April 14, 2014 |
CHAIRESE HOLMAN and Patrina Anderson took seats at the end of opposite rows inside Bartram High School's auditorium. The two mothers didn't know one another but almost as soon as Holman and I started talking about her 17-year-old son's struggles to get a good education at the violence-plagued school, Anderson chimed in. Anderson, who lives nearby but whose daughter goes to elementary school, was there to talk about Bartram students wreaking havoc...
March 26, 2014
MASS HAD just ended at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Center City when Friar John Daya, in his Franciscan brown robe, invited a young man to the altar. Short of stature, but big of heart, the young man told the congregation about his work at St. Joan of Arc in hard-times Harrowgate, a section of Kensington. That's where he spends his mornings, helping to feed the poor by working in a "humble" food pantry, he said. He had me at "humble," a walnut within a shell of piety.
March 12, 2014 |
No matter that Tempesta di Mare has been giving enterprising concerts at venues as prestigious as New York's Frick Collection and making good recordings for the Chandos label. For its debut at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater on Saturday, the Philadelphia baroque orchestra hatched a red-letter-day program that at times took the group too far from its comfort zone. Titled Apollo at Play , the program had its best moments in repertoire in which yester-era gods were a more immediate presence in the culture's mythology, namely works from the 18th century, when plays and operas were full of mythical figures treated with the casualness of distant relatives rather than lofty deities.
February 28, 2014
ARIZONA GOV. Jan Brewer ended up killing by veto the shameful bill that would enable bigots to legally discriminate against non-heterosexuals in the name of their God. The Legislature passed Senate Bill 1062 last week, allowing people to refuse to serve or do business with gays and lesbians if they have strongly held religious beliefs opposing homosexuality. Imagine, if the law had been approved, the sign that could appear outside restaurants, hotels, or stores: No Gays, by God. Never mind how any proprietor would know who is or isn't gay. It's not as easy to discriminate against gays as it is against African-Americans or women, unless the state plans to provide residents with documents showing they're card-carrying heterosexuals.
February 28, 2014 |
A RETIRED U.S. Army general named Jerry Boykin said the other day that when Jesus returns, he'll be armed with an AR-15. Boykins' statement raises an obvious question: Why would Jesus come back with an AR-15, when the Kalashnikov is a much more reliable weapon? Of the AK-47, it is said you can bury it in the sand, come back a week later, and it will fire like new. That's the gun you want for the sort of conflict described in Revelations. The AR-15 is, by comparison, prone to jamming.
February 28, 2014 |
ACTRESS/producer Roma Downey decided to call her movie company Lightworkers for a reason. "We were tired of cursing the darkness," said Downey, the former "Touched by an Angel" star who produced last year's hit miniseries "The Bible" and this week opens a companion film, "Son of God. " "We're committed to stories that add light," she said. "We are people of faith. This is important to us. It's not just a job. " "We have jobs," chimed in husband Mark Burnett, with atypical understatement.
January 24, 2014 |
Capturing the voice of a saint might be impossible with anybody but Hildegard of Bingen. Though among the most chronologically remote composers in history, this 12th-century Rhineland nun (1098-1179) left a long trail of writings, hallucinatory paintings, and some 77 liturgical songs that the medieval music group Sequentia needed years to record. A cross section of them will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in yet another stage of her rediscovery.
January 20, 2014 |
WHEN THE CATHOLIC parishes of Saint Carthage and Transfiguration of Our Lord merged in 2000, word went out that the pastor at the new West Philly "mega-parish" was keen to welcome the neighborhood's recent African immigrants, along with parishioners from both churches. "I wanted to figure out how to incorporate them into this worship community," said Monsignor Federico Britto, the pastor. "I didn't want them to feel like outsiders. " Mission accomplished. On any given Sunday, the landmark 1924 building on Cobbs Creek Parkway welcomes some 500 parishioners to two English-language Masses, followed by a Mass in the Nigerian Igbo language, followed on most Sundays by yet another Mass, in French, for African immigrants from Francophone countries like the Ivory Coast.
December 30, 2013
C ONTINUING a tradition, the annual dialogue between God and Your Favorite Columnist. GOD: How you doing, sonny? YFC: Great, except for your habit of calling me sonny. I don't care for it. GOD: Remember when Explorer froze the other day when you were in the middle of writing (it never freezes when you're not) and you yelled, "God damn it"? How do you think I felt? YFC: Hmmm. I had no idea you were so thin-skinned. GOD: Give this a listen: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
December 22, 2013 |
REV. KEVIN R. Johnson, pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, was visiting Sierra Leone in 2009, looking at places where people worshipped in tents and community centers, when he came to a plot of vacant land and was overwhelmed by a vision. "I looked at the wilderness and the trees and, in my mind, I could see a church," Johnson says now. "I could see people coming into that church and hope coming into that community. "I thought, if we could lay the foundation, the people would get the sticks from somewhere to build the church.