Monday, October 31, 2005


(Click to see the image on flickr)

It rained today, I love rain!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Theology of Things

"But things do not have magical power, they have theological power... "

"Christ himself was incarnate, and he came not only to live among us, but among things,which he experienced richly. Christ asks us to remember him with bread and wine-he identified himself with bread and wine.
We aught not to rush to spiritualize these things and strip them of their sensual power, for it is in precisely their material qualities Christ was identifying himself. He was not coyly using metaphor. This is not to lead us to a reprise on the catholic-protestant debate on transsubstanciation,( is Christ literally to be found in the bread and wine?) But to ask: Is Christ to be found in the world at all? And How? How precisely did God intend to show us himself in the world?
I think more and more the issue returns to the school teacher and his quest to remember and recapture a place.

We too fear a loss of place, a loss of
memory, a loss of God. To reap memories one must be incarnate, not just having a body, for even the dead posses one, but a body whose senses are working.
Memory proves that we were there. As the bible records god's presence in the world in a broad sense, memories record our more personal history and god's presence in the history of our lives in large and seemingly small ways, in times of plenty and little,when we were close to him and when we were running like hounds away from him.
SO save the ticket stubs, do not throw away aunt Mamie's battered pop corn bowl sniff the diesel fumes when you take that trip to Memphis. Do not turn away from that decrepit ally behind town. Taste the bread, brothers and sisters, taste the bread, hold it, sniff it, put in to your lips, and know the incarnate God, who made the earth and put us among things, for our pleasure and his."
-Gina Bria (Place, Community, and Memory, a Mars Hill Audio Anthology, which for now is only 2.50$ on tape here.)

the non-existence of the secular

"The more I think about it, the more I see the term "secular" as a word which has no concrete reality. Within a universe created and governed by an omnipotent, omnipresent God, secularity is impossible. Everything - absolutely everything - is religious. The "secular" is a dream - desparate wish - of atheists, and strangely enough, of some Christians who for some reason want to limit God's influence and rule over all of reality. "Secular" as a word functions like the word "chance": it may be a helpful term to describe certain potential ways of seeing things, but ultimately, the word is absurd and utterly contradicted by the sovereignty of God."

-The Native Tourist (author of Plowing in Hope, see this post where I talk about the book)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"To be original, you have to go back to the origins." -Antonio Gaudi

Friday, October 28, 2005

the cheapening of greatness

A bumper sticker or t-shirt seems to be the wrong place for a great quote or a Bible verse. It seems to cheapen and commoditize whatever it was it was saying, or surn it into a slogan.

While at first I thought it was neat to put music on a cell phone ring, it seems to only make you annoyed or tired of the song, not to mention the degrading process of converting an orchestra into carefully arranged beeps.

The medium isn't the message, but it surely affects the message.

For all the great good it has done, modern publishing and communication technology has enabled us to take everything out of context, be it a soundclip and image or a conversation.

John Berger has this to say in Ways of Seeing(thank God for university libraries):

"The uniqueness of every painting was once a part of the place where it resided. Sometimes the painting was transportable. But it could never be seen in two places at the same time. When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of it's image. As a result it's meaning changes. Or, more exactly, it's meaning multiplies and fragments into many meanings.

This is vivedly illustrated by what happens when a painting is shown on a television screen. The painting enters each viewers house. There it is surrounded by his wallpaper, his furniture, his mementoes. It enters the atmosphere of his family. It becomes their talking point. It lends its meaning to their meaning. At the same time it enters a million other houses and, in each of them, is seen in a different context. Because of the camera, the painting now travels to the spectator rather than the spectator to the painting. In it's travels, it's meaning is diversified."

I don't quite agree with everything, but he has some good points. I used to wonder why such a big deal was made about original paintings as opposed to reproductions, and to be sure some of the it is merely mystique, but not all. I am thankful though, for this technology, because I have seen almost no original art.

Remote Control Humans?

This is scary: "I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced — mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance."
Read the rest at this MSNBC page

Thanks to Amber for the link.

Lewis's minor works under 5$

On amazon today I found you can sort books by price low to high, I found these lesser known works by C.S. Lewis all for under 5$ including the 3.49$ shipping!
And of course you can find all the narnia Chronicles, the space trilogy and most of his other works for 1 cent plus shipping, here's the search.

*Of those listed I've read these and they are close to my favorite lewis material.

Also, I finished That Hideous Strength last night, which was, of course, great!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Peter Syomka

I love that image. It's a 3D work Peter Syomka made about 6 years ago. I had a large poster of it from zazzle for a few years until it was ripped on accident.

Anyway, I recently read a few interviews with him, in all of which he said something similar to what he said in this interview:

"In my personal opinion, the greatest artist ever is God. The only thing you need to do for good creative art is just to follow Him in His Art-Of-Creation."

It's nice to see a leading figure in the digital art community acknowledge and praise God as the source of all beauty and creativity.

In the same interview he mentioned that one aspect of a successful project as 'not being vulgar'. Alot of CG art these days is surely pornographic.

Right now he's working as a Modeler on King Kong, and in his spare time over the last few years he's working on project Anna, a detailed anatomy study:

Before switching to digital he was trained as a traditional artist. Unfortunately he has no working website, but here are a few interviews which have more of his work: (thats the one I quoted)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spectacular is a community of about 200,000 people interested in digital art, from newbies to acadamy award winners and everything inbetween. It's an amazing resource for learning any aspect of cg art.

They have a contest going on right now on the theme 'Spectacular'

Here is a work in progress by James Kaufeldt"

It's amazing to see the concept sketches, references, modeling tests, textures, and lighting set-ups that go into making an 3D render from scratch like that.

Those are from this entry by James Kaufeldt

Monday, October 24, 2005


I've just discovered BBC's radio archives. What a great find!

You can find brief (2-5 min.) interviews with everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Agatha Christi.
a few of the categories are:

Then there's In Out Time.

a 45 minute program on the history of ideas, with topics like:

Memory - and the brain
the Artist - a special kind of human being?
Infinity -a brief history.
Robin Hood- the greatest of English myths.
the Alphabet- its creation and development.
Imagination - just what is it?
Beauty - the philosophy of beauty
Renaissance Magic - the great passion of the age

And of course, all of this is in a variety of delightfully british accents.

This should provide me with plenty of listening material while I sketch or do autocad homework.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

...even more one photography.

"I wonder if this tendancy to try to retain snapshots of what I see is normal or if it is something that the era of the instamatic has bequeathed us. Before the invention of cameras, painters snapped far slower portraits, composed as much of the essence of the subject as of its surfaces. How much of what we see of the world is snapshots rather than the product of a deeper regard ? Whatever, despite my musings on ocular philosophy, I happily loiter just about anywhere and click click click away with the shutter of my mind’s eye..."

-John Howe (from this blogpost)

"People who possess even the rudiments of sensitivity become aware, without any necessary explanations, that holding a camera is not unlike holding a gun."

- a reviewer of the book On Photography at amazon

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ethics of Photography

This is a great picture from someone's gallery at . Great picture, but look at the context in which it was taken: "Old Man - Picture taken with a Nikon 80-200... as he was walking towards me. As we passed, as total strangers, I said thank you. He said you're welcome. Such a strange encounter. I cranked off about 8 shoots as I approached. Just a grab shot of a great face."

It seems somehow demeaning in to snap a shot of a total stranger without asking them, but then, how else do you get a shot like that? Granted he did say thank you. But to see someone, not primarily as a person with hopes and fears and feelings, but as a 'kodak moment' seems rude. But I don't know, it's more complex then that.

Not that I havn't wanted to to it, a month ago I was taking some pictures of some pumpkins outside of a grocery store when I saw a ragged, dirty, old man sitting on the side walk. Of course I wanted to take his picture, but I couldn't just walk up and snap it, so I tried pretending to take pictures of things in the foreground, but it didn't really work out.

I get the same sort of feeling to a lesser degree when I'm drawing people in public. People on the bus or in a restaurant or something. You never want to catch their eye. If it's a guy he'll probably think I'm gay; if it's a girl she'll think I'm checking her out; if it's a foreigner, he'll think I'm racist. Or so the back of my mind tells me when I'm caught starring at a total stranger.

I know at least a few of you are photographers, what do yall think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

assorted quotes found online

"What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

"Realistic people" who pursue "practical aims" are rarely as realistic or practical, in the long run of life, as the dreamers who pursue their dreams."- Hans Selye

"Above all we must at all times remember what intellectuals habitually forget: that people matter more than concepts and must come first." - Paul Johnson

"There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, 'This is mine! This belongs to me!'" Abraham Kuyper

"The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief; the true remedy is consecration of intellectual power to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ" - J. Gresham Machen

Phillip Johnson

Gotta love Phillip Johnson, that's part his "theology from a bunch of dead guys" map of links, great stuff.
He has a pretty awesome website and a hilarious "PyroManiac" blog.
On the website you have stuff like:
As for his blog, well these are enough to want more, which if you look in the archives, he has:

And, no, he isn't (as I always thought) the same Phillip Johnson who bashes evolutionists over the head, though he's just as cool. ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Monty Wilson against VRG (Verbalized Religious Garbage)

"How many of us would follow in Abraham's footsteps and argue with God over wiping out Sodom and Gomorra?

How many of us would have the audacity to – Jacob-like – wrestle with God, refusing to let go, even when commanded to do so?

How many of us, while in the thralls of severe trials, hold on to a veneer of religiosity, rather than following the example of he-who-is-without-sin and asking God if it were possible to forgo this particular trial?

God wishes to destroy the city? “Okay!”
God is evidently refusing to bless me? “No problem-o.”
God wants to “execute” me? “Where's the cross?”

The problem with us is that we get to the “Yes, God,” while skipping over the wrestling match. And when we do this, our confessions are only so much VRG because our hearts are still troubled and our minds clouded. If we don't approve of what it appears God is doing, he wants us to argue. When we feel that God is treating us wrongly, he wants us to say so. How else are we to grow in wisdom and understanding: how else will we ever grow in grace?"
Monte E. Wilson III of

Monday, October 17, 2005

Christ plays in ten thousand places

"I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Christ—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces
-Gerard Manely Hopkins, from As kingfishers catch fire
I was first introduced to that poem through Peter Leithart. Now there's a new book by Eugene Peterson called Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology, Mars Hill Audio just put up a free mp3 interview with Peterson about his book here. Good stuff. He talks about how are lives our story shaped, and how doctrine isn't an end in itself. "doctrine informs our lives" Interesting discussion on content and form.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Art and War

"What stayed with me from that late spring morning in Atlanta is not so much my sense of guilt for failing to fight abortion more boldly. It is not so much my desire to stand with my friends in a good cause, or the unsettling memory of seeing my pastor and close friends roughly packed into a police van. Instead, what has stayed with me is the conviction that America is a battleground. More then ever, I have sensed that boundary lines are being drawn more sharply, that middle ground is rapidly falling away, and that we face the necessity of taking sides. I realized that I had witnessed a major battle in a very real war."

Peter Leithart, The Kingdom and The Power

This from a man who writes much on the arts, literature, and culture from a Christian perspective. How does that fit together?

Why should we build cathedrals when people are starving?
What place has art when babies are being slaughtered?
Is there a place in the Christian worldview for culture in the midst of such war?

Part of me want's to say that they have no part, but part of me wants to say that the pen is mightier then the sword, and the poet more powerful then the politician.

These questions trouble me, but I think some of the answers may lie in Lewis's essay Learning in Wartime, which I've not read in a while, but I remember answering questions like these.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

More on photography

I went to Washington D.C. for half a day, a few years ago, I remember being almost more concerned with taking pictures, then with actually enjoying and looking at all the architecture, museums and works of art. That is weird. It's like I don't want to forget it so bad that I don't actually experience it to it's fullest. Half the time I saw the world through the lens of a cheap digital camera.

Even now, when I encounter something beautiful, often my first emotion is merely disappointment at not having a camera. How foolish, I wish I would just enjoy the beauty around me. Sure images are great, but they're no replacement for the real thing.

I read an interesting article by one Andy Crouch that touches subject:

"One of the most reliable instincts of modern people, at times of surpassing transcendence—witnessing the first kiss at a wedding, watching our children’s first steps, encountering a family of cheetahs gnawing on a freshly killed gazelle—is to grab a camera. At other places and times people might have written a poem, sung a song, or carved a totem pole. But we, captive to the notion that the only lasting reality is virtual, illuminate our transcendent moments with flashbulbs. "

"Those of us with a professional interest in words tend to bemoan the rise of the image. Yet I’m more hopeful about visual culture than I am about, say, current musical culture, which the iPod is increasingly turning into a solitary experience of customized consumption. For the most part, visual technologies are restoring human beings to our God-given role as communal culture creators."

He notes the renewed interest and emphasis on beuaty in online photo-sharing websites like Flickr and speculates: "...if Plato was right when he described the three transcendent realities as truth, goodness, and beauty, then people who care about truth and goodness must eventually care about beauty as well. And people who value beauty might eventually look for truth."

-Read the whole post here: Visualcy

Looking at windows through windows

"A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see. " -Roland Barthes (quoted from

It's odd to be so obsessed with something like photography or art or film, when what we like about these things is the fact that they are transparent, we don't like them, we like what they allow us to see.

"We see not with but through the eye" as someone said

Sometimes I forget that.

All art in a sense is like that! I just noticed that the content of all art is creation, God's creation: the natural world, and people, and emotions, and stories, all the things in art and fiction and film, all the content is simply everything that God made. In that sense all art is sub-creative and refers the viewer back to God's world and back to God himself!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The heavens declare the glory of God

The Andromeda galaxy is beautiful!
Thanks to top men (AK Rand Miller) at for the link.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Charismatic and Reformed

I don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but when at home I'm a member of a reformed church that is also charismatic. Yes, it's rare, and yes we really are calvinists, and we really are charismatic. I've not read much on the subject or heard of many or any similar churches, and given the choice away from home I would tend to think an average 'reformed' church will probably be more biblical then average 'charismatic' church.

But anyway, while reading blogs today, I found this blog by someone I don't know named david.
Anyway he had some excellent thoughts on the reformed and the charismatic:

"...Now for some of you this news may cause some anxiety. Perhaps a few may even feel a sense of betrayal. ‘How could he have kept all this from us? We have heard him preach. We thought he was reformed!’ It is also possible, of course, that some few of you feel a touch of relief. You’re tired of the arid intellectualism of so much that passes for Calvinism these days. You have looked with some envy over the theological fence at your charismatic neighbours. You’ve watched their smiles and the obvious delight in serving Christ that they posses and you’ve asked yourselves if you really buy the notion that our gloomy spirits are actually an evidence of our correctness."

He then goes on to study the word charis which means gift or grace, and concludes:

"I am a charismatic because I have been graced and gifted with the Holy Spirit, who increasingly subdues and conquers and brings into Christ’s service every faculty and resource I have. He grants some new abilities. He sharpens others. But the point is this: to call my friends who think they can speak in tongues ‘charismatic’, while dismissing the rest of the Body of Christ as ‘non-charismatic’, is to say that there is no grace (charis) nor is there any presence of the great Charisma (the Spirit himself) among us. What an offence to Christ! What a blasphemy!

And let me also say this. If we ‘reformed’ believers would refuse to accept this faulty nomenclature we’d perhaps be a little more aware of our charismatic nature, a little more expectant of the Spirit’s power, a little more open to his dynamic operations among us, and a little more prone to smile!"

Please read the whole post here. (all emphasis mine)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Annie Dillard

"Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke?... The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ... straw [or] velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and... draw us to where we can never return." - Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk (quoted by John Ferguson, my RUF campus minester)

Wow, interesting, after hearing that quote and some googling, I want to read Annie Dillard.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Wow, David Hegeman's blog is going to be a regular read, right up their with Peter Leithart, George Grant, Ben House and Greg Wilber.

And thankfully he has 3 years of "reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture" archived. There's so much great reading on the internet! Can't neglect books though.

Anyway, as the my favorite bloggers have better things to say and can say them better then me, I'll quote them for you, enjoy:

Hegeman on Christian Culture:
"1. All people are (to varying degrees) inescapably culture-makers
2. Culture-making is a human activity flowing out of human thinking
3. All people's thoughts and actions are governed by their world-and-life view
4. All people's world-and-life views are founded and informed by their religious belief systems
5. Christianity is a religious belief system (which claims to comprehensively shape one's thoughts and actions)therefore:
6. All (true, consistent) Christians will have their culture-making affected by their faith (religious belief system)and additionally:
7. All Christians are called to live in community
8. As Christians live in community the collective/shared cultural output of the community will be, in effect a "Christian culture" (at least on a small scale)

I suspect that the crux of the issue is whether or not #2-3 are true; specifically whether or not culture-making is a a religiously neutral activity. Do Christians and Buddhists write novels differently from one another? How does their worldview affect their writing? In Style? Subject matter only? These are questions for another day. "
-Aug 13th entry on this page

Ben House on Storytelling:
" At the heart of all great stories is the telling of the story itself. A story by definition must be told. Whether written, told, sung, or portrayed on the screen, the story must have a storyteller and a listener. Stories are mirrors, types, and symbols. They are images of greater realities; stories are of unfinished happenings; and they point to a future eschatological fulfillment. “And they lived happily ever after” resonates with us because it reaches something in the soul that says that despite earthly appearances to the contrary, such a fate is possible. "
-Beowulf and Storytelling

Leithart on art

"1. The most complete delight in an art object, a thing produced by art, is a delight of the whole person. We are moral beings as well as intelligent and aesthetic beings, and we respond in moral ways as well as in intellectual ways.
2. Therefore, the most delightful, the most beautiful products of art are those that not only that are delight to the eyes, but also those works that are morally good. This is not to reintroduce propaganda through the back door. The artist is not aiming to uplift, but to be faithful to the materials and the making. But that faithfulness means responding to the real, to the way human beings are, to the way the world is, and the world is charged with the grandeur of God."

A post on Art

George Grant on Politics:

"Sozzled with preposterous false expectations and bedazzled by a ceaseless chatter of well meant platitudes, the media has told the truth about the falsehood that they tell. Like all the other quacks and conycatchers now crowding the public trough in Washington, their suppositions drift ethereally above normal logical processes and pass into the murky domain of transcendental metaphysics. Such is to be expected. That is their job. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not the rest of us will be willing to give up our lackadaisical political canoodling and simply take up the difficult task of restoring the standards of justice, mercy, and truth in our land."


Greg Wilber on Magic in Lit.

" As a Christian, what are we supposed to do when reading about characters who manipulate and control water, air, earth, and fire or who speak commands to direct the sea and air to obey them? What about potions that control elements of nature? Is this witchcraft and therefore to be avoided by Christians? What if the author claims to be a Christian?

These are just some of the issues one must face when reading the Venerable Bede, the 8th century British monk and Biblical scholar. O wait—you thought I was talking about Harry Potter... "


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Andrew Sandlin on problems with the reformed faith

Andrew Sandlin has spoken a few times at my home church (Church of the King), he is within the reformed camp, but has these critizisms that I find worth thinking about:

"Today Richard, my oldest son, a senior philosophy major at Cal, asked me, "If you had it to do over again, would you have joined your present religious affiliation." I retorted that he was very perceptive; silently thought a few moments; and then responded that, while I would have embraced Reformational themes, I would not have identified myself as staunchly Reformed.

I have come to believe that while this paradigm is quite tenable, it suffers from systemic (and not merely operational) flaws. I'll mention only two.

First, its overemphasis on the judicial dimension of the Bible tends correspondingly to deemphasize the active, immediate, dynamic role of the Holy Spirit in the world and the Bible and the church. The Holy Spirit is the Absent One.

Second, its doctrinalism tends to produce mean, insulting, schismatic people. They have All The Truth, are akin to epistemic rationalists, and grind in the dust good Christians who disagree with them. They (alone?) read the mind of God. I think often they come close to commtting the sin of idolatry.

This is by no means a blanket condemnation. It does seem to follow the Reformed Faith (in its historic, unreconstructed version, anyway) wherever it goes. "

You can read his blog here:

and the Center for Cultural Leadership here

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

David Hegeman

I had seen this book recommended on several Christianity and Culture amazon booklists, but judging the book by the cover, I never wanted to buy it. It's funny, they say don't judge a book by it's cover, then they design a cover to try to sell the book. Anyway, I thought it was a book about farming, or utopian agrarian societies, so it never caught my eye.

But after I read the Intro from the canon press website. ( Here is a PDF version of the intro) I ordered the book on amazon and read it in a few weeks. It was excellent.
Here is a quote from a review at Amazon:

"Plowing in Hope seeks to affirm the power and glory of human culture within a clearly defined biblical theology. True culture, Hegeman writes, "is not an activity to keep mankind occupied until something else (presumably better) happens. It has a particular God-ordained end in view: the development of the earth into a global network of gardens and cities in harmony with nature--a glorious garden-city." Placing the development of human culture in a biblical context through a close examination of key words in Greek and Hebrew ("work," for example), the author explores the true importance of the labor we do upon the world, arguing that true work must involve the "threefold connotation of work, service, and worship."

Anyway, I was reminded of it when I found the author's blog today: