“I See People Looking Like Trees and Walking”

Artist Philip Barlow

Last year I recorded a talk on “Race and Ignatian Spirituality” for Xavier University’s Center for Mission and Identity. The talk was later edited, with images, into 4 short clips.

The excerpt below (about 12 minutes) includes some of my own story and explains what I try to do in my book Hope Sings, So Beautiful. I begin with one of my favorite Gospel stories, and surely, one of the most enigmatic: Jesus’ healing of the blind man of Bethsaida.

Putting spittle on his eyes, Jesus laid his hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” (Mk. 8:23-24)

The art of Philip Barlow strangely and beautifully evokes for me the inner landscape of this Gospel story–our condition of partial sight and partial blindness–transposed into a haunting, contemporary key.



Please consider sharing the link below with others who you think might be looking for inspiration and hopefulness – a doorway via the arts, faith, spirituality, into the conversation about race. As ever, I’d welcome your comments or critical feedback below.

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