December 14, 2018

What's Happening This Week at

Editors' Pick   

Directed by Barry Jenkins  

This screen adaptation of James Baldwin's acclaimed 1974 novel about growing up black in America provides a tender, emotionally rich love story as well as terrifying reminders of the reality of racism in America. In addition to drawing out astonishing performances from the cast, Jenkins makes the most of the cinematography of James Laxton and the music of Nicholas Britell.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
A retreat, a holy book you create, a DVD that has touched you: These are some examples of gifts that have meanings attached to them and reflect spiritual practices from the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy.

More Practices: Birthdays of Jane Austin, Margaret Mead, Bede Griffiths, and Paul Klee; Winter Solstice

A new e-course by Thomas Moore
December 3, 2018 - January 7, 2019 
This e-course by Thomas Moore, known for his books about care of the soul, shows how the symbols of Christmas can help us all create a world of peace and good will. It's not too late to sign up. When you do, the sessions sent so far will appear in your account. Read more and subscribe:

Still searching for the perfect gift for that certain someone? Here are four options that give your recipient an array of choices so that she or he can find just the right online retreat or e-course to make 2019 (or sooner!) joyful and bright.


Directed by Alice Rohrwacher

This beguiling parable explores the exploitation of the innocent and society's inability to affirm kindness. It also gives us a memorable portrait of a holy fool attempting to spread open-hearted empathy in a hardhearted society.  
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
A makeshift family -- bonded together not by blood but by the ancient virtues of respect, compassion, and empathy -- scare away troubles through mutual support.

More Films: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Beautiful Boy; Becoming Astrid; Bohemian Rhapsody; Border (Gräns); Boy Erased; Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Every Act of Life; Family in Transition; Green Book; Love, Gilda; Quincy; Support the Girls; What They Had; What Will People Say; Wildlife; The World Beneath Your Feet


Directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, Jr. 

In this heartwarming and surprisingly suspenseful documentary, a litter of five Labrador Retriever puppies -- with help from remarkable people -- learn the ropes of becoming guide dogs. 
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar
This breathtaking adaptation of Justin Torres' novel is about three brothers growing up amid rambunctious familial love but also uncertainty, violence, and relentless poverty.      

More DVDs: BlacKkKlansman, The Children Act, Christopher Robin, Colette, Disobedience, Little Pink House, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Pope Francis -- A Man of His Word, Puzzle 

Pause, Breathe, Smile
By Gary Gach     
Gach, who was ordained by Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, pumps new blood into mindfulness by emphasizing its ethical dimensions.

More Books:
The Arrogance of Faith, Can It Happen Here?, Care for Creation, Creating a World Without Poverty, Enlightenment Town, Everyday Mysticism, Faithful Practices, How to Make the World a Better Place, Individualism and Public Life, Mapping Religion and Spirituality in a Postsecular World, Pocket Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, Religious Freedom, Soul Force, Spiritual Guides, A Spirituality of Listening, Unlearning God, Violence

Dancing with the Gods
By Kent Nerburn    
With his characteristic mix of ideas, personal stories, and deep philosophical analysis, Nerburn celebrates the unbroken challenges and unexpected rewards of life as a sculptor and writer.
At Eternity's Gate
Directed by Julian Schnabel     
This distinctly different biopicture about Vincent Van Gogh reveals how the tortured artistic genius used nearly everything that happened to him as a pathway to love, beauty, meaning, and the invisible.


KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Ayla Schultz

There is a certain connection that people form with food when they put time and effort into cooking it, and that exertion is reflected in the way that it tastes -- it has a flavor that cannot be replicated by any appliance.  

Process Musings Blog
"U" Is for Unity
By Patricia Adams Farmer 
Do we want our souls to continue to shrivel up in fear with the primitive God of one "tribe"? Or are we willing to stretch our souls into rich tapestries of beauty with the God of inclusive love? It's a life-and-death question for the soul -- and for our democracy.
More Blogs: Praying in Times of a New Abnormal
The Practicing Democracy Project

By Annick Smith and Susan O'Connor

In this top-drawer collection of essays, poems, and stories, Terry Tempest Williams, Pico Iyer, Barry Lopez, Gretel Ehrlich, Bill McKibben, and other distinguished writers from around the world examine the significance of hearth in these times of large-scale movements of refugees, environmental disasters, and the prevalence of community-destroying technology.  
More Books: America: The Farewell Tour, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, These Truths
Practicing Democracy with Children
Practicing Democracy with Your Faith Community
By Mary Ann Brussat and Kristin Ritzau

Democracy can be strengthened through spiritual practices -- both those considered to be "inner work" and those that encourage active engagement with our neighbors and communities. The Practicing Democracy Guides give you specific ways to practice democracy at home, at work, on the Internet, and in other settings. More to come! 
George Caleb Bingham's Election Series
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

A trio of fascinating paintings from the 1800s encourage reflection on politics, voting, freedom, and meaning and lead each of us to ask: In what ways can we become "a force for good" during the next election season?  
We the People Book Club
Currently active; runs through August 26, 2019

Strengthen your vision of democracy by contemplating America's past and possibilities as presented by classic and contemporary literary voices. During December, we are delving into the poetry of Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou. In January, we start The Tenth of December, a collection of short stories by George Saunders that was a finalist for the National Book Award. Join now and for the New Year!
From Our Wisdom Archive   

In this month of celebrations in many traditions, we offer articles, books, films, quotes, and more about rejoicing in what you have in common with those on spiritual paths other than your own.

A Thought to Carry with You  

At the 2018 Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, we had the honor of listening to Onaubinisay (Walks Above the Ground), an elder of the Ojibway-Anishinabe tribe of First Nation people. Among the soul-stirring ideas he shared were these: That when Creator made the world, she was so beautiful that he shed tears of joy. With his own spirit, he vested human life, and so we are charged with a responsibility to live in such a way that Spirit can express itself in the world.  
This Earth is said to be a place where Spirit can touch life directly. The only place you can find this delight, according to the Ojibway-Anishinabe tradition, is on this Earth. Onaubinisay reminded us that we need to believe in the beauty of this world. We need to appeal to the conscience of those who are harming her and to speak up for all our relatives.  
Onaubinisay concluded by saying, "I think we need to tone down identifying ourselves as religions." Something about that identification is holding us back. "If you believe in the Spirit of life, you cannot ever believe that any one way is favored." This message resounds at this season of holy days, when we each express, through the tradition(s) nearest our hearts, the joy and wonder of darkness yielding to light.   
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Margaret Wakeley