Archives For Art

monk-with-back-drop

Alone.

The assembly lines stand abandoned.
.     Support stations silenced.

The floor is covered in bleak layers of ash.

The unbroken quiet, broken by drips of quickening sorrow.

This place was once full of sighs and hand-me-downs
.    Now even they’re all gone.

The walls still show signs of attendance.
Yet, no manner of violent remonstration,
.     rage or fomented frustration,
can remove the grey from this calloused remembrance.

.     Even if their inhabitants failed to provide subsistence
This ground held promise.
.     Now that’s all spent-slash-squandered.

The leftovers were nothing; nothing worth noting.

Like scattered mines,
.     Each empty barrel and bin are filled with charges of antecedent chagrins;
Shadows of a generation that never gave thought to the world of tomorrow.

Upwards the frame is shattered, its roof left mangled;
.      bright orange lines of rust stains run down what’s left of each pillar.
Tear-shaped lines of yesteryear move even the most thoughtless of listeners.

Then rising unnoticed, begins the slow ascent of the impossible and the peculiar.

Engravings marked by an outward light,
.             pierce through the silted darkness.

Then hands reach down and dust off,
.           grace-breathed Petroglyphs of the once familiar.

.


(©RL2016)

blog-post-25th-nov-2016-rlWhen it comes to composing music there’s hits, and then there’s misses.

The lesson I’m learning from my own hits and misses is that nothing created is ever completely wasted.

Outside the perfectionist, the only mistakes that really matter in music are the ones that stand out. Those particular kinds of mistakes can break a song and an artist. It’s the ones that break with the rhythm or the melody; the ones that are heard by everyone, not just the person with a trained ear to the ground.

The potential for mistakes like these keep us fine-tuning our craft and tools for the job. They keep is in step with the beat, ensuring that one hundred percent of our attention is given to the composition at hand.

Through humility and a gracious attitude, mistakes can teach us. Through grace they can be made part of a disciplined life. They become fuel; the impetus to get better. Through grace mistakes can even become part of the song, or the beginning of new one.

In God, with God, through God, we are shown how this works. Shown that once humanity drops its facade of isolation, rejects it’s hubris-filled rejecting and grasps the grace that grasps us, nothing created is ever completely wasted. As Joseph said to his brothers,

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen. 50:20, ESV).

Likewise, Paul tells us, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Rom.8:28).

Not even the scrappy three-minute melody that had way too much drums in the mix, or the muddy sound of an instrumental overdone with bass or a guitar solo.

Nothing created is ever completely wasted.

Every new melody, every new beat, every new sound is born from the lessons learnt by simply having the courage to put a hand in The Hand that enables us for the task.

“Courage, dear heart,” (C.S. Lewis) for ‘our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.’(2 Cor. 5:21-6:1, ESV).

Nothing created is ever completely wasted.

.

I’m close to three quarters of my way through Church Dogmatics 2/2 and I’ve got a lot to reflect upon. I can see the big attraction the politically left theologians and left leaning Christians have with this volume. It’s tempting to even say that Barth is ”on their side”, but that wouldn’t be quite true.

It certainly wouldn’t accurately describe the knife edge Barth walks between Christian Universalism and Calvinism, or the scriptural tension between the two that Barth plays like a musical genius. It’d be a premature surrender. Besides, I’m almost convinced that to conscript Barth into Leftism, is to selectively misuse and overlook his warnings about, and opposition to Nazism. Including jettisoning a large portion of his own theological position.

I plan to put together a few posts about this as time permits. It’s a great deal to discuss in one blogpost.

So, for now, I’m just dropping this right here: matching quote with verse; a sketch with both. I’ve rearranged the order in which Barth’s block quote appears in the text. This doesn’t take away from the integrity of meaning. There’s quite a few statements throughout 2/2 that contain the same calibre of that which is expressed here.

Karl Barth:

‘Jesus is the One who uniquely and in isolation represents man to God, and God to man […] For as such He is not merely the prophet and proclaimer of the good news of God’s covenant with humanity, nor does He merely call men to hear & receive this news, but in doing so calls them to active co-operation in its proclamation.
When Jesus calls the apostles to Him, He does not promise that He will make them Christians, or even that He will first make them Christians and then apostles; but He immediately promises that He will make them apostles; bearers to humanity of a commission that will be given to them, the commission to seek and gather [in the spheres of world and Church; He chooses them as they are, calling them out from where they are].’ [i]

Jesus:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” {Matthew 24:9-13, ESV}

 

RL2016_multiple barbs SOLO2

 


(RL2016)

[i] Barth, K. CD 2:2, pp.445 & 444 (parenthesis, Barth paraphrased)

Ash & Ambrose

February 10, 2016 — Leave a comment

Cross Ash Wednesday Word Art

Augustine’s Bells

December 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

Two bells Smaller Canvas project NEW Large 2 with JESUS Final

 

‘Rejoice, you just (Ps 33:1); it is the birthday of the Justifier. Rejoice, you who are weak and sick; it is the birthday of the Savior, the Healer. Rejoice, captives; it is the birthday of the Redeemer. Rejoice, slaves; it is the birthday of the one who makes you lords. Rejoice, free people; it is the birthday of the one who makes you free. Rejoice, all Christians; it is the birthday of Christ.’ [i]
– Augustine, On Christmas Day. Circa 412 A.D.

 


 

[i] Augustine, Saint; Doyle, D. & Hill, E. Essential Sermons  New City Press (p. 244).

 

Chesterton110 years since it was published, Heretics hasn’t lost a great deal of its significance.

In-situ, Heretics is a sum of careful considerations rendered at a time of significant change. Although his one hundred year old addresses easily convey to a modern reader, a sense of prophetic poignancy, Chesterton’s insights aren’t compromised by it. He is still a man writing for his own times. A simple example of this is that Chesterton is as critical of progressives as he is of aristocracy, and yet he is neither against progress nor entirely against the existence of an aristocrat. His concern is with the true and false definitions.

This is perhaps more clearer in the final chapter of Heretics than anywhere else:

‘The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed […] Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. (p.163)

Chesterton’s conclusions seek to follow some of the logic of his day to their eventual ends. Mocking selectively, he unapologetically points out their inadequacies, lamenting that a time may come when the consequential absurdity that follows them might actually be given free reign. In fact, judging by the overall tone of Heretics it’s something Chesterton sees as already starting to happen.

On Bigotry:

‘Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions. It is the resistance offered to definite ideas by that vague bulk of people whose ideas are indefinite to excess. Bigotry may be called the appalling frenzy of the indifferent. This frenzy of the indifferent is in truth a terrible thing; it has made all monstrous and widely pervading persecutions.’ (pp. 158-159)
‘Bigotry in the main has always been the pervading omnipotence of those who do not care, crushing out those who care, in darkness and blood…Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are least dangerous is the man of ideas. He is acquainted with ideas, and moves among them like a lion-tamer. Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are most dangerous is the man of no ideas.’(p.159)

On Art:

‘It is healthful to every sane man to utter the art within him; it is essential to every sane man to get rid of the art within him at all costs’ (p.129)
‘All the art of all the artists looked tiny and tedious beside the art which was a by-product of propaganda […] Originality is disagreement with others’ (p.155)
‘A small artist is content with art; a great artist is content with nothing except everything.’ (p.155)
‘The men and women who have really been the bold artists, the realistic artists, the uncompromising artists, are the men who have turned out, after all, to be writing “with a purpose.” (p.155)
‘When we want any art tolerably brisk and bold we have to go to the doctrinaires.’ (p.156)

On Literary Criticism:

‘It need hardly be said that this is the real explanation of the thing which has puzzled so many dilettante critics, the problem of the extreme ordinariness of the behaviour of so many great geniuses in history. Their behaviour was so ordinary that it was not recorded; hence it was so ordinary that it seemed mysterious. Hence people say that Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare…The explanation is simple enough; it is that Shakespeare had a real lyrical impulse, wrote a real lyric, and so got rid of the impulse and went about his business. Being an artist did not prevent him from being an ordinary man.’ (p.130)

On Democracy:

‘Democracy is not philanthropy; it is not even altruism or social reform. Democracy is not founded on pity for the common man; democracy is founded on reverence for the common man, or, if you will, even on fear of him.’ (p.143)
‘Nothing can be more dangerous than to found a social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated.’ (p.153)
‘If a man or woman convinces us at all, it should be by his or her convictions.’ (p.156)

On Dogmatics:

‘When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.’ (p.153).
‘No man ought to write at all, or even to speak at all, unless he thinks he is in truth and the other man in error.’ (p.154)
‘Dogmatism is the founding of a system.’ (p.154)
‘Heresy is the intellectual poisoning of a whole people, in which only a prosperous and prominent man would be likely to be successful. The evil of aristocracy is not that it necessarily leads to the infliction of bad things or the suffering of sad ones; the evil of aristocracy is that it places everything in the hands of a class of people who can always inflict what they can never suffer.’ (p.147)
‘The modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know that they are dogmas. It may be thought “dogmatic,” for instance, in some circles accounted progressive, to assume the perfection or improvement of man in another world. But it is not thought “dogmatic” to assume the perfection or improvement of man in this world; though that idea of progress is quite as unproved as the idea of immortality, and from a rationalistic point of view quite as improbable. [For example] we see the full frenzy of those who killed themselves to find the sepulchre of Christ. But being in a civilization which does believe in this dogma of fact for facts’ sake, we do not see the full frenzy of those who kill themselves to find the North Pole.’ (p.162)
[Memorable quote:] ‘Some hold the undemonstrable dogma of the existence of God; some the equally undemonstrable dogma of the existence of the man next door.’ (p.163)

On Poverty:

most of our realists and sociologists talk about a poor man as if he were an octopus or an alligator.’ (p.147)
‘The missionary comes to tell the poor man that he is in the same condition with all men. The journalist comes to tell other people how different the poor man is from everybody else.’ (p.148)

On Philosophy:

‘If we talk of a certain thing being an aspect of truth, it is evident that we claim to know what is truth; just as, if we talk of the hind leg of a dog, we claim to know what is a dog. Unfortunately, the philosopher who talks about aspects of truth generally also asks, ‘What is truth?” Frequently even he denies the existence of truth, or says it is inconceivable by the human intelligence.’ (p.157)
‘It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything.’ (p.157)

Chesterton walks along the edge of poignancy. His wit and quips land closer to sharp and reasoned criticism than they do to a flippant, mournful, petulant rejection of his subject matter. Chesterton has widely read and thought about the material he is addressing.

G.K. Chesterton’s voice, although slightly worn and visibly dated in some aspects, still remains as confronting as it did when he first put pen to paper.

That parallels can be proven to exist between the then and the now shows the longevity of Chesterton’s broad intellect, the broad impact of his ability to laugh and courage to speak out.

‘Eternity is the eve of something…Our existence is still a story. In the fiery alphabet of every sunset is written, “to be continued…” (pp.125 & 102)

Source:

Chesterton, G.K. 1905 Heretics, Catholic Way Publishing

Related posts:

The Most Agreeable Elements Of Chesterton’s HeReTiCs: Numero Uno

The Most Agreeable Elements Of Chesterton’s HeReTiCs: Numero Dos

1962664_10202907183906958_850207938668940473_nIt’s been nearly twenty years since I first heard this album.

Although the song ‘Jesus Freak’ is overdone, something a quick YouTube search verifies, the importance and gravitas of the album is far from having yet been outdone.

Today, in a random shuffle through a scattering of cd’s left on the floor of my car, I rediscovered it and then introduced my kids to a revolution.

From start to finish the lyrical relevance of this album is pertinent. Reaching far beyond the issues that helped make the ’95 release so popular.

Pioneered by bands such as Petra, Stryper, Barry McGuire, Keith Green and numerous others. DC Talk broke through the false dichotomy between the secular and the sacred, as they moved away from comfort zones and stepped into spotlights often hostile to Christianity.

As a band, DC Talk redefined what it meant for Christians to participate within a ”secular” arena in the mid 1990s.

Toby Mac, Michael Tait and Kevin Max, were able to voice an ancient perspective about Christianity and art. Consequently, they sparked a new breed of Christian musician, one respected for the concern they showed towards the quality of their art and the delivery of the message that inspired it.

Utilising a finely produced full sound, featuring a mix of grunge, rap, and rock rhythms, Jesus Freak shattered the kitsch that so often plagues ”Contemporary Christian Music”.

In consideration of the issues we are facing as a global community today, this album is a revolution worth revisiting.