Random Churches of Rome 2: Church of the Gesù

One church that I happened to walk past in Rome and so entered was the Church of the Gesù. I didn’t know at the time that it was connected with the founding of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits. What I did recognize immediately was that it contained some great works of art. There was a [Read More…]

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SNTS: Seminar, Main Paper, Disputed Questions

The rest of the day featured three major components. The topical seminars had their first meeting. I am signed up for the one focused on the Gospel of John. The first seminar paper in this section was by Anni Hentschel and focused on intertextual relationships between John and the Synoptics, with particular attention to the [Read More…]

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Hostile to Art?

I thought there were some interesting thoughts in a recent article interviewing Billy Smiley, formerly of the band White Heart and now of The Union of Sinners and Saints: Faith and spirituality can barely survive religion. Imagine how tough it is for art… I listen to Christian music now and ask, “Where are the poets? [Read More…]

The Biblical Prophets vs. #AllLivesMatter

As I was thinking about the way some respond to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter, it struck me that people could have responded to the prophets in the Bible in the same way. Sure, poor lives matter, Micah and Amos. All lives matter. Stop focusing on just one group, when God cares about everyone. The prophets would not have disputed [Read More…]

Not-So-Precious Moments

  Several more illustrations of the fact that the Bible is not children’s literature, that it isn’t cute and sweet. The above come from artist Tom LaMothe, via a post on Rachel Held Evans’ blog from several years ago. The artist’s daughter is herself a Patheos blogger. See also another version of the Jael story, as [Read More…]

What is the Genesis of this Image?

I’ve been asked about the original source of the image above, illustrating how people in the Ancient Near East viewed the cosmos. It is an image that I shared on my blog in the past. Do any blog readers know what the original source of the image it? If so, please leave a comment. Thank [Read More…]

Divine Artistry

It is common for theists to speak of God’s artistry in creation. But that image sits awkwardly with a number of purported beliefs of classical theism. Artistry involves challenge and accomplishment, but an omnipotent God cannot overcome obstacles in any meaningful sense. Artistry involves choosing colors or melodies, but classical theism has asserted that God always “chooses” [Read More…]

Fundamentalist Paint-by-Numbers

The quote comes from a post on Brian Zahnd’s blog with the title “The X-Files is Better Than Scooby Doo.” Since the X-Files is returning next weekend, that is another good reason to share the quote and mention the post. Are you excited about the return of the X-Files? [Read more…]

The Average Faces of Jesus and Satan

I had the two images above forwarded to me by a blog reader. They represent the average composite that emerged from combining the features of actors who've portrayed Jesus and Satan in films. I'll bet you can tell which is which without needing captions. Does this tell us anything about our stereotypes regarding these figures? [Read More…]


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