Sunday, November 27, 2005

Alastair Roberts on Male and Female and the Image of God

Wow! These are ideas that are foriegn to me, but they are exciting and make biblical, rational and emotional sense:

"As James Jordan has observed, in the symbolic pattern of Scripture, the male initiates and the woman perfects, glorifies and completes. It is important that we do not understand this merely as an extrapolation from human biology. The fundamental differences between men and women are symbolic and liturgical, not biological. Our biological differences are an expression of these deeper differences. Whilst feminists and many others seem to believe that symbolism is something arbitrary that we project onto God, I believe that we must regard sexual differentiation as a necessary dimension of the manner in which we image God.

Although there is a tendency in some circles to regard the imago Dei as something that is primarily individual, having to do with the possession of a rational soul, or something else of that kind, I believe that our imaging of God must be regarded as far broader in character. Humanity was created to image God, not primarily as a collection of individuals, but as a body of people in relationships. Our relationships serve to image God and not merely our selves abstracted from relationships. A god who is only imaged by selves detached from relationships is not the Trinitarian God of Scripture, but a unitarian Monad. I believe that we must go even further and say that we image God in our bodies, and not merely in our rational capacities. In some way or other, the fact that I have arms, ears, eyes and a mouth is not unrelated to my being made in the image of God. We need to understand ‘anthropomorphisms’ on God'’s part in the light of the more basic fact that man is ‘theomorphic’.

Nor do all human beings image God in the same way. The imago Dei is expressed in a differentiated manner within humanity. Men image God one way; women in another. Infants image God in a very different way from elderly people. Single people image God in ways that differ from the ways in which married people image God. The bishop or pastor images God in a way that differs from that 0f the lay person.

In a society that has been shaped by individualistic ways of looking at the world, it is very hard to understand the imago Dei in the way that I have sketched above, but it is essential that we do so."

Read the rest here:

Also, I just discovered
a website that lets you enter an artist or song, and then generates a radio station of similar music. Right now I'm listening to a bunch of choral christmas carols found by entering "Coventry Carol" and selecting the Hereford Cathedral Choir version. I love carols!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Paint Sketching

I've been doing some random painting lately. It's alot of fun:

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shyamalin's Lady in the Water Trailer

The Trailer for Night M Shyamalin's new film is out:
Odd trailer, but I'm defininitly looking forward to it, I liked every film this guy has made. Synopsis looks interesting at the official site.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

John Howe on drawing

"The transposing of miles of depth on a flat sheet of paper is an exercise in carefully planned folly. Something only the right side of the brain would take on, doomed as it is to glorious defeat.

This is the reason I reach such heights of exasperation (it doesn’t show; inside my dour, expressionless Protestant exterior is an equally dour expressionless interior) when I see people draw using EVERY reflex that the other side of their brain has learned by rote to write. « Loosen up ! » I holler, don’t hold that pencil like you were taking notes ! It’s a magician’s wand, a sword, a conductor’s baton, not a confounded ballpoint ! !

-John Howe in this blogpost

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Universe is a Metaphor

"Nevertheless, God created the heavens and the earth through the Word, sustaining and holding together the heavens and earth through this same Word. The universe is the result of God speaking, as only God can. God said, "Let there be light." Everything that exists is a visible word (Ps. 19). This does not denigrate or threaten the primacy of Scripture or sacraments at all. The Word and sacraments are not examples of God speaking as if He is silent in all other things. Rather, they are examples of God speaking to us in a clear manner so that we might come to understand how it is He has spoken in and through everything else.
So, God the Son is the ultimate Word. We also know the Holy Scriptures are the revealed Word and the oak tree on my property is a created word from God. And how are we trying to sort all this out? With words. We see the uncreated ultimate Word, we see the revealed inscripturated Word, we see the created words around us; and man, himself a created word in the image of this speaking God, sees everything in wonder, and speaks about that wonder in words.
Now the Bible teaches us that the created order speaks about God. But it speaks precisely because it is spoken. The universe speaks—not as an independent source of knowledge—but speaks as my words, for example, "speak" about me. The spoken always "speaks" about the speaker. What follows from this? Everything created therefore reveals something about the Creator. Everything is therefore, at some level, a metaphor. If every aspect of the created order reflects the glory of God, then we can rejoice in that fact. But after we have done this, we should push on into new territory. How does the created order glorify God? It does so through being like Him, distinct from Him, and, in some reflective way, identified with Him.
All things are therefore cognates. And the wide-eyed Christian should look around at the resemblances. The affinities are necessarily there. If a meadowlark is tied to some aspect of the Creator, and the tidal wave is reflective of another characteristic within Him, and so on, then what follows? All attributes within the Godhead are all internally consistent—He is never at odds with Himself. This means that all things in the universe (the meadowlark, tidal wave, and bamboo grove) are all created cousins at peace. And this is what makes effective "horizontal" metaphor within the created order possible. There is always a connection somehow.
What else follows? This view of things considers the poet more as seer, and less as maker, although he still genuinely "makes" in some sense. What the poet sees are the interconnections between apparently disparate things, but the interconnections which he sees are not imposed by him; they are a given, like the segments of an orange. The striking metaphor does not tie two isolated and fundamentally alien things together, but rather reveals a similarity initially spoken by God, and then discerned and declared by the poet. Of course this does not mean anything can relate in any way to any other thing. It has to relate in a way consistent with how God shaped the world. Some do not do this; this is why poor metaphors are also possible."
-Doug Wilson The Metaphorical Word

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Leithart on the centrality of Metaphor

"Contrary to modern rationalistic accounts, metaphor is not an adornment to thought and speech, but a primary medium of both. It is not the case that we think and speak literally, and subsequently cast about for appropriate metaphors and symbols to express those literal ideas. Rather, our thinking and speech is metaphorical from the ground up. As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have written, "conceptual metaphors are mappings across conceptual domains that structure our reasoning, our experience, and our everyday language" (emphasis added [Leithart])" Lakoff and Johnson give numerous examples of what they call "primary metaphors" that shape experience: the metaphorical association of intimacy with physical proximity ("we used to be close"), the link between quantity and height ("stock prices are sharply higher"), the notion that organization is similar to physical structure ("he pieced together the theory of quantum gravity"), the metaphorical link of purposes and destinations ("I'm working on it, but I'm still not there yet"), and so on. These metaphors are so much a part of our basic mental and linguistic equipment that we rarely recognize them as metaphors"

-Peter Leithart
in his essay in the Federal Vision

Monday, November 14, 2005

Looking Down

There is a mute abandon in the prim
And music in the silence of relief.
There is refreshment in the grey and grim
And peace in the unravelling of grief.
There comes an appetite before a feast
That some would label hunger out of fear,
But laughter, too, sleeps half the day at least,
And trees are gladly leafless half the year.
You ask why poets pick depression’s bones
When lilacs beckon to be picked instead;
Why downcast choirs moan of mud and stones
When half the heavens shimmer overhead.
There lives some voice within us that seems made
To praise the sun by singing of its shade.

-Daniel Waters

From this Page of Fist Things.
I don't normaly read First Things, though I've heard it recommended, but I was just browsing and I found this poem, and liked it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I reread "The Weight of Glory" last night, and this evening I finished reading the second chapter of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Lewis and Dillard seem to be hinting and talking about very similar things in those passages, perhaps because Lewis is talking about Glory and Dillard about light and seeing.

"It was less like seeing then like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance." -Dillard talking of a heaven like experience, that is ephemeral, but is 'what she lives for'.

"Beauty has smiled, but not welcomed us; her face was turned in our direction, but not to see us."
-Lewis talking the contrast between beauty on earth as described here, and beauty in heaven which is God noticing us, seeing us, which is what we truly desire.

The more I read, the more I see and learn, the more interconnected everything seems.

Annie Dillard on Seeing and my thoughts on irony of drawing

(First, let me add another to my series of photography quotes:)
"The difference between these the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. When I see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observe."
-Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

It's funny how once you hear a name once, it will pop up all over the place. A few weeks ago I posted an Annie Dillard quote my RUF minister quoted, then my sister recommend her books, then I realize I've already read an essay by her, and now Duane Keiser at his Painting-a-Day blog has a Dillard quote on his site. Funny how that works, that's happened to me alot lately.

By the way, Duane Keiser's Painting a Day and Video a Day I found through both Cully and Omwo, the sketch bloggers I linked to in the previous post. Anyway, Duane is a traditional (not digital) painter who posts a painting and a video of the actual painting process, which is very helpful and interesting, every single day. Great stuff.

Well, I finally checked out pilgrim at Tinker Creek from my school Library, and it's great. "
Playing Seriously, Living Lightly, Beautifully Writing" as one Amazon reviewer said is spot-on. So far, the book is mostly about seeing and wonders all around us. At one point she talks about a number of blind people in the 18th century who regained their vision, how at first they saw only a world of flat color, unable to recognize anything and devoid of any sense of depth, size or distance. They saw the world as young infants. After attempting to see the world this way she says:

"But I couldn't sustain the illusion of flatness. I've been around too long... Nor can I remember having seen without understanding; the color-patches of infancy were lost. My brain then must have been as smooth as a balloon. I'm told I reached for the moon; many babies do. But the color patches of infancy swelled as meaning filled them; they arrayed themselves in solemn ranks down distance which unrolled and stretched before me like a plain. The moon rocketed away. I now live in a world of shadows that shape and distance color, a world where space makes a kind of terrible sense. What gnosticism is this, and what physics? The fluttering patch I saw in my nursery window--silver and green and shape-shifting blue--is gone; a row of Lombardy poplars takes its place, mute, across the distant lawn."

This struck me as interesting, because it seems that learning how to draw (as described by Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right side of the Brain, and others) is largely the learning how to see those colors, see not bricks and a door, but blobs of red and white color. To see in fact what hits our eyes, not three dimensional dogs and trees, but 2d shapes un-named of brown and green.

So, in order to make a picture that when people look at it, say "A tree", we must draw/paint not a tree but those un-named blobs of color babies see. When these are recreated on paper, they become to us who name and categorize them, "a tree".

Later, Dillard refers to seeing the colors as "Eden before Adam gave names" This reminds me of when Edwards talks about not using the language part of your brain when drawing.

How ironic though, when it is our desire to draw something everyone will name "Mary" we must try not to see mary, but merely blobs of color, and recreate them on the page. As we draw, the more we see-not Mary-but the lines and colors, the more the viewer sees "Mary".

Thursday, November 10, 2005

the goddess next door

While browsing Broken Beauty (see previous post), I saw a quote from my all time favorite Lewis work The Weight of Glory, I'll quote some here:

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods or goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to might one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you might be strongly tempted to worship , or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in nightmare."

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."

"Next to the blessed sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. "

Wow! Even if you forget immortallity, just to know that every single person you see through out a day is an finite image of the infinite God. Makes me want to stare into the face of every stranger. Today while I ate a sorry excuse for a lunch (doritoes, lemonade, lemonade), I watched people bustling to and fro inbetween classes. I love to watch people, each one uniquely beautiful with his own life's story, walking past me.

The other night I drew random people at roumors, and drawing is more then anything else about seeing what is there. I have never truly known or seen a face more then when I am drawing it.

Lately I've been reading these two great drawing blogs:
who frequently draw strangers on bus or subway rides like this:

Anyway, all this makes me want to look at people, but even more to talk to people, and to live with people, and to know people, and to love people.

"Next to the blessed sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. "

A Broken Beauty

Today while walking through the library I browsed the new books section on the way out, I found Broken Beauty edited by Ted Prescott. He wrote an essay in It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, one of the best books I've read on the subject of art and christianity. Anyway, just from browsing and reading the intro, it (Broken Beauty) looks like an excellent book on:
  • How the body has been portrayed in recent art.
  • What a Christian view of the body is.
  • Why art and beauty have been separated for the last century.
  • "The recovery of Beauty as the primary concern of visual art."
  • How art is or should be a story-telling medium.
"A Broken Beauty is about this very thing: the rich and problematic nature of beauty and of human experience as it has been given down to us via history and the Christian tradition, it's self a story or a set of stories."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

the Artist on words & the Writer on Images...

Peter Leithart on photography:

"Perception is never merely sensible. A professional photographer points out that our "visual" impressions of people are formed not merely by visual factors but by such factors as the context in which we see someone, their personality and our rapport, and so forth. We can come away from an encounter thinking that someone is far more visually attractive than they really are. A camera, which captures only the visual impression and not other factors, makes a person look "uglier" than we remember.
This 12/29/03 Post

and John Howe on etymology:

"I am particularly fond of etymology, which would be rather like chasing butterflies if words had wings. Not only are they as hard to catch, but pinning them down takes much of the life out of them. Rather see them flying free, and pluck them out of the air and release them later..."

-This 11/4/05 Post

(Also, I've added a few photos to my flickr account )

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Tonight I was sort of restless or bored or wanting to do something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I wanted to make something I guess, I need a project, and world to build, a story to tell.

Or something.

Anyway, I painted in painter for a while and ended up making this, which is better then normal for just playing around:

Whenever I had that creative urge in the past, I would work on Vynclif, a myst-inspired world I worked on for a couple years until my computer crashed. This was 3D world, not painting, so all that remains are a few renders I put on the internet.

After that I decided to learn to draw, and that's what I've mostly been doing the last few years, but it get's boring and I'm not to the level where I can really create, I mostly just draw what I see. Some day.

In a way, everything I do, drawing, photography, painting, 3d modeling, reading books on film-making or storytelling or aesthetics or theology, has been an attempt to someday be able to really make something, to sub-create, to build a world with it's places, cultures, histories, and people, and one day tell some sort of story there.