisherman’s yarn. It’s a true tale about gratitude in a Gulf Shore community that leads many people—including author Benjamin Pratt’s family—to pitch in for a long day designed to fuel a local food bank. You’ll enjoy Ben’s latest column, which includes videos and—well, go on and read it, because we’re sure it will fuel your own ideas about generosity.

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HAPPY HANUKKAH
& MERRY CHRISTMAS

DON’T MISS A HOLIDAY! Just remember this simple Web address www.InterfaithHolidays.com to find all of the upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries.

US Hanukkah stamp (1)HAPPY HANUKKAH!

This year, Jewish families began by lighting the first Hanukkah candle on the evening of December 6. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton provides an overview of the holiday and its traditions.

For Hanukkah, FeedTheSpirit brings us a guest writer: “Bubbies Latkes” is the story of a real-life Jewish grandmother, Susan Gartenberg, who recalls how her own grandmother taught her to make latkes.

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united-states-charlie-brown-christmas-stamp-2015 (1)CHRISTMAS IS COMING—The Western Christian Advent season began November 29 this year. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on Advent traditions. And new this week: She writes about the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmasand the religious milestone it represented in 1965.

IN THE EAST—Stephanie also writes about the Eastern Orthodox Nativity Fast, a centuries-old tradition of fasting in preparation for the holiday marking Jesus’s birth. This period of self denial and spiritual reflection began November 15 with occasional days of exception and culminates on December 24.

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Candles in a Buddhist TempleAND FROM THE FAR EAST—Buddhism may be waning in Japan, but the ancient traditions of Buddhism continue to find new adherents around the world. Stephanie reports on the Buddhist festival associated with lights Bodhi Day, also known as Rohatsu.

 

 

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FOOD__Transforming_the_American_Table_1950–2000___National_Museum_of_American_HistoryHOLIDAY FOODSFeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis stops by the Smithsonian Institution’s fascinating exhibit exploring American foodways. Bobbie shares highlights, including a salute to Julia Child, and shares an all-American recipe for a rich, cheesy corn casserole. It’s perfect for holiday meals, especially if you’ve got vegetarians at the table.

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FILM, FAITH
& POPULAR CULTURE

Cover Edward McNulty Jesus Christ Movie Star (1)CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR MOVIE FANS—Only one figure challenges the century-old records of Sherlock Holmes and Santa Claus as Hollywood superstars. Who is that? Veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty’s brand new book answers that question in its title: “Jesus Christ, Movie Star.” In these pages, he provides potent fuel for individual movie fans and small groups to discuss how Jesus’s life and legacy is depicted in movies that indelibly shape our understanding of religion. This is as timely as front-page news—and lots of fun as well—says our story about the book. Religion scholar Ken Chitwood, the author of FaithGoesPop columns, contributed to this new book and says in a new column that he’s “overwhelmingly excited” about its publication.

 

HOLIDAY MOVIES—Looking for great choices? First, www.VisualParables.org is a treasure trove of free movie reviews by Edward McNulty. Also, check out the current issue of his Visual Parables Journal.

Hunger Games …

Screen shot from Hunger Games (1)JANE WELLS REVIEW—Thousands of our readers, in recent years, have followed writer Jane Wells’s reflections on social-justice themes inspired by the Hunger Games cycle of novels and movies. In her Bird on Fire website, Jane provides a quick overview of the entire saga (a great opportunity to catch up on the long story) and she reviews the final film in the series.

ED McNULTY REVIEW—For another perspective, check out Ed’s review of the film, which he recommends (4 out of 5 stars). Ed says: “With each film Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) grows more interesting.”

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DOING GOOD
IN THE WORLD

One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

Joanna Fox holds the Newbery award winning book dedicated to herA TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHERGodSigns author Suzy Farbman’s column this week tells the story of Joanna Fox, who became a teacher to get kids excited about reading and writing. She created a unique learning environment she calls the Dragonfly Cafe. Her work even inspired a winner of the Newbery Medal for children’s literature. In her column, Suzy tells us how this teacher’s constant encouragement of her students inspires such creativity.

 

Peacemakers …

REDISCOVER HOPE—Daniel Buttry’s inspiring new book We Are the Socks is full of true stories about men and women who risked pursuing peace even in the face of enormous challenges around the world. Read about Dan’s adventure in writing this new book. And, in a short video, Dan tells the surprising story behind the title.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—You’ll enjoy more than 100 stories of men and women who dared to cross boundaries in Buttry’s main website: InterfaithPeacemakers

 

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