God is also tucked in the back alley with the criminals, the condemned, those whose bodies have been mutilated, and the mystics who encounter God on the wild edges of the church.
Contrary to the warnings I received in church, the arts have not led me away from Christian faith. In fact, art—whether projected on a screen, singing through speakers, printed on pages, or displayed on gallery walls—goes on revealing and affirming the beauty and truth proclaimed by the Scriptures.
“What do we do with that ‘little circle of experience,’ the reader of both books is left to ask herself? What do we make of the task of being planted here, in these bodies of bare bone and fragile skin, in the forever–between space that separates the earthly and the divine?”
A few years ago, I spent nearly every spring morning with my young daughter in the tiny playground behind Notre Dame Cathedral. It was a great place to take a break. There were comfy benches and shade trees and clean bathrooms with an attendant. Often, we’d find ourselves back in the center of town…
David T. Hanson’s photography collection The Cloud of Unknowing takes its viewers into the mystical space between seeing and believing. Hanson’s photographs, which include holy spaces from both Eastern and Western religious cultures, lead viewers on a visual quest to encounter “sanctuary,” reminding us of the bright, empty mystery that remains at the heart…
Picturing my imagined children, I just assumed we’d discuss history. There’s grounding in the past, and fascination, and uplifts and shames with every hue between, and I thought without thinking that my kids, sons likely, would root in that soil.
I decided to stop the pursuit of a tenure-track academic job several years ago. Around the same time I made this decision, I discovered W.H. Vanstone’s The Stature of Waiting, a reexamination of Jesus’ response to Judas’ betrayal in the context of our modern lives.
A new commitment to noticing and caring for the other is all over i,i, and there are also critiques of those who refuse to do so.
A sore hip. A hesitation in calling a name, finding a word. A slight but persistent difficulty now, getting the page where I can see it comfortably as I read. The quality of the light has changed somehow.
We considered it an act of grace that every child we saw in Barcelona was wailing.
Joanna Penn Cooper
For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every week gifted writers offer personal essays that make fresh connections between the world of faith and the world of art. We also publish interviews with artists who inspire and challenge us.