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Anyone care to unpack this? Apparently, unchurched folks prefer Cathedrals to more modern church architecture. Perhaps because beauty is actually a priority in the architecture vs. simple utility.

Perhaps there is some overlap with this article?

Until Duchamp, criticism was aesthetically based. The critic talked about a painting’s subject, the way the artist handled color, drawing, composition and the like. With Readymades, the object’s appearance and beauty were no longer the issue — indeed, they were irrelevant. What mattered was the idea behind the work — the point the artist was trying to make. So art criticism moved from the realm of visual experience to that of philosophy.

HT: The Native Tourist

“Single men end up withering away in rooms that smell of feet and armpits.” Said by “Wilby’s” friend in “Amazing Grace”. Lots of Quotations there, but bear with me. I had some other thoughts on the movie too. Why is only the first verse of the aforementioned hymn ever sung? My own personal belief is that the first verse makes one feel good, and when taken out of context, it can be thought to apply to almost anyone, regardless of the working of the Holy Spirit.

Did the filmmakers know that their portrayal of Wilberforce’s temptation to revolution was so apt in showing a Christian response to governmental idiocy?

I think not, mainly because they portray Wilberforce’s relationship to God as that of a valley girl to a valley boy. Reference the scene with wet grass and spiderwebs.

Kudos to the filmmakers for showing that you can be peaceful and still accomplish great things. Apart from “The Passion”, I can’t think of a movie that has shown the truth of change being accomplished through non warlike sacrifice. In some ways, Wilberforce was a more Christ-like savior for the slaves than William Wallace or Beowulf for their respective peoples.

Interesting point about the most powerful empire of the time being built on slaves. Was it built on slaves, or the slave trade?

I’d like to run an experiment. I have a theory that the less a band/musician focuses on themselves and the more they focus on a story that echoes the sentiments of their song , the better video it will make. Included are three music videos. What is your reaction? Which do you think is best?


Imogen Heap: Hide & Seek

Radiohead: Karma Police

Feist: Mushaboom

<img src=”http://www.saintarnold.com/beers/images/labels_120/brown.gif&#8221; alt=”Beer image” /

Having gone to the local Cost Plus (mistakenly called Trader Joe’s by a co-worker) I got a fine selection of interesting looking beers. The first was by the St. Arnold’s brewing company, from Houston actually. I chose for it’s locality, it’s name, which always makes me think of Hoos, and it’s little man, who reminds me of Dr. L. The name “Brown Ale” is also reassuringly simple to a beer chooser. It had a really interesting first impression, almost nutty, but then it settled into a steady teeth knocking mahogany power. I like mahogany a lot, but it needs something appropriately strong to complement it. However, if you are really into smooth beer without any unpleasantness, this is your pick.

I was reminded tonight of a thought that crossed my mind a few days ago. The other day, I was browsing this thread on the Concept Art website (HT: Stephen Hendersen) of a gentleman who started as a complete novice artistically, but challenged himself to work on a painting or sketch everyday. While I was noting the progress he made, I made a connection that probably should’ve been obvious to me long before now.

When a artist begins a painting, he generally begins by first painting the background. This gives us an idea of the overall context for the picture. Is it nighttime? Is it indoors or out? As he continues on the painting, he’ll move on to the larger items in the foreground, creating trees or furniture, and as he’s nearing completion, he’ll add the finishing touches and the fine details. As I was looking at the stars tonight, I was struck by the similarities that this has to God’s own creation. When God created the world, he began with the background; light and darkness, sun, moon, and stars. As he progressed, he moved on to larger elements of the foreground, the earth and waters, and finally as he fashioned the earth, he formed the landscape, the animals, and finally mankind. And man and woman were the final touches that made his creation very good.

I think that oftentimes, we give lip-service to God, citing him as ultimate creator, the first artist and so on, but that is as far as we go. What we often fail to notice is this initial act of creation was not just a science project or a good and true story, but it is also the retelling of the first painting. It is the retelling of God the Artist’s work of art and what a work of art it is.

I often find myself hopping in my car to drive two or three blocks. I will toast a bagel in the morning because it would take too long to make a real breakfast. And many times I seem to prefer typing something out because it would take too long to write it out longhand on a piece of paper (or worse, I won’t check it for errors, because I’m in a hurry). This seems to be a pretty common occurrence in our society. This idea of always ‘hurrying’. Why is this? I think that our society, in the same way we are generally ruled by money (and are often poor stewards of it), we are also generally ruled by and are poor stewards of our time.

A terrific chap named Calvin Seerveld, who wrote a book a number of years ago called Rainbows for a Fallen World on the topic of the Christian aesthetics and (more importantly) on what he calls the ‘Obedient Aesthetic Life’, sets forth some wonderful principles for countering this phenomenon in our society. The long and short of what this ‘Aesthetic Life’ is, is kind of a twist on the oft-quoted phrase “Stop and smell the roses.”. In our deadline, efficiency, and generally speed obsessed world, he exhorts Christians to take time for enjoyment of God’s creation and for the smaller things in life. Take for example a family vacation. Many people who take time off for a vacation end up just as tired afterwards as they were before because they try to pack as many “restful” activities into their vacation as possible. It is hard for us to think outside of our deadline obsessed categories, and as a result we carry over those deadlines into our rest time. So what can we do about this? What are some effective ways of really countering this occurrence in our society? Well, a fellow blogger, Gideon Strauss, has been teaching a class on aesthetics and recently asked his students to write down some steps toward aesthetic obedience inspired by reading Rainbows.

I’ve reposted some highlights here for your own inspiration. Take some time and add your own!

  • Study more art. (Go to art shows?)
  • Attitude to others: move away from cheap shot, one-upmanship, competitive socializing – for social settings conducive to creativity.
  • Read a few good novels and think about the language used.
  • Make clean jokes, even if they are still awful.
  • Schedule better so that I have time to enjoy the world.
  • Take time out to enjoy aesthetics, such as books, artwork (painting, sculpture, etc.), films, poetry, music, et al.
  • Surround yourself with color—whether its some art in your dorm room, or the blankets on your bed.
  • Discover music in as many forms as possible.
  • Speak with others on art (in all its forms), experience and enjoy art with other people.
  • To write more, to use my talents—to the glory of God.
  • To celebrate details
  • Make more home-baked items other than quick already-made food.
  • Eat slowly
  • Light candles when even you are at home reading (for school, for enjoyment, for devotions) it quiets my heart and mind.
  • Take my shoes off during worship
  • Taking the bus, or walking – honestly greeting those who pass – take time to look around so you can both enjoy the creation which surrounds and so you won’t be able to miss the people which pass you.
  • Take more walks.
  • Use more creativity and take joy in doing simple daily activities—give my friends little presents.
  • Compose a song on the harmonica.

I began wondering the other day why various artists (e.g. painters, writers, and especially musicians) so often resort to taking drugs and why this would and should be unacceptable for the Christian artist. The simple answer that I came to is that they are starving for inspiration. The longer answer, I think, explains how successful they will ultimately be.

First of all, society values uniqueness. Any artist that is full of cliché after cliché will generally not last long. That is, unless their cliché is not yet cliché enough for a specific strata of the populace to notice. (e.g. much pop music and literature). Because the artist needs unique inspiration and needs to avoid cliché’s, many artists end up needing to have one of three things in order to survive. The first is extensive experience in life in order to be familiar with many or all such cliché’s; the second, they ought to be well or better educated that the general populace, or possibly three, they ought to have some other means of generating new experience or mining it from within themselves. The third, I believe, is what accounts for the popularity of drugs for the artist. In a Christian world, Christ is king and we have all of creation and revelation to act as our inspiration for art. In a pagan world, the artist or the individual is king, and the deeper that the artist can delve into himself, the more he can plumb the depths of his uniqueness. Enter drugs. Drugs to not give the artist new experiences in the material world, but instead give the artist new experiences within his own psyche. They allow him to plumb those depths. In short, drugs are a poor substitute for inspiration compared to God, who is the ultimate source of inspiration.

What sort of application does this hold for a Christian artist? It tells us, primarily, that the Christian artist should have no reason at all to turn to drugs. He has access to a far superior form of inspiration that is much larger than himself. Searching within yourself, exploring the limits of your own finitude produces results much more inferior than searching outside yourself and exploring the infinite Creator and His creation.

In your opinion, what are the five albums out there with the best album art?

Two instances of cultural sell-outs for the sake of tattoos here and here. These seem quite different but in what respects, I wonder, are they the same.

I have been pondering the same question for weeks now. How exactly does one handle the second commandment in regards to art?

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

What exactly is meant by graven image? Does graven simply mean carved or does it mean something more like serious? Should we paint likenesses of creation? Does ‘thou shalt not make unto thee’ simply mean ‘do not fashion an idol of’ or is it something more than that? Any thoughts?