Beauty seeking the same

Added: Lynn Yeary - Date: 09.12.2021 07:50 - Views: 23215 - Clicks: 2862

Can beauty be a way to God? Is beauty in the life of faith a luxury … or a necessity? Such questions animate this Spring issue of Reflectionsand we we invited answers from several Yale Divinity School students who have a commitment to the arts. Their replies suggest approaches that will shape future relationships between religion and art. Most of the YDS students featured here are dually enrolled in the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, an interdisciplinary graduate center that educates leaders to engage the sacred through music, worship, and the arts.

See ism. In a world of immense suffering, is art a luxury, limited to those with the time and resources to spare? What does it do? I have stood in opulently glorious churches, both enraptured by their beauty yet sick with the awareness that histories of hypocrisy and exploitation lurk beneath the glittering surfaces.

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For Christians trying to follow the example of Christ and the early church by caring for the poor and living simply, a focus on art can seem self-serving. The urgent needs of the world force artists of faith to ask what truly matters in each note, paint stroke, or stanza. Yet my conviction is that art goes beyond luxury. Art and beauty address the human need for hope. Beauty helps me believe that divine good does prevail. Seeking to bring the Kingdom of God to earth includes restoring the beauty that is present in creation — and adding to it.

Facilitating public murals in the U. The effort of people making a mural together involves creative problem-solving and communication. Participants must learn to voice their own opinions but also be willing to make sacrifices for the unity of the whole.

Art-making is metaphorically linked to other life-building processes — and helps people tap into the transformative resources already present within themselves. I saw this happen last summer in neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, where I worked with Groundswell, an organization that employs high-school and college-age youth to create murals in their communities that respond to social justice issues they face.

I saw these young artists take a new kind of ownership of their neighborhoods and histories and develop new ideas for their futures. Art is about making space — both physical and mental — for listening, searching, and expressing. Art cultivates the ability to imagine a future and so transcend the present moment. This is inherently hopeful. To give hope to the hurting, the church must be invested in the question of what is truly beautiful — both in the work we create and the way we create. Megan Mitchell will graduate in May with an M.

She earned a B. My place of employment is a sacred treasury — the Yale University Art Gallery. All have given the world paintings that inspire near-universal adoration, and all have expressed, through both pigment and the written word, spiritual motivations for their art. Knowing their intentions, I am keen to look in their daubs and hues for evidence of divinity. The sacred is felt in the serious humor of Duchamp, the hpeful lament of Anselm Kiefer, and the daring of Picasso.

Divinity of course! The sacral motivations of religious individuals and communities beyond the West are abundant in the museum as well — around virtually every corner. Religious groups come into the Gallery all the time. They hush and clasp their hands before dimly lit images. The works seem to elicit awe and reverence. Ultimately, however, I see the divine most clearly not in the works themselves, but in the budding curiosity and unfurling excitement of young visitors — the people I lead on teaching tours throughout the museum.

For you who seek to bring art to your religious communities, I encourage you to find ways to display art on the walls of your place of worship reproductions are an option! Support local artists. Encourage creativity among your own congregants. I especially urge you to bring your community to the art: Visit repeatedly your local art museums and galleries. Once there, find something new; spend more time with fewer works; leave the labels until the very end; converse with one another; ask difficult questions; sketch in silence; linger as long as you are able with a work you find boring, irksome, or downright ugly — and do the same with a work you love.

Few spaces can match the power of art museums, those revered storehouses of the sacred.

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Jeremy Hamilton-Arnold plans to graduate next year as an M. He has a B. At an earlyth century Episcopal retreat center on the Upper East Side, we spent nearly eight hours together in a wood-carved library, hearing only the faintest of horn honks from the frantic taxi drivers on Park Avenue.

Our curator for the day showed us photographs of famous paintings from the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art while we methodically spent time in silence, wonder, and discussion of the pieces. The room was full of brilliant seminarians, clergy, and academics, but it was the art that gave us something we could not have offered on our own.

It provided a spiritual avenue for confronting our humanity, at the same time assuring us of a mysterious glory within. A few weeks later, I found myself in a much different place — near the stage of the candlelit Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN.

I sat with a table of friends Jack Daniel included to watch a round of four local songwriters play some of their most treasured music. When Lori McKenna sang her first song, the air in the room turned electric, and the space was transformed. A few songs went by before Barry Dean gripped the audience with a new tune:. I managed to break away from the enchantment long enough to scan the room to see that every eye was salty, but clear.

When human beings, as creations of God, create or encounter the creativity of others, something full circle happens. It is the way the Spirit moves through art that grips me most tightly. No matter the kind of art, it provides a way forward during this often oversaturated, overstated, and unimaginative moment in the American church. Art can serve as a means to re-translate and re-envision the story of faith and redemption for this world. She will graduate this spring with an M. For more information see Meredithjaneday. By the time I was six years old I knew I wanted to be an artist.

I devoted myself to artmaking with a concentrated ardor, while simultaneously growing in my Mormon Christian faith. My spirituality became the very center of my life, around which art revolved. Inafter serving for two years as a full-time missionary to the people of Los Angeles, I returned to my studies at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City to continue my passion as an artist. A dead Damien Hirst tiger shark in formaldehyde or an Andy Warhol can of soup will not save the soul of anyone today or tomorrow.

I struggled to understand the spiritual role of art and how it could be of any real use when millions around the world were suffering and needed peace and a helping hand. I sought guidance from God. I fasted and prayed for weeks, wanting to know what to do and how to proceed as a self-declared artist.

Around this time I had profound experiences and received revelation regarding the subject, and yet it would be futile to attempt to explain the unexplainable. However, one thing is for sure — I have learned that the visual impacts the spiritual.

With this knowledge, I began to create work that would visually express and capture the spiritual experiences I had and the revelation I had received.

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It was both a spiritual process for myself and a hope that this art could bring spiritual experiences for others. You see … it is as if there is a world of ideal beauty, and between it and me hangs only a veil. Often that veil hangs motionless, until that beautiful moment when the wind blows and the curtain flutters aside. It is then that I catch a glimpse of the celestial world beyond — only a glimpse — but in that moment when all my physical senses seem to be turned off, my hair stands on end while a transcendent feeling flows through me, lifting me off the ground and filling me with light.

These glimpses of light and the creation of this artwork have enriched my Christian faith and brought me closer to God. This is what elevates me in life and drives me to seek the ideal. Jacksonville native Tyler Gathro will graduate next year with an M. Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought.

From that moment on, my doings are governed by the myriad imperatives of Prospect Street — the humming precincts of Sterling Quad, with its lectures and worship services, seminars and colloquia, discussion sections, intersections and collisions. The boys are asleep, but my wife is still up. She is pleased to see me. In my absence, the compost has been fermenting and the cat boxes have taken a decided turn for the worse. One hundred miles may separate the storied halls of Yale Divinity School from the child-begrimed walls of my circa farmhouse, and an even greater gulf may divide the ambient discourses of my two sitz im leben.

Nevertheless I insist that the two worlds do, and indeed, must inform each other if I am to succeed in my earnest hope to throw a stole over my shoulders and process down the center aisle as an ordained minister of the Christian faith. At that time, a phrase often came out of my mouth:. These words remain with me today, not for their practical application, but for their spiritual frankness — their quiet insistence that love governs.

The same principle applies when I write sonnets. I search for language that quietly insists on telling of the twofold love of God and neighbor.

Beauty seeking the same

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Seeking God’s Splendor: Thoughts on Art and Faith