Christian history has frequently been a history of ideals betrayed.  Jesus once asked what would happen if salt were to lose its flavor.  In like manner, after 1600 years of fascination with Caesar’s wealth and power, it is often easier to find Jesus outside Christian churches and cultures.  Claiming to follow the compassionate Christ, Christians… Read more »

The icon of the Apache Christ is an effort to heal wounds Christian missionaries have inflicted on native people in the past.  In 1870, President Grant inaugurated his “Peace Policy” for Native American tribes.  Because the Indian Service had become so corrupt in handling reservation affairs, the government would now turn every reservation over to… Read more »

Fire and light are the central imagery in Brother Robert’s icon of St. Francis and the Sultan.  Even the orange background of the icon serves to highlight the flames that surround the two men.  There is no way to understand his icon apart from these flames. Flames for most Christians speak of punishment in hell. … Read more »

Today, the most dangerous cultural divide is between Islam and the western world. Too easily and too frequently we hear of Muslims being demonized with absolutes and generalizations. During the Fifth Crusade in the thirteenth century, St. Francis of Assisi stepped around the religious and cultural prejudices of his day when he engaged the sultan… Read more »

The day Jesus encountered a tax collector named Matthew and invited him to become one of his disciples, a number of notorious sinners joined Jesus for a meal.  This scandalized respectable people in the area who avoided the company of sinners.  They accosted his disciples and asked them why their master cared so little for… Read more »

In this video, Br. Robert talks about creating his icon of the Good Shepherd for an inner-city church, during the first Gulf War, a time of widespread distrust of Muslims. How does society’s attitude toward Muslims today mirror or differ from our attitude 25 years ago? What obligations do we have when politicians and others… Read more »

Brother Robert Lentz, OFM, will be speaking at the San Damiano Retreat in Danville, Calif. The retreat is from April 22 to April 24. To register (or find out more information), please visit

Tradition plays a dominant role in religious art, as it does in religious ritual, religious language, and religious customs. It could hardly be otherwise since religion is for much of humanity a trusted means for coping with forces beyond our control. Much of the time, it is simply a manifestation of our instinct of self-preservation…. Read more »

The life of St. Rose of Lima is filled with grotesque physical penances that scandalize us today.  Traditional images of her have focused on her asceticism rather than aspects of her life that might speak to us.  After carefully rereading traditional biographies, Brother Robert realized that her abusive childhood had much to do with the… Read more »

We know next to nothing about his personal life, although he is one of the most famous individuals in history. Even his original name has been pushed to the side. We call him now by a title he consistently refused during his lifetime. His racial origins are obscured, for most people connect him with Europe…. Read more »