Now, I love art. Going to museums and art galleries is absolutely my idea of a good time. But, in Italy, after one whole day, I was overwhelmed.
We were in Florence, and we'd been at the Accademia to visit David at 8 a.m., then walked around a town where there's an elaborately decorated church on every corner and sculptures tossed into every nook and cranny.
We wound up at the Uffizi Gallery that afternoon, looking at the work of one master after another. Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo--all stacked in, floor to ceiling, because there just aren't enough walls to mount everything side by side. Oh, and over in the corner there? That angel was painted by da Vinci.
I felt like my eyeballs were going to explode, bludgeoned to death by art.
There was JUST SO MUCH OF IT.
Lately, I have felt bludgeoned by religion, too, because in my world, there is just so much of it.
Now, I love God. Thinking about God and his grace and how He loves and redeems is absolutely my idea of a good time. I care deeply about my faith and how to live it out.
But honestly, I get overwhelmed with religious stuff. Think this, believe that, put your hand up for this, keep it down for that, and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Sometimes I think it's a good thing that the disciples didn't have social media. Imagine the "who's going to be greatest in the kingdom" Twitter blood bath.
I don't care too much any more about anybody's perfectly parsed 24-hour-day antifluvanomian justifisanctional middispensationalism.
I've gotten to the place where I just look to see how somebody's great theology ends up treating people.
You say you're speaking for God?
Here's my one question: how do you treat people? That's all I want to know.
If you treat people badly, I'm not much interested in what Scripture Clearly Says to you.
Jesus said it this way: "You'll know the Real Deal by the Real Fruit." (Matthew 7:15-20)
If God is love, and we're the branches of that vine, then we have to be love, too.
Pretty simple, I think.
So, a week after that day in Florence, we were in Rome, at the Vatican. I was pretty wigged out on art and religion by that point, but there was no way I was going to leave Italy without taking a look at the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican, though, is like IKEA. They know you only want that one chair from the kitchen department, but they are going to make you walk past every cushion and pillow and floor lamp in the place, just in case you find something else cute on the way.
Like this fabulous camel. Totally on the wish list.