The Relación of Fray Ramón Pané famously records what one Hieronymite friar learned about the religious beliefs and healing practices of the Taíno between 1494 and 1496 (bilingual PDF with another translation and more introductory material), supposedly at the request of Christopher Columbus. Research published in 2006 on a "Lost document [that] reveals Columbus as a tyrant of the Caribbean" indicates that Pané was also a key witness in the trial of Columbus, partially responsible for sending Columbus home in chains, as depicted on the Columbus Doors of the U. S. Capitol building (detail).
The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.[more inside]
“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
Evangelical churches across the country run "hell houses" on Halloween. These attractions show how "sinful" activities can ruin young lives. Some churches are trying to be more positive in their messaging. For those who are interested, you can now buy your own "hell house" outreach kit. [more inside]
Alaska is home to two small villages of Russian Orthodox "Old Believers," whose ancestors left the church and their home in Siberia in 1666 in the face of state-issued church reforms. They have traveled more than 20,000 miles over five centuries in the search for the perfect place to protect their traditions from outside influences. Now, assimilation into American culture is slowly overtaking them. (Via) [more inside]
"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
Dhikr (or Zihr) is a islamic devotional act involving the remembrance, the chanting, and repeating of the names of God. Though this often happens in silence, the Sufi tend to have ritualized group ceremonies ranging in style from the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi to the fervid dancing of the Chechen.
Leaving the Witness. "In one of the most restrictive, totalitarian countries in the world, for the first time in my life, I had the freedom to think." [more inside]
Kathryn Joyce looks at unregulated Christian homes for troubled children.
Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs -- and demanding change. Tent cities have sprung up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high". [more inside]
Jarretta Hamilton, a teacher at a Christian school in Orlando, was fired after it was discovered that her baby was conceived before she was married.
Have you heard of Washington Phillips? He was possessed of a wonderful voice, and delivered his simple but gorgeous gospel tunes in an easy and utterly unprepossessing style. He accompanied himself not on guitar or piano, as might be expected, but rather on a chiming, delicately ethereal zither, lending a curiously timeless air to his recordings from the 1920s. An altogether unique performer, his music is a real treat for the soul: Take Your Burden To the Lord, What Are They Doing in Heaven Today, Denomination Blues, I Had a Good Father and Mother, Lift Him Up, Paul and Silas in Jail, Mother's Last Word To Her Son and Train Your Children. [more inside]
Clarence Larkin's famous Biblical Wall Charts - previously on Metafilter, but with that link defunct and this one providing excellent scans, it seems worth re-posting. Quality of parent site not guaranteed. Some highlights of Larkin's fanciful, technical illustrations of the ages of man and biblical prophecy: Rightly dividing the word of truth, The six days of re-creation, The world's seven great crises.
Two Christian ministries, Hookers for Jesus and JC's Girls aim to "save" Las Vegas sex workers from their professions by introducing them to Christianity. [more inside]
My Jewish Birthday is better than yours. On my birthday, the Hasidic movement was founded, the first Chabad rabbi was brought into the world, and the Baal Shem Tov was born. So, how cool is your Jewish birthday?
He's everywhere! previously on hot chocolate, shrimp, dental X-rays, a dog's ass and now on a couch. And we can't forget about the $28,000 grilled cheese sandwich. Religious pareidolia is here to stay.
"The Lutherans had Davey & Goliath and I wondered what we Baptists could do for children's television," remembers Dr Paul M. Stevens. Stevens, then president of the Southern Baptist Radio & Television Commission contracted Byers and Perry to develop JOT THE DOT into a children's television show with the purpose to reach children with moral messages on their level." What they created are also a series of modernist gems. via
Marshmallow baby Jesus? Check. Kitchen timer baby Jesus? Absolutely. Giant inflatable baby Jesus that lights up? You betcha. All this and more at the Cavalcade of Bad Nativities. Once you're finished beholding him in all his cheesy infant glory, meditate upon the rest of his (badly rendered) life and works at The Passion of the Tchotchke.
The Geek Guide to Kosher Machines : How the industry makes appliances Shabbat safe.
The malefactors of great wealth and the religious right. Economist Paul Krugman on insufficient necessity.
Okaaaaaaaaaaaay Daaaaaaaaaavey! After a 31 year absence, Davey and Goliath are making their return to television. It's funny, I had no idea it was religious programming until years after I stopped watching it. Oh, and this news explains explains those great Mountain Dew ads...
Free Jack Chick comics online I only post this because I am always surprised how many people have never heard of the man. There is only one way to salvation, and Jack wants to show you. Some favorites are Bewitched and the discontinued anti-D&D classic Dark Dungeons. The Poor Little Witch" will twist your brain too. Did you know Roman Catholics are not Christian, and that Christian Scientists cannot get into heaven?
I feel bad about posting an Elian Gonzalez link, just because the poor kid has been through enough, but this religious imagery that CNN used in conjuntion with a story is just plain odd.