Art and Propaganda

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If someone were to tell me that it lay in my power to write a novel explaining every social question from a particular viewpoint that I believed to be the correct one, I still wouldn’t spend two hours on it. But if I were told that what I am writing will be read in twenty …

Art for the Soul

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Surveys show that 30 percent of Americans claim to be very interested in “learning more about spiritual direction,” and another 32 percent say they are fairly interested. People of all ages appear to be interested in spiritual direction, a fact that is notable since churchgoing, prayer and many other forms of religious participation draw more …

Artist and Believer

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The life of the artist offers many analogies to the life of faith. The strictness of his way of life, the combination of ascesis and joy, the law of incarnation which limits all false spirituality: such features of the artist’s calling carry both rebuke and instruction for the Christian, especially in a time when indulgence …

Shaping and Being Shaped

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This is the seventh in a series: New Turns in Religious Thought As I understand the aim of this series of articles, it is not an attempt to garner direct predictions from those who have been invited to participate. Rather, the purpose is to sketch out possible new directions in religious thought in an indirect …

The Church’s Stake in the Arts

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A peculiarly western habit of thought is the notion we have inherited from the Greeks that we cannot understand objects, ideas, or observations until we have separated and classified them. This process of classification has enabled us to become extraordinarily successful in technological matters. In fact, it is the whole basis of scientific-technological work. On …

The Passion of Picasso

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was the most influential visual artist of the 20th century. Whether he was also the greatest artist of the century can perhaps be disputed. However, having visited the huge exhibition “Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective,” which ran this summer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I would offer no argument …

The St. John’s Bible Project

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Bibles are cheap in their zeal to make scripture accessible to everyone. Protestants have manufactured Bibles in almost every language and made them available for startlingly small sums. Perhaps in doing so they have unwittingly made the Bible cheap not just financially, but theologically. Whereas Wycliffe and Tyndale devoted their lives to creating a Bible …

Theology and Imagination

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Ring Lardner, upon the occasion of his first visit to the Grand Canyon, remarked, “What a marvelous place to throw old razor blades.” He was not usually a disrespectful person. But the sight of that incredible canyon, with the amazing riot of color and space, so overwhelmed him that he could not find words to …

What Rembrandt Saw

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Rembrandt’s Eyes By Simon Schama In this lavish new book, Simon Schama explores the boisterous, dynamic, capitalist society of 17th-century Holland through the eyes of the artist who, more than any other, has become synonymous with its vividly expressive pictorial culture. This biography of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) provides the pretext for a wide-ranging discussion …