Tag Archives: arts

Faith and Fiction Round Table Discussion: What Good Is God? by Philip Yancey

The Faith and Fiction Round Table is a group, started by My Friend Amy, that determined six books relating to faith and mostly fiction to read together in 2011. We have discussions via email and then post our thoughts on the book.

This month’s book is What Good Is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters by Philip Yancey

“Sometimes we must go outside the church to get nourishment — art, beauty, knowledge — which we can then bring inside to appreciate fully.”

~page 130, What Good Is God? by Philip Yancey

Is this true? Do we agree?

I, for one, certainly get nourishment outside the church. To give a quick example: Most of us read a mix of books, Christian fiction and general market books (I mean, not exclusively Christian fiction).

I believe strongly that artists within the Church should have the same level of craft and content as artists outside the Church. Restated: There should be the same quality of art inside the Church — being created in the Church, emanating from the Church — as there is outside the Church.

I hypothesize, though, that even if/when the Church is consistently producing art on that level, some people will need to seek (hopefully only) partial nourishment outside the Church.

But we’re neglecting the second part of Yancey’s statement. What about that second part, that to fully appreciate a work of art one must “bring [it] inside”?

If, by this, Yancey means that the artwork must be brought inside the Body, discussed and examined with the congregation, then I don’t agree. Sadly, the Church (I’m speaking in generalities here) isn’t equipped to discuss or appreciate art. The Church bought so fully into Modernism that is has no place for art. Still.

If, though, Yancey’s statement is read to mean that the artwork is most fully appreciated through a Christian worldview or lens, then I can’t argue. Sure. But that’s a pretty … unorthodox interpretation of his words, I think.

What do you think? Must we, sometimes, go outside the church to find artistic nourishment, but then bring it back inside to partake?

For more posts on What Good Is God? In Search of a Faith that Matters, please visit:
My Friend Amy Book Addiction, Book Hooked Blog, Books and Movies, Crazy for Books, Ignorant Historian, Linus’s Blanket, My Random Thoughts, Book Journey, Roving Reads, Semicolon, The 3R’s Blog, Tina’s Book Reviews, Victorious Cafe

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


“But none of that matters. In fact, nothing matters but faith expressing itself through love, utter reliance expressing itself as a wholehearted committal of one’s entire being to a particular project, a particular person, a particular God. We are to … Continue reading

Readathon mini-challenge: Book origami!

Welcome, Readathon-ers!

From the moment I first encountered it, I’ve always been drawn to, fascinated by, all the fabulous art made from books or pages of books. It’s all so beautiful and bookish, don’t you agree?

But … I’m also scared to attempt it. I can’t hardly stand the thought of ripping into a book — any book — even an old review copy that I hated! Maybe you feel like me, or maybe destroying a book for the sake of art doesn’t bother you even a little bit. Either way, I think I’ve found a painless way to try my hand at book art.

Instead of cutting, we’re going to be folding today. Origami seems timely, given the recent devastating earthquakes in Japan, where the art originated.

Take the plunge with me now!

  1. Find an old book (if you’re still skittish, maybe start with an old phone book — who needs those in the internet age?) and
  2. rip into it.
  3. Do some paper folding, and
  4. share your creation.

To get you started, here are some sites with origami, paper-folding, tutorials. (Or maybe you have a book of ideas to hand already?)

OK, I think that’s plenty to go on for now.

I think I’m going to make a lily. Seems appropriate, somehow. 😀

Once you’ve posted photo(s) of your bookish creation on your blog, come back and leave me the direct link to your post in the comments below. I’ll be picking a winner (at random) once three hours have passed.

Faith and Fiction Round Table Discussion: Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle

I quite liked Certain Women, my first foray into the adult fiction by Madeleine L’Engle. The book sets up the mid-century family sired by actor Dave Wheaton as a counterpoint and entree into a closer look at the biblical David. And yet the book is really more about the fictional family. Told from the perspective of daughter Emma, quite a bit of the story centers around the stage, since acting is something Emma and her father share. (The family also includes producers, directors, musicians….)

This was the first time I’d seen the phrase (exhortation, really) in print: Serve the gift. In Certain Women, it’s almost a thread running through the entire story.

‘David truly believed that although he himself was the Lord’s anointed, so was Saul, and the Lord’s anointed must not be dishonored.’

‘The Lord’s anointed,’ Emma mused, pressing closer to Nik as a gust of west wind made her stagger slightly. ‘Do you believe that?’

‘The anointing of kings?’ Nik raised his dark brows. The wind from the river was ruffling his hair. ‘Maybe, when being a king was a talent and a vocation, not something political.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘What about your father? Isn’t he in a way also the Lord’s anointed? Where did his incredible gift of acting come from? Granted, he serves it well, he hasn’t wasted or perverted his talent as some artists do, but what about the talent in the first place?’

‘Is it maybe genetic?’ Emma asked.

Nik shook his head violently. ‘I don’t want all our gifts relegated to genes and chromosomes. Although I’m sure that would have satisfied my father.’

‘And your mother?’

‘She believed in gifts. And that I have one as a writer.’

‘You do.’

‘So all I can do is serve the gift. I’d give anything if I could serve mine as well as your father serves his.’

‘He tries,’ Emma said slowly. ‘When he’s working on a role it has nothing do do with his private life.’

Certain Women, page 163

The phrase, the idea, stuck out to me because it was hammered on at Hutchmoot last year, and it’s not really left me since.

As I understand it, it means that the artist has been given this giant gift, but with it comes a big responsibility. Not everyone has this gift, and so to be worthy of it, to do right by that gifting, the artist must throw himself into his work, must prove himself worthy of the gift almost.

Which … is something I’m not sure I believe. We’ve all been gifted, with talents, skills, abilities. Why would those in artistic arenas be held to a higher standard? In my head I’m connecting this to the artist-as-genius mentality.

Now, L’Engle draws a line between serving the gift and dying to yourself, which can be seen in the quote above. But still, I’m not convinced this is right.

Maybe, despite all that, I can buy into the serve-the-gift concept, though. Perhaps the phrase draws on the idea that creativity is part of being an Image-bearer, being one made in the image of God. Enh, I’m still not sure.

What do you think about serving the gift? What does it mean to you, do you agree with the idea?

For more posts on Certain Women, please visit:
My Friend Amy Book Addiction, Book Hooked Blog, Books and Movies, Crazy for Books, Ignorant Historian, Linus’s Blanket, My Random Thoughts, One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books, Roving Reads, Semicolon, The 3R’s Blog, Tina’s Book Reviews, Victorious Cafe


“‘And what is a portrait of a woman? Your painting and Plastik are poor stuff after all. They perturb and dull conceptions instead of raising them. Language is a finer medium.’ ‘Yes, for those who can’t paint,’ said Naumann. ‘There … Continue reading

Iteration in knitting

Word Lily knits

Paul’s post yesterday mentioned iteration, particularly in gestural drawing.

The first is that the “process of drawing is a really live process and not like a dead thing, ‘Oh my God I can’t change anything because I made that line five minutes ago.’” If we didn’t learn this from all of the gestural drawings we did in college, I don’t think we ever will. This is, I believe, what paralyzes a lot of people who do not have artistic training (or even artistic ambitions) when they think of drawing. They have this idea that your first line has to be perfect. Not so.

(He’s quoting from a video on a New York Times blog.)

So now I’m wondering,

What does iteration look like in knitting? In knitwear design?

Sure, knitting can be ripped back and reworked. But sometimes that destroys the yarn.

I don’t have answers today, only the question.

What does iteration look like in your craft? In your blogging?

Belated road trip fun

Alternatively titled:

Yarn, and inspiration

On our way to Hutchmoot earlier this month we had time for a few fun stops.

The Loopy Ewe

Chewy Spaghetti (fingering), in Nostalgic — I got this one to test a specific idea, which I haven't gotten around to swatching since I bought it!

Madelinetosh Sock, in Victorian Gothic — I just love this color!

As we were driving, I’d been knitting away on the project I’d brought, forsaking reading for the knitting at least in part because I’m more able to converse while knitting than while reading (I hope I’m not alone in this!). I was also really enjoying knitting with my handspun, but as we neared St. Louis I started to worry: If I kept up this pace, I’d likely finish this project before we were back home, and I had only the one project with me. The horror! So when I realized The Loopy Ewe was in St. Louis, where we’d have a bit of time, I looked up the address and phone number (and map) on my phone, but since I couldn’t discern clear directions that way — And I wanted to make sure they were open! — I called them.

I came home with a couple new yarns (Right after we’d left I realized that if I had wanted to use the yarn on the trip, I should have had them ball it at the store, alas.) and a new set of sock needles (no photo of those). I had a great (if hurried) time looking at all these lovely yarns, so many of which I’d never seen up close before.

After The Loopy Ewe, we made a planned stop at the St. Louis Art Museum (It’s cracking me up that its URL is SLAM!), to see the temporary exhibit Form in Translation: Sculptors Making Prints and Drawings, open through September 19.

A cameraphone capture of an etching by Jennifer Losch Bartlett, Day and Night. I'm using this as the inspiration for a large knit blanket — I've been swatching and sketching.

I don’t want this to get too long, so I think I’ll stick with that. These were by far the highlights of the travel-section of our recent road trip.

A Painter’s Life by K.B. Dixon

A Painter's Life, cover imageA Painter’s Life by K.B. Dixon (Inkwater Press, 2009), 152 pages

As the title suggests, this book is a peek inside the life of a fictional painter. Each chapter contains excerpts from the unpublished journals of artist Christopher Freeze, as well as excerpts from interviews and reviews. Actually each chapter consists of these brief, often mostly unconnected snippets, prefaced by a brief introduction.

Really a quirky, unusual book. Difficult to pin down, to describe and wrap my head around. Sort of Art School Confidential: The Later Years.

For such a thin volume, it took me much longer to read than I expected it would; the author uses big words — not unknown words but big words and in unusual combinations.

I absolutely loved the near-constant references to real (not fictional) artists; this kept me on my toes and asking my husband who such-and-so was, what kind of style he/she worked in. I also enjoyed the look inside the mind of a painter. It was certainly interesting, to say the least.

The unanswerable question — What is art? — comes up more than once.

For an art lover, this is definitely a quick, fun read.

A Painter’s Life is a finalist for the 2010 Eric Hoffer
Award, for short prose and independent books

About the author
Ken Dixon is also the author of Andrew (A to Z), The Sum of His Syndromes, and My Desk and I.

Other reviews

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher.