TEXAS FAITH 45: Modern connections between religion and art

Dallas Morning News,

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Despite the economy, it’s likely that many Americans still toured Europe this summer. While there, they surely went into some of Europe’s great cathedrals to view their towering architecture, stained glass windows and ornate statues. And they likely took in one or more of Europe’s impressive museums, viewing works of art that often had a religious connection.

Even if many Americans didn’t make that trek this summer, it is one that countless Americans have made over the years. In their tours, they were steeping themselves in the connection between religion and art.

But here’s this week’s question:

Where would you take a visitor today to see a modern connection between religion and art?

If you have an idea in mind, please explain why you would take a visitor there. If nothing jumps to mind, what do you think that says about the modern relationship between religion and art?


NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 
Vrindavan would be my first choice. It’s a town of 50,000 people with over 5,000 temples. Some of them are over 500 years old and some more than thousands of years old.

The place is rich in art and architecture but the main feature is the culture. Everyone in Vrindavan is constantly singing the glories of God, from four in the morning to the late hours of the night. Even when the rickshaw driver is asking you to move out of the way he says "Radhe! Radhe!" (a name of God’s feminine aspect) instead of chanting, "Go, Go!"

This town of Vrindavan has been celebrated in the scripture and in history as the most sacred place in India for over 5000 years.