Category: Art

Is Dismaland as distorted as Disneyland?

“Wish.” “Dream.” “Believe.” These words defined our obligatory family vacation to Disney World a few years ago, largely because they appeared on endless signage, were incorporated into nearly every show and, I suspect, were pumped into our hotel room via barely audible whispers as we slept. So to prove that the cult of Disney had not indoctrinated us, we began using these words as…  [more]

Parsing the Parallel Bible

“When the reader hears strong echoes of his or her own life and beliefs, he or she is apt to become more invested in the story.” That line, taken from Stephen King’s On Writing, is a timeless truth that applies equally well to nearly every form of storytelling. But it is also a potentially dangerous truth when applied to the story of the Bible, authored by God Himself. Such is the inherent struggle…  [more]

Instead of Facebook, a book of faces

A book of photographs titled Face elicits obvious comparisons to the social media giant. The latest from photographer Bruce Gilden, the collection of portraits might be more appropriately titled Mug Shot. If these folks filled your Facebook news feed with selfies, you’d probably be tempted to click the “hide” option. In a world overflowing with Photoshopped and filtered images, Face stops our…  [more]

Monasticism and the Googleplex

Nathan Heller had me at the title: “Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work.” Heller’s New Yorker article breezily condenses a decade or so of Google’s corporate real estate travails into a jambalaya of metaphors, all while describing a design project for their new headquarters that looks like the latest version of the Biosphere. As the headline hints, Heller lands, finally, on…  [more]

Imagining prayer

It was early fall and the start of another academic semester when the accident occurred. A new student, testing his long-boarding skills on the mountainous roads that surrounded our college, had hit the pavement hard without the protection of a helmet. I had yet to meet the young man, but as the college chaplain I rushed to the hospital to join his family. Once inside I was ushered to an upper floor marked by an…  [more]

Beer, bread, chocolate - and Jesus?

I apologize in advance to those of you who don't live within driving distance of Chicago, because I'm about to literally whet your appetite for something you won't be able to attend. On Tuesday, April 7, I'll be sitting down with TC contributor John J. Thompson to discuss his new book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate; Crafting a Hand-Made Faith in a Mass Market World. The best part? We'll be doing it…  [more]

America’s most epic churches?

Editor’s note: After clicking on one of the photo links below, give your browser a few seconds and the corresponding image should load. In an Internet of endless clickbait, an article promising “Divine Photos of America’s Most Epic Churches” threatens to be just another BuzzFeed list of Worst Celebrity Facelifts, only more uplifting. But the piece, in Wired, features stunning photography by…  [more]

Starchitecture vs. locatecture

In a provocative New York Times’ article, Witold Rybczynski offers a startling thought: What if all the globe-trotting architects plying their trade from Shanghai to San Francisco just stayed home? Rybczynski’s thesis, which I heartily agree with, is that architecture is - or should be - radically place-based. That is, a building in Pittsburgh is fundamentally a different thing than a building in…  [more]

The cruciform call of that ‘homeless Jesus’ statue

Thinking I was the first to arrive at church this past Easter, I smirked as I compared myself to another Easter early bird. Me and Mary, I thought. Same-same. Of course, my motives weren’t as pure as hers. (I’m on staff. I get paid to show up early.) But as I walked across the parking lot toward the doors, I imagined that Easter morning scene, with Jesus appearing and scaring the, well, bejesus out of…  [more]

The curse of the cubicle?

Is the cubicle cursed? Film and television would have you believe so. From Fight Club to Office Space to The Office, the cubicle has seemed to bear the weight of a Genesis 3 curse: “by the sweat of your brow you will eat food” and “(the ground) will produce thorns and thistles for you.” Viewed as part of the thorn-and-thistle category, cubicles come in for their share of mockery, especially…  [more]

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