James Carroll

New and Noteworthy

Soulful Protest
R&B singer D’Angelo ends a 14-year hiatus with the album Black Messiah, on which he sings of prayer, love lost, climate change, race, and violence. He asks, “In a world where we all circle the fiery sun / with a need for love / what have we become?” RCA

Belief and Unbelief Explored
In Faith: Essays From Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists, edited by Victoria Zackheim, 22 renowned, religiously diverse authors explain their beliefs. Authors use true stories about tarot cards, romance, insomnia, robots, loss, and mystical experiences to answer the question, “What do I believe?” Atria Books

No Release
A short documentary from the Center for Constitutional Rights, “Waiting for Fahd,” tells the story of CCR client Fahd Ghazy, a Yemeni national unlawfully detained at Guantánamo since he was 17 (he is now 30). Despite being twice cleared for release, he continues to be held because of his nationality. ccrjustice.org/fahd

The Jesus We Didn’t Know
Historian and novelist James Carroll’s latest nonfiction work, Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age, explores how separating Jesus from his Jewish identity (and the resultant anti-Semitism) has distorted Christianity. Who might Jesus be for Christians going forward? Viking

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Pope Francis Brings Religion to the Newsstand

The New Yorker cover art. Photo courtesy The New Yorker website. Via RNS

To paraphrase Shakespeare’s musing on a name, “What’s in a cover?”

In the past week, we’ve seen Pope Francis on the cover of Time as the magazine’s “2013 Person of the Year,” followed by The New Yorker’s whimsical cover of the pope as a snow angel. Now, most improbably, he’s on the cover of The Advocate, the magazine for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, that put the message “NO H8″ (No hate) on his cheek. What’s next? Sports IllustratedJack and Jill?

If you ever wanted to show that someone reaches across all segments of society, this flurry of magazine covers may be it.