Speaking at the Areopagus

Brian Suavé Sauvé justifies his decision to speak at the 21 Convention:

The minute I heard that pastors are speaking at this event, I knew that Acts 17 would be used to justify their decision. Paul welcomed the chance to present the Gospel to Gentiles on their own turf. Shouldn’t we?

The problem with the argument is that Paul is manifestly an outsider on Mars Hill, speaking to the insiders. He emphasizes the fact (Acts 17:23). He was not one of an array of approved speakers, preaching to an assembled crowd. The philosophers were the crowd. If Pastor Suavé Sauvé really wanted to imitate Paul, he would go to a red-pill convention on the condition that he get a private session with the speakers only. Perhaps he has done this. Perhaps not.

One more thing: Christians love jumping onto runaway trains in order to “turn things around.” It never works. Didn’t we learn something when we tried this with the public schools? Let the dead bury the dead.

UPDATE: I still don’t know about Pastor Suavé Sauvé, but another pastor who will be speaking at the conference, Michael Foster, posted this, in which he says he agreed to speak at the conference on the condition he be allowed to say whatever he wants. That is similar to what I posted above. So, good for him.

Worthwhile

Most scholarship is also not going to live forever. Is it therefore not worth doing? I wouldn’t say so. It’s worth it to maintain gardens and repair buildings and restore artworks. No one’s work lives forever on its own. It stays alive because someone keeps it so. Here again, greatness requires humility: other people’s. The task of thinking is worthwhile even if your thoughts prove to be of limited usefulness. The tasks of reading, of appreciation, of interpretation, are worthwhile, even if next year there is a new essay that supersedes yours, or a new book. If we have chosen to live our lives this way, it is because something about it strikes us as the best way we can spend our time.

B. D. McClay

Via Ayjay, in a post, as always, worth reading: https://blog.ayjay.org/dna/

Newz

Someone on Twitter (maybe Joss Whedon – remember him?) once wrote, “I love it when my friends go internet-silent for a while, then suddenly reappear with some new project just completed.” Well, I have no major accomplishments to reveal (yet…), but here are a couple of news items from the world of Broken Bow.

  • I have essays coming out in two books this year. The first is called Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children. I contributed an essay on YA fiction. The second is called Movies from the Mountaintop: 100+ Films that Express God, Explore Faith and Enlighten Church. The editor of this book stumbled across my review of Spotlight on Film Fisher and asked if he could include it.
  • The third annual Psalm Tap Music Colloquium meets in Monroe, Louisiana, this June. Swing by if you can. As always, it is free.

Thanks I Hate It

If you want to know why I boycott Disney’s live-action remakes (and why you should, too), watch this video on 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. (Thanks, Alastair, for sending it to me, even though it took me roughly three years to watch it.)

If Disney ever gets around to remaking The Aristocats as a misunderstood-villain version focusing on Edgar, I’ll fork over the dough. Otherwise, the boycott stands.

A Different Way of Seeing

One day, on impulse, I asked the students to copy a Picasso drawing upside down. That small experiment, more than anything else I had tried, showed that something very different is going on during the act of drawing. To my surprise, and to the students’ surprise, the finished drawings were so extremely well done that I asked the class, “How come you can draw upside down when you can’t draw right-side up?” The students responded, “Upside down, we didn’t know what we were drawing.” This was the greatest puzzlement of all and left me simply baffled.

Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Worth Remembering

In Exodus 31, the artists Bezalel and Aholiab fashion decorations for the tabernacle under the influence of the Holy Spirit. In the very next chapter, Aaron fashions the golden calf.

Making is not in itself holy.

Inherited, Not Made

Alan Jacobs on the Fëanor Temptation:

And this is why “making” in and of itself is not the answer to our decadent moment. “Love of things, especially artificial things, could be seen as the besetting sin of modern civilisation, and in a way a new one, not quite Avarice and not quite Pride, but somehow attached to both” – and this is the Fëanor Temptation. It is in light of this temptation that I advocate repair, which is a mode of caring for what we have not made, but rather what we have inherited. We will not be saved by the making of artifacts — or from the repair of them, either; but the imperative of repair has these salutary effects: it reminds us of our debt to those who came before us and of the fragility of human constructs.  

Lately I have become more and more troubled by the tendency of my fellow Christians to elevate Art to the level almost of Gospel. (Mako Fujimura has advocated almost exactly this.) In so doing, we are far, far more like our secular modern neighbors than we think. When a Christian says “Beauty (or Art) will save the world,” we ought to ask, “Whose beauty? Which art?” Making is not unequivocally good.

In case I haven’t said this before on this blog, let me say it here: if any writer is going to guide us through the deceptively shimmering waters of Art in the 20th and 21st centuries, it will be J. R. R. Tolkien. I can’t think of anyone else with the necessary experience, humility, and depth of knowledge to write clearly on this subject, even though that writing takes the form of fantasy literature. It may be because it’s fantasy that it will prove so valuable.