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.
One morning this summer I was basking in the sun With the brother closest to me in age. We had been Brought up almost as twins but then took disparate Roads, as twins do. He was sobbing and I was near Tears and the ocean was muttering. I heard a heron. We had been having the most naked open talk we’d Had in many years. I wanted to tell him how deeply I loved him but words are just so weak and shallow. So I talked about the forsythia bush we used to hide Under together. It was the safest place on the planet. The light was always amazing in there and it wasn’t Ever muddy somehow and you were draped in gold. It was a hut a huddle a tent a canopy a cave a refuge. Sometimes you have to use a thing to say something Else. We do this all the time. We talk sideways, yes? But sidelong is often the only road that gets to where You know you need to go. So much means lots more Than it seems like it could mean. Tears, for example.
John Coleman, who died recently, presided over Haverford College during the tumultuous Vietnam War era. He sympathized with students’ antiwar protests but also tried to channel the antiwar movement in constructive ways. When students considered burning the American flag, Coleman placed a washing machine at the center of the campus and encouraged students to wash the flag instead. He persuaded dozens of college presidents to sign an antiwar statement. On sabbaticals he took blue-collar jobs to explore the gap between academics and workers (Inside Higher Ed, September 12).