The Group Monthly Letter – October, 2012

by Geoff Hall on October 31, 2012

October, 2012.  Alluring Spirituality


Mentoring support for word, image and performance arts


I’ve been pondering the last Tree House discussion and that call to ‘something deeper’ as mentioned in the work of film-maker Robert Bresson. Paul Schrader noted that he,


“[creates] disparity by giving [his] characters a sense of something deeper than themselves and their environment, a sense which culminates in the decisive action.”  [Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer. Da Capo Press, 1972. p71.]


Whilst this focuses on character and story I think there are comparisons to be made about ourselves and our work, which is not limited to the visual or aural effect of it, but when it leads beyond to decisive action in the cause for justice, truth, beauty and love.

As Jane Lee pointed out that evening, it maybe that something like love is implicit within the work as well as the artist and not an explicit message. In the context of the evening’s talk on ‘Transcendental Style in Film’ the problem comes when we try and define these four transcendent qualities. So, what is beauty? What is truth? And whilst we have tried to attend to this in art by rationalising concepts of proportion, or a claim to a higher authority and the symbolism of truth, we seldom see the context of this latter question as at a time of interrogation, when justice is equated with mob rule and decisions are made by deferring to the loudest voices. This is justice in the hands of the despot and something which we may like to consider in our work.


Back to the something deeper: Both our lives and our work should I think have this alluring quality, prompting questions about who we are, where we are coming from, why we have made what we have made. Parading statements about the obvious as truth, or beauty for that matter, does not warrant further questions. It excludes any idea of further conversation for the listener or viewer, who simply needs to acquiesce to your greater knowledge.


I was reading Song 90 and got to the 17th  stanza when I read these words, “May the favour of God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands…”  Now I’ve been told that the word favour can also be translated beauty. There’s that word again. Perhaps an ineffable quality, which when we then try and define, collapses in on itself; but we try anyway. As it is written “the more words, the less meaning”!


There is something alluring about someone who looks beautiful. You can see not just their frame, but also a mystique on how their beauty is ‘woven together’ and beyond that there is the something deeper, something beautiful within.


Seeing favour as beauty doesn’t help! How do we define favour? By financial gain or professional recognition? Do we consider ourselves to be embodying an alluring spirituality and pointing to this ‘something deeper’? The allure of Jesus’ spirituality (within us) is marked by one thing and it isn’t tithing, theological correctness or faithful attendance. That allure is Love! People will know we are Followers of the Way by the love we have for one another. The attraction is in something which is perhaps ineffable, possibly transcendent, but this latter attribute simply means it points to ‘something deeper’ within us, our community and our environment. May both our lives and our work be defined by this love and may its fascination transcend boundaries of wealth, social status or profession.

Me, as seen at night!

Peace and Love,



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