Art and Karma: A Report from India

I spent last week in Hyderabad, India leading an arts in ministry track at the fourth annual India YCL Conference sponsored in part by One Hope, one of the more exciting and intellectually dynamic missions organizations in North America. Founded by Bob Hoskins in 1987 and located in Pompano Beach, Florida, the mission of the organization [Read More...]

Art after the Fifth Grade and beyond Sunday School

  I am in Hyderabad, India to lead a track on arts and ministry design at the YCL (Young Creative Leaders) conference, and I look forward to sharing my reflections on the conference in the weeks to come. But for now, I’ve reprinted (and slightly revised) a book review that appeared in Comment magazine in [Read More...]

Concluding Thoughts on Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade has been an easy target for art critics. But my decision to write about his work, with “The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade” and the “The Final Word on Thomas Kinkade,” was an attempt to explore a different path toward understanding the challenges that it posed to my work as an art critic [Read More...]

Art and Grace

Andrei Tarkovsky, The Passion of Andrei Rublev (1966) Grace and Sacrament Grace is known through experience, not through description, analysis, definition. Grace is heard, seen, and felt. It is aesthetic, opening and expanding our experience of the world, which becomes, as Lutheran theologian Oswald Bayer describes it, “breadth, breath and liberation.” It is the pastor [Read More...]

LIBERATE Launches Today

  When I am not writing about art, culture, and theology here at Patheos, I serve as Director of Theological & Cultural Practices at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and my chief responsibility is curator of LIBERATE, the online resource ministry of Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. The website launches this afternoon at [Read More...]

The Ear and the Eye

Makoto Fujimura, The Golden Sea, 64 x 80, mineral pigments and gold on Kumohada paper, 2011   I recently spent the weekend with artist Makoto Fujimura at his new studio in Princeton, New Jersey, and in the course of our conversations, some of which were videotaped for a documentary, we discussed the presence of grace [Read More...]

The Final Word on Thomas Kinkade

  Thomas Kinkade My theological analysis of Thomas Kinkade’s work (“The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade”) was an attempt to make sense of my abiding discomfort with his work as well as respond to my dissatisfaction with the commentary it has generated over the years. Neither his supporters nor his critics have offered compelling arguments. [Read More...]

The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade

Hans Holbein the Younger, The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb, 1520-22, oil on panel, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel. In The Idiot (1869), Dostoyevsky’s Prince Mishkin notices a reproduction of Holbein’s Dead Christ on the wall in Rogozhin’s house, and observes that it has the power to make one lose their Christian faith. The [Read More...]

The Scream, a Stuffed Shark, and the Insecurity of Culture

Last week I took the opportunity of the record sale at auction of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece, The Scream (1895) to reflect on Munch and his work from a theological perspective. But the auctions themselves, which achieved record prices for several artists, raise their own set of theological questions that are more productive and interesting than most [Read More...]

The Scream

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895 Last week one of Edvard Munch’s four versions of The Scream (1895) sold at auction for a record price of $120 million. An icon of modernism, The Scream was made by a truly great but complicated artist whose remarkable body of work produced throughout his sixty-year career put a sizable [Read More...]


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