Religion: China, once officially atheist, now booming with religion.

webRNS-IAN-JOHNSON1-051717-336x224

Religion: DAVIS, Calif. (RNS) When Ian Johnson first went to China as a student three decades ago, he pronounced religion there “dead.”But Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist now based in Berlin and Beijing, has witnessed a transformation, one he documents in “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao,” published in April. China is experiencing “one of the great religious revivals of our time,” Johnson writes. “Across China, hundreds of temples, mosques and churches open each year, attracting millions of new worshippers. … Faith and values are returning…

Read More

Hollywood composer writes Mass for his mother

webRNS-REQUIEM-MOTHER1-051017

hollywood-composer:(RNS) Most sons send their mom a card or maybe some flowers for Mother’s Day. Film composer Stephen Edwards, a Catholic, wrote his mom a requiem Mass, complete with 50-voice children’s choir, a 100-voice adult choir and 50 musicians. Oh, and he got it performed at the Vatican and it aired on Italian television. Hollywood composer:This weekend, “Requiem for My Mother,” an hourlong documentary about Edwards, his mom and the staging of the requiem, airs on most PBS stations. Edwards, who is 55 and has scored dozens of films and television shows, talked with…

Read More

No other artist mixed religion and sex like Prince

webRNS-PRINCE-ANNIVERSARY1-041917

religion :(RNS) When Prince died a year ago, he was called a game changer, an iconoclast, an innovator and a sex god by critics, fellow musicians, friends and fans. But one word lost in the grief and shock was “Christian.” Prince Rogers Nelson, whose 40 albums and 100 singles sold over 100 million records worldwide, was found dead from an overdose of painkillers in Paisley Park, his Minnesota mansion, on April 21, 2016. The 57-year-old singer, songwriter and musician created music that was as infused with his own deep faith…

Read More

Reformation exhibit highlights art as teaching tool and propaganda

thumbRNS-LUTHER-EXHIBIT103116d

Reformation exhibit :MINNEAPOLIS (RNS) When it came to art, Martin Luther was much more interested in music than in the visual arts. He once called music “half a sacrament” and said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” But Luther also recognized images had the power to teach ­– a powerful form of communication the church could use, said David Morgan, professor and chair of the department of religious studies at Duke University. “So from the beginning, he defended the…

Read More

How the earthly and divine came together on the walls of a Basque church

thumbRNS-BASQUE-CHURCH110916d

Basque church:ANTEZANA DE FORONDA, Spain (RNS) The Iglesia de San Miguel is the pride of this tiny town in Spain’s Basque Country. Yet the 16th-century church, with its spectacular wooden carvings and baroque altarpiece, had fallen on hard times. Residents had saved the church once, decades ago, when they mobilized to fight an airport extension, just steps away from their beloved sanctuary. In recent years, forces of nature and passage of time were taking their toll on the town shrine. “We saw our cultural identity slipping away,” explained Diego Bermejo, a…

Read More

Bruce Herman’s unconventional path to success as a Christian artist

thumbRNS-HERMAN-ART110916e

Bruce Herman’s :GLOUCESTER, Mass. (RNS) On two walls in the sky-lit studio of artist Bruce Herman hangs a set of eight intimate portraits. Each face locks eyes directly with the viewer’s and won’t let go, as if crying out to forge a personal connection and unload a life’s story. The effect is mesmerizing and makes each painting worth thousands. But admirers of Herman’s work aren’t going to find it for sale in any gallery. That’s because this Christian artist has blazed an unconventional trail to success in the arts marketplace.…

Read More

Exhibit explores Israeli artists’ complex relationship with Jesus

webRNS-Kirshner-Refugee

Exhibit explores Israeli artists’ complex relationship with Jesus Jesus:JERUSALEM (RNS) At the center of the Israel Museum’s blockbuster exhibit “Behold the Man: Jesus in Israeli Art” is a life-size photograph of a woman draped in black caressing the head of a small baby asleep on her lap. Micha Kirshner’s 1988 image “Aisha El-Kord, Khan Younis Refugee Camp” may evoke the politics of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it just as powerfully conjures the pietà, or the Roman Catholic tradition of painting and sculpture in which the Virgin Mary holds the dead body…

Read More

Wonderfully made: How churches are seizing on gallery spaces for art

webRNS-CHURCH-ART21

churches:LEXINGTON, Mass. (RNS) When psychologist Bob Bass retired five years ago, he knew his photography hobby would be good for his spiritual well-being. But he never expected an evangelical megachurch would help him, a liberal Unitarian, become a full-fledged artist. That’s what’s happened through the Grace Chapel Art Gallery in Lexington, Mass., one of hundreds that have cropped up or expanded in U.S. churches over the past decade. At Grace, a simple hallway has become a destination, not only for local art lovers but also for budding talents like Bass,…

Read More

Christians find God in US national parks

thumbRNS-CHRISTIANS-PARKS1-062117

Christians :BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Utah (Deseret News) The short, black cross is almost an afterthought, wheeled out of a supply closet moments before introductions begin. Its arrival wraps up 20 minutes of guitar practice and nervous chatter, all part of prepping for a weekly worship service. “You have to sing loud and help me out,” says Gabrielle Sheeley, a 20-year-old college student from upstate New York, to the three young people sitting near her on the edge of a wooden stage. The cross sits in a supply closet six…

Read More

The ’Splainer: What is Laylat al-Qadr, Muslims’ ‘Night of Destiny

webRNS-Laylat-al-Qadr1-061917

Splainer:(RNS) The ’Splainer (as in “You’ve got some ’splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which the RNS staff gives you everything you need to know about current events to hold your own at the water cooler. The attack early Monday (June 19) at a mosque overflowing with worshippers in London, which injured 11 people — and which British Prime Minister Theresa May called a “sickening” terrorist attack — occurred during the last 10 days of Ramadan, the most intensive period of the Islamic holy month. Security forces are on…

Read More

Pope tells NFL legends he backs a ‘different’ kind of football

webRNS-POPE-FOOTBALL1-062117

pope:VATICAN CITY (RNS) It may not have been his kind of “football,” and he may not have much use for his new helmet, but Pope Francis welcomed a group of NFL veterans and told them their sport has “virtues.”Curtis Martin, Ronnie Lott, Floyd Little and other Hall of Famers met with the pope for a private audience and presented him with his own personalized jersey emblazoned with “Papa Francesco” and the numeral 1, as well as a signed gold helmet. “As many of you know, I am an avid follower…

Read More