Archives For art

Ever since high school, I’ve had a rocky relationship with art. Every year or two, I’d find myself at an art museum, paying the entrance fee. Then, I’d speed through the exhibits, dodging clocks that melted into puddles and giant canvases covered in orange. I’d search for something safe, something familiar.


Finding a Rembrandt, I’d take refuge for a couple minutes—five if I was feeling artsy. Then, I’d sneak back to my car, hoping the docent at the exit wouldn’t recognize me. 

Photo 1423742774270 6884aac775faPhoto courtesy of Eric Terrade via 

A couple months ago, I found myself in a similar situation–this time sipping on green tea and insecurity in a friend’s apartment. I’d been riveted by a photo of Kylee’s latest painting, The Pure Look of the Bishop, and had asked (on impulse) to see it in person.

Now that the three of us, The Bishop included, were face to face, I wasn’t sure what to say:

“So…what’s the story behind it?” I ask. The Bishop’s blue and green eyes lock in on me from his chair against the wall Continue Reading…

If someone visited the churches in your city—let’s say the Protestant ones—what would they conclude about Christians, in terms of beauty? If the sanctuaries in your city are anything like mine, they’d assume that Christians don’t care much about it.

Sure, we appreciate beauty when it crosses our path—in a song by Adele or a handmade leather wallet—but only if we have time for it. In the hierarchy of life, there are more important things—like paying our heating bills, getting the brakes fixed, and telling people about Jesus. 

Photo 1443808709349 353c8b390400Photo courtesy of Artur Rutkowski via

But, while we might prioritize necessity over beauty, God never does. From the beginning, he wove aesthetics into the necessity of life. His new world wasn’t just sustainable and durable, it was also beautiful. We catch glimmers of that beauty when God observes his work and calls it “good” and when Adam enthuses after seeing Eve for the first time, but we run straight into it in chapter three—at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Continue Reading…

I clicked delete thinking, “The bookstore is hosting an event to promote a new Bible? That sounds boring.” That’s right, I used the words “Bible” and “boring” in the same sentence. 


A week later, I shuffled my feet inside that same bookstore, waiting for an author to sign my book. My eyes wandered from one shelf to the next until something caught my eye on the wall. It was the painting below: 


Screen Shot 2015 12 05 at 6 05 06 PM Genesis 1, The St. John’s Bible, used with permission


Just then a clerk walked by. 


“What is that?” I asked, gasping for breath Continue Reading…

I didn’t grow up with Advent–except for one Christmas when mom made a wreath. I would half listen as dad read from the book of Isaiah or Matthew, mesmerized by the cadence of his voice and the flickering flames.

Then, for years, I forgot about Advent. I’d speed through each December–from one christmas party to the next, from one overpacked mall to another. Despite the glittering lights and glasses of eggnog, Christmas left me drained. That’s when I began to appreciate the gift of Advent.

15458 Worship Backgrounds

Advent invites us to reflect (rather than rush) our way through the Christmas season. But more than that, Advent helps us grasp our place in God’s story, to sense in our gut the divine timeline on which we live. During Advent, we reach back to a perfect world gone wrong and the God who descended into its chaos. With the other hand, we reach forward to a King who is returning to set everything right.

This Advent I’ve put together a series of FREE daily meditations for the mind, heart, and imagination. Each meditation includes a scripture text, work of art, and prompt for reflection. The meditations begin on December 1st and will run through the week after Christmas. See the sample meditation below Continue Reading…

I flitted through Hope Coffee dipping in and out of each photograph. I had promised myself to leave by 8:30 p.m. and it was already 8:45. In less than 12 hours, the men from church would be knocking on my door, ready to load up the U-Haul, and I still had packing to do. 


Attending the art show, which featured my classmate’s work, let me check two boxes off my to-do list. It fulfilled the “cultural engagement” assignment due Monday for my Theology of Art & Worship class, and it let me wave goodbye to the world before the tsunami of cardboard and packing tape pushed me under.  


Reflections on light and darkness. Each piece nodded to the name of the exhibit—light flickering off a child’s face, sun slicing through the distant clouds, a cobblestone street basking in the morning light. All of them saluted to the theme, except one.


Mist blank 14 copyright

In The Mist by Paul Singleton, used with permission.


It stopped me as I buzzed around the corner and pulled me onto the cement jetty, past twenty-five seagulls, maybe thirty. It was hard to tell that far into the fog. Still. Peaceful. Stark. I felt those foggy mornings back up north on the dock, when the mist refused to say goodbye to the lake Continue Reading…

Despite what I advise patients in the exam room, I fight a constant battle to get: 

  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week
  • 5 fruits and vegetables a day

So, if I’m already struggling to master those healthy habits, why would I add imagination-training to the list? 


Ben moore

Image courtesy of Ben Moore via


Because, cultivating our imaginations is like getting an oil change. We can run for a while without it, but at a lower performance Continue Reading…

Beauty at the Curb

smgianotti  —  March 5, 2015

Jewel scraped her boot through the leaves congregating in the gutter. Her glossy, black heel revealed a cigarette butt and the corner of a Snickers wrapper matted to the cement by summer dirt and fall rain. From the look of it, the trash had claimed this corner long before she had.

 15040 City

Photo courtesy of Jenifer Cabrera via


At the sound of tires, Jewel’s spine straightened and her hips cocked, but the black sedan sped up. She threw a provocative smile anyways, only to have the tinted windows fling it back.

Continue Reading…