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October 20th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

CNN exclusive: Chris Tomlin's new music video

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN)– One of the most popular artists on the planet, Chris Tomlin, is about to release a new music video, and CNN's Belief Blog has an exclusive first look.

Next week Tomlin is releasing a deluxe CD/DVD edition of his chart-topping album "Burning Lights."

The CNN Belief Blog is the only place you can see Tomlin's new video, "God's Great Dance Floor," filmed live at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

In March, we profiled the popular Christian singer, whose songs are sung by as many as 30 million people each week at churches across the country.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Music

Opinion: Billy Graham's other voice
George Beverly Shea sings "How Great Thou Art" to 54,000 people at a Billy Graham crusade in 2003.
April 21st, 2013
01:53 PM ET

Opinion: Billy Graham's other voice

Editor's note: CNN Contributor Bob Greene is a best-selling author whose 25 books include "Late Edition: A Love Story"; "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War"; and "Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen."

By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor

(CNN) – Devoted fans.

Faithful listeners.

Seldom have those words sounded quite so apt.

They describe the people who enjoyed the singing of George Beverly Shea, who died last week at the age of 104. The name may not be instantly recognizable to some Americans, but that was no fault of his. He accomplished something very few vocalists can claim: During his career, he sang in front of an estimated 200 million people in live performance.

How could this be?

FULL COMMENTARY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Billy Graham • Christianity • Evangelical • Leaders • Music • Opinion

March 20th, 2013
04:54 PM ET

Christian rapper's raw lyrics about racism stir controversy

By Keith Lovely Jr., CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Christian recording artists often shy away from controversial subjects in their music and cautiously avoid the use of harsh language, but Christian hip-hop artist Amisho “Sho Baraka” Lewis wanted to do just the opposite with his latest album.

The Atlanta-based 33-year-old’s latest album “Talented Xth” champions not just a picture of Christian salvation but also focuses on education, relationships and social change - all filtered through a biblical worldview.

He told CNN the goal of the album is to challenge listeners to “be exceptional for the benefit of others.”

The album’s title is based on a principle championed by activist, professor and sociologist W.E.B DuBois.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Georgia • Music • United States

March 9th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Chris Tomlin, king of the sing-along

By Eric Marrapodi and Tom Foreman, CNN

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Faith Now • Music

January 9th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

My Take: An open letter to Justin Bieber

Editor's Note: Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of four books including her latest, BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. Find Cathleen on Twitter @godgrrl or on Facebook.

By Cathleen Falsani, Special to CNN

Chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self ~ Ice Cube

Dear Justin,

Please consider this a well-being check from someone who genuinely cares about you: Me.

Let me begin by saying that I am for you. I have studied you and your career since you stepped into the public spotlight as an adolescent. You are a gift to the world – to your family, your friends and your tens of millions of devoted fans.

Sweetheart, here’s the thing (and this is an “and,” not a “but”): I’m worried about you. It’s not that you smoke pot (or anything else). It’s what that choice and behavior means.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music • My Take • Uncategorized

Q and A with Matisyahu: 'Hasidic reggae superstar' sans the Hasidim
Singer Matisyahu, pictured on a March trip to Israel, is currently on tour in the US.
December 26th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Q and A with Matisyahu: 'Hasidic reggae superstar' sans the Hasidim

By Dan Merica and Eric Weisbrod, CNN

Washington (CNN)–
It has been a year since Matisyahu, the famed Hasidic reggae star, shaved his beard, separated from his devout following of Orthodox Judaism and said he was ready for a "rebirth."

Since that time, he has produced new music including a recently released album, "Spark Seeker" and is ready to stop talking about his big change. Of course, we asked him about it anyway.

In his view, it was his decision to get into Hasidism and it was his decision to get out.

The beardless, but still scruffy, artist is touring the country with a show that included lighting a menorah during Hanukkah. We caught up with him in Washington to talk about his album, his new take on Judaism and how his life has changed in the last year.

The following is an edited transcript of our conversation. FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Faith Now • Judaism • Music

August 2nd, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Snoop Dogg is a Rasta now, so what's Rastafari?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Rapper Snoop Dogg announced Monday that he's burying his name and old career, all because of a religious experience with Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion with origins in Jamaica. Snoop Dogg wants to be called Snoop Lion and instead of rapping on his latest album now he'll be singing reggae.

"I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion," he said at a Monday press conference. "I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the high priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.'

"From that moment on," Snoop said, "it's like I had started to understand why I was there."

Snoop Lion has a new single, "La la la," and a documentary "Reincarnated," which follows his recent trip to Jamaica and chronicles his conversion experience. It debuts at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

So what exactly is Rastafari? Here are some basic questions and answers:

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Americas • Culture & Science • Faith Now • Media • Music • Race

June 28th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Lee Greenwood: America is Christian

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Music

Why is obscure Bible verse from Exodus trending on Twitter?
Rapper Pusha T, far left, has a song out that takes its name from a verse in Exodus.
May 24th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Why is obscure Bible verse from Exodus trending on Twitter?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – It’s not every day a Bible verse lights up social media, but a relatively obscure verse from the Hebrew Bible what Christians call the Old Testament was trending on Twitter worldwide Thursday.

The verse, Exodus 23:1, offers this admonition: “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.” (New Revised Standard Version)

It comes in a section following Moses’ bringing the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai. "Exodus 23:1" also is the title of a new song from rapper Pusha T, which may explain why it’s trending.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Music

April 7th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Country star Merle Haggard on religion, poverty and family

By Denise Quan, CNN

(CNN)–Merle Haggard calls himself a walking miracle and credits God for keeping him healthy. He spent his 21st birthday in San Quentin State Prison for attempted robbery. He'll celebrate this birthday surrounded by family and friends at his home in Palo Cedro, California. For the remainder of April, he'll travel around the country, playing new songs and old such hits like "Mama Tried" and "Okie From Muskogee."

In a rare and unflinching interview with CNN, the man critics have dubbed "Poet of the Common Man" sounds off on religion, poverty, politics, health and family.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith Now • Music

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About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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