By Eric Marrapodi and Tom Foreman, CNN
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Baltimore (CNN) - The capacity crowd at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore is bouncing in unison to the most widely sung music on the planet today. The catwalk above the arena is shaking.
Chris Tomlin grabs the microphone and asks the crowd if they’re ready.
"I feel alive, on God's great dance floor!" He leads the packed venue in singing and jumping.
Tomlin is out touring the country with his latest studio album, “Burning Lights.” In January, it topped the Billboard 200 charts. But unlike those who've enjoyed performances by Beyonce, Johnny Cash and a host of others who've played this Baltimore hall, after these fans stream out the doors they will have ample opportunity to sing Tomlin's songs again, as one.
That is the secret to Tomlin’s success – the stage, the lights, the band - aren’t about him. As lively as his shows are, the point is not to get you inside the doors. The point is to get you singing in church.
“I strive for trying to write something that people can sing, that people want to sing, and that people need to sing,” Tomlin explained before the show.
By Josh Rubin, CNN
Austin, Texas (CNN)– As the Catholic world focuses on Rome and awaits a new pope, the secular world has turned its attention to Austin, Texas, for the annual pilgrimage of tech and music.
This weekend marks the start of the 20th annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival, an event with the goal of “fostering creative and professional growth.” For five days, some of the world’s brightest minds will commune, collaborate and experiment.
With its live music, free-flowing alcohol, and hook-up culture, SXSW has developed a reputation as being a spring break for nerds. There’s even an app by Qpid.me that lets attendees share medical records to prove their STD-free status.
But there is more to it than pure bacchanalia.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.