Cover Story: Capt. Dan Willis and ‘Bulletproof Spirit’ offers lifelines to first responders as suicide rates rise

FROM WARNING SIGNS TO LIFELINES

THE DNA OF COMPASSION—We know the value of Capt. Dan Willis’ book, Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responders’ Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart. That’s because his book’s first edition already has helped communities and individuals from coast to coast—and Willis continues to crisscross the nation with talks and educational programs. This second edition expands on several important themes, including spiritual resources as well as new research on brain injuries.

The most refreshing message in Willis’ book—a message that mirrors other experts in this field—is that compassion is not the danger for first responders. In fact, as Willis puts it: Compassion is the very DNA of public service. Problems arise when trauma accumulates on a day-to-day basis and men and women lose their balance. These are complex problems addressed with clearly explained, pragmatic advice by a long-time veteran of public service. This is a valuable book for professionals, so please take a moment to read this timely cover story—and to share it with friends.

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Holidays & Festivals:
Yom Kippur, 5780
Starts Tuesday Evening

What holiday is this?

IT’S YOM KIPPUR IN ISRAEL, of course. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the holiest day in the Jewish year, which generally is a solemn occasion for Jewish families around the world. In Israel, however, many families have begun taking the opportunity of empty roadways to establish an annual kid-friendly festival of bikes. Our story also has a personal reflection from columnist Suzy Farbman.

SUKKOT IS COMING—Just after the Jewish high holidays each year comes the festival of booths, Sukkot. By mid-October, then, communities will see leafy shelters popping up in the back yards of some Jewish families.

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National Coming Out Day

A GOOD DEED YOU CAN DO—This year for the October 11 National Coming Out Day, do a good deed to promote diversity in your family and community. Order one of our six books about gender inclusion.

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Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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SPEAKING OF RENEWAL …

IN LESS THAN A MINUTE! Our long-time readers know that “renewal” is one of our central themes at ReadTheSpirit magazine. Author and photographer Rodney Curtis took that concept quite literally to heart in this remarkable less-than-a-minute video.

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… AND SPEAKING OF INSPIRING IMAGES

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING Production Manager Dmitri Barvinok explains the process of selecting and preparing photographs and other images for book publishing.

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Click this movie image to read Ed McNulty’s rave review about a new documentary tracing Fiddler from its Yiddish origins to mainstream stage and screen.

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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 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:

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Cover Story: From Great Cathedrals to Fields of Dreams

EACH OCTOBER, ‘AMERICAN ODYSSEY’ CALLS US HOME

SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF BASEBALL—Two of our most popular columnists have written eloquent bookends to the baseball season, this year. At a time when millions of Americans are abandoning their religious affiliations—in search of more satisfying spiritual communities—baseball is one of our most traditional gathering places as a nation. In March, Martin Davis wrote When I hear ‘Play ball!’ its like a prelude welcoming me back to the great cathedrals.

Now, as we reach October, Benjamin Pratt has written a second Cover Story for us on a similar theme, headlined: Fields of Dreams—In October, our ‘American Odyssey’ calls us home. Please, enjoy this column and perhaps look back to Martin’s earlier piece—then share them with friends to spark conversation.

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Holidays & Festivals:
Happy Jewish New Year 5780

ROSH HASHANAHAt sundown on Sunday September 29, this year, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with the New Year 5780. Do you know someone who is Jewish? Get ready to wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

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What holiday is this?

IT’S YOM KIPPUR IN ISRAEL, of course. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the holiest day in the Jewish year, which generally is a solemn occasion for Jewish families around the world. In Israel, however, many families have begun taking the opportunity of empty roadways to establish an annual kid-friendly festival of bikes. Our story also has a personal reflection from columnist Suzy Farbman.

SUKKOT IS COMING—Just after the Jewish high holidays each year comes the festival of booths, Sukkot. By mid-October, then, communities will see leafy shelters popping up in the back yards of some Jewish families.

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And Christians Recall St. Francis

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALSAre you an animal lover looking for a St. Francis-themed blessing, this year? As Stephanie Fenton reports, the actual holiday is on Friday October 4—which means that congregations offering these services may do so as early as September 29 or perhaps later in October. If you are interested, check local listings.

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Oh, Have You Seen the Faygo Man?

100 PUBLIC APPEARANCES … AND STILL GOING—Joe Grimm of the Michigan State University School of Journalism—and the creator of our own Bias Busters serieswrites this week about what he has learned in his first 100 public appearances to promote his latest: The Faygo Book. He lists lots of valuable tips for authors who want to hit the road to market their message and their books.

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Linda Ronstadt movie still

Click the photo to read Ed McNulty’s review of the Linda Ronstadt documentary.

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 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:

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Cover Story: Public school teacher William Meyer shares the good news about meditation in 2 new books

‘BIG BREATH’ & ‘THREE BREATHS AND BEGIN’

MEET THE AUTHOR—This week, David Crumm interviews high school teacher, educational consultant and author William Meyer. In his new books, Meyer describes how he developed a meditation practice for his students, which was embraced by other teachers—and the larger community as well. Many of the long-time readers of our online magazine regularly meditate. Most of us would like to share this helpful practice with others, but we wonder if people would welcome such an offer. Meyer’s approach to expanding meditation opportunities involved lowering many of the potential barriers to acceptance. Please, share this good-news story with friends, this week.

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No, Secularization Isn’t a Global Trend

AHEAD of the TREND—Long-time religion writer Richard Cimino writes this month’s Ahead of the Trend column for the scholarly Association of Religion Data Archives. Drawing on two newly published studies, Cimino reports that religious and secularizing forces actually appear to be in a global stalemate. What many observers perceive as an inevitable move away from religion turns out to be the legacy of changes that took place decades ago.

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Holidays & Festivals

Welcome to Autumn

EQUINOX & MABON—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the change of seasons—and how many pagans continue to mark the occasion as Mabon.

MESKEL—Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian communities will stage processions and light bonfires to recall an ancient story involving the “true cross.” Stephanie Fenton has the story.

MICHAELMAS—Search for an aster blossom, make a blackberry crumble or bake a bannock today: It’s Michaelmas, the Christian feast for St. Michael the Archangel.

NAVARATRIHindus begin the nine-night religious festival known as Sharad Navaratri, an ancient festival that emphasizes the motherhood of the divine and femininity.

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALSAre you an animal lover looking for a St. Francis-themed blessing, this year? As Stephanie Fenton reports, the actual holiday is on Friday October 4—which means that congregations offering these services may do so as early as September 29 or perhaps later in October. If you are interested, check local listings.

Jewish High Holy Days

ROSH HASHANAHAt sundown on Sunday September 29, this year, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with the New Year 5780. Do you know someone who is Jewish? Get ready to wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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GOD SIGNS IN A SISTERS TRIP

SUZY FARBMAN—This week, Suzy writes about taking a “sisters trip” to New York City—and beyond. As Suzy and her sister Anne spotted various “GodSigns,” they even wound up connecting with the moon. Readers of her memoir GodSigns will recall that a full moon appears on her book cover. Enjoy the adventure, this week.

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Online Opportunities for Authors are Endless

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING—In this week’s FEP column, Marketing Director Susan Stitt shares some of her techniques for helping authors to connect with media professionals who are eager to help spread their messages.

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Click this photo to read Ed's review of the documentary One Child Nation.

Click on these movie stills to learn more about the September 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal.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 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:

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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: Timothy McMahan King’s ‘Addiction Nation’ encourages all of us to discuss community responses

WHAT THE OPIOID CRISIS REVEALS ABOUT—US

COMMUNITIES CAN RESPOND—Have you been following the latest headlines? Law enforcement agencies nationwide are zeroing in on legal and illegal producers of opioids—but the nationwide rate of addiction and overdose continues at an alarming rate. News this past week about a suburban Eagle Scout who ran a deadly online opioid ring is a reminder that this is truly our problem wherever we live. In fact, the crisis is now more acute in rural areas than in urban centers.

Please, read our Cover Story this week—an interview with Timothy McMahan King, author of the new memoir and manifesto: Addiction Nation—What the Opioid Crisis Reveals about Us. This is an important book for community and congregation discussions this fall and winter. SPECIAL NOTE—This Cover Story even has a newsy, fact-filled section you can print out and share with friends to spark interest in a discussion.

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Want Books for the Holidays? Avoid the Crunch!

BOOK SALES ARE RISING—but the capacity of the publishing industry hits a major backlog during the holiday shopping-season. This has happened during November-December for a couple of years. So, this week, Editor David Crumm reports on the forces causing these slowdowns—and issues a reminder to make your readers happy by shopping early!

 

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Celebrating the 19th Amendment’s Centennial

THE YEAR IS STARTING—We already are in “the centennial year” of observances and projects planned to mark the August 26, 1920, ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving American women the right to vote. That’s a milestone in human rights that will be marked in many ways: exhibitions, books, documentaries, magazines and events. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm describes the media excitement about the centennial and suggests ways you can be part of it.

AUTUMN IS COMING

EQUINOX & MABON—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the change of seasons—and how many pagans continue to mark the occasion as Mabon.

MESKEL—Later in September, Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian communities will stage processions and light bonfires to recall an ancient story involving the “true cross.” Stephanie Fenton has the story.

MICHAELMAS—Search for an aster blossom, make a blackberry crumble or bake a bannock today: It’s Michaelmas, the Christian feast for St. Michael the Archangel.

NAVARATRI—At the end of September, this year, Hindus begin the nine-night religious festival known as Sharad Navaratri, an ancient festival that emphasizes the motherhood of the divine and femininity.

Jewish High Holy Days

ROSH HASHANAHBefore September ends, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with the New Year 5780. Do you know someone who is Jewish? Get ready to wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click this photo to read Ed's review of the documentary One Child Nation.

Click on these movie stills to learn more about the September 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal.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 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:

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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: The Parable of Flight 93

18 YEARS LATER, CAN WE UNITE AGAIN?

COVER STORY—Author Benjamin Pratt returns this week with a Cover Story reflecting on the Flight 93 Memorial, including striking images and Benjamin’s narration walking us through what truly is a parable for our times.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Celebrating the 19th Amendment’s Centennial

THE YEAR IS STARTING—We already are in “the centennial year” of observances and projects planned to mark the August 26, 1920, ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving American women the right to vote. That’s a milestone in human rights that will be marked in many ways: exhibitions, books, documentaries, magazines and events. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, Editor David Crumm describes the media excitement about the centennial and suggests ways you can be part of it.

AUTUMN IS COMING

EQUINOX & MABON—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the change of seasons—and how many pagans continue to mark the occasion as Mabon.

MESKEL—Later in September, Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian communities will stage processions and light bonfires to recall an ancient story involving the “true cross.” Stephanie Fenton has the story.

MICHAELMAS—Search for an aster blossom, make a blackberry crumble or bake a bannock today: It’s Michaelmas, the Christian feast for St. Michael the Archangel.

NAVARATRI—At the end of September, this year, Hindus begin the nine-night religious festival known as Sharad Navaratri, an ancient festival that emphasizes the motherhood of the divine and femininity.

Jewish High Holy Days

ROSH HASHANAHBefore September ends, the Jewish High Holy Days begin with the New Year 5780. Do you know someone who is Jewish? Get ready to wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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What Is That … Big Bird?

RODNEY CURTIS brings us another terrific illustrated story this week involving an experience most of us have had while enjoying the natural world.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to the challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. This MSU book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Movie still from Brian Banks, which Ed reviews.

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of Brian Banks.

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 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:

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ReadTheSpirit Cover Story: Labor Day Is Far More than a Holiday

FAITH & LABOR DEEPLY CONNECTED

DIG DEEPER INTO FACTS & PHOTOS—Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton produced our multi-faceted Cover Story this week, looking back over the deep connections between faith and a concern for workers’ well being. She also has packed this Cover Story with resources you’ll want to share with friends—and perhaps create your own outline for a discussion in your small group or class. She links to a treasure-trove of images from the sociologist Lewis Hines—plus links to a number of religious resources as well. She closes her column with the latest data from Pew Research.

Please, read this week’s Cover Story and share this news with friends via social media—or, you are always free to print out our stories and share them in a good old-fashioned ink-on-paper format. That option is especially nice if you want to carry a handout into a small group for discussion.

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Tom Brous reading T.S. Eliot in Burnt Norton.

The Power of Poetry

GOD SIGNSColumnist Suzy Farbman brings us a love story this week, woven through with lots of what she calls GodSigns. In this case, that story involves a love of literature, especially T.S. Eliot’s life-long journey from the seeming hopelessness of World Wars toward a rekindled faith and some of the greatest poetry of the 20th Century.

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EDISON’S DREAM OF AUDIO BOOKS

FINALLY BECOMING A REALITY—Since Thomas Edison first appeared in Scientific American magazine in 1877, demonstrating a mechanical process that he said could permanently preserve and replay sounds—publishers have dreamed of making books as easy to hear as they are to read.

We finally are nearing that historic inflection point, 142 years after Edison’s boast.

Please, enjoy Dmitri Barvinok’s column about the rising popularity of audio books and share this with friends. Want to learn much more about trends in publishing? Visit our Front Edge Publishing website.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to the challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism’s Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. This MSU book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Blinded by the Light movie still

Click this Blinded by the Light movie still to read Ed’s review.

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 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:

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Cover Story: Indie Days 2019—Bullish on Books, Forecasting Growth in Direct Marketing to Readers

BOOK SALES CONTINUE TO RISE NATIONALLY

A ‘SUMMER CAMP’ FOR PUBLISHERS—That was the up-beat theme of a major conference for independent publishers, held this week at the headquarters of the global giant Ingram’s Lightning Source publishing division. Given the “camp” theme of this year’s gathering of publishing professionals, our Marketing Director Susan Stitt sent a letter home about the highlights. Those include a continuing rise in book sales—and in direct sales of books via Amazon and other online retailers. Please, enjoy Susan’s main story about what is called Indie Days 2019. Then, if you care to learn more, Susan sent a second letter that takes readers on a gee-whiz tour of the flagship printing-and-binding factory.

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Allure of the Shore, Part 3

DAZZLING IMAGERY—That’s what photographer and author Rodney Curtis adds to our August theme of spiritual solace along the shore. Two weeks ago, Martin Davis took us to the shore; then, Missy Buchanan encouraged us to reflect on our lives along the beach. Rodney Curtis uses his considerable talents, now, to provide this literally moving image that he produced along the shore of Lake Michigan, a Great Lake that seems about as big as an ocean.

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Bob Alper & A Shot Heard ‘Round the World

IT’S A JOKE. SERIOUSLY. In this turbulent era of hair-trigger anger, comedian and author Rabbi Bob Alper reflects on how one of the jokes that remains a favorite with his audiences—didn’t seem so funny when transported into another context. Please, enjoy this column by Bob, which includes a complete version of the lengthy story involving a rabbi, a cow and … well, you’ve got to read it for yourself.

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Covers of MSU Bias Busters books

Click on the image to read more.

Dealing with Prejudice?
Become Part of the Solution

WE ALL NEED HELP! In 2019, daily news stories are making it clear that we all are facing growing problems with bigotry. Among the latest is the August 2019 report by The American Academy of Pediatrics, reminding health care professionals nationwide that racism is a “social determinant of health,” meaning that “failure to address racism will continue to undermine health equity for all children, adolescents, emerging adults and their families.”

The root of this crisis is ignorance. One major institution that has risen to this challenge is The Michigan State University School of Journalism through its Bias Busters team that has produced a whole series of helpful books. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking—but nobody is answering.”

Now—through October—equip your group, congregation or organization with the most up-to-date cultural competence materials available today. The Michigan State University Bias Busters book series features info-packed guides covering individual cultural, ethnic and religious groups. Please, read about how you can order one of these new 11-volume collections—and share this news with friends.

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Is Secularization Inevitable?

THE REST OF THE STORY—Among people who care about religion, there isn’t a more timely issue than the rising tide of secularism. In the U.S., this often is cast as the “rise of the Nones,” because an ever-growing number of adults respond with “None” when pollsters ask them to identify their religious affiliation. Secularism is a major trend in Europe as well as many other regions of the world.

However, that’s not the entire story! New research suggests that secularization may be counterbalanced by another well-known trend: As they age, people tend to become more religious.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

 

Paryushan Parva

FASTING AND FORGIVENESS—For India’s Jains, this is a season of fasting and forgiveness. Stephanie has that story, as well, including an overview of the 10 values at the core of Jain reflections.

Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of The Farewell.

Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn more about Ed’s August 2019 issue of Visual Parables Journal.

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:

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