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:
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.
- Stephanie Fenton, our Holidays & Festivals columnist, also tells the story of Easter.
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.“)
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.”
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.”
- Stephanie Fenton, our Holidays & Festivals columnist, also reports on Passover.
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.
- Stephanie Fenton, our Holidays & Festivals columnist, also reports on Ramadan.
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
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.
- 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.”
- I LOST MY BODY—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.”
- 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.”
- REVOLUTION OF THE HEART—Ed’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.
- 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)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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)
- FIDDLER ON THE ROOF—Why 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)
- 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)