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Family valued - 4.26.06 

He doesn't look a day over 399

Rembrandt at CornellUniversity. It just doesn't get any classier than that.


Rembrandt at 400, an intimate exhibit of richly detailed etchings, runs through June 18 at Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, less than two hours from Rochester. A videotaped introduction explains similarities between Rembrandt's society and ours. Like 17th century Holland, present-day America is primarily urban and secular. But the similarities don't end there. As my 12-year-old observes, "Rembrandt's etchings were the hi-def TV of their day."

Rembrandt's subjects --- they include children and landscapes --- are easy for kids to relate to. My kid liked the show so much that he didn't even try to start a fire with the complimentary magnifying glasses supplied to enhance our viewing enjoyment.

Seeing lines remaining from a first draft of a bed in The Death of the Virgin or inconsistencies in the sides of a doorway in Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door provides one of those teachable moments. If Rembrandt can make mistakes, it's no big thing for kids to try something and not succeed.

Designed by I.M. Pei, the museum's unusual architecture alone is worth the drive. My son says, "I like the third-floor patio. You can see across the campus, or spy on people eating at the (museum's ground-floor) café through cutouts in the floor."

Celebrate Rembrandt's 400th birthday at the Johnson Museum of Art on May 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. Highlights include family art activities, 17th century Dutch music, a museum tour, birthday cake, and "Rembrandt Ripple" ice cream. When I was in college, ripple was something we drank. But then again, I went to a SUNY school. Museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info at or call 607-255-6464.

--- Linda Kostin

Messed-up Messiahs

...and Pontius Pilate asked, "What is truth?" - John 18:38

I was shocked to see "Rev." Fred Phelps on national TV, spouting anti-gay venom outside memorial services for our war dead. Like most Americans, I had no idea military funerals were still allowed in this country.

In a world where religion is often marked by irrational fear and our government won't publicly mourn fallen soldiers, what is truth?

Years ago, a broadcast colleague accused me on air of being Pollyanna. "How would you report a nuclear attack, Corey?!?" he shouted into his microphone. After a long pause I quietly answered: "It will be hot today, but expect a good stiff breeze."

Defending religion feels eerily similar these days. With irrational, end-times-intoxicated Crusaders and hair-trigger Islamists seemingly in charge, why does my family still turn to organized religion? I think it's because that's where we name our weaknesses before a God who expects better from us. Human sin leads me to doubt humanity, not God. My children understand and appreciate the logic of that. We go to church and grow more wise and self-aware.

Oswald Chambers once wrote that we repeatedly look for God to exhibit justice to us, when God insists on exhibiting justice through us. If I want to see God work in the world, I shouldn't watch the skies for conquering messiahs. I should go to the mirror. That's God's preferred medium staring back at me. Hey, isn't that the real Judas in there, too?

--- Rev. Corey Keyes

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