July 28, 2013 |
IT'S NOT UNUSUAL to find a doctor in the house during Friday services at the Zubaida Foundation mosque in Lower Makefield - or several doctors. "We have two heart surgeons, for example," said mosque administrator Mohammed Husain. The largely professional, mostly second-generation immigrants who worship at the Bucks County mosque tend to be accomplished people. That's why America opened its doors in the first place to the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi families who are the core of the congregation (now joined by some with roots in the Middle East and South Africa, along with American-born Muslims)
July 7, 2013 |
CENTER CITY'S Arch Street United Methodist Church is probably best known for its commitment to social justice. It has long been active in feeding the hungry, and it works with other organizations to find shelter for the homeless. Occupy Philadelphia organizers planned their protest for the rights of "the 99 percent" in its sanctuary. Built in the 1800s, the Gothic-style church predates City Hall, which lies just to the south. The chapel was dedicated in 1865. The sanctuary, which seats more than 900, was dedicated in 1870.
July 3, 2013
MOST OF US wake up in the morning, adjust our eyes to the light, wash off the residue of slumber and steady ourselves for the day's work. Sometimes it's a happy prospect, sometimes drudgery, but for most, it's neither joy nor sorrow. It's just life. And then you have those special ones, people who, for different reasons but common goals, rush into the day with adrenaline, courage and the knowledge that each step might be taking them toward their last. They are heroes, though they'd reject that title.
June 29, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage have sparked a bitter dispute on the Pennsylvania House floor over the last two days. On Wednesday, State Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila.), who last fall became the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the House, rose to praise the landmark decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, only to be silenced by other lawmakers' objections. That was in keeping with rules for that part of the session, when members can rise to speak on almost any subject.
June 28, 2013
Uneasy over the lotus position Yoga is more than a system of physical exercises. There is a spiritual component that may or may not be emphasized ("Going to the mat," June 23). Most yoga teachers are probably nice people, and yoga participants may seek to participate in a benign exercise program. Indeed, people testify to physical benefits such as greater flexibility or easing and healing of certain maladies. But I don't believe that yoga is benign. It has been practiced for thousands of years and is tied directly to Eastern religions, mainly Hindu gods.
June 10, 2013 |
Rain had fallen every day of the tournament, and the heartiest soaking came on the decisive fourth day, from tee-off through the dramatic playoff. On that miserably chilly afternoon in 1997 at the Oaks Country Club golf course in Greensboro, N.C., New Zealander Frank Nobilo won his first and only PGA tour championship. Starting from 5 strokes back, he sealed it on an 18th hole that by then was all but unplayable. Yet Nobilo makes no claim to having prevailed over the elements.
June 10, 2013
Baseball as a Road to God Seeing Beyond the Game By John Sexton, with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz. Gotham/Penguin. 256 pp. $27.50 Reviewed by John Timpane Well, of course it is. Baseball, I mean. A road to God. Of course. Was there a question? Not kidding. For me, and for more than a few baseball fans, this game, practiced primarily in the United States and associated more closely with this country's history, traditions, and self-image than any other, is obviously imbued with religious, spiritual overtones.
April 30, 2013 |
Remember when you first heard the heartbeat of your first child? I do. It was a painfully faint sound emanating from my wife's tummy, indistinguishable for a long time from other raucous gurgles with which it was competing. It presented as a sort of slurp-crunch, seemingly random, until, at length, I detected its regularity. Maida and I gazed into each other's eyes and smiled simultaneously. We knew our love was monumental, but this, this slurp-crunch, was miraculous beyond all telling.
April 29, 2013 |
The First Century Gospel Church begins each service with notes of praise for God's healing. Church members e-mail or text small prayers of thanks to Pastor Nelson Clark, who reads them aloud inside a rented hall in Juniata Park, between playing hymns on a keyboard. We thank and praise this man's toothache . . . We thank and praise God for the passing of seasonal afflictions . . . As church leader, Clark ministers to Herbert and Catherine Schaible, the Northeast Philadelphia husband and wife who have chosen prayer instead of medicine for two dying children.
April 21, 2013
Meditation of a Modern Believer By Christian Wiman Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $24. Reviewed by John Timpane Christian Wiman is a believer from a class of people who, in the minds of some, aren't supposed to believe. He's a poet - editor of Poetry magazine, a job he'll be leaving in June - a leading intellect, an artist. He's also facing cancer. He believes in God and, in My Bright Abyss , seeks to portray what that's like as of 2013 if you want to be an intelligent, aware, non-self-deluding, tough-minded, free-speaking person here and now. My Bright Abyss is a dark, mountainous work, part poet's notebook, part meditation, part illness journal.