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Everything posted by jfutral

  1. I think that doctrine has suffered the biggest abuse of modernity. It has devolved to "solo scriptura" by many protestants, usually most of them the independent, non-denominational. I am not a big student of sola scriptura, much less Luther, but I have a feeling there is little resemblance between how many churches teach and practice sola scriptura and how Luther meant it. And by extrapolation, if Jesus is the word made flesh, and the word is scripture, and Jesus is the head of the church, then the only thing we need is scripture. I think Word of God=Jesus=Scripture is a big discussion to be had or at least an attempt to be understood. I know I'm wrestling with it. But I am sure that would want to be its own thread, no matter how far this thread has traveled. Joe
  2. You've been spying in on my conversations with my wife. I don't know. I think the Word of God wields himself pretty well, striking us and we won't admit it. Think of the Black Knight in Monty Python. Barely a scratch! Joe
  3. Celebrity? ;-) Yes. Jesus also seemed to have a knack for being where people were going to be hanging out already. He did a lot of "going to" to make himself available to be approached, no doubt. His story doesn't seem to keep him stationary and everyone came to him on the mountain top. I happen to believe leisure time is the most important time to be around people. Guards are down and real relationship foundations and trust get built when someone doesn't think they are your pet project and outside a "Christian" setting. Doesn't mean you hide who you are or try to fit in by joining questionable behaviour. I have a hard time believing the gospel accounts are exhaustive enough that there was no leisure time for Jesus to spend with the disciples and others he came across and that it wasn't important. It is not difficult for me to imagine many of the parables being derived from some activity they could witness or maybe some discussion they had during their leisure time. I am also not entirely sure some of the stories themselves were not actually when one could consider leisure time. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. I've never read or studied from that perspective before, but it might make for an interesting study. So Jesus goes to a tax collector's house to hang out (and obviously "hang out" has more meaning to me than you). And then he tells his followers that if someone refuses to hear the whole church (did they really think in terms of "church" at this time?), they should treat them as a tax collector. Regardless of what we define as leisure time or how accurate our version of hanging out is to what Jesus did. I think Jesus actions are pretty clear. However you think Jesus treated tax collectors and pagans, that is how we should treat the disciplined. We should be someone not only to hang out with, but to also listen and be heard. We should be approachable. I don't see some "cut them off and turn our backs to them" kind of approach in any of Jesus' dealings with people. No "de-friending". This: "If your pastor constantly preaches against "religion," but your church has that kind of discipline policy, can you really trust that the pastor knows the difference between "religion" and Christianity?" But then this, too?: 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you." "But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." Joe
  4. Well. He did eat with sinners, and in those days, in that culture, having a meal with someone was pretty significant and accepting. But hanging out with in the sense of enabling their sin, Um, not likely. Although Jesus did turn water into wine at a Jewish wedding feast where in all likelyhood there were some people who would have had a little to much of the drink. I mean, I know the liquour content of their wine wasn't as much as ours is...... but people could have just drank that much more. I'm afraid to ask what you guys think hangin' out means or what you think I mean by hangin' out. But if someone is not ditchin' me, I'm not ditchin' them. I don't see how in the world anyone can be restored or asked to follow someone sans relationship. And if anyone thinks that's what 'church discipline' means, they can keep their church and their discipline and good luck with that. I'll just go hang out at Johnny's Cafe or Denny's instead. (HT to days LONG gone by) Joe
  5. And if we are to treat the disciplined as a tax collector, and we use Jesus and how he treated tax collectors as the example of how to treat a tax collector, where does that leave us? Didn't he hang out with the tax collectors? Joe
  6. Right. but of course one who neither does nor creates is not an artist, no matter how much he insists that he is; and one who does or creates is, in that sense, an artist, whether or not she wishes to be called one. And an artist is an artist whether they know what an artist is or not. I'm kind of less concerned about a non-Christian who has had a bad experience with religion than I am about a Christian who has had a bad experience with religion, although the end results are usually pretty similar. The non-Chrstian is usually not trying to make any pretense about being a Christian. What I mean is, if the non-Christian is sincerely searching to connect and have a relationship with God, the bad experience with religion or _a_ religion won't stop the search, just probably reframe the search. Obviously depending on the experience and what point of need is driving the search. But if a Christian has a bad experience, especially with the religious practices they have adopted to have that relationship, it can be faith shattering. Even if you say that religious practices are simply the conversation that allows the relationship, then what is the pipe? (Sorry, reference to the painting "This is not a pipe") What is the religion? The relationship? Or the means to the relationship? We may say we can't have one without the other, but then why is it we seem so intent on making such a big deal about the means? You say: "A useful working definition of "religion" could be "the things we do to respond to God's love and maintain a relationship with him." I think the dichotomy between "relationship" and "religion" is largely artificial." But that in itself somewhat perpetuates the dichotomy. The things we do to respond to God's love is not itself love. The religion, in this definition (and I like this definition, mind you) may be the expression of that love/relationship, but it is not the love/relationship itself. I show my love for my daughter. I show my love for my wife. But my love is not that showing. My love prompts and urges the acts, but it is not the acts. Those acts those religious practices can even exist without love urging them. The acts don't define the love, the love defines the acts. Joe
  7. Ah, but an argument about X should not be mistaken for X itself. But that is the problem I have with much Christian religion. Some are mistaking the argument for what they are arguing about. They are much more concerned with creating a defensible position than just being a Christian. They are Roger Scruton arguing that only classical forms are beautiful and worth being called art. To venture away from the aesthetics argument and be a bit more postmodern, to a certain degree, the systems created to support the arts are more important than the art they were created to support. Joe
  8. The reason I prefer to think about religion in terms of aesthetics, is that just like aesthetes often find themselves arguing about what is real beauty or what should be defined as art, so to do I find the religious mired in the same discussions, particularly about about Christianity. So while it is good to think about religion as a set of practices we do to respond to God's love and maintain a relationship with him, I am more inclined to think of religion as ascribing a _particular_ set of practices, much like the Roger Scrutons of the world. Then there is the art that exists regardless of the proclamations of the aesthetes or the theory of aesthetics. But I am cool with how you guys turned music into a parallel for religion, too. I like the definitions and distinctions. It certainly allows for the artist to be without the need to understand the aesthetics that may or may not describe what they are doing or creating. Similarly it seems to allow for someone to be a Christian without being part of a particular Christian religion. Although I am still unclear how either definition or distinction differs from the Archie comic/Driscoll/Bethke quote. Joe
  9. Aesthetics, as in the philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste. As I heard one person put it, aesthetics is to artists what ornithology is to birds. So, your point about music theory:musician is comparable, I think. Chet Baker had to ask what note to start on when he played with other musicians. Was he a musician? HTTY. So I lean with the folks who tend to believe that, while religion (and by extrapolation theology, doctrine, and denomination) is important and even helpful, it isn't necessary to being a Christian. Does that make me a hipster? Joe edit to add: While there probably are artists who say they don't give a rip about aesthetics, I do think many don't give it a thought.
  10. Why does an idea being in/from a comic book invalidate or diminish the idea? I often wonder if religion is to being a Christian what aesthetics is to being an artist. Joe
  11. I was hugely disappointed in the show. I had high hopes and great expectations from the commercials and I have always loved everyone in the cast. Maya Rudolph has been and continues to be the funniest part of the show. I can't decide if it is the directing or the writing or both. It has gotten better or maybe I'm just getting used to it. I thought Free Agents was better, even though there probably wasn't much mileage in the set up. Joe
  12. Ironically, both Scruton and Dutton want some sort of systematic definition of beauty and aesthetics. If some form of reasoning can be deduced or created then authority can be exerted over what is or isn't definitively beautiful. What a waste of imagination. (Although, while I may generally disagree with Dutton's logic and conclusions, I am more sympathetic to the pursuit of understanding the "why" of things.) Personally, I think the stash of stone axes was either someone's weapons cache or maybe an early entrepreneur's (who discovered he was really good at making axes) inventory and planned on opening a store. Joe
  13. Scruton is quite the interesting fellow to research. Here are a couple articles on a debate from 2009 in which he participated: 'Britain has become indifferent to beauty' The last paragraph pretty well sums it up for me: "...in despair at their negativism, cynicism and defeatism, I asked Starkey and Scruton: "Why is it I like what you like (which is to say: medieval, renaissance and Victorian), but why you are so limited and snitty and crabby you see no value in what I like?" and this editorial from the Guardian/Observer: Beauty is our antidote to cynicism Joe
  14. This helps me a lot since I live in Atlanta. I can't TELL you how many zombies I have to dodge in the course of a day. Joe
  15. Boy am I in trouble then. Bach is my least favourite classic music to the point I do not enjoy listening to Bach. Rubens is also one of my least favourite painters to the point I do not enjoy his work in the slightest. And I abhor reading Shakespeare. I enjoyed lighting Julius Caesar when Jomandi Theatre produced the play set in the nation of Islam. I guess that means there is something wrong with me. But again, I ask, so what? Joe (edit to add: One thing I haven't touched on because I am holding out hope that my suspicions are unfounded. Does Scruton dare venture beyond this Western view, seemingly bordering on colonialism, of art and beauty? Does he allow that what other cultures find beautiful may differ? For instance he derides the bejeweled skull (which I thought was lovely), yet many cultures decorate and decorate with skulls for a variety of reasons. What of architecture beyond Western influences? I only keep seeing him and reading you use Western art as somehow the exemplar of art/beauty. In many ways Modern minimalism existed long before Modernity in other cultures.)
  16. That's a loaded question! I happen to think there is something wrong with everyone ... Joe Well yes, obviously there is something wrong with everyone. That something is called the sin nature. But that doesn't mean that some people with the sin nature can occasionally get a thing or two right, while others (with the same sin nature) can get an identical thing or two wrong. So the simple question still goes, is there something specifically WRONG with me if I dislike or fail to appreciate ... oh say "The Well-Tempered Clavier" by Johan Sebastian Bach? the Venus de Milo statue? the Potala Palace in Tibet? Michelango's "Universal Judgement" in the Sistine Chapel? "The New World" by Terence Malick? or what about just the Grand Canyon? Still a loaded and not so simple a question. There could very well be something wrong with you if you dislike or fail to appreciate anything. So what? Since you are more read on Scruton than I am at this point, how would you compare Susan Sontag's essay "An argument about beauty" to what you have read of Scruton so far? (an excerpt): "Beauty defines itself as the antithesis of the ugly. Obviously, you can’t say something is beautiful if you’re not willing to say something is ugly. But there are more and more taboos about calling something, anything, ugly. (For an explanation, look first not at the rise of so-called political correctness, but at the evolving ideology of consumerism, then at the complicity between these two.) The point is to find what is beautiful in what has not hitherto been regarded as beautiful (or: the beautiful in the ugly)." After this discussion I am real close to giving my dance organization the tag line "Out to destroy beauty!" Joe
  17. Other negatives from the past. I think Scruton and Manet would probably have some issues considering one of Manet's quotes “that an artist has got to move with the times and paint what he sees”" Here are some reviews from an early Impressionist showing. "When the human figure is involved, it is another matter entirely: the aim is not to render its form, its relief, its expression - it is enough to give an impression with no definite line, no colour, light or shadow; in the implementation of so extravagant a theory, artists fall into hopeless, grotesque confusion, happily without precedent in art, for it is quite simply the negation of the most elementary rules of drawing and painting. The scribblings of a child have a naivety, a sincerity which make one smile, but the excesses of this school sicken or disgust." Some notes from a critic who seems to have been taken to task for a negative review: "Even the word 'Gothic' came out of a jibe. Renaissance writer Giorgio Vasari, looking down on artists living across the Alps from him for their highly ornamental stonework, referred to them as 'these Goths, these barbarians untutored in the true classics.'" History is riddled with the likes of Scruton. I have no doubt he won't be the last. Joe
  18. Unfortunately, "setting the new standard" turns out to matter largely in terms of money and fame, not meaningful achievement. Also, the political element comes to the fore, and as Perciflage points out the question becomes less about merit than PR skills. Your daughter might have the talent, but someone else has the connections, and what is talent anyway? Well, since I am a connection, my daughter has that in her favour. I do agree that PR can accelerate attention, but I am a firm believer (and i do think it bears out, at least in my experience) in slow and steady wins the race and many things become self evident, at least in the world of dance. I have told my daughter, I'll do what I can to open doors for her, but it is up to her to prove herself. But if my daughter has the capacity to set the standard, then she chooses instead to stay in the background or limit her exposure, then her realm of influence will be small. It might build over time as people start to tell others about what they learned from her. If that's all she wants, I'm OK with that. Joe
  19. Unfortunately (or not if you are the recipient) it seems more governed by the one with the money. Joe
  20. That's funny. When I see that (and I have seen that on a local basis) all I can think is "My daughter is going to blow the walls off! I can't wait when she sets the new standard!" Joe
  21. That's a loaded question! I happen to think there is something wrong with everyone. How much that enters into play with what we create and what we think of it, I would take on a case by case basis. On one hand I am of the school that says, the burden of communicating is on the shoulders of the communicator. But sometimes the one being communicated to has to also be willing to listen. Largely, as a working and professional artist, I am of the opinion 1) the issues artists are facing today are of their own making and 2) the issue with _support_ of the arts has less to do with the general public not wanting to support art and more to do with the public not wanting to support the institutions that, once were there to support art, now over shadow the art they were created to support. Joe
  22. That's not how I heard him. I heard him as saying his idea of beauty is what art should be exclusively pursuing. He, being the rationalist he is, would not use those words, but that is the reality of his statements. He doesn't present any of this as "his personal tastes". And if his point is truly philosophical he has an issue to examine regarding my point of the shared humanism roots of what he hails vs what he rails. Wait a minute. How many of those Americans would have a Rembrandt hanging on their walls if NOT for the modern, utilitarian, mass produced art purchased at their local Walmart or Christian bookstore? "Objective standards" reeks of the Enlightenment thinking that he BLAMES for the current condition of art. Not to mention my disagreement with the idea that "subjective" is somehow exclusive from beauty being real, good, and created by God. The philosophical trends in the art world don't say that beauty doesn't matter. It says/said the old definitions of beauty are insufficient and is not the only thing that matter to art. He even ridicules an artist who believes that her work IS beautiful. Beauty matters and means far more than one man's definition of it. Just like God matters and means far more than one man's definition of Him. If an infinite God created beauty, why in the world would I settle for one man's definition of beauty? No, it only proves that Scruton is not thinking clearly and thoroughly. No one (of the few) here has questioned if beauty is even necessary in order to have art. We've —I've—only said beauty is more than Scruton offers and is not the ONLY thing art is for. Just to reiterate, of the things he views positively (beauty matters, art can reflect beauty), I agree. Of the things he views negatively (art is ONLY concerned with beauty, modern art is out to destroy beauty and is bad, and beauty is only what he says it is), I disagree. What "other" primary definition? Professional? What do you think separates you as an artist from Michelangelo as an artist? Joe
  23. Would I rather? I wouldn't mind it any less. But you also, IIRC, come from a ecclesial background that has purposeful art—that is, art, if present, is intended to serve a particular purpose. If I felt similarly about art in church I would probably agree with you. But then, this is where i appreciate Francis Schaeffer when he pointed out how the temple was decorated. Do I think there is bad modern art? Sure. I think there is bad art all over the place. And by bad, I can mean any number of things—poorly executed, poorly conceived, poorly imagined, or uninspiring. But I do admit that no sooner than I think something is bad, someone comes along and loves what I don't. Just as often it is someone I respect who has the differing opinion. Love your anecdote. 8O Where did THAT come from? Is the discussion going downhill? Well, you asked if there was some way (Futral's paraphrase) to accelerate the winnowing that time brings our way. Those were the only two systems I could think of to reduce the amount of un-noteworthy work without the aid of time. That is, other than doing what people do naturally by ignoring what they don't find interesting. Well, now that is a great question and one I am largely in line with Suzi Gablick, especially after I read her book Has Modernism Failed?. Modern artists rebelled against the system, then not only in turn was co-opted, but subsumed by the system and became the system. I think art produced by anyone is art anyone can enjoy. But there is no reason to think that EVERYONE will enjoy. That is putting a burden on art that we don't put on ANYTHING else. Joe
  24. You know, this quip has long bothered me. Along the same lines is "If I can do it, it isn't art". To me the point of art isn't who can or can't do it. The point is just do it! I think the more EVERYONE did art, the less need for anyone to tell us what is and isn't art, much less what is and isn't good art. If your kid can "do that" then tell him to do it! And keep doing it. Art is 100% participatory. Art only exists if people participate. This is where I believe the idea of "there is no art, only artists" comes from. Joe
  25. You haven't heard the people I know who hate jazz. I think that is a different topic. Or maybe it isn't. I have my own opinions about public art. It is all the rage here in Atlanta and a lot of money is being thrown that direction. So much for those of us who aren't into creating public art. Yeah, that Frank Lloyd Wright was such a minimalist hack. And that Marc Chagall, what a modernist schmuck. ;-) Stained glass seems to be one area where I find most people think ANY coloured glass is beautiful. Go figure. Maybe. But isn't there something in the current milieu that militates against the whole notion of winnowing out the less noteworthy, or even making value judgments between what is worthy and what isn't? Might that be worth railing against? I guess we could set up a system like China or the Soviet Union where the only people allowed to be artists are the ones the State selects. And then if they don't live up to expectations they can go work the gulags. I do remember one theatre in Cleveland that had what they called the "bad actor cage". Take heart. Even Bach, in his day, was considered a schmuck by many. The thing is, railing against a system is where much modern art and artists began. Like KShaw pointed out, many movements came about specifically to take art out of the hands of the elite, the galleries and museums and critics and the ones who think they can say what is and isn't art, and put it back in the hands of the everyday people. Modern architecture came about the same way. Joe
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