Introducing Frits Thaulow: History’s Little-Known Master of Water Paintings

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. — Loren Eiseley I first discovered the Norwegian Impressionist painter Frits Thaulow (1847-1906) a few months ago during my winter landscapes project. I decided to dive into his work a little deeper and I quickly found that, for all of his gifts as …

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a “Podcast”: Episode 4

Hey folks. A little over a week ago I hopped on Skype again with my buddies Geoff, Jonny, and special guest Zaya — filling in for Kyle who was on a ski trip — and recorded another episode of our so-called “podcast,” “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” As always, it’s basically just us having a free-wheeling conversation. …

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Edward Hopper, Paul Tillich, and the Difference Between Loneliness and Solitude (pt. 2)

In part 1, I used the paintings of Edward Hopper to suggest that, despite our understandably kneejerk aversion to being alone, there may be unexpected joys and opportunities in solitude that we’ll come to miss when this pandemic is over. But what is it, more specifically, we might miss? Twentieth century philosopher-theologian Paul Tillich offered …

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Edward Hopper, Paul Tillich, and the Difference Between Loneliness and Solitude (pt. 1)

[A]nd when the evening was come, he was there alone.  — Matthew 14:23 I want to begin with a disclaimer: I assume it’s self-evident at this point that this pandemic has been making many of us mentally and spiritually sick, if not physically. Mental health professionals say it could take years for some of us …

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A Word for Good Friday and Easter

I don’t think our deepest question is, ‘‘Is there a God?’’I think our deepest question is, ‘‘Is there a God who’s with us in all this?’’-- Scott Erickson, "Stations in the City" Folks, there are times when all of life can feel like a crucifixion and resurrection our only hope. The pandemic has been a …

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Five Lenten Meditations (and a Prayer) from Thomas Merton

A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Thomas Merton’s slender 1956 volume Thoughts in Solitude, a hodge-podge of his reflections from one of the periods at Gethsemani that he was allowed to spend in relative isolation. It’s not Merton’s best writing — many of the ideas are better fleshed out elsewhere — …

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a “Podcast”: Episode 3

Hey folks. A few days ago I hopped on Skype again with my buddies Geoff, Jonny, and Kyle and recorded another "episode" of our so-called “podcast” — “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” a nod to Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” As always, it's basically just us having a free-wheeling conversation. Nothing too remarkable. Super basic production. Plenty of …

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The 20 Greatest In-Game Dunkers in NBA History

When I was a kid, I was a straight up basketball junkie. As the song goes, “I was a victim of a basketball jones.” I studied the players, the history, the art of the game obsessively – and played it all the time, often by myself. My basketball card collection was probably my most prized …

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The Surprising Theological Lessons of Six Centuries of Winter Landscape Painting (Huh?)

Recent winter weather has been something to behold. As of last Tuesday, “[a]t least 73 percent of the continental United States was covered in snow […] the greatest percentage in at least 16 years.” Snow and ice have wreaked havoc across the nation, causing mass power outages, water shortages, countless car accidents, service shutdowns, and …

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Neil Postman’s Famous Comparison of the Prophetic Insights of Orwell vs. Huxley

A good friend of mine has been pestering me to watch Boys State (2020) on Apple TV for weeks. I finally got around to starting it, but haven't yet finished it. Seems good so far. In any case, within the first few minutes there are a couple quotations that sparked my interest. There's one that …

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