Shadows & Dust / Vol. VI, Issue 1

Happy New (Church) Year, everyone! For those of you who don’t know, the “church year” starts this weekend on the First Sunday of Advent. Got it? Advent = our celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ. Birth = beginnings = the new year. 🙂

I have a lot to run by you this month — check out:


  • “Native America” on PBS — Wonderful four-episode series on the history, past and current culture and contributions of people who are indigenous to the Americas. Highly recommended for anyone, including school kids and parents who might not have learned this stuff in school.
  • Maine’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission — Don’t miss Dawnlandanother PBS documentary — about the abuses of the Maine state child welfare system and recent attempts at “truth and reconciliation” between the state and First Nations victims. These endeavors aren’t just limited to places like Rwanda and South Africa. Available for free through tonight — so watch now!
  • A Place to Stand — A documentary inspired by Jimmy Santiago Baca’s memoir of finding his vocation to write in the midst of the terrible, life-sapping challenges of prison life.


  • Jungle — Based on a true story, this Netflix movie follows a naive young man’s life altering adventure in the Amazon. Had me yelling toward the end.


  • The City — Sobering but thorough look at a Chicago neighborhood’s struggle to get dangerous rubble removed from nearby a vacant lot. Arrayed against it: just members of the mafia AND the FBI.


  • The Round House and The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich — One won the National Book Award. The other was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Enough said.
  • Whereas by Layli Long Soldier — LOVE this book of poetry. Unconventional, poignant, everything poetry should be. An education on the “Native American” experience.
  • The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart — NO headings, so of course, I love this translation! 🙂
  • Christ the Lord: Road to Cana by Anne Rice — I read this second book of Rice’s “Christ the Lord” series in one day. Highly recommended — I hope she completes this series someday with a third book!
  • The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris — Listened to this haunting book (on Hoopla audio) about love and survival in the midst of hell on earth.
  • Ish by Peter H. Reynolds— A classic book about how our outlook influences the value we place on what we create. Essential reading for every artist, writer, etc…
  • Why Religion? A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels — A recent Hoopla release on audio, this memoir is worth a listen.
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