Monday, June 11, 2007

Quotes and Facts:"Behold The Glory:Incarnation Through the Arts" edited by Jeremy Begbie

Here are some quotes from most of the eight essays contained in this short work which attempts to explore Christian theology through various artistic mediums. The inclusion of each quote does not imply that I endorse each opinion expressed in them. I am merely seeking discussion on the subject of the relationship between the arts and theology.

Trevor Hart in "Through The Arts: Hearing, Seeing and Touching The Truth."
p21- "Is there any sense in which art itself, through its capacity to transform our vision of and response to the world, shares in or corresponds to that redemptive activity of God?"

Malcolm Guite in "Through Literature: Christ and the Redemption of Language."
p.28- "Because a certain kind of "bloodless" and abstract theology used words in such a way to alientate people from the incarnate Word, so now it falls to the artist to redeem language, to use imaginative language to restore what a language devoid of imagination has destroyed."
p30- "But Christians, especially those called to preach or share the word, should take a special interest when those 'outside' the faith are drawn to deal with its mysteries and should listen closely when they tell us what our orthodoxy has sounded like to them."
p32- "One reason why it is so essential that we begin again to do our theology through the arts, is that the arts are never discarnate, they always begin and end in the realm of time and sense, however much they give us glimpses of another realm that transcends it."
p45.- "A literary imagination, open to the light of Christ, has the power to move us beyond the limitations of ideological arguement, and take us to the far side of the cross, on a journey with the One who was incarnate into every part of the world and every corner of the human heart."

Sara B. Savage in "Through Dance: Fully Human, Fully Alive."
p65- "This kind of intellectualism has had a marked influence on the Christian Church, and not least, its approach to the person of Christ. At times it has encouraged an attitude to Christ which gives excessive weight to what can be expressed in propositions , apprehended by the mind. This has limited the resources with which we hold together the divine and human natures of Christ. Two extremes typically result: Christ is all/only divine or Christ is all/only human."
p.66- "Movement is thus one of the first languages through which we gain personal knowledge, and as a result, the capacity for propositional knowledge. Hence it is appropriate (perhaps even necessary?) that we use movement to enrich our personal knowledge of Christ (whom we must approach by faith with our whole selves, not only our intellect)."

Jim Forest in "Through Icons: Word and Image Together."
p86- "The catacombs bear witness that wherever Christians prayed, they sought to create a visual environment that reminded them of the Kingdom of God and helped them to pray."
p.89- Here Forest provides a quote from St. John of Damascus (676-749) on icons:
"If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error...but we do not do anything of the kind; we do not err, in fact, if we make the image of God incarnate who appeared on earth in the flesh, who in his ineffable goodness, lived with men and assumed the nature, the volume, the form, and the colour of flesh."
p.92- Forest quotes St. Sergius of Radonezh: "Contemplation of the Holy Trinity distroys all discord."

Graham Cray in "Through Popular Music: Wholy Holy."
p119-120- Here Cray is speaking of culture: "...within the human sciences as a whole, culture now refers to the whole of society with particular references to the ways in which human beings make or discover meaning. Cultural studies recognises that people make meaning through the everyday resources of their lives. A Sony Walkman has as much involvement in the making of meaning as the underlying economic and social forces involved in its creation and marketing...this understanding of the relationship between culture and meaning applies to every aspect of culture, including any art form regarded as elite...Christian theology must resist the tendency of some cultural studies to claim that reality is entirely constructed by culture or through language. Instead it adopts a view that combines God's initial and ongoing creativity with human stewardship and discovery in partnership with God...But theology can nevertheless agree that culture, including popular culture, does involve the shaping, as well as the identification of meaning."
p121- "It is just because popular music is a mass medium that it has the capacity to introduce substantial themes into its audience's everyday life and experience, in such a way that people are enabled to engage with them significantly."
p135- "When resistance to temptation becomes costly, the critical issue is the trustworthiness of the Father. The cost is bearable if the Father can be trusted. At the heart of the incarnation is the revelation of the trustworthiness of the Father."

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