Benjamin Shryock 08-28-2015

Image via /Shutterstock

When one of the U.K.’s most beloved religious programs took the opportunity to profile a group of Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians and document the church they built within the “jungle” of Calais, you can imagine the resulting shock.

Some sources, such as the U.K.’s Daily Expresslabeled the profile a propaganda piece, called for punitive measures against the BBC, and claimed the BBC was a politically biased institution out of touch with the concerns of the common tax payer.

But what the story revealed was this: that at the borders of one of the largest and most influential national churches in the world, this flimsy construction of tarps and plywood reflected the endurance of faith, the tenacity of hope, and the beauty of grace with more elegance and majesty than Europe’s empty cathedrals.

Donna Pucciani 02-05-2015








The tale of nails and wood
is retold on the BBC from Winchester,
with hymns about a balm in Gilead,
a wondrous cross, and the choirboys’ echo
of the Fauré Requiem. Cardinal Newman
sends blessings from the grave,
and the organ grumbles “Amen.”

Mandela photo, left, courtesy, Jesus statue, right, court. Onderwijsgek. Both via Wikimedia Commons/RNS

Few would deny Nelson Mandela’s greatness, but one of Britain’s best-known journalists, Dominic Lawson, has taken the media to task for comparing South Africa’s first black president to Jesus.

Writing on the eve of the departure of world leaders to Johannesburg to attend a memorial service for Mandela, who died last week, Lawson wrote in the Daily Mail: “He was a giant — but how absurd for the BBC to compare Mandela to Christ.”

Lawson singled out BBC presenter Evan Davis who told listeners on a Dec. 7 radio program that Mandela should be ranked alongside Jesus in “the pantheon of virtue.”

The BBC radio program included former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who emphatically dismissed the notion of Mandela being on par with the founder of Christianity.

Menachem Wecker 08-16-2013
Rageh Omaar retraces the footsteps of the prophet in PBS’ “Life of Muhammad.” Ph

Rageh Omaar retraces the footsteps of the prophet in PBS’ “Life of Muhammad.” Photo via RNS/PBS.

He’s born poor. By age 6, he’s an orphan. Two years later, he loses his grandfather. Yet he overcomes his circumstances, develops a reputation for business integrity and progressive views on marriage.

Then he becomes a prophet of God.

The portrait of the Muslim prophet, which emerges from a PBS documentary “Life of Muhammad,” may surprise some American viewers.

RNS photo courtesy of © Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE.

Downton Abbey's servant's hall RNS photo courtesy of © Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE.

The third season of the megahit PBS series “Downton Abbey” wraps up on Sunday, capping another must-see run of ruin and redemption at Lord Grantham’s stately English manor. Yet some are still left puzzled over the absence of what should be a leading Upstairs player in this colorful cast: God.

Writing last month in the flagship evangelical magazine Christianity Today, Todd Dorman wondered why — despite the heart-rending melodrama and all the “divine trappings” that gild the 1920s scenery — “God is a peripheral presence at best.”

“There are numerous fascinating blog posts … that search for implicit Catholic and Christian themes in the show — good and evil, suffering for cause, various types and grades of love and devotion,” Dorman wrote. “At some point, though, especially with a vicar in the family’s employ, it seems odd for such connections to remain unnamed, unspoken, and, for all we can see, unperceived.”

the Web Editors 10-29-2012
Sir Paul McCartney (L) and Yoko Ono (R).

Sir Paul McCartney (L) and Yoko Ono (R).

According to Rolling Stone:

Paul McCartney says that Yoko Ono isn't at fault for splitting the Beatles or tearing John Lennon away from the group in an upcoming TV interview with David Frost, the BBC reports. "She certainly didn't break the group up," McCartney says, countering the commonly held belief that Ono caused the Beatles' dissolution. "I don't think you can blame her for anything," McCartney says, adding that Lennon was "definitely going to leave."

Read the Rolling Stone report in its entirety HERE

Cathleen Falsani 04-04-2012
Darren Morfitt as Jesus and Keith Allen as Pontius Pilot. Image via the BBC.

Darren Morfitt as Jesus and Keith Allen as Pontius Pilot in 2006's Manchester Passion. Image via the BBC.

The music of Manchester, England is, for me, the soundtrack of my college years. The Smiths. Joy Division. Oasis. James. The Happy Mondays.

It was the music I danced to in Chicago nightclubs, the songs of seeming disillusionment that I walked around campus listening to (on cassettes and "cassingles" -- remember those?) on my Sony Walkman.

I love that music that put a spring in my step and gave voice to my youthful ennui. But I had never thought of it as particularly spiritual music...that is until earlier this week when my charming British colleague, Jack Palmer, brought to my attention The Manchester Passion, an hourlong 2006 BBC special broadcast of a massive public reinactment of Christ's passion and crucifixion staged in a public square in Manchester set to the music of that enigmatic northern city in England.

The Manchester Passion took the music and lyrics of The Smiths and their Manchunian contemporaries and used them -- brilliantly and powerfully -- to retell in a thoroughly modern milieu the greatest story ever told.

Joshua Witchger 12-19-2011

Senior citizen flash mob performs Glee's "Last Christmas" at Target, Sir David Attenborough narrates "What a Wonderful World" to clips of nature, Christmas decorations seen as tributes to the Pagan Sun-God, Banksy's latest satrical sculpture on the church, Jesus visits the Denver Broncos, a bread nativity scene, year in review lists, and Teddy the talking porcupine wishes you all a very "Merry Christmas."

Cathleen Falsani 10-31-2011

occupy london
On Sunday (10/30), the Anglican Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Chartres, met with Occupy London protesters who have encamped for several weeks now on the ground of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, in an ongoing attempt to get the demonstrators to leave church grounds.

Chartres wants the Occupiers to vacate cathedral property and stopped short, in an interview with the BBC yesterday, of saying he would oppose their forcible removal. Other British clergy, however, are rallying behind the demonstrators, saying they would physically (and spiritually) surround protesters at St. Paul's with a circle of prayer or "circle of protection."

Heather Wilson 03-11-2010
When was the last time you felt gripped by crushing fear? Like the kind that might take over as you listen to friends and co-workers being killed?
Jim Wallis 02-10-2009

Jim Wallis talks about how Obama's new Council on Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships will take on the priorities of poverty, abortion reduction, fatherhood, and interfaith dialogue.