Culture

Culture
3:25 am
Sun November 3, 2013

To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer

Todd Fadel, at piano, leads singers at a recent gathering of Beer & Hymns at First Christian Church Portland.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:40 pm

With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.

Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it's an exploratory approach to do church differently.

Leah Stanfield stands at a microphone across the room from the beer taps and reads this evening's gospel message.

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Culture
3:42 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

In A Church Built On Tradition, The Pope Likes Spontaneity

A young man gives a Catholic skullcap to Pope Francis as he greets the crowd before his general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Oct. 16.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 7:36 pm

In the seven months since he was elected, Pope Francis has shaken up the Catholic world and beyond with off-the-cuff homilies, phone calls to ordinary folk and unscripted interviews. His Twitter followers now exceed 10 million. Described by the Vatican as "conversational," the new papal style is drawing praise from large numbers of Catholics and nonbelievers alike.

But it's also making some conservative Catholics deeply uncomfortable.

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Books We're Reading
6:00 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans

Credit LSU Press

Just in time for Halloween, LSU Press has republished the 1946 classic "Ghost Stories of New Orleans" - a collection of 40 ghastly tales by journalist and New Orleans native Jeanne deLavigne.

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Culture
11:13 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Accordions, Beer And God: Zydeco In Gran Texas

After years of attending church dances, Step Rideau says he was moved to connect with his heritage on a deeper level.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 4:07 pm

The modest, cream-colored '50s-era chapel that's home to St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Houston looks like many other places of worship you might find in urban America. The first clue to a unique tradition here pulls up Sunday afternoon.

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Culture
9:27 am
Wed October 23, 2013

'Bishop Of Bling' Suspended By Pope Francis

Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.
Fredrik Von Erichsen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 11:17 am

  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome

The "bishop of bling" has been suspended by Pope Francis while the Roman Catholic Church investigates allegations of overspending on renovations at the German cleric's residence and offices.

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Culture
4:40 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

Wynton Marsalis Goes Back To Church For 'Abyssinian Mass'

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis performs his Abyssinian Mass in 2008.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 9:01 am

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Culture
3:29 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling

Pastor Jamie Coots holds a snake at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church of Middlesboro, Ky.
NGO

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 9:09 pm

Two weeks ago, NPR reported on a group of Pentecostals in Appalachia who handle snakes in church to prove their faith in God. The story got us thinking: Why are the handlers bitten so rarely, and why are so few of those snakebites lethal?

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Culture
2:25 am
Thu October 17, 2013

'12 Years A Slave': 160 Years Later, A Memoir Becomes A Movie

Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor play Patsey and Solomon, two slaves on a Louisiana plantation, in 12 Years a Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 11:09 am

Solomon Northup was born free in early-19th-century upstate New York. He lived the life of a respected and elegant musician until 1841, when he was lured South by the promise of a lucrative stint playing his fiddle in a traveling circus.

In Washington, D.C. — in the shadow of the Capitol — Northup was drugged. When he came to, he was in chains: a slave headed for the hellish world of plantation life. Only the hope of being reunited with his beloved wife and children kept him going.

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Culture
5:39 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Memoir Traces Spiral into Racial Violence Amid Baton Rouge Desegregation Fight

Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist
University Press of Mississippi

Tim Parrish says his memoir, Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist, is not a book he wanted to write. He dreaded reckoning with the racial violence of his adolescence in Baton Rouge in the 1960s and 1970s.

An explosion rattled his kitchen windows when a city pool nearby was blown up after it was integrated. As a teenager, Parrish took part in street fights and race riots at his school – Istrouma High.

Parrish traces the roots of his own bigotry to his family and their Baptist congregation.

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Culture
4:12 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

For Rabbi, A Just God Without An Afterlife Is 'Inconceivable'

Stones placed on a Jewish grave to show respect for the deceased. Orthodox Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says Jewish tradition holds that there is an afterlife but doesn't encourage speculation on what it might be like.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:33 pm

Millions of Americans believe in the afterlife, and author and scholar Joseph Telushkin is no exception. The Orthodox rabbi has written extensively about Judaism and says that the concept of God is incompatible with the idea that life ends at death.

He holds that conviction so strongly, he tells NPR's Robert Siegel, because he believes that God is just — and he has to assume that a just God would provide some reward to a person who has lived his or her life well, while imposing a different fate upon those who do evil.

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