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Art Life Faith Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcasts

Join us as we discuss art, what it has to do with your life, and the Christian faith

Join us as we discuss art, what it has to do with your life, and the Christian faith


United States


Join us as we discuss art, what it has to do with your life, and the Christian faith




16. Tree of Hope

I looked up at the enormity of it. The tree was almost 100 feet tall. It grew here in the city of Rikuzentakata as part of a forest of 70,000 pine trees for hundreds of years. The trees protected the people from storms and strong coastal winds and were once chosen as one of the 100 most beautiful landscapes in Japan. But now they were all gone, all except for this one surviving tree. ...


15. The Cookout

The food just after the tsunami was terrible. Every meal was treated like an emergency situation. Refugees and relief workers alike, we all lived off of emergency rations, canned and instant foods. This kind of food may keep the body going for a day, but it sure lacks the vitamins, nutrients, and life-giving beauty that we so desperately needed. ...


14. Called By A New Name

The stars are full of stories: animals and gods, love and war, heroes and villains. From ages past, men and women have looked up at the stars of the sky and whispered their hopes and fears. ...


13. A Party One Evening

The parking lot of the old Buddhist temple was packed full of trucks and vans. It sat on a hilltop, on the outskirts of the city of Higashi Matsushima, the only structure still standing that was big enough to hold a large group of people. One of the relief workers we met that day invited us to come here for a party. ...


12. Fireflies

The tires of the van sank in the mud newly washed up from the ocean floor, made worse by growing puddles of rainwater. Lightning lit up the wall of debris that lined the streets and closed in on us like some dark tunnel. ...


11. Cortège et Litanie

The "Cortège et Litanie" by French organist Marcel Dupré is perhaps one of the most famous organ pieces of the twentieth century. I’ve been thinking a lot about this piece during the spread of COVID-19. I would even go so far as to say that it has become a bit of a theme song for me. I will be playing it for our Christmas Day service here in Tokyo. ...


10. Power of Beauty in the Devastation

When everyone else was moving their water-logged pianos to the street, they decided NOT to throw out their piano. It still had life in it. It was still breathing, in a sense. It could be fixed! There was hope! And they desperately needed that hope. During that time, there was a tendency to think it was pointless, that nothing would ever get better, that their town…and their lives…were beyond repair. ...


09. Pippy the Piano and the Very Big Wave

During a season of Christmas concerts a number of years ago, I was traveling near the city of Kamaishi, Japan where the 2011 tsunami hit. Of 16,000 people killed by the tsunami, over 1,000 were killed in this town, and it’s not a very big place. Everyone there knows someone who died.


08. Art and Mission

At a webinar this week, I was asked, “What is the biggest challenge for Japanese becoming Christians?” The biggest challenge is that most Japanese have never met a Christian. Why would you become a Christian if you’ve never met one? The beauty of the arts creates those opportunities, bringing people together, where non-Christians can experience Christian community for the first time. ...


07. Sea Glass

When the tsunami siren sounded, Hiroko tied her dog, Kai, to a tree and headed for the shelter. “I’ll be right back,” she said. Kai waved his tail in reply. Hiroko didn’t think there was any danger. Why would she? Her town was protected by 13-foot sea walls. And sirens often went off after earthquakes. Forty-five minutes later, she watched in horror as the tsunami surged over those walls and tore through her town. ...


06. Taking A Pounding

There is so much brokenness in this world! Just by me speaking to you right now, it’s very likely that some of you are suffering, or someone you know is suffering. Especially now, during COVID-19. Life is hard, and we would be fools to think otherwise. It’s a terrible part of this world, and you know, frankly, it makes me a little bit angry. We want to protect the ones we love from suffering, but we can’t. So, where’s there hope in that? How can we keep on going? How do we overcome this? ...


05. The Golden Cracks

One of the joys of living overseas is being able to see the world differently, sometimes in ways I would never expect. One day when I was in Kyoto, in the Kyoto National Museum, I stumbled upon some clay bowls. Everything about the exhibit screamed, “These things are important!” They were individually encased behind panes of glass. They sat beautifully displayed on felt-covered small boxes. They each had their own special lighting, but the odd thing to me was that they were broken. ...


04. Simmering in the Gospel

One of the joys of living overseas is being able to experience different parts of the world. There are times when I think, “Wow, that’s exotic.” Sometimes it’s a smell in the air. Sometimes it’s a sound that I hear. Sometimes it’s the feel of the atmosphere. When we first moved to Tokyo, I had such an experience. ...


03. The Hospital

A concert in a hospital near the broken nuclear power plants of Fukushima shortly after the 2011 earthquake in Japan brought us together. In that terrible time, music brought healing and helped us to mourn and cry for what was lost.


02. The Scarf

My friend, Shannon Johnston, started The Scarf back in 2011 as a direct response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster here in Japan. It was a way for people to knit their hopes, thoughts, and prayers together for the people of Japan. Scarves are something you wear around your neck like a hug. The Scarf was a way people could give hugs without actually being physically present in Japan. ...


01. Love Your Neighbor

Mayu is a visual artist in Tokyo. With the spread of COVID-19, like everyone else, she was stuck at home, with no way to share her art and no way to make a living. What bothered her most, though, was that people were hurting all around her. She wanted to do something, but didn't know what she could do. One day, her mother said, “Mayu, I think you should make masks.” ... Website: