If you grew up in a religious home with a portrait of Jesus on the wall, he was probably portrayed as brown-haired, brown eyed, and Caucasian. But have you ever wondered why a Judaic man born in the Middle East would look like an aquiline-nosed Northern European? Edward J. Blum is a professor of history at San Diego State University, and along with Paul Harvey, is author of “The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America".
This weekend the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire formally begins the process of installing its next bishop.
His name is Robert Hirschfeld, and he comes to New Hampshire after working for about a decade at a church in western Massachusetts. He’ll formally be consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor at a ceremony this weekend in Concord. Once that happens Hirschfeld will be in line to lead the Diocese next January, when Bishop Gene Robinson retires.
For us, there can be no dispute that God has been and continues to be revealed through the faithful and often unsung witness of religious women in the United States. So reads a recent letter written by the Franciscan Friars of the U.S. expressing support for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The LCWR represents most of the country's nuns and it's now the subject of a Vatican investigation for encouraging, in the Vatican's words, radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.
New Hampshire Episcopalians are set to choose a successor to retiring Bishop Gene Robinson, whose election in 2003 as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop created worldwide headlines and controversy between the church and the Anglican Communion.
Lisa Wangsness covers religion for the Boston Globe; she joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to look at the three candidates and the state of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire.
The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.
That's a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.
After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus' command to care for the poor.
The St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va., has been at the center of an ugly custody battle between the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the newly affiliated St. Stephen's Anglican Church.
Credit Barbara Bradley Hagerty for NPR
Tale Of Two Churches: The St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va., has been at the center of an ugly custody battle between the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the newly affiliated St. Stephen's Anglican Church.
Credit Barbara Bradley Hagerty for NPR
The Rev. Lucia Lloyd leads a service in the rental that housed the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church after the congregation split in 2006.
Credit Sam Sanders for NPR
Wayne Marsh (right) and Loren Nystrom (left) help put the Church of the Apostles' cross into storage. The church will be shuttered and, eventually, sold by the Episcopal Diocese.
On a bright Sunday morning in the tiny town of Heathsville, Va., Jeffrey Cerar surveys the church he's preached in for the past 15 years — its 130-year-old wooden pews, its stained glass windows, its paschal candles, its cross.
"Virtually everything you see here is going to stay; the high altar, the credence table, the hymnals and books of common prayer will all stay," he says. "The Bibles will go with us."
This room, known as the Cenacle on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is venerated as the site of Jesus' Last Supper. Jews and Muslims also consider the building to be a holy site, and it has been a source of contention for years. Israel and the Vatican may be nearing an agreement.
If there's one building in Jerusalem that represents the city's tangle of religions, this is it. The ground floor is a Jewish holy site said to house the tomb of the biblical King David. The second floor is the Cenacle, a Christian holy site, the room believed to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper. On the roof, there's an old minaret from when this place was marked a Muslim holy site.
One building, three religions, decades of property disputes. And the fight isn't over.
In 1998, when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Cuba, few Cuban-Americans made the pilgrimage across the Florida straits.
But when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba on Monday, hundreds of Cuban-Americans will be on hand in Santiago de Cuba when he celebrates Mass.
Carlos Saladrigas is well-known in Miami's Cuban-American community. He's a prominent businessman and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, an organization working to make Cuba a free and open society. He'll be in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square for Mass.