Whether or not we kick the football

The Peanuts Movie currently in  theaters is a critical and commercial hit, and it brings back to mind the genius of cartoonist Charles Schulz.  I stumbled upon a great quotation from Schulz–a devout Christian–about humor, happiness, grace, and faith. [Read more…]

See this Lucas Cranach video

In Germany there is a big revival of interest in Lucas Cranach as an artist.  You have got to see this video based on an exhibit in Weimar.  It includes remarkable closeups of Cranach’s famous altarpiece in the Weimar church, the one with the artist’s self-portrait inserted into a Crucifixion scene, with Christ’s blood–thanks to Luther’s preaching and what happens in Holy Communion at this altar–arcing onto the artist’s head.

See the video after the jump.  It’s in German, but that doesn’t matter!  (Those of you who understand German, please tell us some of the points made in the video.) [Read more…]

Mary, Did You Know?

As I’ve said before, the great challenge for an artist–whether an author, musician, painter, or whatever–in depicting Jesus Christ is how to portray Him as both God and Man.  In Christmas art, some work portrays Him in His humanness as a cute little baby.  Other work, such as the classic icons, show the Child as transcendent God.  Both are fine, conveying profound truths about who Christ is.  But the very best art about Christ somehow evokes BOTH His divinity and His humanity.

I have a candidate, a contemporary Christmas song, that pulls this off:  Mary, Did You Know? by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Here are the lyrics.  After the jump, a video of my favorite performance of the song, the haunting version by Kathy Mattea. [Read more…]

Cranach’s “Christ Blessing the Children”

One of my favorite Cranach paintings is “Christ Blessing the Children.”  See a discussion after the break.

Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder_Christ_blessing_the_Children,_Frankfurt_am_Main,_Städel_Museum

 

HT:  Rev. Anthony R. Voltattorni, Young Children Saying The Same Thing As Christ | Alien Righteousness.  (Read this post for a modern-day application.)

[Read more…]

Round churches vs. linear churches

Much contemporary church architecture features sanctuaries “in the round,” so that the worshippers can see each other.  Traditional churches are linear, with a sequence of spaces facing the altar.  (Actually, the super-traditional churches are also cruciform, with the congregation coming together in the Cross.)  After the jump, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a Roman Catholic priest, critiques “round churches” and traces the linear design back to the Bible and its requirements for the Temple and the Tabernacle. [Read more…]

My new book on the imagination

 I have published a new book, one that I collaborated on with Matt Ristuccia, an evangelical pastor in Princeton.  It’s called Imagination Redeemed:  Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind. 

The imagination often gets mystified these days with its association with the arts and creativity.  We get into those areas in the book, but we are trying to recover a much more basic understanding of the concept.  The imagination is simply the power of our minds to conjure up mental images.  When you use your memory to recall past experiences, when you make plans for the future by visualizing what you are going to do tomorrow, when you daydream, when you dream, when you fantasize, when your consciousness is just running on neutral, you are using your imagination.

There have been quite a lot of Christian reflection on the faculty of the mind known as reason.  Other mental powers such as the emotions and the will have gotten significant attention.  But there has not been that much lately on the imagination, which, arguably we use more than any of the other mental faculties.  Older theologians, however, from Augustine to Luther, did address the imagination, as we go into.  After the jump, I will explain some of  what this book gets into and has to offer. [Read more…]


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