Loving God by Knowing Many Things
The immensely talented artist Vincent Van Gogh wrote a letter to his brother Theo in which he spoke from his heart: "I think that the best way to know God is to love many things." In a sensitive and exquisitely written essay, Patricia Adams Farmer charts the movement of this artist from the harsh, judgmental, and narrow Calvinism of his upbringing and early adult life to a more spacious, beautiful, and bountiful vision.
Throughout our 44-year ministry of providing resources for those on a spiritual journey, we have sought to provide as wide and as inclusive coverage of culture as humanly possible. Over the years, readers subscribed to our print newsletters Cultural Information Service
and Values & Visions
for their comprehensive recommendations of films, music, books, television programs, and audios. Since the mid-1990s, we have taken a similar approach on our websites.
Some call us "information junkies," while others revel in our attempts to discern spiritual meaning and messages in all the media and arts. Farmer's essay offers another way of explaining what we have been up to for such a long time: like Van Gogh, we have sought "the fat soul, the soul which dares to widen enough to 'love many things.' "
In a time when reviews of all types are shrinking and it is hard to find websites rich in spiritual content, we are in the midst of a massive redesign of Spirituality & Practice with many new features created to speak directly to those with "fat souls" who yearn to know and love God through diversity, transformation, and expansion. We identify with what Farmer describes as Van Gogh's beautiful madness as we continue "to stretch towards largeness of purpose." Thank you Van Gogh for your pioneering path and thank you Farmer for this inspiring essay which gives us a fresh appreciation of why we love many things!
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