Snoop Dogg’s gospel of love

By Steve Beard

It will be well worth watching the reaction to Snoop Dogg’s gospel album, “Bible of Love,” when it is released next month. Supporters and detractors of the world-famous rapper and music producer are sure to be in for a certifiable off-speed pitch delivered from the hip-hop legend. The 32-track double album will feature Faith Evans, Tye Tribbet, the Clark Sisters, and Rance Allen – as well as his mother, Beverly Tate, an evangelist. The album is scheduled to be released March 16th.

“It’s always been on my heart. I just never got around to it because I always be doing ‘gangsta’ business or doing this or doing that,” he said during an interview with Beats 1 Radio. “I just felt like it’s been on my heart too long. I need to do it now.”

Snoop Dogg attended the NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday, February 1.

“The record’s all about love from start to finish,” Snoop Dogg told the Bethel Clarion. “That’s the way you change the world, by putting love in it.”

 

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Wyatt Tee Walker, Dr. King’s Strategist and a Harlem Leader, Dies at 88

The Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, center, in 1961 with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and another King aide, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, in Montgomery, Ala. Getty.

By Fernanda Santos

The Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, who was chief of staff to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a key strategist behind civil rights protests that turned the tide against racial injustice in the Jim Crow South of the 1960s, died early on Tuesday at an assisted-living facility near his home in Chester, Va. He was 88.
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“I was fully committed to nonviolence, and I believe with all my heart that for the civil rights movement to prove itself, its nonviolent actions had to work in Birmingham,” he continued. “If it wasn’t for Birmingham, there wouldn’t have been a Selma march, there wouldn’t have been a 1965 civil rights bill. Birmingham was the birthplace and affirmation of the nonviolent movement in America.”

Dr. Walker helped circulate “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” one of the most important documents of the civil rights movement, in which Dr. King argued for civil disobedience as a legitimate response to racial segregation. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which culminated with Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
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St. Vincent’s One-Woman Show Captivates Hollywood Palladium

St. Vincent. Photo: Chris Willman

By Chris Willman, Variety

Is St. Vincent our only real current female rock star? There’s a case to be made for her singularity, if we’re talking “rock star” not in the Post Malone sense, or even the Gaga/Pink/Madonna model of a pop goddess with rock attitude, but a star who actually plays rock and roll… and who’s leading it into the future, not reliving glory days. In these lean times for the genre, if there has to be just one, it’s a handy thing to have Annie Clark filling the position: She’s got enough style, ambition, chops, and complications for a half-dozen rock auteurs.
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You might hesitate to append “female” to St. Vincent’s status as a rock star — they’re rare enough in either gender nowadays — but there’s something thrilling about the way she plays with gender archetypes that makes the tag feel not so superfluous. There haven’t been many times in history when a rocker could first appear on the stage in what Clark refers to as her “bunny outfit” — puffy neckband and armbands, vinyl-looking bustier and leotard, thigh-high boots, all rabid pink — and not have to fear she wouldn’t be taken seriously. With her outfits, her slightly racy new album cover, and some stage videos that have her looking like a more demure model or housewife out of the ‘60s, you get the idea she’s using herself as a palette to playfully toy with our or her own ideas of what counts as feminine, feminist, or fierce.

Read Chris Willman’s entire article HERE.

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Holy roller: campus minister competes in roller derby

By Dwain Head, Arkansas Catholic

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with the familiar directive, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

It’s unlikely that St. Francis meant to use hip checks and elbow pads, but then he didn’t say not to, either. And thus, these have become the tools of Catholic campus minister Kasey Miller’s trade as KC/DC, a member of the Rock Town Roller Derby club.

“A lot of things I’ve learned in derby have helped me empower and encourage my students and vice versa,” she said. “It helps me be more fully myself.”

To read entire article, click HERE

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Christ on the wrist

By Steve Beard

Her spiritual journey began by asking about a tattoo of Jesus on the wrist of a client. Aimee Burke cuts and styles hair in a hipster neighborhood in Toronto. “She partied a lot and was partial to coke,” reports The Globe and Mail, one of the largest newspapers in Canada. “Her hookups comprised partners both male and female. She was unhappy.”

The question about the image of Christ was the spark that first got Burke to visit church. “I’m pretty sure I went to the service hungover from the night before,” she recalled. But she found herself weeping during the service. “I just felt less empty,” she recalled.

As she looked around, Burke realized she was surrounded by people her age talking about God – “but they looked like people I could party with,” she recalled. “I felt like I could be myself right away.”

Burke’s turnaround is a refreshingly unconventional conversion story, especially splashed on the pages of a newspaper in a country where the numbers of those who reject faith are on the rise. According to the news magazine Maclean’s, the percentage of Canadians rejecting religion (26 percent) is nearly the number of those embracing it (30 percent) with 45 percent saying they were “somewhere in between.”

“As the Christians would say, I’ve surrendered over my life,” Burke said. “I do everything. I pray in the morning, I pray at night, I read my Bible every day. … Now I’m waiting for marriage. I’ve been sober for almost two years.”

As anyone who has battled with addiction or alcohol dependency can testify, this is an enormous lifestyle transformation. While church attendance numbers are not on the upswing for young men and women in Burke’s age demographic, there is still a detectable spiritual hunger. “I think people are looking for something to believe in,” Burke observed, “even if it’s just themselves.”

According to the story, the C3 Church service (formerly known as Christian City Church) has an upbeat vibe that attracts a younger generation of those living in Toronto. “It is making worshippers out of people who might otherwise have spent their Sundays scrolling through Tinder in a coffee shop,” reports Eric Andrew-Gee of The Globe and Mail. There are nearly a dozen C3 congregations in Canada and more than 450 around the world.

“The big thing here is people come and they don’t feel pressured to be anything other than who they are,” said Jonathan Li, 30, another C3 parishioner. “It’s more about having people to do life together. I think people are a lot lonelier these days, even with social media. … I think there’s a false sense of connectedness there.”

The accepting nature of the congregation appears to be one of the key draws to C3. For seekers like Aimee Burke, the congregation allowed her to feel like she could be herself, without feeling “self-condemned.”

All the jokes about saying Hail Marys when she swears at work are worth it, she told the newspaper. “This is going to sound really Christian-y,” she said, “but it felt like the chains came off of me.”

It may sound religious – but it also sounds authentic. And for Ms. Burke’s generation, that is a top-shelf priority and a story that rings true.

To read Eric Andrew-Gee’s entire article in The Globe and Mail, click HERE.

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Bishop tells Russians not to vote for Putin in rare church dissent

Bishop Yevtikhy Kurochkin

By Alec Luhn, The Telegraph

Russian Orthodox bishop has advised the faithful not to vote for Vladimir Putin when he stands for re-election in March, a nearly unheard of occurrence in the loyal church.

The angry statement marked the first time an acting bishop has spoken against supporting the current president, according to the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, but it was motivated by Mr Putin’s perceived impiety rather than political differences.

Bishop Yevtikhy Kurochkin of the epiphany cathedral in the Siberian city of Ishim wrote on his page on VK, Russia’s most popular social network, that he could no longer follow his “desire to vote for Putin” following “blasphemous” remarks by the president.

“’If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is your darkness!’ are the words of Christ,” Mr Kurochkin wrote. “And will I go against Christ to vote for darkness or advise anyone to do this? No, no and no!”

The bishop was angered by comments in a state television film about Valaam, an island of monasteries and churches in Lake Ladoga where the president has a holiday home. Mr Putin had argued that the Soviet regime had “adapted” Christian ideas for its communist ideology, including in its mummification of Vladimir Lenin, whose body remains on display on Red Square.

While the Russian Orthodox church has been growing increasingly influential in recent years, it has usually been supportive of the ruling regime. This goes back to a tradition of loyalty in tsarist times, when the official ideology was “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality”.

To read entire article from The Telegraph, click HERE

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P**sy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova on the parade of  the authoritarian tendencies

Deena Zahru, CNN: Do you believe that Russia interfered in the US election?

P**sy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova: When I think about Russian interference in American elections — yes, of course it did happen, and it’s not really a unique situation. Putin’s (an) ex-KGB agent, and as we probably all know, there is no such a thing as ex-KGB agent because he still has this philosophy that I need to somehow, in my own malicious ways, to interfere in politics of other countries. It’s not really unique situation because American did it as well. But, yes, if you ask me, Putin did this hacker attacks, yes, Russian hackers are involved in that.

To read entire interview, click HERE

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Could Methodist founder John Wesley have been a Jedi?

By Christopher Fenoglio

The more I read and learn about John Wesley’s convictions, hard work, and austere lifestyle, the more I believe Methodism’s founder could have made an excellent Jedi.

Of course, the Star Wars stories are complete fiction, set “a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away.” Still, these films contain motifs that resonate with contemporary audiences, such as the Christian themes of self-sacrifice, faith in the face of persecution, rebirth, and hope for future generations. In diving deeper and reflecting on the Jedi characters, I see parallels with John Wesley’s life and ministry.

Be sure to add the alt. text

Jedi on Meditation

In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon battles the evil Sith Darth Maul on the planet Naboo. When the two are separated by an energy field, Qui-Gon drops to his knees for a quick meditation to remain calm and focus on the present. A Jedi must maintain a clear mind, achieved through meditation and contemplation. A cluttered mind causes stress and distracts one from the task at hand. One must purge these unnecessary elements from one’s consciousness on a daily basis.

John Wesley on Meditation
Wesley practiced prayerful meditation during his daily routine. There is a passage in 1 Timothy 4:15, in which Paul is instructing a young pastor: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

About this passage, Wesley wrote that “True meditation is no other than faith, hope, love, joy, melted down together, as it were, by the fire of God’s Holy Spirit; and offered up to God in secret. He that is wholly in these, will be little in worldly company, in other studies, in collecting books, medals, or butterflies.”

To read entire United Methodist Communications article, click HERE.

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‘Linger’ was my anthem and Dolores O’Riordan was my muse

(CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).

By Cameron Dezen Hammon, America

Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish band The Cranberries, was born in County Limerick to a Catholic mother who named her for Our Lady of the Seven Dolours (or Sorrows), in 1971. She was born with a disposition suited to her namesake, a fact revealed in her bouts with depression and rage, poetry and punk rock. She was born four years and five days before I was, but we shared a disposition.

When I first heard Dolores’s voice, the delicate, brogue-inflected mezzo issuing from the radio of a street vendor or taxicab, I was struggling with my own sorrows. I was 18 and Dolores was just 23. She was a singer in a band, on the radio. I was a bulimic, a wannabe poet who had yet to put my two discernible skills—singing and writing—together to any effect. But watching Dolores do it—watching her front the band and write the songs (thesong), even if from afar—made me believe that I could do it also.

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Linger was unlike anything else on the radio in 1993—and was nothing like the muscular “Zombie” that would closely follow it. No, Linger had an affect of angels, and so did Dolores’s look then—the much-copied pixie haircut and ’40s movie star eyebrows, the dark lipstick. She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort. She seemed like a person in the temporal world but somehow not of it.

To read entire column, click HERE

 

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Dolores O’Riordan, RIP

Photo: Yui Mok

Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of the Irish band the Cranberries, died Monday in London. She was 46. The Cranberries’ Noel and Mike Hogan and Fergal Lawler said, “We are devastated on the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today.”

The Irish Times notes that the Cranberries were forced to cancel tour dates in 2017 due to O’Riordan’s ill health; the band cited “medical reasons associated with a back problem.” O’Riordan had also been diagnosed as bi-polar in 2014.

President of Ireland Michael Higgins said in a statement, “It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and song writer. Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally. I recall with fondness the late Limerick TD Jim Kemmy’s introduction of her and The Cranberries to me, and the pride he and so many others took in their successes. To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts her death will be a big loss.”

“The band are floored but it’s of course her family we’re all thinking of right now,” U2 said in a statement. “Out of the West came this storm of a voice – she had such strength of conviction, yet she could speak to the fragility in all of us. Limerick’s ‘Bel canto.'”

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She was raised as a Catholic. Her mother chose her daughter’s name in honour of Our Lady of the Dolours. Ms O’Riordan admired Pope John Paul II. After meeting him, Ms O’Riordan said: “(He) was lovely, very saintly. I was mad about him. I thought he really cared for the poor and he loved to meet the people. I saw him when he came to Limerick, when I was a kid. So it was pretty mindblowing to take my mum out to meet him.” She met Pope John Paul II twice, in 2001 and 2002.

She performed at the invitation of Pope Francis in 2013 at the Vatican’s Christmas concert. Ms O’Riordan said in 2013 her faith as one of her greatest musical influences. “The Church influenced a lot of my development as an artist and as a musician. I learned an awful lot of my music through the church and stuff like that. For me It’s always been a good thing, a positive thing in my life,” she said.

To read the Rolling Stone article, click HERE.

To read the Catholic Leader article, click HERE.

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Bono, St. Paul, King David and Rolling Stone

* The person who wrote best about love in the Christian era was Paul of Tarsus, who became Saint Paul. He was a tough f**ker. He is a superintellectual guy, but he is fierce and he has, of course, the Damascene experience. He goes off and lives as a tentmaker. He starts to preach, and he writes this ode to love, which everybody knows from his letter to the Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. . . . Love bears all things, love believes all things” – you hear it at a lot of weddings. How do you write these things when you are at your lowest ebb? ‘Cause I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t deepen myself. I am looking to somebody like Paul, who was in prison and writing these love letters and thinking, “How does that happen? It is amazing.”

* I read the Psalms of David all the time. They are amazing. He is the first bluesman, shouting at God, “Why did this happen to me?” But there’s honesty in that too. . . . And, of course, he looked like Elvis. If you look at Michelangelo’s sculpture, don’t you think David looks like Elvis?

[Rolling Stone] He’s a great beauty.
It is also annoying that he is the most famous Jew in the world and they gave him an uncircumcised . . . that’s just crazy. But, anyway, he is a very attractive character. Dances naked in front of the troops. His wife is pissed off with him for doing so. You sense you might like him, but he does some terrible things as he wanders through four phases – servant, poet, warrior, king. Terrible things. He is quite a modern figure in terms of his contradictions. . . . Is this boring? Continue reading

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