Translating the Invisible Wind – Part Five

by Geoff Hall on May 8, 2010

Romans 12v2 –  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world or fashion yourself in the likeness of the images, symbols and standards of this world.”  It will only distort our Creation in the image of God.  Our main task in the arts today is not to be good theologians, but to be good artists!  We need to understand the medium of our calling, claiming it as our own.  Knowing the boundaries (whether of taste or the possibilities & pliability’s of the plastic medium) and then moving beyond them.

2 Corinthians 10, does not speak of individual conscience battled by impure thoughts, but about the cultural landscape.  Whilst repeatedly I’ve heard in church that as a believer, I need to ‘take every thought captive’, the actual noun used for thought, ’noema’ doesn’t fall into the same category as ‘logismos’, the thoughts of a person, but of a device or scheme, a philosophy of life which is erected to oppose the knowledge of God.  We also see this passage used in an ethereal, otherworldly & spiritualised way, but as I’ve indicated it speaks of the cultural terrain, it is incarnational in spirit.  To transfer this to some hidden realm is a symptom of our retreat from the cultural sphere.

Resistance works in a subtle, subversive way, not through the edifice, but underground, in a way undetectable by the censors and prohibitors of our faith.  In this way we can capture the imagination of those outside our common-unity and thus cause the ultimate downfall of the opposing ‘stronghold’.  Art works best in the margins, not the soft centre of some institution or other.  If you want to support such activists, then don’t drag them into the Church, support them where they are culturally situated, as one would a member of the resistance!  Don’t try and own it as a ‘church ministry’, but release it into God’s good Creation, to subvert the dominant secularising philosophy of the day, for the language of the institution is not the language of the artist.  This then, is our starting point.

“art must transcend as well as observe; its role is to bring spiritual vision to bear on reality…”  Andrei Tarkovsky.

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