May 14, 2012 |
In Spiritualized, Jason Pierce uses minimalism for maximum effect. Most of the songs during the band's 130-minute performance Friday night at the Theater of Living Arts built on a one- or two-chord guitar riff, but they became majestic, inspiring monuments. Pierce's roots are in psychedelic rock (going back to the '80s, when he called himself J. Spaceman in the British band Spacemen 3) and in the Velvet Underground (the new Sweet Heart Sweet Light and its lead track, "Hey Jane," jumble the titles of VU's White Light White Heat and "Sweet Jane")
April 8, 2012 |
It is not easy being Christian, what with doing unto others, loving your enemies, turning the other cheek. Yet the far greater challenge is to accept without doubt the core belief evinced in the Easter story - that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. "No doctrine of the Christian faith is so vigorously and stubbornly opposed as the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh. " That lament was voiced 1,600 years ago by St. Augustine, the great theologian of the early church.
April 6, 2012 |
The Easter season is a celebration of deliverance, and the liturgical calendar sets up Easter Week as a kind of catharsis. Holy Thursday and the Last Supper have an ominous feel because they are preparation for Good Friday and the dolorous story of Jesus' crucifixion. Yet two days later, the tale ends in triumph and resurrection. Whatever questions Christians may have about the meaning of that empty tomb, most of us have experienced a sense of joy when the words "He is risen, alleluia!"
March 22, 2012 |
What a divine season it is for Jesus on Broadway. On one stage, nuns make a joyful noise in Sister Act. On another, he figures highly in The Book of Mormon . Yet another has him as the central figure in Godspell . And he is now in revival - here, we're talking Broadway more than theology - in an effusive Jesus Christ Superstar , the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that opened Thursday. It's full of powerful, melodic '70s-tinged music - the show premiered in 1971 and "I Don't Know How to Love Him" broke out to become a hit. The score, with Rice's clever lyrics and Lloyd Webbers many fanfare songs, is great fun to hear again, or probably also for the first time.
March 19, 2012 |
When the Franklin Institute opens its "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit May 12, visitors will catch a glimpse of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. Centerpiece of the exhibit will be 20 scroll fragments found in the 1940s in Palestine near the Dead Sea. They are part of an extraordinary trove of nearly 1,000 parchments that include the oldest surviving texts of the Jewish Bible, several of which will be on display in Philadelphia. Penned between 150 B.C. and A.D. 70 and sealed in urns, the scrolls make no mention of Jesus of Nazareth.
March 5, 2012 |
Objects from what has been called the "Jesus Family Tomb" are coming to the Franklin Institute in May. Among them is a bone box, or ossuary, bearing an inscription that can be translated as "Jesus son of Joseph," part of a major exhibit of Israeli artifacts in which the Dead Sea Scrolls have the starring role. Also attention-getting will be a re-creation of the sacred Western (or Wailing) Wall that includes a three-ton stone from the actual landmark. The Franklin Institute and New York's Discovery Times Square - where the exhibit is running through late April - teamed up to stage the touring show, created by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
February 26, 2012
George Parry is a former state and federal prosecutor practicing law in Philadelphia At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama channeled his inner Jimmy Swaggart by declaring that Jesus supports his plan to raise taxes on society's top earners. Specifically, he said eliminating their tax breaks "coincides with Jesus' teachings that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.' " Frankly, this revelation caught me completely by surprise. I always thought Jesus was talking about performing voluntary acts of charity, not forking over gelt to the government at swordpoint.
February 20, 2012 |
The press on Zola Jesus makes her out to be quite the complex being. The 22-year-old Wisconsin-raised Russian American singer/songwriter born Nika Roza Danilova studied opera during her childhood, considered herself a student of philosophy and Situationism, was a high school fan of challenging avant-garde female artists (Diamanda Galás, Lydia Lunch) and titled her latest album, Conatus , Latin for "endeavor. " That Danilova's stage name is a mashup of Emile Zola and Jesus Christ certainly tells you something about her dualities before you've even listened to her EPs and albums.
February 18, 2012
Fear-mongering The article "Prison guards cool to Corbett's reduction plan" (Monday) shows the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association's fear-mongering campaign against reducing prison populations. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel plans to reduce the inmate population by more than 2,500 next year by making the corrections system more efficient. The officers' union's claim that this reduction requires releasing violent criminals into the streets lacks any teeth.
February 12, 2012
Rick Dunham is the president of Dunham+Co., which advises charities, and the author of Secure: Discovering True Security in Turbulent Financial Times In a rather bizarre line of reasoning, President Obama claimed at the recent National Prayer Breakfast that Jesus would favor his plan to increase taxes on the rich. His logic is based on two passages in the Bible: "To whom much has been given, much is required" (Luke 12:48) "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:39)