This summer I reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison in Fortress Press's extraordinary new edition of his collected works. Letters and Papers
remains almost endlessly suggestive and stimulating theologically. But
in this reading I noticed how often the imprisoned Lutheran pastor
Too much writing about the arts and Christianity is apologetic, explaining why the church should be concerned about artistic expression. Within that category is a lot of writing that voices high-minded generalities about "good art" and "bad art" and about who should and should not be making art.
Betty LaDuke of Ashland, Oregon, has spent decades traveling through the developing world. She has recently been painting people who have benefited from Heifer International, which donates animals to help families in poor countries become self-sufficient. Coptic Altar derives from her eight trips to Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa. The painting is an aesthetic fusion of cultures, melding a Western genre with a contemporary African visual style. In the center panel Jesus, the Good Shepherd, stands at the threshold with a sheep, surrounded by admirers in various postures of prayer and reverence. In the left panel are more admirers of Christ, surrounded by angels and crosses. The right panel portrays a church leader accompanied by some of the faithful, who are sheltered by the Madonna and child, a crescent moon, saints and crosses.
Get Low is a redemption story that doesn't feel hollow or
fake. That's mostly because the protagonist, a Depression-era
small-town Tennessee recluse named Felix Bush, is played by Robert
Duvall in a wildly imaginative performance that may be the finest he's
ever turned in.
So you doubt the whereabouts of God, a quark, everywhere yet nowhere at once. So the hell what? Doubt you the wind, doubt sandstone erosion and trilobite carapace. Let faith in dawn weather slow as feldspar. The sperm whale’s lungs collapse a thousandfold in unfathomable depths, yet bear it, unyielding. You who preach against miracles, go doubt the arctic tern asleep on the wing. Doubt that a father will leave untouched constellations of frost inside his windshield, the breath of his child frozen overnight. Doubt that bodies lose a few grams the moment of death. Doubt that, you who will, doubt that.
Americans now donate five times as many clothes to charity than they did in 1980. The supply of donated clothing outstrips the demand: typically, only 20 percent of donated clothing is sold where it is donated. In 2014, 11 percent of clothing donated to Goodwill ended up in landfills. About 45 percent of all donated clothing is exported to foreign countries by for-profit companies. The glut of used clothing disrupts local economies in developing countries, putting textile workers out of jobs. Bre Cruickshank recommends that clothing donors invest “in timeless styles of better quality,” rather than “refreshing our wardrobe according to seasonal trends” (Not Just a Label, April 9).