Category: Art

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]

Good Friday: when normcore went hardcore

I first noticed the stonewashed jeans returning to clothing stores this past February. While out for coffee with a friend I asked, “Are the ’90s making a fashion comeback?” I wasn’t too far off. Stonewashed jeans, plain white T-shirts, fleece jackets and non-brand name items were becoming the “it” materials of a new fashion trend. What was going on in my fashion-forward,…  [more]

How a stadium convinced me to like baseball

I don’t usually like baseball. Living in Pittsburgh probably hasn’t helped, considering the Pittsburgh Pirates only recently ended their record-setting streak of consecutive losing seasons. Still, I have been to a few games at PNC Park, home of the Pirates, and it is the stadium itself that has won me over. Typically, when I walk into situations where I am surrounded by large numbers of people, my…  [more]

Norway’s ‘memory wound’ and our calling to remember

A dramatic memorial is planned to commemorate the massacre of 77 people at Utoya Island in Norway, the scene of Anders Breivik’s rampage in 2011. The memorial, being referred to as a “memory wound,” is to be a constructed gap that slices through the island. The design plans are jarring, to say the least. This project can trace its lineage directly back to Maya Lin’s stunning Vietnam Veterans…  [more]

How art museums can be holy

When I was in fifth grade, a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago changed my life - or, my faith. It was the first time I sensed a building - outside of a church - as holy. Though I’ve never progressed beyond my first-grade ability to draw or paint or create any sort of visual art, the Art Institute has continued to be a place that arouses a sense of God’s nearness. Perhaps it had something to do…  [more]

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