Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Christainity and the Visual Arts

Just started a class for my January term and it's all about art! yay! Coming from a Catholic background i'm used to seeing art in church... however i arrive at seminary to discover that protestants are rather unsure as to what to make of art. Protestants cited the following problems with art:
1. God revealed through words, as the Bible is just words! no pix.
2. Images are finite and cannot contain the infinite.
3. Pix are distracting.

I think this is rather strange as in my book a picture is worth a thousand words. Isn't most of our language visual anyway? It's raining cats and dogs, clean sweep, ballon payment, fragile economy, don't spill the beans, are you picking up what i'm putting down? Images convey meaning and we are visual beings before we're verbal.

We are a part of nature... we are animals. Our hearts beat, we are hot and cold, we are carbon based beings, we are effected by chemistry, we bleed, sweat, and digest our food. However we are also something else. We are spiritual beings as well. We cannot name it but there is that age-old nagging, that cosmic awareness of that Other. Other that is beyond or beneath or apart from reality. We cannot name it but we try. Augustine called it a certain restlessness. Tillich called it the depth dimension. Some call it transcendence, ultimate meaning, Truth, higher power, etc. We are driven by this mystery.

Flesh and Blood yet a Mystery that words cannot express. Art can.

Art can show the hidden. It can reveal that which cannot be explained, transcending the world not only of objects but also of facts and even ideas. This is the territory of image and symbol.

Sometimes i can't explain things.. but i could paint it for you. Like musicans can't tell you how they are feeling but they can play it on their instruments. Poets use language in much the same way. Art is our visual language that we must be conscious of. We can't stay on the margins, we must join in!

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