Saturday, June 28, 2008

an artist meets The Artist!

I had recently an embarrassingly obvious point pointed out to me - I hate that! I was whining about the ambiguous nature of my chosen subject of study, and this inappropriately wise person made the connection between art and creation. It is true, certainly, that I have been insisting on a certain clarity and concreteness from God which I instinctively do not expect from my own art.

Does God react to her own handiwork in the same manner us poor copyists do? You see, at a certain point, the artist is no longer in control. The art takes on its own character. It makes its own demands. It may not have power over the artist, but it within its own context, it has its own kind of power. The artist has a vision of the final piece, but this is reached through a conversation of sorts.

Is this the nature of free will? Not so much that free will is a gift from God as much as an acknowledgment by God that the art will have its say? The greater the art of course, the greater the risk of failure, but never will art simply be a translation of the will of the artist. Materials and circumstances, the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, will have a vote. This is the world as God has set it up, this his masterpiece! Could God have set up reality so that this was not so? I don't think so. Material is material (and in a certain way, spirit is material also...). As soon as pure will is projected into a real situation, reality will begin to shape that will. It is always a conversation.

Of course this is how love also works, in conversation. In a certain way the artist loves the art, in a more perfect way God loves her creation. But this love, this presence, is not a certain particularity. As much as some of us would prefer less an art as some demonstration of physics, with hard and certain rules. The problem I think is that God is a person, and made little persons like himself. A communion of persons, the traditional definition of the Trinity, always involves less certainty because there is more art.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It is time for the wider world to know this! I presented it at a prestigious theological institution earlier this year - though it was not as well received as I would have hoped (not one of the professors requested my research notes!).

Thank you for inviting me to speak tonight on the influence of M. Goose in the eschatological and hermeneutic approach evident in Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. Because of time I must confine my remarks directly to the influence of Itsy Bitsy Spider. I refer interested persons to my exhaustive four volume work, First Corinthians, a Deconstructive Reconstruction of the Relevant Idiosyncratic Idioms Connecting M. Goose and the Verse School of First Century Palestine, published by University of Woolloomooloo Press.

First I should tell you that this text is not undisputed, despite Perry Deigh’s dating of our earliest manuscripts of Itsy Bitsy Spider to the first century of the Common Era. Perry Deigh’s main detractor would have to be Professor of Ancient Nursery Rhymes at Harvard University, Crispus Gaius, who has argued that the manuscript identified by Perry Deigh is in fact type-written, though beyond this minor technical point, Professor Gaius has not put forward any substantive support for his objection. I myself am unconvinced; especially since it seems to me First Corinthians cannot be properly understood without seeing the inter-textual collaborative influence of Itsy Bitsy Spider in Paul’s style.

The figure of the spider, particular the itsy bitsy spider is one familiar to any student of ancient texts, particularly those of Babylonian origin, as a symbol of the personally depersonalized embodiment of kenotic individuality. The figure of the waterspout relates directly to First Corinthians as the obstacle to a life lived in holiness. Despite repetitive rain-sun cycles, indicative of the predictable randomness of daily life, the spider is called upon to traverse this water spout, on a journey to its own teleological eschaton.

Paul had this vision of apocatastasis in mind when dealing with the Corinthian community. I site in particular chapter 10, verses 31 and 32: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.” Just as the itsy bitsy spider was called upon to transcend its circumstance, so Paul calls the Corinthians to an imitation of the itsy bitsy spider, to become the embodiment of apocalyptic hope in the face of adverse weather patterns. The itsy bitsy spider has become for Paul and for the community of Corinth the embodiment of redemptive conscience, and the waterspout represents the physical world which we are called to bodily overcome.

Thank you for your attention.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In the beginning....

I have decided for no reason in particular, besides the example of those I admire and would like to be like, to join in the bandwagon and write myself a blog. I suffer no illusions regarding the likely size of my audience, but I never let being ignored stop me in the past. Never mind, and damn the torpedoes!

I am a theological student on leave, taking this year to recollect my marbles! (By the bye, anyone want to hire a partially trained theologian/artist? I'm very cute....). Once I have found all my marbles - or have collected myself a new set, I shall return (twice as victorious!).

By way of justifying the bandwidth, I have been, in the course of this year long experiment looking a lot at discernment sites, and have noticed a discrepancy. On the one hand, it seems as if even a slight inclination towards the priesthood is proof positive of God's personal call to you. On the other, (mostly on sites about women priests being the final ruin for all of civilization!), no one has a right to the priesthood and merely having a feeling is insufficient reason to claim a call. Now I happen to know this less enthusiastic position is closer to "church teaching" - but surely it holds true for manly vocations too!

While we are at it, what precisely does a call from God look like? I have always had the vision of someone (usually Pat Robertson - I have deplorable viewing habits) having tea with God. God said that you were to give me a job at our last tea by the way!

Probably enough for one evening.