Gregory Wolfe on Flannery O’Connor (below) gives me language to describe my criteria & love for good art.

In one sense, O’Connor’s writing gave her the opportunity to learn and relearn the virtues of self-knowledge and humility: by seeing her own sinfulness in some of her characters she recognized her own need for mercy. But O’Connor did not believe that art is merely self-expression – another problematic legacy of the Romantic era. Rather, she saw herself as a “Christian realist,” and believed that art had to do justice to the world beyond the self. In one of her letters O’Connor writes: “Maritain says that to produce a work of art requires the ‘constant attention of the purified mind,’ and the business of purified mind in this case is to see that those elements of the personality that don’t bear on the subject at hand are excluded. Stories don’t lie when left to themselves. Everything has to be subordinated to a whole which is not you. Any story I reveal myself completely in will be a bad story.”


imagination & creativity

October 29, 2008

I’m teaching a session on God’s design — as it relates to imagination & creativity — this week.  My preparatory study has been exhilerating.  (More in a future post?)

I’ve stumbled upon a new on-line acquaintance (I hope to make friend): Gregory Wolfe.  (Have you met him already?)  Mr. Wolfe is saying some things I think Jesus’ followers need desperately to hear.

I was indicted by his article Art, Faith, & Stewardship of Culture with [his] reference to “unwitting disciples of Karl Marx” and delighted by his article In God’s Image: Do Good People Make Good Art and the correlative concept that creativity is a constant invitation to virtue.  (Of course, both of these bits need badly the thoughtful and nuanced context provided with their respective articles in full-length.)

It’s so encouraging that some fellow sojourners are using their creative gifts to engage with our wide-world … in many of its dimensions.

dwelling in possibility

October 5, 2008

Had a great conversation with one of my roommates this evening.  We were discussing the need to embrace limitations and our own finitude, in order to walk in the way of wisdom.  My roommate made the observation that, Emily Dickinson (that poetic genius who “dwelt in possibility“) spent most of her fifty-six years living and breathing in one (same) home.

My roommate went on to tell of an exhortation she heard several years ago during a high school commencement speech: Live Poetically.  Poems, she reminded, best showcase their themes through the distillation of thoughts, ideas, feelings …

What might it mean for us to embrace limitations (in commitments, in relationships … in our daily activities), in order to live poetically?

I’m committing anew to the question …

Though–’tis true–I find so many of the characters & themes altogether compelling.  Had the chance to fall in love all over again with this production (though the Starlight-staging was not my fav).  A snip-it for those who missed its recent visit to KC …







Driving through the Flint Hills today, I was reminded of how beautiful the plains can be.  I’ve spent about 15 hours on the road in the last two days; it’s been awesome to watch the wheat harvest underway.  (And such road time has allowed for a ton of thinking and praying.)  Happy today for my home-State …

A friend of mine invited me to Starlight’s The Drowsy Chaperone tonite. I don’t remember the last time I manufactured so many rounds of legitimate, gut-busting, giggles. (I could not stop myself!) I knew nothing of this Tony-award-winning-show going in; I positively loved it. If you can spring even $10 for the cheap seats (that’s where we sat), it’ll be worth every penny!

Here’s a teaser:

I’ve had one stuck in the back of my throat for a good hour or so.  Why?  (Is this guy really onto something?!)  I dunno.