Bob Dylan: “I couldn’t be that hellfire rock ’n’ roller. But I could write hellfire lyrics.”

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Bob Dylan: When I was growing up, Billy Graham was very popular. He was the greatest preacher and evangelist of my time — that guy could save souls and did. I went to two or three of his rallies in the ’50s or ’60s. This guy was like rock ’n’ roll personified — volatile, explosive. He had the hair, the tone, the elocution — when he spoke, he brought the storm down. Clouds parted. Souls got saved, sometimes 30- or 40,000 of them. If you ever went to a Billy Graham rally back then, you were changed forever. There’s never been a preacher like him. He could fill football stadiums before anybody. He could fill Giants Stadium more than even the Giants football team. Seems like a long time ago. Long before Mick Jagger sang his first note or Brucestrapped on his first guitar — that’s some of the part of rock ’n’ roll that I retained. I had to. I saw Billy Graham in the flesh and heard him loud and clear.

21george-articleLargeTo read the entire AARP interview with Bob Dylan, click HERE.

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Prince’s Holy Lust

By Touré (New York Times)

LET me tell you why “Adore” is the central song in the Prince canon. Because in “Adore” you get the commingling of two keys to understanding the man and his music: his sexuality and his spirituality.

In the second verse he paints the picture: “When we be making love / I only hear the sounds / Heavenly angels crying up above / Tears of joy pouring down on us / They know we need each other.” They’re having sex under a sprinkling of angel tears, which are flowing because of the angels’ admiration of their love.

This is the erotic intertwined with the divine. The Judeo-Christian ethic seems to demand that sexuality and spirituality be walled off from each other, but in Prince’s personal cosmology, they were one. Sex to him was part of a spiritual life. The God he worshiped wants us to have passionate and meaningful sex.

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Where music meets religion: Spending a night with Prince

Prince-purple-RainPrince, who has died at 57, joined Times pop music critic Ann Powers for a rare in-person interview in 2009 to talk about music, technology, religion and more. This story originally ran in The Los Angeles Times on Jan. 11, 2009.

Rockin’ the limo, boudoir ballads, Prop. 8, Barry White, sex, faith, Pro Tools. Was it a dream?

It was 11 p.m. on the night before New Year’s Eve, and I was doing something I hadn’t expected would crown my 2008: sitting in Prince’s limousine as the legend lounged beside me, playing unreleased tracks on the stereo. “This is my car for Minneapolis,” he said before excusing himself to let me judge a few songs in private. “It’s great for listening to music.” He laughed. “I don’t do drugs or I’d give you a joint. That’s what this record is.”

To read Ann Powers’ entire Los Angeles Times article, click HERE.

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Prince Covers Christian Singer-Songwriter for New Song ‘What If’

prince-3rdeyegirl-press-2014-billboard-650Always a man with a surprise up his sleeve (was anyone anticipating his first acting credit in years to be on New Girl?), Prince‘s new song is probably not what you’d expect from the Purple One.

Prince and 3rdEyeGirl released an electric guitar-heavy cover of Christian singer-songwriter Nichole Nordeman’s “What If,” a song that embraces the closely-knit relationship between doubt and faith.

Nordeman is a regular on the Christian music scene: Not only did she contribute a track to the Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narinia album, but she wrote a song for VeggieTales called “Sweetpea Beauty.” In case you’re unfamiliar, VeggieTales is a children’s cartoon about anthropomorphic produce who sing and relay morality tales.

To read entire Billboard story, click HERE.

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Prince, RIP

prince copy

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Purple Faith: Prince’s Life as a Jehovah’s Witness

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.27.28 PMPrince was raised a Seventh-Day Adventist in Minneapolis frequently attending services with his grandmother at Glendale Church, a historically African-American congregation in the city. “Both of his parents believed in the strict faith as did Bernadette Anderson, who took him in after he left home,” Touré writes in his book about Prince, I Would Die 4 U. Religion informed every part of his life: He told PBS that he informed his mother an angel told him he would no longer suffer from the epileptic seizures that plagued his early childhood.

To read entire article in People, click HERE.

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Alice Cooper Interviews Anne Rice on Religion, Vampires, Tom Cruise & Pot

alice-cooper-bloodstock-2012-billboard-650Alice Cooper is a longtime fan of novelist and fellow Christian Anne Rice, whose Christ of Lord: Out of Egypt has been turned into The Young Messiah, a movie that opened this week. When the filmmakers arranged for a screening of the film for Cooper and wife Sheryl, they decided it would be fun to let the rocker interview the writer.

Read Cooper’s full interview with the Vampire author HERE. Provided below is the first and last question and answer of the interview.

Alice Cooper: Was Memnoch the Devil written before or after your conversion to Catholicism? Am I correct in assuming what I read about your conversion?
Anne Riche:
 Memnoch was written before I returned to the Roman Catholic Church. I think the novel reflects a Catholic upbringing, a Catholic obsession with questions of meaning, a need to explore theologies and question them stridently. I remember including every major question I had, and when Lestat rejected the entire Christian system, as it was presented to him, his decision reflected my attitude. I don’t know what you read about my conversion. I can tell you that I returned to the church of my childhood in December of 1998. I gave up pondering theological absurdities and doctrines, and decided to leave it all to a higher power. I sought to go back to the fold, to the church I knew best, to the Eucharist, and I truly believed that doctrine and theology simply did not matter. What mattered was faith in God and loving God. Twelve years later I came to believe I was mistaken. Or that my approach did not work any longer for me. I left all organized religion in 2010.


nm_anne_rice_100729_mnEveryone puts their faith in something or someone. Where would you say your faith lives?
My faith lives in my novels, of course. It lives in every word I write. It lives in my novels about Jesus. Though I’ve moved away from institutional Christianity and organized religion — and all its theological strife — my devotion to Jesus remains fierce. My faith blazes in my vampire novels, and in the Witching Hour series, and even in the erotica I’ve written. I believe that people are basically good as Anne Frank put it; I believe the creation is basically good and beautiful; I believe that sex is beautiful and good. I believe our capacity to love, to know pleasure, to want to live lives of meaning — all this reflects the existence of a loving and personal Creator. I dream of all things human being reconciled in our ethical institutions and moral institutions; I dream of all of us being redeemed in every way. This is why the story of the Incarnation is so important to me, the story of Jesus being born amongst us, growing up amongst us, working and sweating and struggling as we do, and dying amongst us before he rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. I write about outsiders seeking redemption in one form or another and always will.

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David Bowie taught us the limitless potential of renewal

3297558By Chris Richards

Mourning David Bowie requires tremendous energy because there are so many David Bowies to mourn. The lost cosmonaut. The alien balladeer. The pansexual glamourpuss. The rake. The maestro. The fashionista. The freak. He was humanity’s ultimate and most giving rock star. A chameleon bearing gifts.

For five decades, Bowie — who died Sunday at age 69 — reimagined himself over and over again, colorfully implying that music should change while quietly insisting that human beings can change. In that sense, Bowie’s mutations were a manifestation of his generosity. Being yourself is fine, but being every iteration of yourself is living. Renewal is possible. Still. Always.

To read the entire Washington Post article, click HERE

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Did a prayer meeting really bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War?

The date 9 November 1989 is etched in history as the day the Berlin Wall came down. But was it actually a prayer meeting held exactly one month earlier that made the fall of the Wall inevitable? Ignoring death threats and huge banks of armed police, thousands gathered at St Nicholas Church in the East German city of Leipzig on 9 October to pray for peace. The congregation then joined an estimated crowd of 70,000 on a protest march against the country’s communist regime.

It was the largest impromptu demonstration ever witnessed in East Germany, but this was no spontaneous flash mob. It was the culmination of years of weekly prayer meetings organised by Christian Führer, the pastor of St Nicholas.

So how did the church end up playing such a prominent political role under an atheist regime? Disillusioned with the Berlin Wall, the physical fault line of the ongoing Cold Warand the repressive East German regime, Pastor Führer began organising Prayers for Peace every Monday evening, beginning in 1982.

On many occasions fewer than a dozen people attended the prayer meetings. The East German government strongly discouraged its citizens from becoming involved in religious activities, but the meetings continued each Monday without fail.

Continue reading HERE.

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By Andy Frye, ESPN

Loren Mutch of Rose City. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

Loren Mutch of Rose City. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

When Shaina Serelson took up roller derby in 2011 in her hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, she wasn’t exactly thinking about someday playing in a World Cup. Or battling the best skaters in the world for the prestigious Hydra Trophy. But her newfound passion for the world’s fastest-growing team sport gripped her even back then. And it wasn’t just because roller skating is fun.

“Being an athlete is about working hard, learning and loving every moment of it,” Serelson said. Last year in the 2014 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championships, her current team, the Rose City Wheels of Justice, came within three points of knocking off roller derby’s Goliath, Gotham Girls Roller Derby from New York City.

“I think being an athlete also means not getting caught up in the past, or regrets over winning and losing,” Serelson said. “Heartbreak is part of it too, but so is the joy of getting to play the game again and again.”

In the 10 years that the WFTDA has run first a national, and then international, championship, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds, reeling in women from all parts of the world. For the second year in a row, Serelson’s team met Gotham, the five-time international roller derby champions, in the final bout of the WFTDA championships. This time, Serelson, a former hockey player, is now captain of the world champions.

To read rest of story, click HERE.

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