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Well folks. I managed to upgrade the WordPress platform. Along with it, I also decided to freshen up the look. Let me know what you think. The picture in the post is something I made recently for a CD single just for fun. Enjoy!
that remind us that capitalism can still result it surprisingly bad taste.
There’s been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about Dumbledore, and the fact that JK Rowling said he was gay. Nearly all of the Christian response that I’ve read (though not all) has been to say that the author’s intent doesn’t have the weight that it needs to make such a pronouncement on its own. The text belongs to the audience, or to itself, and the author no longer has control over it. Or so goes the argument. This way, we can disregard what she said as irrelevant to the text itself.
I’m uncomfortable saying that the author no longer has any say in the interpretation of a text once it’s published. If the author meant something in the text, then doesn’t it mean that, on at least some level?
On another note, how does this standpoint affect Biblical interpretation? Does this mean that the disciples could have disregarded any teachings of Jesus on the Old Testament that didn’t appear in the New?
They don’t seem like much at first glance, the two boxes of yellowing letters sitting amid the shelves of aged leather-bound volumes.
But the 274 epistles have unlocked two decades’ worth of mysteries about the years of correspondence between author Flannery O’Connor and longtime friend Elizabeth “Betty” Hester…
“Auden distinguished Christian and pagan tragedy: “Greek tragedy is the tragedy of necessity, i.e., the felling aroused in the spectators is ‘What a pity it had to be this way’: Christian tragedy is the tragedy of possibility, ‘What a pity it was this way when it might have been otherwise.'””
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.
There’s been some talk recently about a certain movie by Alfonso Cuarón. I am curious to hear what anyone who has actually read the book thinks of the movie. I’ve found the book absolutely wonderful each time I’ve read it, and the way that the movie has messed with the story bugs me a good deal. It seems that the changes were for the worse – it seems it could have been better if it had been closer to James’ vision for the story.
So, if you have thoughts, let me know. I love a good movie, but this is a book I care about.
Of all things to protest in the public schools, thisseems an awfully ironic place to start.
I’m sure you still wanted to come back to that video of Dave as a baby, but I thought I would post something new anyway. Check out the latest and coolest Christian bookstore to hit the web, SkyCowBooks. SkyCow is working to include more and more titles every day, and their existing collection is great. And don’t forget to check out their Moleskines which are like the coolest notebooks in the world.