Cover Story: Celebrating A Christmas Carol and our 2 CNN Heroes

A CAROL PERFECT FOR OUR TIME

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is as popular as ever, nearly two centuries after Charles Dickens first penned the ghost story. This year alone, we have seen everything from a scary, new three-hour BBC production that has just begun airing on American TV—to Dolly Parton’s theatrical debut of a Smokey Mountain musical adaptation she created. Read our cover story, this week, to find links to eight new 2019 versions of Carol—and to enjoy our own beloved author Benjamin Pratt’s adaptation. Weaving Dickens’ ghosts into his own life, Ben shows us how valuable it can be to wrestle with these specters, if we ultimately hope to brighten our spirits this holiday season.

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Celebrating Our 2 CNN Heroes

OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING team is honored to work with two CNN Heroes. Editor David Crumm shares the news—and links to inspiring video coverage of both heroes: 2019’s Najah Bazzy of Zaman International and 2017’s Jeanine Patten-Coble of Little Pink Houses of Hope.

 

Holiday Cheer 

Hanukkah: Celebrating Religious Freedom

UNDERWAY THIS WEEKThe first night of Hanukkah arrived December 22 for million Jews worldwide. Although not as religiously significant as major Jewish holidays, such as Yom Kippur or Passover, Hanukkah is widely celebrated, and is easily recognized even by non-Jews.

Christmas Crowds

EVENING OF TUESDAY DECEMBER 24—Even though a growing minority of Americans say they have no religious affiliation—about half of us say they like to attend Christmas Eve services. These holiday celebrations have become the biggest events of the year in thousands of churches nationwide. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

Kwanzaa: Celebrating African-American Values

THURSDAY DECEMBER 26—Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African-American culture that was first celebrated half a century ago in 1966. In the 21st century, writes Elizabeth Pleck in Journal of American Ethnic History, it remains “one of the most lasting innovations of United States black nationalism of the 1960s. Maulana Karenga, a prominent member of the black nationalist community, designed the holiday “as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.”

But, there is so much more to this holiday! In recent years, Karenga’s annual Kwanzaa messages have focused on ways African values can contribute to healing the whole world. Please, read Stephanie Fenton’s column on the festival, which includes inspiring quotes from a couple of Karenga’s messages.

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Help Us Spread the Spirit of Peace this Season

What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Please read our gift-giving recommendations—and choose a couple of these great books. And, share this story with friends on social media or via email.There’s probably a book on this list that you’d like to receive!

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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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Click this movie-still to read Ed’s review of The Aeronauts, which now is streaming for free on Amazon Prime.

Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn about the December 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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Cover Story: In ‘Tehran Children,’ Mikhal Dekel opens new doorways into a little-known ‘Holocaust Refugee Odyssey’

You’ll Be Amazed at the Book’s Cinematic Scope

Reading Mikhal Dekel’s unique new history, Tehran Children—A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey, will open doorways for readers into a host of global issues as urgent as today’s front-page headlines. Her book truly is one of a kind. She spent a decade researching her father’s journey as a Polish-Jewish refugee from the Holocaust into the vast expanses of the Soviet gulag, across Asia and eventually to Tehran, Iran. Yes, in 1942, there was still a vibrant Persian-Jewish community in Tehran with ancient roots.

Please, read our Cover Story this week in which Editor David Crumm talks with Mikhal about this amazing story—and points out some of the ways this book can unlock fascinating worlds that may be closer to our families than we think. And, please, tell friends about this.

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Holiday Cheer (and Sorrow)

The Longest Night aka Blue Christmas

HENRY BRINTON, our contributing columnist, writes about how his church—like many across the country—will be offering a special service on December 21. His article focuses on the millions of Americans who wrestle with the legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences, which includes abuse in many forms. He also recommends several resources you’ll want to consider for yourself—or those you love.

Hanukkah: Celebrating Religious Freedom

SUNDOWN DECEMBER 22The first night of Hanukkah arrives for million Jews worldwide. Although not as religiously significant as major Jewish holidays, such as Yom Kippur or Passover, Hanukkah is widely celebrated, and is easily recognized even by non-Jews.

Christmas Crowds

EVENING OF TUESDAY DECEMBER 24—Even though a growing minority of Americans say they have no religious affiliation—about half of us say they like to attend Christmas Eve services. These holiday celebrations have become the biggest events of the year in thousands of churches nationwide. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

Kwanzaa: Celebrating African-American Values

THURSDAY DECEMBER 26—Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African-American culture that was first celebrated half a century ago in 1966. In the 21st century, writes Elizabeth Pleck in Journal of American Ethnic History, it remains “one of the most lasting innovations of United States black nationalism of the 1960s. Maulana Karenga, a prominent member of the black nationalist community, designed the holiday “as a celebration of African American family, community and culture.”

But, there is so much more to this holiday! In recent years, Karenga’s annual Kwanzaa messages have focused on ways African values can contribute to healing the whole world. Please, read Stephanie Fenton’s column on the festival, which includes inspiring quotes from a couple of Karenga’s messages.

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Help Us Spread the Spirit of Peace this Season

What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Please read our gift-giving recommendations—and choose a couple of these great books. And, share this story with friends on social media or via email.There’s probably a book on this list that you’d like to receive!

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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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All-American Story of Embracing Diversity

SUZY FARBMAN, this week, tells us the story of Soon Hagerty, who was born in Vietnam and fled with her family as refugees as the war ended.  They were among the lucky survivors of this harrowing journey. As an American, Soon has dedicated her talents to giving back to her new homeland.

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Click the movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of Marriage Story.

Faith & Film

Click on the image to learn about the December 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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Cover Story: Nine Holiday Gifts Guaranteed to Boost Your Spirits

Help Us Spread the Spirit of Peace this Season

SPIRIT is the courage and determination that helps people to survive in difficult times and to keep their way of life and their beliefs.” That’s just what most of us need as we approach the year-end holidays this year.

Remember: Hanukkah begins on December 22, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26, then some people even give New Year’s gifts. Books are a great choice for the New Year, because studies show that January is becoming a very popular month for starting new books!

What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Please read our Cover Story this week—and choose a couple of these great books. And, please, share this week’s cover story with friends.There’s probably a book on this list that you’d like to receive!

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HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!

Hanukkah: Celebrating Religious Freedom

SUNDOWN DECEMBER 22—The first night of Hanukkah arrives for million Jews worldwide. Although not as religiously significant as some other Jewish holidays—Yom Kippur, Sukkot or Passover, just to name a few—Hanukkah is widely celebrated, and is easily recognized even by non-Jews.

Christmas Crowds

EVENING OF TUESDAY DECEMBER 24—Even though a growing minority of Americans say they have no religious affiliation—about half of us say they like to attend Christmas Eve services. These holiday celebrations have become the biggest events of the year in thousands of churches nationwide. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

Navigating Holidays in Interfaith Families

RABBI ALPER ON TAMRON HALL—Popular author and standup comedian Rabbi Bob Alper recently appeared on Tamron Hall‘s national TV talkshow to help interfaith families think about these conflicts and questions that inevitably arise at the holidays. Here’s a link to watch Rabbi Alper on the broadcast. As usual with such TV shows, you will have to watch a brief commercial before the Tamron Hall video begins. It’s worth the wait!

What Visions Are Emerging for your Holiday Season?

RODNEY CURTIS gives us all a wonderful mix of joy—and deep emotion—from his own family’s holiday season. This short, heart-felt column captures the roller coaster many families experience at this time of year. Please, read this love letter from Rodney’s family—and share it with friends.

 

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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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Do not miss the remarkable Hidden Life about Franz Jägerstätter. Click the movie still to read Ed McNulty’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: Peter Wallace and Duncan Newcomer—An Invitation to a National Conversation on Compassion

Peter Wallace: Rediscovering the Emotions of Jesus in ‘Heart and Soul’

Talking about Jesus’s emotions makes some Christians uncomfortable—and with good reason. Studying the realm of Jesus’s emotions opens the door to actually modeling his behavior in the world. It’s an idea that has empowered saints, ministers and huge institutions from schools to hospitals.

The key question: Is Jesus a divine character in a sacred book, reduced to words on a page—or is Jesus alive today and urging us to interact with the world as Jesus once did? That’s the central theme in Day1 radio broadcaster Peter Wallace’s unusual new book, Heart and Soul—The Emotions of Jesus.

Please, enjoy this week’s two-part cover story—and share it with friends. Both Peter Wallace and Duncan Newcomer have new books that are ideal for individual reflection and small-group discussions with friends.

Duncan Newcomer: Reclaiming the humanity of Jesus with Peter Wallace

We say that a book is a community between two covers—inviting readers to join the author in a national conversation. Occasionally that conversation also unfolds between two authors and two books, which is happening this autumn with Day1 radio producer Peter Wallace and Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer. Please, enjoy Duncan’s reflections on Peter’s new book. If you do discuss Peter’s book in a class or small group, Duncan’s column may help to spark your conversations.

Extending this conversation is Mark Sappenfield, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, who devoted a recent Sunday column to Duncan’s new book on Lincoln.

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Compassionate Tools for Suicide Prevention

SUZY FARBMAN’s column this week is a true story about suicide prevention—and the need for all of us to learn more about the early warning signs. In this story, Suzy writes about her lifelong friend Rabbi Daniel Syme, who served Michigan’s oldest Jewish congregation for many years—and also is nationally known as a Jewish educator, writer and producer.

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

GREAT GIFTS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR HOLIDAY LIST … Americans love books, which is why book sales are rising each year. Our publishing house has a wide array of books—something for everyone on your shopping list. Please, check out this Front Edge Publishing column, which begins with a recommendation of The Flavors of Faith—and offers lots of other ideas, as well.

ST. NICHOLAS DAY—Stephanie writes: “Santa Claus may be seen in malls across America, but the real St. Nick—the historical bishop of Myra, that is—makes his grand appearance around the world on December 6—St. Nicholas Day. From the Netherlands to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria, St. Nicholas Day is greeted with beloved customs, special baked goods, processions and reenactments. In many countries, St. Nicholas Day is an opportunity to move away from the commercialization of the holiday season and toward the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas—as a time of giving, reflection and gratitude.” Read her column and you will find lots of resources and helpful links.
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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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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

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: Robert Wicks’ new ‘Tao of Ordinariness’ is timely wisdom in the ‘Narcissistic Age’ of Trump

How Can We Reclaim Compassion in the Age of Trump?

In two decades of interviewing the internationally renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Wicks—whose vocation is always aimed at helping the world’s most vulnerable to recover from trauma—he has not written a more timely book. This is a message that can help families nationwide as we all prepare for the year-end holidays.

Wicks sums up the current crisis we all are facing with an analysis of President Trump’s greatest failing: a narcissism that prevents him from admitting any limitation and drives him to ferociously attack any perceived opponent. Then, Wicks lays out his central theme in a single line: “Once you accept your limits, a key aspect of ordinariness, the opportunity for growth and depth will seem almost limitless.”

Wicks’ goal here is not to take up a partisan crusade. His goal is to call all of us to our better angels, as Abraham Lincoln would put it. Please, read this timely Cover Story with Dr. Robert J. Wicks and share it with friends.

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LINCOLN AND THANKSGIVING

A SEASON OF GRATITUDE—In our Cover Story this week, Dr. Robert J. Wicks points to Lincoln as the polar opposite of Trump’s example. Lincoln responded to the painful, life-and-death challenges in his life by reaching out to his enemies in a compassionate way. He brought political opponents into his cabinet. He repeatedly told Americans that their greatest challenge was not fighting the Civil War—but making peace afterward.

That’s one reason our publishing house launched 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—so Lincoln’s wisdom would inspire families at this time of year. (Here’s the earlier news story about the launch of this inspiring book and national effort to promote unity).

Click to watch Duncan’s interview.

NEW THIS WEEK ON LINCOLN

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

GREAT GIFTS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR HOLIDAY LIST … Americans love books, which is why book sales are rising each year. Our publishing house has a wide array of books—something for everyone on your shopping list. Please, check out this Front Edge Publishing column, which begins with a recommendation of The Flavors of Faith—and offers lots of other ideas, as well.

ST. NICHOLAS DAY—Stephanie writes: “Santa Claus may be seen in malls across America, but the real St. Nick—the historical bishop of Myra, that is—makes his grand appearance around the world on December 6—St. Nicholas Day. From the Netherlands to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria, St. Nicholas Day is greeted with beloved customs, special baked goods, processions and reenactments. In many countries, St. Nicholas Day is an opportunity to move away from the commercialization of the holiday season and toward the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas—as a time of giving, reflection and gratitude.” Read her column and you will find lots of resources and helpful links.
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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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Click the movie still to read Ed’s review of Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Faith & Film

Click on this image to learn about the November 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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Cover Story: Abraham Lincoln created Thanksgiving as a model for Americans to bridge our divisions

LINCOLN SAW HOPE FOR UNITY EVEN IN CIVIL WAR

A SEASON OF GRATITUDE—As Thanksgiving approaches, daily headlines herald deep divisions among Americans over the future of our nation and the world. Families coast to coast are wondering what fireworks might erupt over this year’s Thanksgiving table. That’s one reason our publishing house launched 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln in the autumn—so Lincoln’s wisdom would inspire families at this time of year. (Here’s the earlier news story about the launch of this inspiring book and national effort to promote unity).

This week’s Cover Story in ReadTheSpirit magazine collects all the helpful Thanksgiving-related Lincoln material we are sharing with readers:

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

The real St. Nicholas

ORTHODOX NATIVITY FAST BEGINS. In Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals column this week, we look at a major branch of Christianity that always begins preparations for Christmas before American Thanksgiving—Orthodox churches that are starting the Nativity Fast this week.

ST. NICHOLAS DAY—Stephanie writes: “Santa Claus may be seen in malls across America, but the real St. Nick—the historical bishop of Myra, that is—makes his grand appearance around the world on December 6—St. Nicholas Day. From the Netherlands to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria, St. Nicholas Day is greeted with beloved customs, special baked goods, processions and reenactments. In many countries, St. Nicholas Day is an opportunity to move away from the commercialization of the holiday season and toward the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas—as a time of giving, reflection and gratitude.” Read her column and you will find lots of resources and helpful links.
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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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Want to help women and children in need?
Vote for our Heroic Author!

COMPASSIONATELY ENGAGING THE WORLD. In 4 words, that’s what our authors do.

This Front Edge column by Editor David Crumm is especially timely, because you’ve got an opportunity—through December 3—to vote for one of our heroic authors via the CNN network.

Learn about several inspiring examples of our authors engaged in urgent national conversations—and cast your vote to help Najah Bazzy, author and founder of a global charity helping women and children in need.

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A Very Detroit Story of Rebirth, Recovery and Romance

SUZY FARBMAN brings us heart-felt stories of men and women she meets all over the world. This week, however, she’s very close to her beloved Detroit with the story of a couple who met—thanks to a photo taken in front of Diego Rivera’s famous murals.

 

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Click on the movie still to read Ed McNulty’s review of Jo Jo Rabbit.

Faith & Film

Click on this image to learn about the November 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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Cover Story: Greg Garrett Invites Us on a Pilgrimage through the Bible and Other Great Books

GOT A BOOK LOVER ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST?

‘DAILY DOORWAYS’—That’s how popular Christian author Greg Garrett talks about his new day-by-day book, The Courage to See. Greg has two fascinating new books that could make ideal holiday gifts for book lovers on your shopping list. Editor David Crumm talks with Greg about the many ways reading can inspire new connections in our world—and among friends. Please, read our Cover Story this week and share it with friends.

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Want to help the world? Vote for our Heroic Author!

COMPASSIONATELY ENGAGING THE WORLD. In 4 words, that’s what our authors do. This week’s Front Edge column by Editor David Crumm is especially urgent, because you’ve got an opportunity—through December 3—to vote for one of our heroic authors via the CNN network. Learn about several inspiring examples of our authors engaged in urgent national conversations—and cast your vote to help Najah Bazzy, author and founder of a global charity helping women and children in need.

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‘OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS’ IN TACOMA

READERS IN THE NORTHWEST will enjoy an evening with author Victor Begg, talking about his popular memoir Our Muslim Neighbors. Victor continues to crisscross the country promoting both his book and his message of peace and understanding between religious communities.

On November 25, Victor will appear at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Washington.

You can learn more about his schedule, his book, his ongoing work as a peacemaker—and how to contact him—through his website, OurMuslimNeighbors.com.

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Holidays & Festivals

CHRISTMAS (NATIVITY) IS COMING!

ORTHODOX NATIVITY FAST BEGINS. We all hear complaints that Christmas celebrations should not start before Thanksgiving—even though it’s obvious that American retailers already have been promoting holiday shopping for weeks. In Stephanie Fenton’s Holidays & Festivals column this week, we look at a major branch of Christianity that always begins preparations for Christmas before American Thanksgiving—Orthodox churches that are starting the Nativity Fast this week. Of course, some parts of the Orthodox world start later. American Orthodox are pulled in many cultural and religious directions, as one of the writers in this column explains.

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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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Ed McNulty gives Motherless Brooklyn 5 out of 5 stars. Click the image to read his review.

Faith & Film

Click on this image to learn about the November 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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