God Has Got to Be Real

God became man, so that man might become God. —St. Athanasius

What you find-ah / What you feel now / What you know-a / To be real —Cheryl Lynn

God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk. —Meister Eckhart

  4263672054_5944202e15_zBy Caroline Langston

How do you talk about God to people who don’t believe that he even exists?

The strategies of argument, of theodicy, would seem to have worn thin at this cultural juncture. The old C.S. Lewis argument about Jesus having to be a liar, a lunatic, or who he said he was rings fairly hollow in a world where everyone seems to have gone mad.

I am not much given to arguing, anyhow. I am grown weary by the low metaphysical ceilings of my Christian brothers and sisters, both conservatives and liberals: the punishing and endless quests toward notions of purity (on the Right) and social justice (on the Left)—as though these mediated theologies were nothing more than elaborated means of sorting and exclusion.

Which is not to say that I do not believe that we are somehow excused from repenting of Structural Sins, or that I think the country is just fine the way it is. But too often, there is plenty of posturing and in-group signaling—even around such fun Christian buzz-phrases as the recently popular avowal that “We are all broken.”

And yet I find God unexpectedly breaks through, nonetheless. Here, offered for your consideration, are three (true) stories, encounters (for who else are the members of God’s body, but us, even when we don’t yet know it?): [Read more...]

The Eighth Day: Reclaiming a Neglected Novel

3220989233_da89ced170_zIt must be a common occurrence—having certain inanimate things make periodic appearances throughout a life, much like acquaintances who keep popping up in odd places—on the bus, in a crowd, across a room. They’re noticed, but barely so; the conscious mind remarks upon them—“There’s that thing again”—then moves on until they reappear, stepping out from the flood of experience with a gentle tug at the sleeve.

When I was a boy, a paperback copy of Thornton Wilder’s The Eighth Day would appear like this. I remember it on a table; I remember it in a box; the last time I recall seeing it, the book lay on the floor of a garage closet. It was a thick little text, with a cover that bore a sunrise in a yellowish cast and a title in Ten Commandment-size font. Still, I don’t remember ever thumbing through it. At some point, it must have been thrown away; it disappeared and has never resurfaced.

Not physically, at least; but later on, as though it had evanesced into the spiritual world in order to permeate the weightless atmosphere of the mind, someone mentioned the book to me. I was told that a novel I’d written (as yet unpublished) had put her in mind of it. Flattered, amused that the old paperback visitor had come to call once again, I began to use the comparison myself. [Read more...]

A Conversation with Artist Natalie Settles, Part 2

chimera_selectionContinued from yesterday. 

Image: Natalie, a lot of your recent artwork is temporary—that is, it’s drawn directly onto gallery walls and when the show is over, only photos are left. Can you speak to this?

Natalie Settles: Yes, these are works with lifespans. In fact, the installations are typically up for the same amount of time over which the lifecycle of a small annual plant would play out.

When viewers encounter one of these temporary works, they’re usually enamored with the scale and detail and take their time moving throughout the gallery, drinking it all in. Sometime toward the end of their visit with the work it hits them in the gut—this won’t last. The work will need to die. And so they stand and drink it in now with a kind of presence that comes from knowing this may be the last time they see and experience this space as it is—the last time they feel the presence of this work. [Read more...]

A Conversation with Artist Natalie Settles, Part 1

orn_and_arch_2This post was made possible through the support of a grant from The BioLogos Foundation’s Evolution and Christian Faith program. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BioLogos.

Artist Natalie Settles, featured in the most recent issue of Image, “Evolution and the Imago Dei” , has long been fascinated by the biological sciences. She makes drawings and installation art that mix highly detailed botanical and zoological imagery with highly stylized forms, like Victorian decorative motifs. Her installation works are interactive; they use a gallery space to create an ecosystem in which the viewer becomes a participant. We asked her about her interest in the sciences, the temporary nature of her work, and the way she uses color. [Read more...]

Beauty, Christian Love, and Gay Marriage

wedding couple

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, wrote the following concluding paragraph:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Quite a few commentators have noted the beauty and elegance of this statement’s prose (not a given for Justice Kennedy, who’s been known to drift toward the purple with his pen). Jordan Weissmann, for instance, titled a post for Slate “The Beautiful Closing Paragraph of Justice Kennedy’s Gay Marriage Ruling.” [Read more...]