COVER STORY: Dr. Catherine Meeks transforms the “rags” of family trauma into a beautiful “Quilted Life”

Moving Together Toward Compassion

COVER STORY—Most of us who have made it into the middle of adulthood can recall moments of harrowing tragedy, humiliation and harm we have suffered in various forms. The scholar and teacher Dr. Catherine Meeks—who now is 78 years old as she gives us her memoir A Quilted Life—describes such experiences as the “rags” we accumulate in life. The central metaphor of her book is the traditional way African American women, in particular, saved discarded cloth “rags” so they could cut small, useful pieces to assemble beautiful quilts.

Intrigued? We hope so. There’s a lot of valuable wisdom Dr. Meeks shares in this author interview—plus, we’ve got a link to Dr. Meeks’ latest venture, a colorful new website designed to promote personal and communal healing. If you enjoy this Cover Story, please share it with friends this week via social media and email. That small act of sharing online helps spread good news in our world.

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And more news this week—

Mindy Corporon—

In April, ‘overcome hate by promoting kindness and understanding’

EACH SPRING FOR 10 YEARS, author and nationally known advocate for compassionate reconciliation Mindy Corporon has spearheaded the Kansas City area “Seven Days” campaign that inspires thousands of people to undertake community projects. April 13, 2024, is the 10th anniversary of the antisemitic shootings that killed three people, including Mindy’s father and son.

First, you can learn more about this remarkable community-wide program at the Seven Days website.

Then, stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit next week for more news about an upcoming PBS documentary in the Kansas City area about Mindy’s life and work over the past decade.

Finally, to read the entire inspiring story, get a copy of Mindy’s memoir, Healing a Shattered Soul, from Amazon.

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From Howard Brown:

Encouraging author collaborations

HOWARD BROWN WRITES OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column, this week, about the value in collaborative books produced with other authors. Many of our authors have done this over the years, including Howard himself. In this column, Howard writes about his latest collaboration with Robert W. Jones—including an inspiring new podcast Howard hosted with Robert about their work together.

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Celebrating ‘Outsider’ Artists Living Among Us

COULD A FRIEND BE AN UNHERALDED LIGHT IN OUR WORLD? That’s the main theme of this column by David Crumm, sharing news about a major milestone for readers who are interested in the history of comics and graphic novels. The venerable publishing house Fantagraphics has just released a major collection of the “outsider” comic creator Frank Johnson—whose began producing comic books years before our current history books say the genre debuted in the U.S. And there’s much more in this column! We are celebrating “outsider” artists, as well, by including a tribute to the Appalachian gourd artist Minnie Black—complete with a brief video of Minnie’s now-famous “all gourd band.” Please, enjoy this column and share it with friends.

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Challenges in accurately covering religion

Friends at IARJ and MSU Bias Busters want to help

THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS AT THE International Association of Religion Journalists, we can share this new IARJ column about two major studies of the portrayal of religion in news media and the entertainment industry more broadly. A coalition of nonprofit groups internationally is working to improve the accuracy and balance of religion’s role in media. Thanks to India-based journalist Uday Basu, chairman of the IARJ board, for posting this column with links to the studies.

AND THANKS TO JOE GRIMM and the Michigan State University Bias Busters for all of their work in producing more than 20 books to help combat bias with “100 Questions & Answers” on a wide range of minorities in our communities. You can see the entire MSU series of books here.

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Holidays & Festivals

Eid al-Fitr

Cue the trays of sweet treats!

ACROSS THE U.S., most Muslims expect the Eid to start this year on the morning of Wednesday April 10—but global observances vary each year, due to regional sightings of the moon. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story for us.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click the movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of the new film, “Irena’s Vow.”

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: Hate crimes against gay and transgender students are way up! And—we’ve got helpful resources.

In a rising tide of hate crimes—

OUR AUTHORS ARE PUBLISHING, TEACHING AND SPEAKING OUT FOR EQUALITY AND INCLUSION

COVER STORY—This week we are bringing you a special column by MSU School of Journalism Professor Joe Grimm, founder of the Bias Busters project, reporting on the rising tide of hate crimes focused on the most vulnerable among us. Please read this story and learn about how our authors are responding—including a link to an upcoming conference keynote address by Christian ethicist Dr. David Gushee that you could attend online. And, if this cover story is important to you, please take a moment to share a link to that story with friends online.

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From our authors—

Mindy Corporon:

Why We Continue to Confront Hate

ONE TRAGIC MILESTONE WE ARE MARKING across our community of authors is the upcoming 10th anniversary of the April 13, 2014, antisemitic murders in the Greater Kansas City area that claimed the lives of Mindy Corporon’s father and her son. That story is told in Mindy’s memoir Healing a Shattered Soulalong with the inspiring account of how Mindy transformed her trauma into a commitment to work for justice and to help others with long-term grief.

We all are pleased to see that Mindy was honored recently with the Civic Service Award by the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy. The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle reported the news and included photos from the event. Congratulations Mindy from all of us on all of the good work you continue to do in our world.

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Jeffrey Munroe:

A Welcoming Response from ‘My’ Barnes & Noble

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, this week, Jeffrey Munroe writes about how “his” Barnes & Noble in Holland, Michigan, made him feel welcome as an author. Access to BN shelves has been a big challenge for authors who aren’t part of imprints from the Big Five companies that dominate commercial publishing. However, a dramatic change in BN management has led to welcoming new relationships in many BN stores—and Jeff found that was the case at the store close to his home, as well.

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And—Sharing Stories with the Great Philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff

JEFF MUNROE recently had an opportunity to share stories with the widely acclaimed philosopher and theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff—and, through these ongoing exchanges, Jeff has gleaned a great deal of inspiration to pass along to readers.

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Holidays & Festivals

Happy Easter No. 1

It’s a $22-billion holiday for most Americans

WE ARE HEADLINING THIS ‘HOLY WEEK’ COLUMN by Stephanie Fenton with a reference to “No. 1” because Orthodox Christians will be celebrating more than a month later this year. Of course, as Stephanie reports, American culture—and merchandizing—focus on Western Easter. Stephanie’s column dives deeper than the eggs-and-chicks-and-chocolate to explore the rich array of Holy Week traditions marked by millions of Christians..

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‘Stopping by …’ Robert Frost’s poetry to mark his sesquicentennial

MARCH 26, 2024, marks 150 years since the birth of Robert Frost, an enormous influence on American culture. To mark the occasion, we have this special reflection.

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Muslims continue fasting in Ramadan

JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to understand more about this worldwide observance.

AND STAY TUNEDThe major end-of-Ramadan festival known simply as Eid is expected around April 9, although global variances of the Eid include Saudi Arabia’s early start on the holiday on Monday April 7.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click on this poster for the movie Cabrini to read Ed McNulty’s film review.

Faith & Film

Click on this snapshot from the cover of the March 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal by faith-and-film critic Ed McNulty to learn more about this issue. Film reviews and discussion guides in this issue include American Fiction, The Zone of Interest, the Taste of Things and Perfect Days.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: Laura Elizabeth welcomes hundreds of readers into an immersive dinner theater based on her cozy mystery

Beloved Cozy Mystery Characters Spring to Life

COVER STORY—In the 14 years our publishing house has been producing books, we have never had an author turn a book’s “story” into dinner theater. So, we hope readers will understand how thrilled we are to see cozy-mystery author Laura Elizabeth her triumphant theatrical run in partnership with Kaya Vineyard and Winery in Georgia.

We invited Laura to send us a column—and photos, too—about the experience. Please share this fun news with friends. Doing so across social media, or via email, just might bring a pleasant smile to cozy mystery fans you know.

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Got questions about the ‘Nones’?

MSU Bias Busters have the answers!

WOW! Joe Grimm—MSU’s head of the Bias Busters project—writes this week about how very timely his students’ latest book is this month! Journalists and religious leaders are running in many different directions from the latest Pew data about “the religiously unaffiliated” (aka “Nones”). Read Joe’s fascinating, newsy column and order your own copy of this important new book.

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A Glowing Review of ‘Telling Stories …’

Byron Borger says, ‘There’s power in these stories!’

WE’RE SHARING the enthusiastic video-podcast review by Hearts & Minds bookseller Byron Borger of Jeffrey Munroe’s new Telling Stories in the Dark. If you haven’t already ordered your own copy of Jeff’s book, there’s a convenient Amazon link with the video.

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Need even more inspiration?

Howard Brown shines his sunlight twice this week

SPENDING A LITTLE TIME WITH SHINING BRIGHTLY’s HOWARD BROWN is always guaranteed to boost one’s spirits and this week we’ve got two doses of Howard’s sunlight to share:

FIRST, The After Cancer website—a new company marketing online assistance for individuals facing the challenges of cancer—asked Howard to write (and illustrate with photos) a summary of his remarkable success in overcoming stage IV cancer twice in his life. Howard agreed in the hope that this version of his story will reach more people with a boost of hope in their own tough struggles.

SECOND, Howard’s weekly podcast now is downloaded 13,000 times each month around the world. This week, he welcomes Marian Evardsen who helps Howard provide a cheery invitation to “Step into HAPPY.” Simply visit Howard’s home website and listen to episode No. 70.

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A new IBPA map of producing a book

 

8 pathways to bringing a book into the world

THIS WEEK’s FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column provides a link to the new 2024 map of publishing options by the Independent Book Publishers Association. For years, we have been active supporters of the IBPA and we’re pleased to recommend this free, 19-page PDF produced by the IBPA to help prospective and existing authors understand the many pathways toward publication.

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Holidays & Festivals

Orthodox Christians begin their Lenten fast

IF YOU’RE GREEK, you may recognize this photo of a sesame-seed-studded loaf of “lagana,” a traditional “flatbread” baked on Clean Monday—baked to mark the start of the Great Lenten fast.

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2 billion Muslims are fasting in Ramadan

JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to be ready for this worldwide observance.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Faith & Film

Click on this snapshot from the cover of the March 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal by faith-and-film critic Ed McNulty to learn more about this issue. Film reviews and discussion guides in this issue include American Fiction, The Zone of Interest, the Taste of Things and Perfect Days.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: An Idea Incubator at a creative Michigan church bursts with ideas for helping families see ‘The Gifts and Challenges of Aging’

A congregation “Connecting people to people—and people to God.”

Learn how our authors are helping communities to embrace creative approaches to aging

COVER STORY—This week, Founding Editor David Crumm and two of our authors—Rusty Rosman and Howard Brown—helped spark fresh ideas about aging at a special event hosted by a large congregation in southeast Michigan. Please, read our cover story to learn about this innovative program, which we called an “Idea Incubator.” Share this story with friends, because if this idea intrigues you—we include our contact information at the end of this story. If you are interested in hosting such an event, we would like to talk with you.

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And, more from our writers—

Dr. David Gushee reaches out

‘Changing Our Mind’ becomes ‘Cambiano nuestra mente’

THIS WEEK: Our publishing house is proud to announce the release this week (on March 12, 2024) of a Spanish edition of Christian ethicist Dr. David Gushee’s best-selling book, Changing Our Mind.

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Bill Tammeus on faith and justice

VETERAN JOURNALIST and AUTHOR BILL TAMMEUS is one of the most thoughtful, provocative and prophetic columnists covering religion in America and around the world. Recently, he has been writing about issues of urgent concern to many of our readers. So we are recommending that you check out his columns headlined:

How the often-hidden poor white U.S. population lives—and dies This is Bill’s review of a new book sparking a lot of discussion among our readers, TRASH—A Poor White Journey, by Cedar Monroe. (And in this review Bill also links to his earlier review of another valuable new book, Poverty, by America.)

An increasingly cruel capital punishment system needs to die Do you think you know what people of faith believe about capital punishment? Well, Bill points out: “People of faith, let’s say, aren’t always consistent about what they believe.”

And, for a deeper dive into Bill’s wisdom, consider ordering his memoir about finding resilience after the harrowing tragedies of the “9/11” attacks. The hardcover edition of his book, Love, Loss and Endurance, has been deeply discounted by Amazon at the start of this week, so it’s a good time to order a copy! (We can’t predict the whims of Amazon’s discounts, but the $31.99 hardcover was discounted to $10.99 as we started this week.)

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Laura Elizabeth may be bringing her cozy mystery to a town near you

THAT IS, if you live in Georgia, South Carolina or Florida. Check out the “coming events” page of her website for upcoming appearances in those three states.

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Holidays & Festivals

Much of the world is fasting—

2 billion Muslims mark Ramadan

Three Muslim girls in Indonesia enjoy a walk during Ramadan.

JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to be ready for this worldwide observance.

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Orthodox Christians begin their Lenten fast

HOLIDAYS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports on the start of Eastern Orthodox Lent, which is distinctively different than Western Christian Lent. Orthodox Christians are called to a period of fasting that begins with “Clean Monday.”

And, Baha’i friends also are fasting

FINALLY, STEPHANIE brings us this story about the Baha’i Nineteen Day fast, which begins this week.

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All this month, social media sharing could save a life

CANCER-PATIENT ADVOCATE HOWARD BROWN writes this column about the importance of sharing messages on social media during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Faith & Film

Click on this movie poster for “Perfect Days” to read Ed McNulty’s review.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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COVER STORY: Leanne Friesen’s ‘Grieving Room’ helps us chart the long journey of grief in the hope—of making room for hope itself

After a traumatic death, you can help by ‘making room’

OUR COVER STORY, this week, follows up on a question that our readers have been asking: When we experience unfair, untimely or tragic deaths, how can we find hope again? From the Middle East and Ukraine to communities in the American heartland—daily news about conflicts, mass shootings and natural disasters can lead to despair.

Canadian pastor and author Leanne Friesen’s new memoir speaks heart-to-heart to those of us grappling with the long journey of grief. Her book—and her work as a speaker and an online host of a rapidly growing Instagram community—are her ways of sharing practical and ultimately hopeful wisdom. In the last few weeks alone, thousands of new readers have flocked to the Instagram community that is related to this book.

Please read our interview with this remarkable teacher, who shares with us stories from her life that are likely to connect with our own. Then, after reading this story, we’re sure you’ll feel good about sharing a link via your own social media or email. That simple act of sharing just might bring a bit of good news into a friend’s challenging week.

Don’t just take our word for it … 

FOR ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON LEANNE’S BOOK, you may also want to read veteran journalist Bill Tammeus’s review of her book, a column he headlined, Without room to grieve, we’ll never recover from a death In fact, Bill’s high praise for Leanne’s book compares it favorably to the classic in this genre, C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. Yes, Bill writes about Leanne’s book: “It’s that good.” Like Leanne, Bill also is an author who is well-acquainted with grief. He lost a beloved family member in the “9/11” terrorist attacks and shares his wisdom about that particular journey in his memoir, Love, Loss and Endurance

And, Howard Brown and Mindy Corporon talk about tragedies in Kansas City

IN HIS SHINING BRIGHTLY PODCAST, this week, Howard Brown welcomes author Mindy Corporon to talk about the challenges of reclaiming hope—after mass shootings in Kansas City. Yes, “shootings” plural. Two of Mindy’s loved ones were murdered in the previous Kansas City shootings. This is the 10th anniversary of that earlier tragedy. In Howard’s column about this podcast, he writes: “We both felt emotional and humbled, because we were talking about that attack at the 10th anniversary—and yet we found ourselves once again needing to talk about overcoming a mass shooting in Kansas City.”

And, speaking of our collective outrage about those shootings

ANOTHER AUTHOR who is mentioned in our Leanne Friesen Cover Story this week—Jeffrey Munroe, author of Telling Stories in the Darkwrites in his online magazine The Reformed Journal about the national outrage at the Kansas City parade shootings.

Jeff headlines his Kansas City column: Armed to the Teeth and Ready to Explode

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And, more from our writers—

People are eager to talk about Rusty Rosman’s provocative questions

THIS WEEK, we have chosen our “favorite” from the many responses to Rusty Rosman’s question: “What will you wear when you die?” It’s one of dozens of questions Rusty asks in her new book Two Envelopes, which walks readers step-by-step through the process of writing down their wishes for the end of their life—and beyond. As Rusty’s new book debuted and she is talking about Two Envelopes nationwide, this is one of the questions that is going viral. Who doesn’t feel an emotional pang at that rarely asked question: What will you wear when you’re dead?

Of various emails, notes, texts and messages from readers, our favorite is this wonderful column by veteran writer Barbara Braver reflecting on the twisting paths of family dynamics, including the milestone of an elegant gray blouse her mother wore in her casket.

ALSO THIS WEEK, Rusty appears on Mark Turnbull’s popular Aging Today podcast. Over the years, Mark has become a close friend to our community of writers. He always has a unique perspective in his questions as a podcast host—and he always puts his creative mark on the production. In this case, he added a very catchy headline to his interview with Rusty. He calls this podcast: I Didn’t Want to Die—But I did.

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Holidays & Festivals

Much of the world is fasting this week—

First, Ramadan begins

A time of fasting, reflection and hospitality among our Muslim neighbors

JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to be ready for this worldwide observance.

Eastern Orthodox Christians begin their Lenten fast

HOLIDAYS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports on the start of Eastern Orthodox Lent, which is distinctively different than Western Christian Lent, the season before Easter that is marked as a time for special reflections. Orthodox Christians are called to a period of fasting that begins after “Meatfare Sunday.”

Hindus fast for Maha Shivaratri

STEPHANIE writes that this traditional fast ends with an all-night vigil.

And, Baha’i friends also are fasting

FINALLY, STEPHANIE brings us this story about the Baha’i Nineteen Day fast, which begins this week.

 

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And please remember: In March, your social media sharing could save a life

 

CANCER-PATIENT ADVOCATE HOWARD BROWN writes this column about the importance of sharing messages on social media during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. And he shares a truly inspirational treat! He welcomes into his podcast Allison Rosen who has gone viral on Tik Tok with her cancer-awareness advocacy. It’s not a stretch to say that a moment of your time—reading and sharing this news—just might save a life. That’s the goal of this special month.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Faith & Film

THIS WEEK, we welcome Joe Grimm, the head of the Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters team to share the “Good News” of GOSPELthe wonderful new PBS documentary hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Please enjoy this column by Joe and share the good news of this fascinating look at “where song and sermon meet” in the Black church traditionAnd here’s a time-sensitive note: This is the final week to enjoy free streaming of the series directly from PBS—and Joe’s column has a link to enjoy that option.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: For Lent, these Texas Christians commit to being “cross yielding” rather than “cross wielding”

Hearing George A. Mason’s call for a different way of seeing our world

COVER STORY—This week, we welcome Texas-based writer and editor Ann Worley, who tells us about her congregation’s decision to host a Lenten series of discussions about what Christianity should “yield” in our world—at a time when they are aware of many who claim to be Christians, trying to “wield” the church’s power in ways that contribute to our world’s deep divisions. Inspired by George A. Mason’s new book, The Word Made Fresh, Ann’s church is talking about compassionate ways to respond to the traumas roiling our nation and the world.

“It’s important right now for Christians to think about how we can be cross yielding rather than cross wielding,” Ann tells us.

What exactly does that phrase mean? Well, please, read Ann’s Cover Story and share it with friends this week via social media and email. That simple act of sharing a link to Ann’s story can add a little more good news in our troubled times.

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March also brings the start of Ramadan

A time of fasting, reflection and hospitality among our Muslim neighbors

JOE GRIMM, DIRECTOR OF MSU’S BIAS BUSTERS brings us this overview of Ramadan, written especially for our non-Muslim readers who want to be ready for this worldwide observance.

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And, did you know?

Our Baha’i friends and neighbors also will be fasting

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON brings us this story about the Baha’i Nineteen Day fast, which begins this week.

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In March, your social media sharing could save a life

It’s true—say these internationally known social-media advocates

CANCER-PATIENT ADVOCATE HOWARD BROWN writes this column about the importance of sharing messages on social media during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. And he shares a truly inspirational treat! He welcomes into his podcast Allison Rosen who has gone viral on Tik Tok with her cancer-awareness advocacy. It’s not a stretch to say that a moment of your time—reading and sharing this news—just might save a life. That’s the goal of this special month.

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WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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From Our Writers—

Suzy Farbman is back with quite a cats’ tale

GodSigns author and veteran journalist Suzy Farbman shares a story this week of friends who have special bonds with their cats—and, of course, the column comes with several cute cat photos.

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Faith & Film

Click on this movie poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of American Fiction.

Click on this image from the front of the February 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with reviews and discussion guides. Films covered in this issue include the new Genius series MLK/X, Origin, The Book of Clarence, Mean Girls and the Dreamseller.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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Cover Story: Rusty Rosman is ‘keeping chaos from overlaying grief’ in ‘Two Envelopes’

As Rusty Rosman’s ‘Two Envelopes’ ships from Amazon this week

Early readers already are telling Rusty about challenges they have faced

COVER STORY—This week, we want to thank all the readers who pre-ordered copies of Rusty Rosman’s Two Envelopes: What You Want Your Loved Ones to Know When You Die—the book we promoted in a ReadTheSpirit Cover Story earlier in February. As is the case with most book releases, Rusty already has been meeting with groups of pre-release readers who want to discuss her book. She has been learning a lot from families about what makes this book especially valuable.

“The stories I’ve heard!” she tells us this week. “I was surprised by some of the things that can cause big problems in families when a loved one dies.”

Here’s one of the most surprising questions: What do you want to wear when you’re laid out in coffin? Maybe that’s a somber thought, but lots of families remember funerals for years where the “viewing” was either handled perfectly—or someone chose an inappropriate outfit and left a bad memory that simply won’t go away.

Please read our Cover Story this week and share it with friends. Sharing this resource is truly a good deed in our troubled world. One thing we have learned from the eager interest in Rusty’s book—even before the February 20 national release of the book—is that these issues loom large in families nationwide.

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From Our Authors—

Howard Brown

‘Shining Brightly’ on a cruise through a sunny sea

THIS WEEK’S Front Edge Publishing column was written by Howard Brown, author of the memoir Shining Brightly, and an in-demand speaker on recovering our resilience in the face of life’s crises. As a two-time stage IV cancer survivor, Howard has an inspiring message—and he found that a recent ocean-going “Resilience” cruise was a perfect setting for connecting with readers.

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Rodney Curtis

The sheer beauty of going ‘Up-North’

PHOTOGRAPHER and AUTHOR Rodney Curtis invites us all to head “Up-North,” a region of Michigan that is well known in the Great Lakes state that Rodney calls home—but is likely to surprise readers from other parts of the world who haven’t yet explored the natural wonders of this region.

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Bill Tammeus on Leanne Friesen

And, finally …

FINALLY, THIS WEEK, we must return to end-of-life issues because so many of our writers are reflecting with the rest of the world on major losses we share—from the latest mass shooting in Kansas City to the death of Alexei Navalny and, well, too many tragedies to count from Ukraine to the Middle East. Our best recommendation is a column from journalist and author Bill Tammeus that begins with a heart-felt recommendation of Leanne Friesen’s new book, Grieving Room. Bill headlined his column: Without room to grieve, we’ll never recover from a death.

And, please come back to ReadTheSpirit next week, when our Cover Story will be an interview with Leanne Friesen about this unique and powerful new memoir she has just published.

 


Holidays, Festivals & Observances

Clearing up confusion about Black History Month

THANKS TO JOE GRIMM AND THE MSU BIAS BUSTERS, we have this Holidays & Festivals column clearing up confusion about the widely regarded “father” of annual observance.

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And also this month—

MILLIONS OF AMERICANS are observing Lent, which started last week with Ash Wednesday for Western Christians. Most Eastern Orthodox churches will begin their Lenten fast on March 18 this year.

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MID FEBRUARY also is the start of the festival of Vasant Panchami—when yellow will be especially popular in Indian communities around the world. Stephanie Fenton reports on the roots and cultural significance of this colorful season.

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AND MARCH IS Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month—and we have a column from Howard Brown that readers can share to help spread that awareness.

 

WANT TO SEE ALL OF THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the web address: InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this poster to read Ed McNulty’s review of Ava DuVernay’s new film Origin.

Faith & Film

Click on this image from the front of the February 2024 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with reviews and discussion guides. Films covered in this issue include the new Genius series MLK/X, Origin, The Book of Clarence, Mean Girls and the Dreamseller.

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 film reviews and discussion guides. This resource is used nationwide by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Here are some of Ed’s most recent free reviews and columns:

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