Cover Story: Spiritual director and chaplain Tom Stella’s new book points us toward being ‘In Sync with the Sacred’

‘We Are Caregivers’

‘Pain Is Inevitable—Suffering Is an Option’

PRACTICAL SPIRITUAL ADVICE—Regular readers of our online magazine know Tom Stella’s work from our coverage of his earlier books CPR for the Soul and Finding God Beyond Religion. After many years serving as a Catholic priest, Stella refocused his vocation as a spiritual counselor and chaplain to individuals and groups. As the years have passed, his concept of the Divine has grown beyond traditional religious boundary lines—even as his spiritual advice to us has become ever-more practical. Now in his 70s, Tom’s new book is 11 chapters packed with hard-earned wisdom with chapter-titles that include: Life Is Not a One-Piece Puzzle and We Are More Than Our Limp. With Tom’s permission we are sharing here an abridged version of one of the book’s richest chapters: Pain Is Inevitable—Suffering Is an Option. Please share this insightful and inspiring chapter with friends.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

Join millions of Americans reading about LGBTQ diversity in Pride Month 

For Pride Month, Susan Stitt tells the story of Front Edge Publishing’s long-standing commitment to LGBTQ inclusivity. This is part of our over-arching commitment to encouraging the appreciation of diversity in all forms, including racial, religious and cultural diversity. As Susan tells the story, she highlights some of the best books on LGBTQ inclusion that are used today in small groups nationwide.

..

Meet New Friends on National Best Friends Day

YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THIS ONE. No, this isn’t an official civic holiday, but June 8 has taken hold as National Best Friends Day among the nation’s retailers so you’ll be seeing lots of promotions from re-opening restaurants (take a friend to lunch!) and florists (send your friend a bouquet!) and of course candy makers (you know what to do with candy!) Well, as publishers, we want to highly recommend a group of dozens of friends whose stories you’ll enjoy for weeks! Hop over to Amazon right now and pick up a copy of Friendship & Faith. Each chapter is a true story from a woman who dared to cross a boundary—and discovered a new friend on the other side.

.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

ON FRIDAY JUNE 11, millions of Catholics around the world will prayerfully reflect on the divine love of Jesus in a tradition known as The Sacred Heart. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

 

.

Recalling Guru Arjan Dev Sahib

IN MID-JUNE, the world’s Sikh community will recall the life and the martyrdom of Guru Ajan Dev Sahib. In Sikh tradition, this guru is revered in part because he compiled the teaching-scriptures that form the core of the Sikh faith to this day, known as the Adi Granth. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

.

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

From Our Authors

Suzy Farbman: How 2 art professionals spoofed the art world

‘ART HIJACK’—That’s what Elana Eda Rubinfeld and Trong Gia Nguyen called their large-scale spoof of the art world’s obsession with rare—and even stolen—artworks. Suzy Farbman tells this delightful story in her GodSigns column this week.

.

..

Larry Buxton: Meeting David again … for the first time

BIBLE SCHOLAR and LEADERSHIP COACH LARRY BUXTON has been planning for months to offer a rich array of resources to the millions of churchgoers who—on Sunday June 13—will begin hearing the ancient story of David’s anointing from I Samuel Chapter 16. Those “lectionary” readings about David will continue in thousands of churches for a couple of months—so, Larry has a whole series of great videos ready to enrich our experience of those stories from the Hebrew scriptures. But, wait! There’s even more! To warm folks to this epic story, Larry has added yet another new video that represents a kind of prequel about King Saul, titled Being Confident, Being Different. Thanks Larry! Please, share these links with friends.

.

.

David Gushee: Stop by my new home

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED CHRISTIAN ETHICIST David P. Gushee has launched a new online home: DavidPGushee.com The new website is designed to offer lots of resources visitors can enjoy individually, share with friends and even use to spark discussion in their small groups or classes. You won’t want to miss these options:

.

.

MINDY CORPORON: Please meet me (virtually) at Miami University’s Interfaith Center

THANKS to THE INTERFAITH CENTER at MIAMI UNIVERSITY in Ohio, Mindy Corporon will appear on the evening of Tuesday, June 15, for an online event about her timely new book, Healing a Shattered Soul. ReadTheSpirit online magazine was founded to encourage and celebrate religious and cultural diversity so we also want to encourage this Interfaith Center’s work. Please click here to visit EventBrite and register for this free virtual event—and please tell friends about this. (Care to learn more about Mindy’s inspiring online work? Here’s an earlier story we published about her talks via streaming video. Mindy brings such a welcome, up-lifting and practical response to the violence around us that we encourage everyone to experience her ongoing work.)

.

.

CLICK ON THIS COVER IMAGE from the June 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal to learn more about this new issue of Ed McNulty’s guide to discussing films from the perspective of faith. This new issue includes complete discussion guides to Burning Cane, The One I Love, Spirit Untamed and The Reunited States of America—plus much more.

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:

  1. SPIRIT UNTAMED—Ed writes, “DreamWorks Animation’s directors Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan have given families an enjoyable new film that should please the young and old with life messages conveyed in a non-preachy way. Our daughters will especially take to this film with its affirmation of sisterhood.”
  2. BURNING CANE—”Writer-director Phillip Youmans’ feature film debut will test the patience of those who like action films because his film is more character-driven than plot propelled. Set in rural Louisiana, the film explores alcoholism, spouse abuse, child neglect, faith and the African American church, and the failure of even love to save a lost soul.”
  3. THE REUNITED STATES OF AMERICA—”Director Ben Rekhi’s irenic documentary, based on on Mark Gerzon’s nonfiction book The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide, is in itself a hopeful sign at a time of so much strife and despair.”
  4. BLUE MIRACLE—”Director Julio Quintana and his co-screenwriter Chris Dowling have just the tonic for movie lovers who might be a bit down in the dumps. Their Big Fish story, based on real people and a 2014 Mexican fishing competition is a formulaic sports story sure to raise your spirits—and with several of the characters children, a film the whole family can enjoy.”
  5. THE ONE I LOVE—The old question ‘Can this marriage be saved?’ runs throughout director Charlie McDowell’s 2014 film about a couple trying to regain the flame of the love that had brought them together.
  6. THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER—”Writer/director Osgood Perkins (son of Psycho’s Anthony Perkins) makes a worthy addition to the horror sub-genre of the exorcism film in this chilling tale of the supernatural.
  7. UNDERGROUND RAILROADEd McNulty gives us a comprehensive review of the new Amazon-streaming series, The Underground Railroad. He writes, “Barry Jenkins, who brilliantly captured the essence of James Baldwin’s polemical novel exposing the racism of our justice system, If Beale Street Could Talk, soars to even greater heights in this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning The Underground Railroad.”
  8. 2 WINDOWS/2 REVIEWS—If you read both of these reviews, you will discover the dramatic possibilities of a simple idea that has been explored by filmmakers for more than a century: What happens when we look out a window—and see what our neighbors are doing? First, Ed reviews The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams, a thriller that has been compared to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Then, Ed reaches back to 2019 and reviews a short film, The Neighbor’s Window, which takes a very different approach to a similar dramatic situation.
  9. FANNY’S JOURNEY—Ed writes, “Director Lola Doillon’s thrilling film, set during the Nazi occupation of the northern part of France, was inspired by an autobiographical Israeli book by Fanny Ben Ami.
  10. BILL CAIN and THE DIARY OF JESUS CHRISTEd is offering a multimedia treat for our readers. On the occasion of Bill Cain’s new book The Diary of Jesus Christ, Ed reviews and recommends that book. IN ADDITION, Ed hosted Cain for a 41-minute Zoom interview that you can also enjoy at the end of the book review.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Cover Story: Remembering the sacrifices of Peacemakers as well on Memorial Day

.

Our authors ask: What is the character of our peacemaking?

COVER STORY—What are the iconic images of Memorial Day? A man, a woman or a child pausing in prayerful reflection in a cemetery, near the grave of a loved one who served in the military. Such powerful images of war and peace! They bring tears to our eyes, because this is the eternal spiritual struggle that explodes into headlines in every season—especially this spring. It’s a spiritual tension in all of the world’s great faith traditions. This week, Larry Buxton invites all of us to take part in an ongoing national conversation on the tensions between war and peace.

.

Are You Pausing in Remembrance?

MEMORIAL DAY, MAY 31—Americans feel comfortable traveling again this year, but the advice from travel experts and civic leaders nationwide is: Plan ahead. Check online for the latest details concerning your destination, including Memorial Day programs. Even though many of these traditional gatherings are held outdoors, many communities are requesting advance registration. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has our story.

..

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

From Our Authors

Greg Garrett and David Gushee on Baylor’s LGBTQ Ambivalence

GREG GARRETT, who has taught at Baylor for many years, wrote this remarkably thoughtful column about Baylor University’s ambivalent treatment of its LGBTQ students. Greg is a noted religion scholar and the author of many popular books. Since the founding of ReadTheSpirit online magazine in 2007, we have featured interviews with Greg and recommended his books nearly three dozen times. In his analysis of what went wrong at Baylor—and his challenge to Baylor officials in the future—Greg also draws on the wisdom of our author Dr. David Gushee, who wrote Changing Our Mind.

.

And Speaking of Selfless Caregivers …

THIS WEEK IN OUR We Are Caregivers section, you can watch the inspiring 90-second video from CBS News of 8-year-old Zohaib Begg, who is proving that community caregiving has no age limit. Watch it! You’ll want to share it!

..

.

.

Click this image to read Ed McNulty’s review of the inspiring short film, Canvas.

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:

  1. CANVAS—Ed writes, “Watch animator Frank E. Abney III’s Canvas, and you will find it’s 9-minutes the most inspiring period of your day. It is a beautiful reminder of our need for one another, especially when overcome by grief—and also of the power of love to sustain and reinvigorate us.”
  2. BLUE MIRACLE—”Director Julio Quintana and his co-screenwriter Chris Dowling have just the tonic for movie lovers who might be a bit down in the dumps. Their Big Fish story, based on real people and a 2014 Mexican fishing competition is a formulaic sports story sure to raise your spirits—and with several of the characters children, a film the whole family can enjoy.”
  3. THE ONE I LOVE—The old question ‘Can this marriage be saved?’ runs throughout director Charlie McDowell’s 2014 film about a couple trying to regain the flame of the love that had brought them together.
  4. THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER—”Writer/director Osgood Perkins (son of Psycho’s Anthony Perkins) makes a worthy addition to the horror sub-genre of the exorcism film in this chilling tale of the supernatural.
  5. UNDERGROUND RAILROADEd McNulty gives us a comprehensive review of the new Amazon-streaming series, The Underground Railroad. He writes, “Barry Jenkins, who brilliantly captured the essence of James Baldwin’s polemical novel exposing the racism of our justice system, If Beale Street Could Talk, soars to even greater heights in this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning The Underground Railroad.”
  6. 2 WINDOWS/2 REVIEWS—If you read both of these reviews, you will discover the dramatic possibilities of a simple idea that has been explored by filmmakers for more than a century: What happens when we look out a window—and see what our neighbors are doing? First, Ed reviews The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams, a thriller that has been compared to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Then, Ed reaches back to 2019 and reviews a short film, The Neighbor’s Window, which takes a very different approach to a similar dramatic situation.
  7. FANNY’S JOURNEY—Ed writes, “Director Lola Doillon’s thrilling film, set during the Nazi occupation of the northern part of France, was inspired by an autobiographical Israeli book by Fanny Ben Ami.
  8. BILL CAIN and THE DIARY OF JESUS CHRISTEd is offering a multimedia treat for our readers. On the occasion of Bill Cain’s new book The Diary of Jesus Christ, Ed reviews and recommends that book. IN ADDITION, Ed hosted Cain for a 41-minute Zoom interview that you can also enjoy at the end of the book review.
  9. SIX BALLOONS—Marja Lewis-Ryan’s film about a woman plagued by visions of drowning while trying to help her addicted brother is not for the faint-hearted. The script, which the director wrote and based on the experience of her producer Samantha Houseman, immerses you in the dilemma of the heroine.”
  10. THUNDER ROAD—”Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

COVER STORY: In ‘What Belongs to God,’ David Livingston Edwards prophetically urges us to: ‘Choose peace!’

In Our Deeply Divided World …

A Prophetic Pastor and Musician Invites Us to Become Peacemakers

COVER STORY: This is a book on a mission. The late David Livingston Edwards devoted his life to peacemaking. Now, his family is launching his memoir plus a multi-media-packed website that enriches the experience of the book. Together, this launch offers his prophetic story, his music—and a complete Discussion and Action Guide—to keep expanding David’s legacy of training peacemakers. Please read our Cover Story, which has links to both the book and to the free multi-media resources—and share it with friends.

Care to Meet David Livingston’s Family and Friends? The Edwards team is inviting the public to stream an hour-long overview of this new project mid-day Tuesday May 25, 2021. That’s the book’s official launch day on Amazon and other online bookstores. If you would like to join us “live,” then please read this second story that includes all you’ll need to know to participate with us on May 25. (Got a schedule conflict mid-day Tuesday? We’ve got you covered. Within a day or so afterward, we will provide a link to watch the program anytime.)

.

And, another Pathway to Peace

Interfaith Dialogue Explores the Leadership of David

A QUESTION FREQUENTLY ASKED THIS WEEK: “How can Jews, Christians and Muslims continue to pursue interfaith dialogue in such a painfully divided world?” Of course, there always are many pathways that can lead toward peaceful relationships—including awareness of the central sacred figures in all three faiths, among them King David. This week, we share a sample of that kind of interfaith dialogue about King David among Christians and Muslims—with links to two recommended books and free video resources about the life of David that you can share with friends.

.

.

In caregiving, connection is a vital social determinant of health

How do we connect with seniors via social media in 2021?

In our We Are Caregivers section this week, we have some fascinating new information you will want to share with friends and colleagues. The new 2021 Pew report on American social media highlights the major gaps and the strengths in these connections with men and women 65 and older. Plus, we’ve got a fascinating graphic to share—and recommendations from public health experts about the important goals of community connection as we age. There’s a lot to learn—and a lot you’ll want to share—in this short column.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Weekend

AAA forecasts travel up 60% from last year

MEMORIAL DAY, MAY 31—Americans feel comfortable traveling again this year, but the advice from travel experts and civic leaders nationwide is: Plan ahead. Check online for the latest details concerning your destination. Many pandemic restrictions are still in place. ALSO—Millions of American veterans and their families also remind us that the holiday honors far more than barbecue and swimming pools. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has our story.

..

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

.

.

Click on this image to read Ed McNulty’s comprehensive review of the new, 10-part drama, The Underground Railroad, now streaming on Amazon.

Faith & Film

Click this image to learn more about the May 2021 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:

  1. UNDERGROUND RAILROADEd McNulty gives us a comprehensive review of the new Amazon-streaming series, The Underground Railroad. He writes, “Barry Jenkins, who brilliantly captured the essence of James Baldwin’s polemical novel exposing the racism of our justice system, If Beale Street Could Talk, soars to even greater heights in this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning The Underground Railroad.”
  2. 2 WINDOWS/2 REVIEWS—If you read both of these reviews, you will discover the dramatic possibilities of a simple idea that has been explored by filmmakers for more than a century: What happens when we look out a window—and see what our neighbors are doing? First, Ed reviews The Woman in the Window, starring Amy Adams, a thriller that has been compared to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Then, Ed reaches back to 2019 and reviews a short film, The Neighbor’s Window, which takes a very different approach to a similar dramatic situation.
  3. FANNY’S JOURNEY—Ed writes, “Director Lola Doillon’s thrilling film, set during the Nazi occupation of the northern part of France, was inspired by an autobiographical Israeli book by Fanny Ben Ami.
  4. BILL CAIN and THE DIARY OF JESUS CHRISTEd is offering a multimedia treat for our readers. On the occasion of Bill Cain’s new book The Diary of Jesus Christ, Ed reviews and recommends that book. IN ADDITION, Ed hosted Cain for a 41-minute Zoom interview that you can also enjoy at the end of the book review.
  5. SIX BALLOONS—Marja Lewis-Ryan’s film about a woman plagued by visions of drowning while trying to help her addicted brother is not for the faint-hearted. The script, which the director wrote and based on the experience of her producer Samantha Houseman, immerses you in the dilemma of the heroine.”
  6. THUNDER ROAD—”Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”
  7. WOLFWALKERS—Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  8. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  9. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  10. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

COVER STORY: ‘What the world needs now are Hugs, Hugs, Hugs’

Canadian Software Engineer Zamir Khan Is Helping Millions of Families to Hug Again

COVER STORY—In this issue of ReadTheSpirit magazine, you’ll meet the young Canadian software developer and entrepreneur Zamir Khan, who stumbled onto a powerful way to help men, women and children create meaningful connections through a service he calls VidHug.com. In fact, global research shows that isolation and exclusion are the two greatest threats to our health and wellbeing. We talk with Zamir about how he discovered the power of video greetings—and the easy-to-use global service he launched as a result. Please, enjoy this Cover Story and share it with friends. After reading this story, we guarantee you’ll be tempted to go create a VidHug yourself—or maybe a loved one will want to do it for you. C’mon, this is a powerful story to share.

.

We Are Caregivers

So, what is this collective challenge we face after more than a year of enforced isolation? In our We Are Caregivers section, this week, we have an excerpt from the opening pages of our new book, What Now? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging. This is a thoughtful reminder to all of us that reaching out to make meaningful connections actually contributes to our health and wellbeing.

.

Why do we need hugs?
Because life is a cycle of joy and grief.

BENJAMIN PRATT adds an absolutely remarkable column about the goodness of grief—or, rather, the inevitable challenges of moving from grief back into the risks of our world, once again. This column ranges far and wide—from fond memories of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts to the suspense of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, from Tennyson to a bittersweet song from Northern Ireland. Please, enjoy this column and share it with friends this week.

.

And, Pawsing in Memoriam for Penny

MARTIN DAVIS adds to our reflections on grief—and the need to reconnect with others to share our stories—with this wonderful column about his beloved Penny.

.

Speaking of Wise Companions … 

Larry Buxton Is Our Video Companion as Millions Hear about David’s Life

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING COLUMN, this week, we welcome Larry Buxton’s invitation to all of our readers far and wide to serve as a video companion this summer as we explore the life of the heroic and often troubling King David. Catholic and Protestant churchgoers by the millions will be hearing about David’s life during worship services through June, July and much of August this year. Larry explains this special, global, Christian focus on David—and offers a free 10-week video series of inspiring introductions to those weekly stories about David’s adventures.

.

..

Holidays & Festivals

Christians Celebrate Birthday of the Church

PENTECOST is the festival’s name and columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.

.

Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Weekend

AAA forecasts travel up 60% from last year

MEMORIAL DAY, MAY 31—Americans feel comfortable traveling again this year, but the advice from travel experts and civic leaders nationwide is: Plan ahead. Check online for the latest details concerning your destination. Many pandemic restrictions are still in place. ALSO—Millions of American veterans and their families also remind us that the holiday honors far more than barbecue and swimming pools. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has our story.

..

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

.

.

.

Click on this image to read Ed McNulty’s review of Fanny’s Journey.

.

Faith & Film

Click this image to learn more about the May 2021 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:

  1. FANNY’S JOURNEY—Ed writes, “Director Lola Doillon’s thrilling film, set during the Nazi occupation of the northern part of France, was inspired by an autobiographical Israeli book by Fanny Ben Ami.
  2. BILL CAIN and THE DIARY OF JESUS CHRISTEd is offering a multimedia treat for our readers. On the occasion of Bill Cain’s new book The Diary of Jesus Christ, Ed reviews and recommends that book. IN ADDITION, Ed hosted Cain for a 41-minute Zoom interview that you can also enjoy at the end of the book review.
  3. SIX BALLOONS—Marja Lewis-Ryan’s film about a woman plagued by visions of drowning while trying to help her addicted brother is not for the faint-hearted. The script, which the director wrote and based on the experience of her producer Samantha Houseman, immerses you in the dilemma of the heroine.”
  4. MONSTER—”Anthony Mandler’s feature film debut is as timely as the news headlines, even though it was filmed four years ago. Centered on the life of a 17-year-old Black film student, the script was adapted from the novel by Walter Dean Myrs. Though well received three years ago at Sun Dance, the film has languished until now, with Netflix picking it up.”
  5. THUNDER ROAD—”Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”
  6. WOLFWALKERS—Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  7. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  8. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  9. IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU—Ed praises this Oscar-nominated animated short about a family in distress. “I am glad I knew virtually nothing ahead of time about directors Michael Govier and Will McCormack’s incredibly hard hitting film, so my review avoids spoilers. But, seldom has so much emotional impact been lodged in such a short film.”
  10. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

COVER STORY: Thanks to filmmaker Martin Doblmeier, the prophetic Rabbi Heschel speaks to us again

.

4 Films Focus on America’s Great Prophetic Voices

STARTING THIS MONTH, documentary filmmaker Martin Doblmeier’s new film about the courageous Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is showing nationwide through public TV stations and online streaming. At the same time, Doblmeier is planning an ambitious series of programs all across America to spark discussion on an urgent question: “How can we raise up the prophetic voices we need right now in this country?” Our Cover Story this week describes the importance of this new film about Heschel, including a 3-minute video preview and a full film review by Ed McNulty. We also include links to download free discussion guides provided by Martin’s production company—and we provide links to Martin’s other three films in this prophetic series, focusing on Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr and Howard Thurman. In this Cover Story, you’ll find everything you need to organize a small-group program—or a series of programs—in coming months. Please, share this news with friends.

.

.

A Prophet in our Midst Today

Mindy Corporon: A week of tragedy and prophetic recommitment to teaching compassion 

DON’T MISS THIS REMARKABLE STORY—The events of this past week would have devastated a lesser prophet, but Mindy Corporon weathered tragedy and dared to return to one of the most emotionally traumatic scenes of her life this week—with a recommitment to her message of compassion. This story represents what a true prophet today can choose to do in the face of overwhelming violence—and tragedy as fresh as news from this past week.

.

.

From Our Authors

In ’30 Days’ and many ways, 4 authors are encouraging a national conversation

OUR ’30 DAYS WITH’ SERIES OF BOOKS now has four authors from across the U.S. sharing with their own audiences about collective ways we can encourage a more constructive national conversation. In this week’s Front Edge Publishing column, we look at how they are doing this via video, audio, news stories in major publications and personal columns on their own websites. As they introduce their audiences to each other, they are creating new communities. Please, share this news with friends.

.

.

Suzy Farbman:

Painting Diversity

THIS WEEK’s GodSigns column by Suzy Farbman features Florida artist and gallery director Tim Jaeger whose work celebrates diversity—and the rocky history of Florida civil rights.

.

.

We Are Caregivers

LUCILLE SIDER:
‘The gods are painting the whole world green again!’

MOST OF OUR BOOKS ABOUT CAREGIVING recommend that all of us spend more time reflecting on the natural world around us. In Lucille Sider’s memoir, Light Shines in the Darkness, the visual metaphor on the book’s cover is a glorious, sunny morning in a tree-lined meadow. This week, as spring breaks out across North America, Lucille reminds all of us of this glorious beauty through a short poem that you can share with friends.

HANNAN CENTER:
Inviting You to a Virtual Opening of this Unique Exhibition

IT’S FREE TO ATTENDDetroit’s nationally known Hannan Center is inviting all of us to attend a virtual opening at Hannan’s main art gallery—an exhibition in which artists interpret issues around the caregiving experience.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

Sharing the Holy Fire from Jerusalem

EASTERN ORTHODOX EASTER was May 2, this year, and the world awaited to see how that ancient tradition would unfold at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where last year pilgrims were not allowed into the church due to pandemic restrictions. This year, the church once again was packed—with pilgrims who could demonstrate they had been vaccinated—and the Holy Fire spread from the church around the world. Kevin Vollrath reports on this tradition in 2021 from the perspective of Aboud Emmanuel, a Greek Orthodox priest whose own ancient church is north of Jerusalem.

 

.;

As American families are preparing for Mother’s Day, Muslim families also are planning ahead for family gatherings to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast. At this time of year, bakeries specializing in serving Muslim communities will be working overtime to produce all the extra sweets.

Ramadan Continues through May 12

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports this week on the upcoming festivals that are major part of the Muslim fasting month: The mystical Laylat al-Qadr marks the night the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad; and later the Eid ul-Fitr is usually a big family celebration of the end of the fast. For Eid, congregations pray together; visits are paid to family and friends; sweets are enjoyed; and carnivals, vacations and gatherings are common. Although more Eid events will take place this year than did last year, pandemic restrictions are still being enforced at most public events worldwide.

.

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

.

.

Click on this preview image to learn more about the May 2021 issue of Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with complete discussion guides based on popular films such as Wolfwalkers and Concrete Cowboy, as well as the very popular streaming series Queen’s Gambit—and the 1996 movie Nightjohn, written by Bill Cain. Below, you’ll find a link to Ed’s recent interview with Bill Cain about his long writing career, including the new book The Diary of Jesus Christ.

.

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:

  1. BILL CAIN and THE DIARY OF JESUS CHRISTEd McNulty kicks off this week’s free section of Visual Parables with a multimedia treat for our readers. On the occasion of Bill Cain’s new book The Diary of Jesus Christ, Ed reviews and recommends that book. Ed was particularly interested in this book because  Bill Cain has had a long career in writing for television and film. One of Cain’s most thought-provoking films, Nightjohn from 1996, is included in the May issue of Ed’s Visual Parables Journal. Then, Ed hosted Cain for a 41-minute Zoom interview that you can also enjoy.
  2. THUNDER ROAD—Ed writes, “Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”
  3. SARAJEVO—”Austrian director Andreas Prochaska gives us an interesting new slant on the origins of World War I in this speculative story unfolding in the city where the infamous assassination set in motion the Great War.”
  4. CONCRETE COWBOY—”Director (and co-writer with Dan Walser) Ricky Staub’s film, based on the 2011 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, offers an unusual twist on the old father-son theme.”
  5. WOLFWALKERS—Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  6. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  7. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  8. IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU—Ed praises this Oscar-nominated animated short about a family in distress. “I am glad I knew virtually nothing ahead of time about directors Michael Govier and Will McCormack’s incredibly hard hitting film, so my review avoids spoilers. But, seldom has so much emotional impact been lodged in such a short film.”
  9. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”
  10. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGSTo offer some lighter fair in his recommendations this week, Ed writes about the Coen brothers’ eccentric series of Western tales, which was released in 2018 and still is streaming on Netflix.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

COVER STORY—Bill Tammeus and Mindy Corporon: ‘Together we can shine a light on peace.

Three Inspiring Videos to Spark Discussion in Your Community

IN THIS WEEK’S COVER STORY, we are sharing three inspiring videos featuring Mindy Corporon, Bill Tammeus and others. These are videos that you can share with friends in your congregation or community to encourage discussion of peacemaking and overcoming the challenges of grief and trauma that are so common in our country, these days. We preview each video and provide some of the most intriguing quotes from them. You can watch all three videos in our story—and we hope that you will read this story and reach out to friends via social media and email.

.

.

From Our Authors

Larry Buxton: The Stockdale Paradox

IN HIS LEADING WITH SPIRIT column this week, Larry Buxton talks about values closely related to this week’s Cover Story. He stresses the need to talk honestly about the brutal truths we often face in our world—with our ultimate hope that God and goodness will prevail. The temptation, Larry explains, is to fall into euphemisms, myths or outright lies about our world. However, we can avoid those traps, Larry says. “We can see through the euphemisms and we can have the courage to name reality. I’m an optimist! And, this is not easy! You and I can face harsh realities—and we can still prevail.” In his 4-minute video, he tells the story of the Stockdale Paradox, the strategy U.S. Admiral James Stockdale used during his years as a POW in Vietnam. This is a great short video for individual reflection and group discussion. It’s easy to share via links, social media or email.

.

Martin Davis: Ali Kershner dares to show gender inequality

JOURNALIST and AUTHOR MARTIN DAVIS appears in The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) this month with a column about the vast gender inequalities in college athletics. These gaps have been obvious for many years—but there’s a fresh national wave of concern prompted by a viral Instagram post from Stanford University performance coach Ali Kershner. “I think this is going to be a watershed moment,” says another college coach quoted in Martin’s column. These inequalities have “always been there, but every opportunity creates new conversations.” Please, visit the CSM website to read Martin’s entire column and share it with friends.

.

WISDOM women: Join us for a unique dialogue on race and gender

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week: One surprise of this pandemic year is the ability for authors to invite people to their public events—wherever those people may live around the world! In this column, Editor David Crumm explains how you can learn about upcoming virtual events—including a unique dialogue on race and gender to be held on May 20, 2021, sponsored by WISDOM women.

.

.

We Are Caregivers

NOW WHAT? A Guide to the Gifts and Challenges of Aging is our new resource-packed book for families, caregivers and anyone concerned about aging in America. Thanks to video producer Susan Stitt, we now have a 2-minute preview clip to help convince friends across your community and congregation to discuss this book’s many inspiring challenges. That’s just one of the new stories this week in our We Are Caregivers section.
IN ADDITION, co-author Lisa Brown sent us an inspiring new story she spotted about AmeriCorp funding 1,600 new senior volunteers in 16 states and Puerto Rico. It’s all in this week’s We Are Caregivers section. We hope you will share this news with friends, spreading awareness so that you might join other caregiving groups nationwide.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

 

Are You Ready for Mother’s Day?

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON urges all of us to plan ahead so we are ready to show appreciation for Mom, Grandma and any maternal figure in your life on the second Sunday of May. She’s got the story, plus tips and helpful links.

.

As American families are preparing for Mother’s Day, Muslim families also are planning ahead for family gatherings to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast. At this time of year, bakeries specializing in serving Muslim communities will be working overtime to produce all the extra sweets.

Ramadan Continues through May 12

OUR HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON reports this week on the upcoming festivals that are major part of the Muslim fasting month: The mystical Laylat al-Qadr marks the night the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad; and later the Eid ul-Fitr is usually a big family celebration of the end of the fast. For Eid, congregations pray together; visits are paid to family and friends; sweets are enjoyed; and carnivals, vacations and gatherings are common. Although more Eid events will take place this year than did last year, pandemic restrictions are still being enforced at most public events worldwide.

.

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

.

Click on these photos from Two Distant Strangers to read Ed McNulty’s review of this remarkable 2020 film written by Travon Free. Recently, it won the Oscar for best live-action short film.

.

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:

  1. THUNDER ROAD—Ed writes, “Jim Cummings wrote, directed, starred in, and even wrote the music and co-edited, this unsettling film about a Texas police officer who seems to be on the road to a mental breakdown. The film is billed as a comedy, but it often veers far more toward tragedy, with a few laughs in between.”
  2. SARAJEVO—”Austrian director Andreas Prochaska gives us an interesting new slant on the origins of World War One in this speculative story unfolding in the city where the infamous assassination set in motion the Great War.”
  3. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGSTo offer some lighter fair in his recommendations this week, Ed writes about the Coen brothers’ eccentric series of Western tales, which was released in 2018 and still is streaming on Netflix.
  4. WOLFWALKERS—Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  5. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  6. CONCRETE COWBOY—”Director (and co-writer with Dan Walser) Ricky Staub’s film, based on the 2011 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, offers an unusual twist on the old father-son theme.”
  7. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  8. UNCLE FRANK—In contrast, Ed does praise “writer-director Alan Ball’s semi-autobiographical story of family conflict and love moves between Creekville, South Carolina, and Manhattan. It is told by the teenaged Betty beginning in the summer of 1969 when her Uncle Frank returns from Manhattan where he is a college professor to join the family celebration of his father’s birthday.”
  9. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”
  10. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Cover Story: Meditation in Motion is a powerful, spiritual Spring Tonic

We Are Caregivers …

In Mind, Body and Spirit

IN THIS SECOND YEAR OF THE PANDEMIC, our entire publishing house team is highlighting news and inspiring columns from around the world that focus on caregiving and spiritual wellbeing. This week, three of our authors contribute columns on the theme “Meditation in Motion.” We’ve placed the first two of these three columns in our We Are Caregivers section of this magazine so they are easy to find as spiritual resources, then the third is in Suzy Farbman’s GodSigns section. So, let’s get moving! In our first column, pastoral counselor and author Lucille Sider writes, “This step, each step, right here, right now.”

MEDITATION IN MOTION 2:
‘Rock on, Brothers and Sisters!’

Then, Clifford Worthy, author of the memoir Black Knight, shares a delightful prose-poem he wrote about his life-long appreciation of simply taking time to sit and rock—a perfect reminder as our days warm in the Northern Hemisphere and many families are bringing their furniture back out onto decks and porches. Please enjoy, ‘Rock on, Brothers and Sisters!

.

MEDITATION IN MOTION 3:
Reaching out through art, family and breathing

IN HER GodSigns COLUMN THIS WEEK, Suzy Farbman also reflects on the weariness so many of us are feeling as the pandemic stretches into a second year of isolation. Suzy has the additional burden of serving as a long-term caregiver, yet she finds herself summoning spiritual renewal through the arts, through her family and through one of the world’s oldest disciplines: meditative breathing.

PLEASE, TELL A FRIEND! These are three wonderful columns to share with friends, especially friends who may be weary these days. Please, share these via social media, email—or you can even print them using the easy green print button at the end of each column.

.

.

Holidays & Festivals

Plan Ahead for Mother’s Day

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS COLUMNIST STEPHANIE FENTON urges all of us to plan ahead so we are ready to show appreciation for Mom, Grandma and any maternal figure in your life on the second Sunday of May. She’s got the story, plus tips and helpful links.

Ramadan Continues through May 12

FROM VICTOR BEGG comes a reflection on the fasting month for the world’s Muslims that begins with these lines: “A growing number of Americans today don’t identify with a religion. I reflect upon this trend as I observe a pillar of my Islamic faith in Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn until sunset. … A month-long devotional exercise helps renew and deepen spiritual connection to mind and body through God consciousness, which’s the essence of fasting.” Care to read more? Victor is the author of Our Muslim Neighbors, which invites readers into the story of an American Muslim family.

.

WANT TO SEE ALL THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS?—It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just visit  InterfaithHolidays.com

.

.

From Our Authors

Setting a Record: A New Review 13 Years after Publication

IN OUR FRONT EDGE PUBLISHING column this week, we are sharing a record-setting new review of a book we published in 2008: Ian Flemig’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass, by Benjamin Pratt.

.

..

Larry Buxton: A Death No One Will Mourn

IN HIS SHORT LEADING-WITH-SPIRIT VIDEO, this week, Larry Buxton reflects on one death in the national headlines that no one is mourning. What can we learn from such a life? Larry says he has learned a lesson that he shares in this brief video.

.

.

.

Click to read Ed McNulty’s review of the animated feature Wolfwalkers.

.

Faith & Film

Click to learn more about the April 2021 issue of Visual Parables.

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:

  1. WOLFWALKERS—Ed writes, “Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore rounds out his colorful mythical trilogy of animated films by reversing the negative image of wolves in Little Red Riding Hood. And what a glowing film this is, rising to the level of his magical The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014).”
  2. NIGHTJOHN—Ed reaches back to 1996 to recommend a film now streaming on Amazon. Ed writes, “Director/writer Charles Burnett’s adaptation of Gary Paulsen’s award-winning young-adult novel about slavery and literacy is a fine tribute to the freeing power of the latter.”
  3. CONCRETE COWBOY—”Director (and co-writer with Dan Walser) Ricky Staub’s film, based on the 2011 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, offers an unusual twist on the old father-son theme.”
  4. TWO DISTANT STRANGERS—”Trayvon Free’s and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-nominated short film is about a man caught in a time loop. There are numerous variations in the details of the incidents of his street encounter with a white racist cop.”
  5. HOW I LIVE NOW—”Based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, director Kevin Macdonald’s apocalyptic WW III novel is a good balance of thrilling story and character study.”
  6. SENTINELLEEd does not recommend writer-director Julien Leclercq’s film, which starts out with the promise of exploring the traumas of war in a serious way—and turns into just another story of violent revenge.
  7. UNCLE FRANK—In contrast, Ed does praise “writer-director Alan Ball’s semi-autobiographical story of family conflict and love moves between Creekville, South Carolina, and Manhattan. It is told by the teenaged Betty beginning in the summer of 1969 when her Uncle Frank returns from Manhattan where he is a college professor to join the family celebration of his father’s birthday.”
  8. SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story—”Thanks to Martin Doblmeir’s PBS documentary, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel will become a better known figure to millions of viewers. Now available on DVD, this is a worthy addition to his other filmed biographies of great thinkers and movers—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, all brave thinkers who have had a deep impact upon the modern world.”
  9. CRIP CAMP—”Directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht have given us an inspiring stand up and cheer film about outsiders knocking and kicking at the door of society until at last it is opened.”
  10. THE SOUND OF METAL—”Deserving of its Best Picture Oscar nomination, this is an immersive film centering on a musician going deaf.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.