On Christmas Eve, before eating the roast beast, my family reads the Nativity story found in Luke. Verses 1-2: “At that time Emporer Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. When the first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria.” Matthew 2 explains King Herod felt threatened that . . . → Read More: Let’s Get Serious and Start Helping Syrian Refugees, by Mark Erickson
Wheaton College is a nondenominational evangelical Christian institution located in the Western suburbs of Chicago that maintains a special relationship with the Reverend Billy Graham (currently 97 years old). Wheaton operates the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, The Billy Graham Museum and Archives, and the Billy Graham Scholarship Program. According to a website called . . . → Read More: Do We Really Worship the Same God? By Mark Erickson
Imari Tones, “The First Christian Heavy Metal Band from Japan”, is releasing their new album, Revive The World on October 20th. This album is a result of their years of touring and playing both in Japan and USA, including their independently executed “We Are Okay, We Rock Tour 2011”, their inclusion in USA . . . → Read More: Imari Tones Seek to Revive the World
If 1970’s Journey in Satchidananda was a game changer for you – then prepare yourself for this obscure 1982 ‘cassette only’ release just out on CD. Alice Coltrane‘s vocals are ‘other worldly’ as if she made up her own language (in the form of Vedic Chants) – it’s a spiritual message drowned in a . . . → Read More: Alice Coltrane – Turiya Sings, by Pat Thomas
A 12th century painting of Esther and Ahashuerus at a banquet, with a pretzel.
Giving up something for Lent? A dessert? TV? Facebook? The 8th-century characters in my novels would envy you.
Early medieval Christians took Lent seriously. No meat. No eggs. No dairy. Only one meal a day around 3 p.m., and that . . . → Read More: People in the Dark Ages Would Think Our Lent Was Easy, by Kim Rendfeld
Fat Tuesday. We jump to observe indulgence for indulgence sake. For some, overdoing is where Mardi Gras begins and ends. It may not cross our minds to detox from a decadence for a period of time, afterwards. Or pick up a habit that has the equivalent result. At the very least, we might not . . . → Read More: The Last Laugh. Mike Bocchetti: A Lenten Profile, by Elizabeth Hoberg
Lorsch Gospel, produced during the Carolingian era
Religion plays a central role in the lives of my early medieval characters, but portraying Christianity in the days of Charlemagne takes more than having prayers in Latin. Here are a five aspects of Christianity in this period that might surprise you.
Midwives could baptize newborns . . . → Read More: Five Surprising Facts about Christianity in the Dark Ages, by Kim Rendfeld
In our church, it’s the local obstetrician who can be counted on to bless the congregation by singing a spirited version of this song during the Advent season. (My lovely wife and I call him “Dr. MaryDidYouKnow?” and have often marveled at his spectacular sports car in the congregational parking lot.) I’ve always assumed . . . → Read More: Pentatonix – Mary Did You Know?
Random thoughts at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from a husband of someone with Stage IV breast cancer: 1. There are no losers in the “battle;” some just run out of time. 2. There are an awful lot of people with breast cancer out there, women (and men), who have go through . . . → Read More: Random thoughts at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from a husband of someone with Stage IV breast cancer, by Steve Stav
This is a sad story about life and mental illness in the great city of Chicago.
Approximately 15 years ago, Pastor Arthur A. R. Nelson invited an Iranian immigrant, Farhad Khoiee-Abbasi, to worship at North Park Covenant Church, located in Chicago, Illinois. Farhad, an engineer by training, became a Christian and an active church . . . → Read More: From Church Pew to Daley Plaza, the Tragic Descent of Chicago’s Troubled “Sign Guy” by Mark Erickson
I heard a stirring version of “For Those Tears I Died” at Sunnyside SDA church today and decided to follow up on it. This morning’s female vocalist, accompanied by a pianist, sang so beautifully I could have been in tears. The tune was enormously popular in Christian circles in the 1970s, so much so . . . → Read More: Children of the Day – For Those Tears I Died
This is beautiful. Rev. C. L. Franklin is the father of Aretha. His spoken word recordings of sermons were first released to great acclaim in the 1950s by famed Chicago blues recording company, Chess Records. In this clip the Reverend is singing, and quite well, thank you.
This is quoted directly from the video description, “A coalition of satanic players have mounted a cunning, occult attack on Christianity, and every moral system, through the entertainment industry. Music and entertainment play a major role in Satan’s plan to destroy Christians, yet many are oblivious to the clever and effective ways by which . . . → Read More: Anchors of Truth – Unclean Spirits – Pastor John Lomacang
This was really before my time, but I vaguely remember seeing it on TV at some point. You’ve got to hear the trumpeters play “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Also, Goliath’s voice and sardonic dog comments are fantastic.
Davey and Goliath Wikipedia Page
These two are cousins from General Santos City in the Philippines. Their names are Aldrich Lloyd Talonding and James Walter Bucong. One of their early Youtube videos went viral and they were invited to come to the US to perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show, where they were given gifts of money and instruments. . . . → Read More: Rooftops – Aldrich and James
This Yahoo TV article features other recent footage in which Angus T. Jones advises viewers to stop watching “Two and a Half Men,” a show which he describes as “filth.”
My church arranged speakers over the four Sundays preceding the national election to facilitate discussion concerning “Christian Faith and this Year’s Election Issues.” Last Sunday, retired North Park University Professor of New Testament, Dr. Cal Katter, focused on the dire economic issue of America’s widening gap between the rich and everyone else. Dr. Katter . . . → Read More: Please Pray Before You Vote, By Mark Erickson
How is it that Mavis Staples put a record out and I can’t find it on EPB?
Mavis Staples, of the first family of American singers (the Cash-Carter clan is a close second, but cannot sing as well) released an excellent album of mostly Gospel tunes in 2010 called, “You Are not Alone.” . . . → Read More: Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy – Wrote a Song For Everyone, By Ron Swanson
Amazing. Uncanny. Unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Ya gotta listen.
– Peter Stampfel