Blog Posts by Toby J. Sumpter

The Aesthetics of Prophecy

Toby J. Sumpter

Beauty is all the rage. You can’t get three sentences in modern theology without tripping over words like “aesthetics” and “beauty” and “Christianity and the arts.” And in many ways this is a welcome shift. The several-century Christian retreat from the arts seems in many ways on its way to a full reversal. Francis Schaeffer has begotten many godchildren, and they are busy exploring, engaging, and perhaps most hearteningly, creating

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Blessings Too Big

Toby J. Sumpter

Recently, my son (age 2) looked up at his big sister (age 5) sitting on the bathroom counter next to the sink, raised his little arms and said confidently, “Jump my arms! My catch wu!” [Let the reader be aware that my son says “wu” instead of “you.”] When my daughter laughed and told her little brother that she was too big, he insisted confidently, “Wu not too big. My…

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The Thumbtack of Faith

Toby J. Sumpter

At bottom, the difference between faith in God and all other alternatives is a choice: to believe or not to believe. But this is no blind leap of faith.

Faith is not irrational.

Faith is not insanity.

Faith is not stepping into the void.

Faith is sanity.

Faith is choosing to see what is actually there.

Faith is the choice to embrace life, the world, God.

Certainly, faith is not…

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Glory Dust

Toby J. Sumpter

We are inextricably embedded in this world, in the material world. The wind scrapes our faces as much as the branches of low hanging trees. Words and images ricochet through space and time like chisels swung against marble, chipping, shaping, creating, destroying. We are inescapably embodied. We are bodies that act and react as we are acted upon.

This means that all of life is already a ritual, already sacramental,…

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