Cover Story: Thanking Our Mothers and Grandmothers for their Legacy of Love

Innovative Ideas for a Mother’s Day without Hugs

REMEMBERING OUR MOTHERS & GRANDMOTHERS—”Her home was a palace!” writes Martin Davis in the first part of our Cover Story this week. Martin is describing, from a little boy’s perspective, the wonders of his grandmother Martha’s house that still stands, but now seems surprisingly small. Have you had that experience revisiting long-ago homes from your childhood? Martin opens our Cover Story cluster of columns, this week, by inviting us to travel with him as he revisits memories of a grandmother with a granite foundation in faith that God’s world remains a beautiful place. Please, enjoy this column and share it with friends via email, your own newsletters and social media.

Click this cover image to read Susan Stitt’s column recommending great books for Mom.

This story is sure to inspire many of us to revisit such indelible family memories. As you share Martin’s story with others on social media, consider adding a vintage photo of your own grandmother or mother—and encourage others to share their own inspiring memories.

.

SPEAKING OF SHARING STORIES THIS WEEK …

BOOKS MOM WILL LOVE—Susan Stitt writes our Front Edge Publishing column this week, recommending a wide array of books that Mom or Grandma will enjoy. One of these books introduces diverse bread-making traditions. Maybe one of those cultures connects with your family.

Yes, books still are shipping. Americans are reading more books than ever. Got a little loving sibling rivalry in your family? Susan playfully headlines her column: Books to Buy for Mother’s Day that Will Make YOU Her Favorite Child!

.

Virtual Hugs
for the Holiday

Click Rogers and Astaire to read Suzy’s column.

THE HOLIDAY STORYHolidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton tells us the history of Mother’s Day and points out that hand-made cards this year would have made the pioneers of this idea—Ann Reeves Jarvis and her daughter—quite happy. Stephanie also has links to other helpful resources for a virtual Mother’s Day.

.

SUZY FARBMAN’S GOD SIGNS also has a terrific idea, this week. All of us could use some tips (and taps) from great sages (and a song-and-dance duo) to help us “Pick ourselves up—Dust ourselves off …” Suzy even gives us a 2-minute video clip of the hit song. Come on! This column will make you smile.

.

Ramadan

Clicking on this medal will take you to the Amazon book page for Victor Begg’s memoir, Our Muslim Neighbors.

HELP US TO CONGRATULATE VICTOR BEGG. Want to do a good deed, right now? Celebrate the honor received by interfaith peace activist Victor Begg for his memoir Our Muslim Neighbors. His book has now circled the globe welcoming readers to experience the life of a family with deep roots in the history of Islam—sometimes funny, sometimes somber, sometimes suspenseful.

This week, Victor was honored as a finalist for the annual Eric Hoffer Awards Montaigne Medal—which means he can display the awards star-shield with his book. Eric Hoffer (1898-1993) is the famous American laborer and migrant who emerged as one of our greatest writers and philosophers, especially focusing on American social movements. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. The prestigious Hoffer book awards were launched in 2001. The Montaigne medal honors the Renaissance writer and statesman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).

Celebrate this honor with us by ordering a copy of Victor’s book for yourself and a friend. Simply reading this book carries us a step further to reaching out in a compassionate way to our Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers. The book is available from Amazon—as well as Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

THE HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS column by Stephanie Fenton reports background about the fasting month of Ramadan and provides links to other fascinating resources, as well.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.
.

Yes, We Need a Little …

 

What would Lincoln do?

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

.

.

Click this image to read Ed’s review of Tigertail, now streaming on Netflix.

.

FAITH & FILM 

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page. Ed’s book also is available through Barnes & Noble.

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. TIGERTAIL—Ed writes, “The past is not something we leave behind, but, as long as we have memory, is always with us, inside our heads and hearts. Or so writer-director Alan Yang seems to be saying in the title of his remarkably acted story centering on a failed father-daughter relationship.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  2. Click to read Ed’s review of Atlantics.

    ATLANTICS—”This is a film well worth sitting and puzzling through. The only one I can think of that it resembles is Jordan Peel’s ghost story Us. If you appreciated that somber tale, you will enjoy this one as well.” (4 stars)

  3. REEL REDEMPTION—”Writer/director Tyler Smith’s well balanced survey of the sometimes troubled relationship between Christians and Hollywood should be of interest to every VP reader.” (5 stars)
  4. DADS—”This is a light-hearted yet thought-provoking film montage of fathers speaking about fatherhood.” The Dads interviewed in the film include: include Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ken Jeong, Conan O’Brien and Kenan Thompson.
  5. SELAH AND THE SPADES—”Selah is more like a teenage crime don than a college student—more than one reviewer has compared her story to The Godfather.” (3.5 stars)
  6. FINDING GRACE—”Writer/director Warren Fast’s first feature film provides inspiring entertainment for a family looking for non-violent fare.” (3 stars)
  7. J.E.S.U.S.A.—Ed writes, “Writer/director Kevin Miller’s film is a polemical documentary that provides an excellent history of what some regard as the fall of Christianity, and others its perversion. The filmmakers are disturbed by the antics of conservative Evangelicals who would wrap Jesus in the American flag and pretend that this is a ‘Christian nation.’ ” (5 stars)
  8. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  9. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  10. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: ‘Unstuck’—How wise leaders are strengthening their communities even in COVID-19 isolation

.

NOW IS THE TIME
FOR CREATIVE,
COMPASSIONATE LEADERSHIP

.

COVER STORY—How can overwhelmed leaders hope to cope with a pandemic? One of the nation’s top business consultants—Craig Lemasters of GXG in Atlanta—is sharing his answers to that question.

His book Unstuck was underway before any of us had heard the term “coronavirus”—but Craig’s long experience with global disruption had taught him that catastrophic upheavals are inevitable. From hurricanes to technological transformations that can devastate entire industries, Craig has seen tidal waves of change move faster and faster. In Atlanta, his team helps Fortune 500 executives grapple with such seemingly insurmountable challenges every day.

Craig decided to write this book and publicly share his hard-earned wisdom, because he believes we all will be better off if we learn to adapt, survive and thrive—if we face each new challenge and know how to get … Unstuck, together.

Please, read our cover story this week and share it with friends via email or social media. Want to know more? There’s a link in this column to visit Craig’s website, connect with Craig and get a free update when the book is ready to launch. We’re sure you’re going to want to read it—and give a copy to a friend.

.

10 TIPS FOR AUTHORS IN THE MIDST OF COVID

READERS ARE WAITING FOR YOU! Are you a writer feeling stuck in the midst of this pandemic? Or are you a reader who wants to help a writer you love? If so, our Marketing Director Susan Stitt shares 10 Tips for Authors in the Midst of COVID—because now is a time that millions of men and women are waiting for books.

.

.

AN ACTIVE FAITH MAY HOLD THE KEY TO A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE

THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE—Our friends at the International Association of Religion Journalists—Elisa Di Benedetto from Italy and Larbi Megari from Algeria—have just published a remarkable, inspiring report about research into the connections between religious communities and health. Their conclusion: “Social and medical sciences are increasingly finding evidence to support how religion promotes better health, including living longer.” This is a story you’ll want to share with friends.

JOURNALISTS AROUND THE WORLD are reporting on the unique challenges and adaptations from religious groups coping with isolation and the lethal threat of COVID-19. Elisa DiBenedetto published this roundup of fascinating headlines that circle the globe. This is a rare invitation to look into our world’s diverse spiritual cultures, thanks to these journalists who shared their headlines and links from many countries.

 

Yes, We Need a Little Lincoln

Remembering All We Share

WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

.

.

Holidays & Festivals: Ramadan

DID YOU KNOW? Dates are a traditional way to break the fast each night for Muslims. Learn more in Stephanie Fenton’s Ramadan column.

A Perfect Time to Learn about Our Neighbors

A SIMPLE GREETING MEANS SO MUCH! We heard this week from a reader who simply asked her Muslim physician how the start of Ramadan was affecting his family—and that simple, kind question was deeply appreciated by him to the point that she shared the story with us. Consider wishing a Muslim friend, neighbor or co-worker: “Ramadan Mubarak.” Jews and Christians recently completed their first-ever Easter and Passover with COVID-19 social distancing. Now, the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims are just entering the fasting month when they usually enjoy big family dinners and visits to local mosques after sundown.

VICTOR BEGG REPORTS ON FAITH COMMUNITIES, including Jews, Christians and Muslims generously reaching out—from a safe distance—to help the world even in the midst of their own holidays.

Click to visit the book’s Amazon page.

MEET THE NEIGHBORS—Victor is the author of Our Muslim Neighborswhich is available in all formats, including audio, from Amazon. Or you can order from Barnes & Noble as well as our own bookstore in hardcover as well as paperback.

LEARN ABOUT THE NEIGHBORS—The Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters series offers two very helpful books, designed for non-Muslim readers. Their motto: “We answer the questions everyone is asking, but nobody is asking.

.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.
.

.

FAITH & FILM 

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page. Ed’s book also is available through Barnes & Noble.

INSPIRING AND SIMPLY GOOD FUN—What did Jesus look like? Sacred images of Jesus grace churches worldwide, but millions of moviegoers picture Jesus from classic films. Ed McNulty invites readers on an inspiring journey, meeting Jesus again through a dozen big-screen stories of Christianity’s founder. His book is available from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble—and also from our own bookstore.

.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. J.E.S.U.S.A.—Ed writes, “Writer/director Kevin Miller’s film is a polemical documentary that provides an excellent history of what some regard as the fall of Christianity, and others its perversion. The filmmakers are disturbed by the antics of conservative Evangelicals who would wrap Jesus in the American flag and pretend that this is a ‘Christian nation.’ ” (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  3. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  4. I, THE WORST OF ALL—”Thanks to someone on YouTube, Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg brings to us gringos the enlightening biographical film of one of Mexico’s early and still read poets, the 17th century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). It is a beautifully costumed and acted historical drama about a woman still very relevant on a universal basis—she was the first writer in the Americas to defend the rights of women.” (5 stars)
  5. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)
  6. THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.” (4 stars)
  7. I LOST MY BODY

    Click this image to read Ed’s review of this unusual Netflix feature film.

    Ed writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.” (4.5 stars)

  8. THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.” (4 stars)
  9. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  10. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 stars)

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: What Truly Great Americans Are Doing to Meet COVID-19 with Compassion

.

.

WISDOM OF GIRL SCOUTS:
FACING COVID-19 WITH COURAGE & COMPASSION

THREE SHORT STORIES—AND A MUSIC VIDEO—That’s what author and peace activist Brenda Rosenberg brings us this week along with contributions from other writers and artists. Who knows more about our core American values than the millions of Girl Scouts in the U.S.—connected with 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world? Please, read these short stories from Brenda and these inspiring young women! Prepare to be inspired. And, please, share their stories with friends on social media.

.

Need a Little Lincoln?
Let’s Remember All We Share

REKINDLING LINCOLN’S ‘QUIET FIRE’ 

COVER STORY—During COVID-19 distancing, Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer’s public radio studio (WERU in mid-coast Maine) is closed for recording. So, he has been unable to broadcast any new weekly episodes of his long-running series of spiritual meditations on the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, called Quiet Fire. As of this week—and until Duncan can get back to the studio—we will be publishing the texts of his weekly columns each Monday.

WHY NOW? The second half of April 2020 is marked by a tragic return to hyper-partisan political attacks sparked from Washington D.C.—as if Americans should be angry enemies as we face this global crisis. We’ve all seen the explosive tweets calling on partisan groups to begin divisive protests. Just as we need a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19—we need an antidote to that kind of dangerous political rabble-rousing.

WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Duncan writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”

THIS WEEK, please read and share these episodes of Duncan’s weekly series, Quiet Fire. Collectively, these Lincoln stories represent a call back to our true greatness as Americans.

Care to Enjoy More Lincoln Right Now?

GET A COPY Duncan’s 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. Each of the 30 stories in this book includes a link to listen to the original radio broadcasts. The book is available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle versions. ALSO, you can order hardcover and paperback from Barnes & Noble. In addition, our own publishing house offers these bookstore links to order hardcovers as well as paperbacks directly from our supplier.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals: Ramadan

… And Speaking of Great Americans …

MUSLIMS FOCUS ON COMPASSIONATE OUTREACH

A CENTRAL THEME OF RAMADAN is fasting from dawn to dusk partly to encourage a spiritual connection with the millions of poor and hungry families around the world. Of course, CNN Hero and PEOPLE magazine hero Najah Bazzy lives every day with that awareness as the founder and CEO of Zaman International, a multi-faceted program that focuses on at-risk women and children.

‘THE BEAUTY OF RAMADAN’

Don’t these photos and inspiring stories make you curious about how Islam shapes such a life of tireless service? Well, this week’s Front Edge Publishing column describes Najah’s book, The Beauty of Ramadan.

Najah Bazzy’s overall mission in life is teaching people about Islam and the deep compassion that lies at the heart of all the Abrahamic faiths. From her global perspective, Najah wrote The Beauty of Ramadan to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand the many complex traditions associated with the month of fasting. The book is especially helpful to community leaders who are trying to understand what Muslim families experience. It includes sections of special interest to Muslim—and non-Muslim—human-resources, healthcare and public-service professionals.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.

Many of Our Authors Are Offering Free Resources

FROM ‘QUICK LAUGHS’ to DISCUSSION GIUDES—Our Publisher John Hile put out the call: “We’re known for publishing books that help people. In the middle of this pandemic, let’s find ways to do more.” Many of our authors are responding with free spiritual resources from teaching and stories and videos—to a Quick Laugh from a famous standup comic. Here’s a Front Edge Publishing column about these free opportunities to let our authors spark a little joy in your life.

.

Trying Meditation?

Guess who finally convinced Suzy Farbman?

GOD SIGNS—Author Suzy Farbman headlines her column this week: Meditation, vocab and other productive ways to spend time during a pandemic. Like most of us, she’s tried a host of ways to cope with isolation and anxiety—from clever ideas for virtual birthday parties to learning new vocabulary words. Most recently, she taking a fresh shot at meditation—a spiritual practice that has eluded her for years. Who does she credit with convincing her that meditation has real credibility? Well, read her column to find out.
.

.

FAITH & FILM 

‘JUMP SHOT’—Here’s a movie you’ll likely overlook without Ed’s help! He gives it 5 out of 5 stars and says this true-life story is perfect for all those of us who are missing the thrill of sports at the moment. Click this photo to read Ed’s entire review.

.

Click this image to learn about the April issue of Visual Parables Journal.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. JUMP SHOT—This 2020 documentary can be rented directly from the filmmakers—so you can stream it right now. The story of Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, is lots of fun, especially for sports fans dying for some fresh fun. (5 stars)
  2. AMERICAN FACTORY—”In their Oscar-winning documentary directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert return to the same Moraine, Ohio plant where they filmed their acclaimed short film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant back in 2008.” (5 stars)
  3. I, THE WORST OF ALL—”Thanks to someone on YouTube, Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg brings to us gringos the enlightening biographical film of one of Mexico’s early and still read poets, the 17th century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). It is a beautifully costumed and acted historical drama about a woman still very relevant on a universal basis—she was the first writer in the Americas to defend the rights of women.” (5 stars)
  4. ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)
  5. THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.” (4 stars)
  6. I LOST MY BODY

    Click this image to read Ed’s review of this unusual Netflix feature film.

    Ed writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.” (4.5 stars)

  7. THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.” (4 stars)
  8. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  9. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 stars)
  10. EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)

 

.

.

.

.

.

Why is chaplain Nathan Albert smiling? Because he’s teaching us spiritual practices that welcome God’s joy

.

Nathan Joins Our Authors Offering Free Resources Amid COVID19 Crisis

TEACHING SPIRITUAL PRACTICES ONLINE—In this ReadTheSpirit Cover Story, Nathan explains why he is offering a free series of podcasts teaching ancient spiritual practices that can revive our hopes in the midst of this global crisis. He’s also offering a new, free discussion guide to his book Embracing Love. In introducing these resources, Nathan writes: “I’m literally a global poster boy for the way God can surprise us. … God’s Spirit is unpredictable. … However—as a pastor and a university chaplain, I do teach that there are practical things we can do—time-tested spiritual disciplines—that can open our lives to deeper experiences with God. In fact, I have devoted a series of podcasts to teaching some of those disciplines.” Please, enjoy this Cover Story with Nathan Albert—and share it with friends this week via email and social media.

Many of Our Authors Are Offering Free Resources

FROM ‘QUICK LAUGHS’ to DISCUSSION GIUDES—Our Publisher John Hile put out the call: “We’re known for publishing books that help people. In the middle of this pandemic, let’s find ways to do more.” Many of our authors are responding with free spiritual resources from teaching and stories and videos—to a Quick Laugh from a famous standup comic. Please, read this week’s Front Edge Publishing column to learn about these free opportunities to let our authors spark a little joy in your life.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals:

Easter continues

MILLIONS OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS around the world will celebrate Pascha on April 19 this year. They make up about 260 million of the world’s 2.18 billion Christians, according to Pew Research. Those Christians who just celebrated a virtual Easter on April 12 will be talking about this once-in-a-lifetime Easter for years to come. RETIRED COL. CLIFFORD WORTHY, author of The Black Knight, expresses the longing of millions of Christians to return to worship with other families surrounding us in praise and prayer and song. This deeply moving, real-life story captures the complete immersion in worship in many African-American churches.

‘ON THE FRONT LINES’

THE REV. DANIEL KIDDER-McQUOWN, a chaplain at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, tells about his own struggle to find signs of redemption in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic during Easter 2020.

Passover Continues


DEBRA DARVICK, author of This Jewish Life: Stories of Discovery, Connection and Joy, recently began reading aloud chapters from her book on her YouTube channel. The book shares dozens of true stories about Jewish men, women and families experiencing the various seasons of the Jewish year. That includes Out of Bondage, in which Joanna Berger remembers inviting to her seder a Jewish family who had just emigrated from the former Soviet Union. (NOTE: Debra already has posted 3 videos of her readings, including Out of Bondage. She plans to add chapters in coming weeks. If you care to hear more of her stories, visit Debra’s YouTube channel and click “Subscribe.“)

‘BREAKING FREE!’

RABBI JOSEPH KRAKOFF contributed his Passover reflections to a Jewish News feature on the theme: Breaking Free! This link will take you to The Jewish News story in which Rabbi Krakoff says, “There are things that enslave you that you don’t even realize. … We need to look at these challenges, the things that hold us back from our best relationships with ourselves, others and God.”

‘INSPIRED AND UPLIFTING’

SUZY FARBMAN, author of GodSigns, addresses that same theme in her column this week in which she asks: “Will Covid-19 change the way we think, feel and behave?” She answers her question, in part: “As we stay home day after day, witnessing the toll this disease takes, it feels as though we’ve fallen into another abyss. Hopefully we’ll be saved by an inspired and uplifting science. By remarkably selfless and brave medical professionals. And by the fight in which we’re all engaged—staying home, saying prayers, sewing masks, delivering food, donating money.”

Ramadan Begins April 23

MUSLIMS FOCUS ON COMPASSIONATE OUTREACH

‘GLOWING BLUE’ FOR FIRST RESPONDERS—Muslim author and internationally known founder of the Zaman International charitable program, Najah Bazzy, is sharing a video message inviting everyone to “glow blue” in the effort to honor our front-liners—including health care professionals, first-responders and food service workers—who are leading the fight against COVID-19. Najah was recently honored by the CNN network for her work at Zaman, which specializes in helping at-risk women and children through a wide range of programs. She also was recently featured in PEOPLE magazine’s Women Changing the World in 2020. Najah began her career as a national leader in the movement to promote cross-cultural awareness in healthcare. You can see her video in our Front Edge column this week about the many ways our authors are sharing resources.

‘THE BEAUTY OF RAMADAN’

LEARN MORE ABOUT RAMADAN—Najah’s book The Beauty of Ramadan is available through Amazon or our own Front Edge Publishing bookstore. More than 1 billion Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramadan, revitalizing their faith, celebrating the holy Quran and renewing their commitment to helping needy people around the world. This book is a simple guide to these sacred traditions, written for Muslims and non-Muslims as well. The book is useful for those working to promote diversity.

.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

FAITH & FILM 

Click this image to read Ed’s review of this unusual Netflix feature film.

.

Click this image to learn about the April issue of Visual Parables Journal.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

Have you discovered The Laundromat—streaming for free on Netflix right now? Ed recommends it.

  1. THE LAUNDROMAT—Have you seen the advertisements for it on your Netflix account? The movie co-stars heavyweights: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas. Ed recommends the movie and writes, “Steven Soderberg and writer Scott Z. Burns provide perspectives on the 2016 release of the Panama Papers, the release by a whistle blower of over 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that shook up wealthy businessmen and officials of several governments.”
  2. I LOST MY BODYEd writes, “French director Jérémy Clapin’s inventive I Lost My Hand is his first film. Though it is animated, it is not for children, though with adults present to talk it over, I believe older children will find it appealing to their imaginative minds. The title refers to a severed hand, but this is not a horror story.”
  3. THE KING—”If you find yourself tongue twisted by Shakespeare’s Elizabethan language, then David Michôd’s exciting The King might be for you. It’s based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V. Far deeper in character study than the most medieval action films, this could be seen as a thinking person’s medieval spectacle, with maturing of a character, the folly of war, and a sharp criticism of imperialism at its core.”
  4. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  5. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  6. SELF-MADE—”Thanks to the fine performance of Octavia Spencer and her supporting cast, this is a very entertaining film. Madam C.J. Walker, well known to black Americans, is less familiar to the rest of us, but should be, due to her being the first black female who raised herself to the status of America’s first black woman millionaire.” (Stream on Netflix.)
  7. EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)
  8. ECHO IN THE CANYON—”Director Andrew Slater has assembled a galaxy of musicians and uses Grammy award-winning musician Jakob Dylan as his host to demonstrate the timelessness of these songs.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  9. FIDDLER ON THE ROOFWhy not relax with a true classic? (Streaming free on Amazon Prime) And, if you really love the movie—you can also watch Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because the 2019 documentary can now be rented on Amazon Prime. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  10. MARY POPPINS RETURNS—”Although she seems a bit more reserved than an angel, the umbrella air-born Mary Poppins is a good stand-in for one for the Banks family in the two movies about her.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)

 

.

.

.

.

.

Cover Story: For the first time, the world celebrates virtual Passover and Easter

AND SOON, MUSLIMS WILL JOIN IN VIRTUAL RAMADAN GATHERINGS

Seder plates are filled with Passover symbols. American churches love Easter Lilies.

.

WE HAVE NEVER SEEN TIMES LIKE THESE

COVER STORY—This is an unprecedented month as Martin Davis points out in his column this week. Traditional gatherings have been cancelled for major observances in all three Abrahamic faiths on a global scale. This crisis also comes at a time of unprecedented access to the Internet.

Never-before-seen gatherings are being planned from the most intimate “virtual Seder” with a handful of relatives gathered around their digital screens as they move through the Haggadah—to worldwide connections like one planned by megachurch pastor Rick Warren. Healthy Muslims still will fast in Ramadan, but what about those enormous gatherings during the evenings of Ramadan and at the final Eid celebration? Those popular traditions will have to be adapted in many parts of the world.

Religious experiences will unfold this month that no reporter has ever covered. So, our writers—circling the globe—bring you a series of stories this week about this historic shift in global worship spanning more than 4 billion followers of Abrahamic traditions this month.

Once-in-a-lifetime: Virtual Passover, Easter, Ramadan

OUR FRIENDS at the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION of RELIGION JOURNALISTS (IARJ) are tracking news about the remarkable expressions of faith emerging all around this planet among Jews, Christians and Muslims. This IARJ overview is a great place to start your reading, this week, packed with intriguing links that circle the globe.

IT’s a UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY to SHARE KINDNESS and COMPASSION—That’s what has prompted contributing columnist Martin Davis (also a member of the IARJ) to write a very personal appeal this week to all of our readers. Feeling helpless these days? Martin writes: That’s simply not so! You can become part of the caring community by sharing uplifting stories, like the ones published in ReadTheSpirit. In fact, this week, Martin invites readers to connect to his Facebook page, if you care to join him in sharing such stories.

From Our Community of Writers

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS—Our holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton begins our coverage with an overview from the perspective of Palm Sunday (April 5) and Holy Week, plus this look at how Passover (starting on the evening of April 8) will truly be different, this year, form all other nights. Then, Stephanie also looks at Easter, which will be April 12 this year for Western Christians and April 19 for Eastern branches of the faith.

DEBRA DARVICK—The author of This Jewish Life contributes a column this week about Jewish families adjusting to virtual seders. She welcomes Christians to read along because “People of faith are people of faith. Your struggles are mine and vice versa.” Her column is headlined: “What? No seder?

BENJAMIN PRATT—From a Christian perspective, the author of Guide for Caregivers poses the question: “As Easter approaches in this overwhelming pandemic, when can we sing Alleluia? … Christians have a special perspective on this process of denial, separation, reconciliation and eventual celebration.”

Why do these holidays matter so much?

THESE TRADITIONS FORM OUR LIVES, writes Henry Brinton in his column this week, because they have shaped our lives—and the lives of our communities—for thousands of years. We must never forget their significance. He writes, “One blessing of this unique historical crisis is that all of us are reflecting in urgent new ways about the central meaning of these traditions in our lives.”

But wait! There’s More!

DID YOU GET YOUR FREE eBOOK from Rabbi Bob Alper last week? The offer lasts through April 11and Bob’s generosity as a standup comic has led him to launch a series called QUICK LAUGH. It’s a free service, described in this same column that tells you how to get the eBook.

We asked him: “Hey, Bob, after two weeks of such great deals—what could possibly come next week?”

“Don’t tell anyone, but I’m thinking: free steak knives. I hear they even cut through cans!”

.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

FAITH & FILM 

Click this image to learn about the April issue of Visual Parables Journal.

LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  2. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  3. SELF-MADE—”Thanks to the fine performance of Octavia Spencer and her supporting cast, this is a very entertaining film. Madam C.J. Walker, well known to black Americans, is less familiar to the rest of us, but should be, due to her being the first black female who raised herself to the status of America’s first black woman millionaire.” (Stream on Netflix.)
  4. I STILL BELIEVEEd also reviews this based-on-a-true-story film about the evangelical Christian musician Jeremy Camp (K.J. Appa) and the tragic death of his wife. However, Ed cautions that the movie is lacks subtlety in its direct religious appeal to evangelical viewers. (Rent on Amazon.)
  5. ORDINARY LOVEIn contrast, Ed gives a 5-star rave review to this film co-starring Liam Neeson. He writes, “Despite what the title might lead one to expect, this is an extraordinary film.” (Rent on Amazon.)
  6. EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)
  7. A MAN NAMED OVE—This quirky parable might be saying that Universe is not as cold and indifferent to our fate as some believe.” (Currently streaming free on Amazon Prime)
  8. ECHO IN THE CANYON—”Director Andrew Slater has assembled a galaxy of musicians and uses Grammy award-winning musician Jakob Dylan as his host to demonstrate the timelessness of these songs.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  9. FIDDLER ON THE ROOFWhy not relax with a true classic? (Streaming free on Amazon Prime) And, if you really love the movie—you can also watch Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because the 2019 documentary can now be rented on Amazon Prime. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  10. MARY POPPINS RETURNS—”Although she seems a bit more reserved than an angel, the umbrella air-born Mary Poppins is a good stand-in for one for the Banks family in the two movies about her.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)

 

.

.

.

.

.

Cover Story: Need to smile again? Get a free copy of Bob Alper’s ‘Thanks. I Needed That.’

Click the photo to read our Cover Story.

REACHING OUT TO SHARE HOPE

GET YOUR FREE collection of Rabbi Bob Alper’s inspiring and often amusing real-life stories in his book, Thanks. I Needed That. As the COVID-19 crisis spreads around the world, our publishing house staff continues to produce books that rest on our founding promise: “Good media builds healthy community.” And, what is more important right now than recovering hope—spreading smiles and reassurance? That’s the main theme of Bob’s book—and his famous standup comedy tours across the U.S. Since those in-person tours are on hold, Bob is eager to keep reaching out to share his best life-giving stories.

START THIS COVER STORY by reading this Front Edge Publishing column in which we explain this free-eBook offer, which we are extending for a limited time.

.

.

THEN … THE BEST GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK!

Click the photo to read this remarkable story.

.
VICTOR BEGG’S LITTLE GRANDSON startled all of us adults, this week, with his innovative idea to collect supplies for professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. This is the kind of Good News story that needs to spread far and wide: A little boy with a big idea is making a huge difference, connecting his community’s resources in new ways. We learned about this news story as it first appeared in a local Virginia newspaper, because the little boy is the grandson of our author Victor Begg. (NOTE: Have you taken a moment to order your copy of Victor’s memoir about his family, Our Muslim NeighborsWell, this news story about his grandson is exactly the kind of selfless community service we find among our Muslim neighbors. Thanks Victor for your family’s outreach!)

.

.

SINGING, PRAYING & PAINTING FOR HEALTH

Click Debra’s illustration to read her Passover poetry.

PASSOVER and HOLY WEEK ARE COMING

WE ARE PROUD AS A PUBLISHING HOUSE that, over the past 13 years, we have been able to publish authors ranging from secular institutions (including universities and major nonprofits) to writers who are Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Because our national community is so diverse, we are receiving many hopeful messages from our Jewish writers and readers—who are preparing for Passover on the evening of April 8—and from our Christian writers and readers who are preparing for Easter on April 12 and Orthodox Pascha on April 19.

THIS PAST WEEK, the spiritual realms of the Internet blossomed as tens of thousands of congregations moved online to share hopeful messages, worship services, Bible studies, hymn sings—and even prayers and paintings you can share with others.

Share Rabbi Krakoff’s Prayers

PRAYERS FOR HEALING AND PEACE—Just as the story about Victor Begg’s remarkable grandson is spreading across social media, a short video of Jewish prayers is spreading across social media as well. Rabbi Joseph Krakoff is best known for his work with the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network and as the author of Never Long Enough, an innovative picture book that helps families reflect on the lives of loved ones. Please, read this story about the Krakoffs’ online prayers—and watch the short video you’ll see with the column. Then, share it with friends.

Debra Darvick: ‘Why Is This Night Different?’

PASSOVER‘s crucial question is the title of Debra Darvick’s new column. Debra is an author, educator, media innovator and writes especially about her Jewish faith and heritage. She wrote this poem in preparation for Pesach 5780 in the Jewish calendar.

.

Click this Masked Man to read Rodney’s column.

Rodney Curtis: Already Pining for Opening Day?

IN A COLUMN HE CALLS “IT,” author Rodney Curtis shares everyone’s rants about the state of our world today. “IT” is making us all furious with the mounting toll in lives and relationships! So, what can we possibly do in the face of such fear and frustration? Well, one thing we can do is tell great stories! And, that’s Rodney’s specialty. Read this column—and shake off some of your own ranting and raving along with Rodney—then, in the middle, you’ll find a link to watch videos of Rodney reading the opening chapters of his baseball novel, Hope’s Diamond. Go on! Enjoy Rodney’s column and share it with friends.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

Click this banner for the Dorothy Day Story to read more and get the streaming link.

FAITH & FILM 

HOMEBOUND?
LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. 

  1. REVOLUTION OF THE HEARTEd’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
  2. BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  3. SELF-MADE—”Thanks to the fine performance of Octavia Spencer and her supporting cast, this is a very entertaining film. Madam C.J. Walker, well known to black Americans, is less familiar to the rest of us, but should be, due to her being the first black female who raised herself to the status of America’s first black woman millionaire.” (Stream on Netflix.)
  4. I STILL BELIEVEEd also reviews this based-on-a-true-story film about the evangelical Christian musician Jeremy Camp (K.J. Appa) and the tragic death of his wife. However, Ed cautions that the movie is lacks subtlety in its direct religious appeal to evangelical viewers. (Rent on Amazon.)
  5. ORDINARY LOVEIn contrast, Ed gives a 5-star rave review to this film co-starring Liam Neeson. He writes, “Despite what the title might lead one to expect, this is an extraordinary film.” (Rent on Amazon.)
  6. EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)
  7. A MAN NAMED OVE—This quirky parable might be saying that Universe is not as cold and indifferent to our fate as some believe.” (Currently streaming free on Amazon Prime)
  8. ECHO IN THE CANYON—”Director Andrew Slater has assembled a galaxy of musicians and uses Grammy award-winning musician Jakob Dylan as his host to demonstrate the timelessness of these songs.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  9. FIDDLER ON THE ROOFWhy not relax with a true classic? (Streaming free on Amazon Prime) And, if you really love the movie—you can also watch Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because the 2019 documentary can now be rented on Amazon Prime. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  10. MARY POPPINS RETURNS—”Although she seems a bit more reserved than an angel, the umbrella air-born Mary Poppins is a good stand-in for one for the Banks family in the two movies about her.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)

 

.

.

.

.

.

Cover Story: Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier Shows Us How Dorothy Day Faced Crises

WANT HOPE? STREAM ‘DOROTHY DAY’ NOW

DOING GOOD 1 PERSON AT A TIME—So many readers of our magazine are telling us that they truly feel a Spirit flowing through our Reading each week at ReadTheSpirit. That’s certainly true about our decision to feature an interview with filmmaker Martin Doblmeier about his new documentary: Revolution of the Heart—The Dorothy Day Story.

Dorothy Day’s core commitment to helping the people around her—even if that work seems insignificant or overwhelming—is a powerful message of hope during the COVID-19 crisis.

Also, our faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty has a complete review of the documentary—and, as always, Ed has added relevant resources to spark small-group discussions. If your small-group isn’t meeting in person during the COVID-19 crisis, consider streaming the film online—then use Ed’s prompts to spark a virtual discussion with your friends.

AND: You can stream this inspiring film, right now, from a link at the end of this brief Cover Story.

.

.

More Spiritual Wisdom 

ONE FROM SUZY—

GodSigns—Columnist Suzy Farbman brings us stories of the remarkable men and women she meets in her travels, but this week she steps back to share some of her own spiritual insights in a column she calls: “Seeking divine intervention in a time of crisis.”

Suzy is among our many writers, editors and regular readers who have been sending us inspiring columns.

TWO MORE MARTINS—

PERHAPS IT’S A GOD SIGN? Our contributing columnist Martin Davis did not know we were featuring Martin Doblmeier as our Cover Story this week. However, Martin Davis was looking for spiritual signs of hope and emailed our home office to suggest we feature a link to a moving, personal column by our mutual friend James Martin, the Jesuit journalist. (We’ve recommended James Martin’s work for many years, including this 2011 column about his efforts to bring humor back to into the church.) This week, however, James Martin wrote in The New York Times on a serious note, headlined: Where Is God in a Pandemic? The honest answer is: We don’t know. But even non-Christians may find understanding in the life of JesusThanks to all three Martins for casting bright rays of hope into the world this week!

And a JUDITH, TOO

Poet, author and award-winning journalist Judith Valente has been a good friend of our online community for many years, as well. Just one example is this 2018 piece Judith sent us about her book, How to Live—What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community, which is a great choice to read during the COVID-19 crisis. This week, Judith sent us a link to her latest column, headlined: Staying Positive in a Time of CrisisThanks Judith!

.

.

Keep Reading!

FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING Marketing Director Susan Stitt writes about the COVID-19 impact on publishing. Bottom line? Books still are shipping—which is great news for the millions of Americans stuck at home with extra time on their hands. This is a column you may want to share with a book-lover among your friends.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

A MEMORABLE LENT

SPEAKING OF GOOD BOOKS … Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton reported on the start of Lent recently for 2 billion Christians: “With Lent quickly approaching and Easter on the horizon, Western Christians enter the season of repentance.” (Click to read more.) If you’re looking for an inspiring book to read day-by-day along your own Lenten journey this year, we recommend Our Lent: Things We Carry

These 40 daily stories by David Crumm highlight 40 “things” that Jesus and his followers encountered in the final days of his life, which is the biblical story Christians remember as Easter approaches. Then, each chapter connects the Bible lesson with our own daily lives—as well as the lives of men and women who are celebrated in our culture, including the spiritual writer Thomas Merton, the actress and singer Judy Garland, the country musician Merle Haggard and even the beloved Cat in the Hat.

Ramayana

DISCOVER THE ANCIENT INDIAN EPIC—Stephanie Fenton reports: “With the birthday of Lord Rama on the horizon, millions of Hindus begin Ramayana Week to prepare for the occasion. During these auspicious days, devotees read the timeless epic, witness narrations of the exciting events in Rama’s life and fast for the deity.” In her column, you’ll also find links to stream colorful Indian TV series based on this ancient epic. Interested in learning more about world religions while you’re stuck at home? This holiday column is a great invitation.

.

Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

FAITH & FILM 

HOMEBOUND?
LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix. (Psst! This list of 10 actually recommends a full dozen films.)

  1. CHICAGO—This week, Ed reaches back to 2012 and republishes his review giving 4.5 stars to the musical Chicago starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  2. ROXIE HART—He features Chicago, this week, so that he can reach even further back—almost 80 years this time—to recommend a 1942 rendition of the Chicago tale co-starring Ginger Rogers and Adolphe Menjou, directed by the Oscar-winning director William Wellman. (Ed provides a link to stream this film free on YouTube)
  3. THE FORTY-FIRST—On the trail of free-to-stream cinematic gems, Ed also came up with a gripping Soviet-made feature The Fort-First, which won the USSR equivalent of the best-movie Oscar for 1956. (Ed provides a link to stream this film free on YouTube)
  4. A MAN NAMED OVE—This quirky parable might be saying that Universe is not as cold and indifferent to our fate as some believe.” (Currently streaming free on Amazon Prime)
  5. BABE—Although there are still adults who have not seen Babe because they mistakenly think that it is “just a children’s film,” many more have discovered that both the humor and the insights into relationships make this a film literally for “children of all ages.” (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  6. ECHO IN THE CANYON—”Director Andrew Slater has assembled a galaxy of musicians and uses Grammy award-winning musician Jakob Dylan as his host to demonstrate the timelessness of these songs.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  7. FIDDLER ON THE ROOFWhy not relax with a true classic? (Streaming free on Amazon Prime) And, if you really love the movie—you can also watch Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because the 2019 documentary can now be rented on Amazon Prime. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
  8. A LITTLE CHAOS—”This beautiful costume drama is about a female garden architect taking on the assignment of designing and supervising the building of an important part of the lavish gardens of the new Versailles residence that King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman) is building just outside of Paris.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  9. MARY POPPINS RETURNS—”Although she seems a bit more reserved than an angel, the umbrella air-born Mary Poppins is a good stand-in for one for the Banks family in the two movies about her.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
  10. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING—”The title of director James Marsh’s biography of the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is taken from the scientist’s quest to discover the one equation that will account for the existence of the universe. Quite an ambitious undertaking!” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime.)

.

.

.

.

.