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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




35. I’m So Hungry!

“I’m sooo hungry!” I said, “I want to eat something!” “No,” my wife said. “We have to keep going. If we eat now, there won’t be enough for later.” We were in one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, a remote part of the High Sierras in California, and all I could think about was food. This was hunger like I’d never known it before.


34. Hope Will Not End In Despair

Today I’d like to introduce you to Daisuke Yokoyama, an amazing Christian singer songwriter here in Japan. I had the privilege of meeting him in the relief movement shortly after that terrible earthquake of 2011. I remember one concert we played together in a high school gymnasium, not far from the broken nuclear power plants in Fukushima. When he finished singing, he walked around the room to talk with people. They were stuck in their designated areas surrounded with cardboard walls. He met...


33. Global Mission Chapel

So here they were in this position of weakness. They had an unfinished building. Their numbers were small. They were still rebuilding trust in their congregation, and they were still getting to know their neighbors. And then the earthquake struck in March 2011, and their world literally fell apart. ...


32. Kintsugi Academy

I’d like to share Kunio Nakamura-san’s message about Kintsugi Academy and the role kintsugi can play in our lives. This traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold is packed with meaning. Here Nakamura-san is answering the question, “Why bother fixing broken pottery? Why not just buy something new?”


31. Tsunami Violin

This week I’ve been working on putting subtitles to the various talks from our “Aroma of Beauty” conference we held here in Tokyo in March. There were so amazing stories shared. Although it was all in Japanese, with subtitles soon you’ll be able to watch and hear them as well. But I want to take this time to share one of them with you now in this podcast. ...


30. Setomono

Everyone in Japan knows the word setomono, because you find it on quite a few boxes you get in the mail. It means “fragile,” but it also literally means “product of Seto.” Seto is an art village known in Japan for its ceramics with over a 1,500 year history, longer if you count the indigenous people who lived there before that time. And today that pottery tradition is alive and well. Last week, I went to Seto ...


29. Cow Pie Water

All forty were completely empty. I lifted each plastic gallon jug just to be sure. Hikers in the previous town promised a huge cache of water here. Whatever drops had been left quickly evaporated as the sun mercilessly beat down. The hot dry wind blew in my face, bushes and cacti too short to provide any useful kind of shade at all. My wife and I were on the Pacific Crest Trail ...


28. Ryokan Taigu

I’d like to introduce you to a little poem by Ryokan Taigu, who lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and is one of the most popular figures in Japanese history, known for his poetry, calligraphy, and a very unique way of looking at the world. “Taigu” is a name he gave himself, and anyone who can read Japanese will immediately recognize the meaning. It means “big fool” or “great fool,” so Ryokan called himself “The Great Fool.” In this short poem about food, Ryokan asks a very basic, and...


27. The Hotel

In the city of Minami Sanriku, on the northeastern coast of Japan, the Kanyo Hotel sits on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. This is a really nice hotel, which usually costs well over $300 a night to stay there. The food is amazing, and there is a really cool cave-like hot spring built into the side of the cliff, so you relax outside in hot spring waters while feeling cool sea wind blow in your face, and watch the sunset over the ocean. However, I didn't get to experience any of these...


26. The Water Child

Tremendous pain and suffering can give birth to life and beauty. For reasons I am just beginning to understand, pain and suffering in this world are catalysts for creation, especially for creating beautiful things. In the mud, in the devastation, in the dark, we crave something with beauty and hope and light. And we will do anything we can to hold on to it. This is the unmistakable power of art. This is the tool in the Creator’s hands, which he has lovingly put into our hands. May we always...


25. Finding Hope in Hard Things

During the month of March on this podcast, we’ve been telling story after story from March 11 and the terrible earthquake that struck Japan 10 years ago. The trauma that people experienced will impact them their whole lives. So many were lost, and there is nothing we can do to bring them back. Some things in this world can never be fixed. So, what do we do with that? Do we just despair? If we don’t make a conscious effort to do otherwise, this trauma will not only ruin our lives but the...


24. The Cathedral

Japan is no stranger to devastated cities. As I traveled giving concerts through city after city ravaged by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, my thoughts eventually turned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No other city in the history of the world quite compares with their destruction. ...


23. Our 3/11 Story

For the past couple of months, I’ve been sharing stories of my experiences after the 2011 earthquake in Japan. For this episode, I want to go back to the very beginning. I want to start with Day 1, the day the day the earthquake hit and how we got involved in the relief movement. I hope you’ll find it useful as we all think about how God may use us, all of us, especially as artists, in the tragedies and traumas of the lives of everyone around us. ...


22. Scars: The Path Toward Healing

This week, I had the honor of talking with Peter Bakelaar, founder of Gallery NANI (Nagoya Arts Network International), about his exhibit at the Aichi Arts & Cultural Center in downtown Nagoya, "Scars: The Path Toward Healing" running from March 2-14. ...


21. Be Still and Know

What’s that noise? Where am I? Heavy creaking in the ceiling above my head jolted my sleep-numbed mind into consciousness, as my eyes flew open to darkness. Nigero! Okiizo! “Everybody out! This is a big one!” someone behind me yelled. That was all it took. I blindly fumbled for my flashlight, always kept near my head for emergencies like this, and then grabbed my jacket. The floor moved chaotically, making it hard to keep my balance. But somehow I reached the door frame, grabbed it, and...


20. Fragments of Hope

After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Christians started art organizations to provide jobs and build community, and, just as important, to bring beauty back into a shattered world. They made jewelry, decorations, bags, and clothes. In the city of Ishinomaki, a small group of women made jewelry out of broken shards of dishes and teacups found in the rubble. They called themselves Nozomi Project, or literally, Project of Hope. The people at Nozomi pick up the pieces of their lives by making...


19. The Bike

On March 11, 2011, the world changed. Like the old photographs I occasionally found scattered amongst the debris, all the color was gone. Gray mud from the ocean floor coated everything, and gray dust constantly blew through the air turning our white masks black. Even the sun remained hidden behind the dull clouds, refusing to penetrate our colorless purgatory. ...


18. Go Away!

“Go away! Leave us alone!" the voice thundered. "Too . . . many . . . volunteers!” We had just entered the high school gymnasium of a temporary shelter in the city of Iwaki. I turned to see a young man sitting on a cardboard box. He appeared to be slightly handicapped, with one leg shorter than the other. But it was his face, full of rage, that I noticed most. Time after time, strangers barged into this man’s “room.” In that brightly lit flourescence, he had no privacy, and he was obviously...


17. Whispering to the Wind

As I walked through a garden on a hill overlooking the town of Otsuchi, Japan, birds flew overhead and the wind blew in gently from the sea. Leaves rustled on the trees, and the sweet aroma of flowers wafted through the air. I looked down to see goldfish swimming in a pond, and at the top of the hill I found a white glass-paneled phone booth. ...


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. ...