Portrait of Christ, by Rembrandt, ca. 1650.

Sometimes a great work of art can so well express the deeper things of life, such as this painting by Rembrandt of Christ. I think it is my all time favorite image of Jesus.

When I think of all the bigotry and hatred that so many religious people seem to express these days, the intolerance and prejudice against those who are different, those who do not fit into the traditional molds of family and socially approved structures, I like to look at this image. Sometimes I wonder why I believe anything. Often I wonder if I should just give the whole thing up and become a unabashed pagan. And then comes along an artist like Rembrandt who can produce works of such spiritual depth. I find art expresses spiritual truths better than a thousand volumes of the most convoluted and carefully reasoned theology. One painting can touch the mind, heart and soul in way that the cold logic of doctrine or theology cannot, at least for me.

I write a lot about sexual beauty, but beauty is more than simply sexual, and Rembrandt in his works captures a deep spiritual beauty unlike anyone else.

How can this painting be summed up? Warmth and understanding. These things are for me part of the essence of any faith.