Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. All-American controversy. From MSN: Hip-hop mogul and practicing Buddhist Russell Simmons is throwing his financial support behind the TLC reality series “All-American Muslim,” tweeting on Monday that he is trying to purchase ad time during this week’s episode of the show. “Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours,” Simmons, as @UncleRUSH, tweeted Monday… Simmons acted in response to home improvement chain Lowe’s pulling its ads from “All-American Muslim.” The company was pressured by the conservative evangelical group Florida Family Association to stop financially supporting of the series. The FFA claims the show is “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims.”

2. WhyHunger Hungerthon sets fund-raising record. The recent 2011 Hungerthon radiothon/online auction event raised $764,000 for the fight against hunger and poverty, the most in the annual event’s 26-year history. This year’s top earners earners included guitars autographed by Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift and the opportunity to have a Switchfoot concert in your home.  WhyHunger partners in the event included SiriusXM, CBS Radio and charitybuzz. To learn more about WhyHunger visit

3.  Lino Rulli makes the rounds. SiriusXM’s Catholic Guy, and author of the humorous autobio Sinner,  will talk with New York ArchBishop Timothy Dolan on his own Catholic Channel show tomorrow (12/15) @ Noon ET.  He can also be seen the following day (12/16) talking with Lauren Green on Live @ 2:15 PM ET.

4. Christmas gift giving suggestions from Ignatius Press. The Catholic publisher/distributor sent me this list of stocking stuffer suggestions available at their site.


The Father’s Tale – Bestselling author Michael O’Brien (Father Elijah, Eclipse of the Sun and others) has delivered what many are calling his best work ever. “I believe this novel will merit inclusion in any list of world’s greatest novels,” said Ignatius Press Founder and Editor , Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

Extreme Makeover – Bestselling author and syndicated Catholic radio host Teresa Tomeo reports on the stream of toxic messages that barrage all of us, but especially women, daily; and she recommends the kind of extreme makeover you’ll never see on TV. Tomeo’s message urges women to rid themselves of the poison and reclaim their basic human dignity.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta – For many years, Fr. Leo Maasburg was one of Blessed Mother Teresa’s closest companions and advisors. In this personal portrait, he presents amazing stories about her that people have never heard – stories he experienced first-hand at her side.

Ten Universal Principles – Philosopher, educator and author Fr. Robert Spitzer examines the concept of making sense of life and life issues. He offers a set of reasonable principles that anyone can use to guide their thoughts and actions, regardless of religious belief.

What to Do when Jesus is Hungry – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., offers a down-to-earth and inspiring guide to the Corporal Works of Mercy, offering multiple ways that anyone can do them in everyday life. He also examines the Spiritual Works of Mercy, offering creative suggestions for also making them a part of routine life.


Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Servant of All – This amazing new 2-DVD set from Ignatius Press includes Servant of All, a marvelous documentary on the life of the original Catholic media pioneer, and five of the most popular episodes of his landmark TV series, Life is Worth Living. Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen is credited with bringing millions to the Catholic faith through a radio and TV ministry that spanned generations.

Of Gods and Men – Time magazine called Of Gods and Men “a luminous tale of faith and heroism.” This DVD version of the film, which won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, is available exclusively from Ignatius Press. It tells the true story of the Monks of Tiburine, a group of Trappist Cistercian brothers who were kidnapped and martyred in Algeria during the 1990s.

St. Philip Neri: I Prefer Heaven – This captivating, epic film on the life of the “Apostle of Rome” highlights Neri’s great love for youth, his warm sense of humor, contagious joy, deep mystical spirituality and his amazing gift for miracles. The DVD includes special features, and the package includes a 16-page booklet.

Merry Christmas!

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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