The Ugliest Churches in the World?

Is your church listed as one of the 35 ugliest churches in the world?  Nicholas G. Hahn, editor at RealClearReligion, has assembled a slide show of what he considers houses of worship that are “bizarre, weird, dumb, and gross. ”  These come from virtually all theological traditions.  Hahn says, “There is something to be said of the effect truly bad architecture has on a worshiper, but that’s for another time.”  We might as well take the time here.  Given that the Word of God can be truly preached in any kind of building, what harm can be done by bad architecture in a church?

For the slideshow go to RealClearReligion – The Ugliest Churches in the World – The Ugliest Churches in the World. [Read more...]

Beauty and Difficulty

Thanks to Prof. Scott Ashmon of Concordia University Irvine for alerting me to this quotation from Philip Melanchthon:

“What is beautiful may be difficult.”

(“On Correcting the Studies of Youth” in A Melanchthon Reader, ed. Ralph Keen [New York: Peter Lang, 1988], 54, 56.)

Where is this evident?  How might this principle be applied?

The Great or Not-so-great Gatsby?

Words and images are two different media, so a novel and a movie are two different kinds of art forms.  Sometimes a good written story can be told visually, but if what makes the novel good is its language, that may not translate at all into motion pictures.  I don’t know if the movie version of The Great Gatsby (in 3-D, no less!) is worthy of Fitzgerald’s novel or if it might possibly be a good movie in its own right.  I haven’t seen it, so you tell me.

But I was struck with this example of a genre in its own right, the movie review, by a master of the form, Rex Reed, who eviscerates the Gatsby movie with razor-sharp words: [Read more...]

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief died. perhaps the best-known American dancer in the field of ballet.  I confess to not following that particular art-form, though I’ve seen a few ballets and was quite impressed with them.  I want to honor Maria Tallchief here because she was a fellow Northern Oklahoman, born in Fairfax in the Osage Nation.  I drive through the Osage countryside virtually every time I go back home, and in my opinion it’s among the most beautiful landscapes in Oklahoma.

The story of how a young girl from an Indian reservation in the 1930′s went from dancing at rodeos to the New York City Ballet is quite a tale. [Read more...]

Bach’s “Passion” as online meditation

Bach is among the very greatest of Christian artists, and his “St. Matthew Passion” is considered one of his greatest works.  It is an oratorio, something like an opera, that sets to music Matthew’s account of the crucifixion of Christ (Chapters 26-27), with soloists singing the lines of the various characters and magnificent choral music, all punctuated with Bach’s rendition of Lenten hymns (many of which we still sing today) and remarkable verse by Bach himself responding to Christ’s sacrifice.

My colleague Steve McCollum alerted me to an online resource that makes this masterpiece of musical devotion accessible online:  Oregon Bach Festival » Digital Bach Project » St. Matthew Passion.  It gives the English translation, as well as the Biblical sources and the dramatic script, for each line as the oratorio unfolds.  Click the link, then when you see the painting of St. Matthew, hit the play button.  It’s divided into five 30-minute segments, which makes it an excellent Holy Week devotion.  [Read more...]

The mystery of the stolen masterpieces

Twenty-three years ago, thieves dressed like police officers robbed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, taking 13 masterpieces of the world’s art.  One of them is one of my favorite paintings:  Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”  (I love the turmoil and struggle of the disciples who are looking away from Jesus trying to right their own ship, contrasted with the serenity of those looking to Jesus.  And the composition of the painting, in which all of the lines point through the darkness to Him.)  Anyway, if you bought this painting out of the trunk of someone’s car and have it hanging in your rec room, beware.  The FBI is saying they are close to solving the case.

 

Details about the case after the jump. [Read more...]


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