Religion

Duke Chapel
Skip Bradley / Flickr/Creative Commons

Duke Chapel is closing to the public May 11, 2015 for a year-long restoration project. The ceiling will be worked on and the original chapel roof will be replaced. Crews will also work to restore the stained-glass windows and woodwork.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban's Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn't.

Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Barptist Church founder Fred Phelps
Nate Phelps

The pastor of the much-reviled Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at age 84. Phelps' message became synonymous with hatred. The pastor and his family made it a point to carry signs at funerals saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” They showed up to events with signs that read, “God Hates Fags.”

Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred’s 13 children. He describes his father as verbally and physically abusive. When he was 18, Nate ran away from home and from religion.

In recent years Nate found himself publicly squaring off with his father and siblings to reverse their legacy of intolerance. He lives in Calgary, Canada, where he has become a public speaker who champions LGBT rights and raises awareness about the connection between extreme religion and child abuse. He is currently writing a book about his life and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. He spoke with Dick Gordon in 2012. The story, "Son of a Bigot," was featured on Salon.com.

Listen to Nate Phelps' conversation with Dick Gordon from 2012:

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

What was your childhood like?

Kristin Bedford

Photographer Kristin Bedford spent five weeks living with the followers of Father Divine and learning about their religion. She photographed their lives. Her exhibit, The Presence of Father Divine, has been postponed.

Apostles of Reason by Molly Worthen
http://global.oup.com/ / Oxford University Press

    

Evangelical Christians are a diverse group with similar questions but vastly different answers. 

The Nasher Museum brings Doris Duke's Islamic art collection in Hawaii to North Carolina.
Doris Duke Foundation

Doris Duke, heiress to the American Tobacco Company fortune, built a sprawling estate in Hawaii in the 1930s. She named her secluded getaway Shangri La and she spent the rest of her life filling it with Islamic art. After her death, Shangri La was opened to the public.

Duke released a new study that looks at the high depression rate in clergy members.
public domain

A new study from Duke shows that clergy have a higher rate of anxiety and depression than the national average. The study, conducted by the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School, surveyed all United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina and found that their depression rate was 8.7 percent, which is higher than the national average of 5.5 percent. Anxiety rates were 13.5 percent.

http://www.katharineashe.com
http://www.katharineashe.com / http://www.katharineashe.com

In Katharine Ashe's latest book, "I Married the Duke," the heroine Arabella takes passage on a ship through the English Channel and meets a rough and tumble sailor who is not what he seems. 

Secret identities and characters in disguise are some of Katharine Ashe's favorite tropes.  Perhaps because the writer herself is not what she seems.

Ashe has received acclaim and popular success as a romance novelist.  But she leads a second life as Katharine Brophy Dubois, a visiting assistant professor in the History Department and Religion Department at Duke University.

Charles Lindquist
Duke Clergy Health Initiative

Like their good friends the Baptists, the Methodists love a good covered dish event. Any church gathering can serve as a reason to bring out the cakes, cookies and casseroles, and in rural North Carolina, that puts church leaders, like Pastor Charles Lindquist, in an awkward position.

“People used to say, ‘get up there in the front of the line’ and you had this feeling of 90 pairs of eyes staring at you to see whose food you were going to take,” says Reverend Lindquist. “So you tried to take some of everything.”

Cover of 'Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks' by August Turak.
Columbia Business School Publishing

Augie Turak is a successful businessman with two software companies under his belt. For the past 17 years, he’s studied the business strategies of a group of Trappist Monks living in South Carolina.

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