The freedom of a child

all rights reserved Ginger Unzueta

all rights reserved Ginger Unz

From the Huffington Post: “Photographer and mother-of-three Ginger Unzueta has a knack for capturing her children’s enthusiasm for life. In a photo project titled, “An Artist Unfolding,” the creative mom focuses the camera on her youngest daughter — a 5-year-old who loves to paint.”  Read the rest here and see her wonderful photos of this little painter.  

“We are made kings to make creation sing.”

Think about that.  Reflections from Peter J. Leithart over at First Things.

“Dominion” has a bad rap these days. The creation mandate to “have dominion, fill, subdue, and rule” the earth is regarded with suspicion: It gives human beings religious justification for environmental rapacity, domination of the other, sexism and racism.

The Bible recognizes this possibility. The first king in Scripture is Lamech, who already carries out all the horrors of tyranny—multiplying wives, multiplying vengeance, multiplying taunts.

Yet in Lamech’s dominion there is already a clue to another form of dominion. Lamech’s sons invent animal husbandry and music, and the latter points to the deeper significance of our rule over the creation.

To make music, I need to control my body—my intake and outgo of breath, my mouth, lungs, vocal chords. Music-making results from dominion over my own body; dominion over my own body comes to its telos, we might imagine, in my ability to sing, to praise.

And read the rest here.

“The nail scars of the One shine like stars”

Prominent contemporary Christian artist, Makoto Fujimura, just returned from the UK where his works, the Four Quartets, were featured in the historic King’s Chapel, Cambridge, to open their Holy Week celebrations.  It was the first time in their history that modern paintings were installed in the chapel.  Here’s an excerpt from the talk he gave as the exhibit opened.   (You can see the paintings here.)

Between Two Waves of the Sea - Makoto Fujimura all rights reserved

Between Two Waves of the Sea – Makoto Fujimura all rights reserved

What Art, or Poetry, can address the deepest wounds and traumas of our time?  Can art and poetry speak into the darkest of the dark, as a faithful witness to our expanding Ground Zeros; Can art and poetry resonate in the haunts of a post-war fog; Can art and poetry survive the ravages of a tsunami that wipes away a whole fishing village?

Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns. 
-from East Coker

My family and I found ourselves as “Ground Zero” residents after 9/11/2001.  We lived but three blocks away.  My colleague Bruce Herman found himself facing a fire that destroyed his house and studio, engulfing twenty years’ worth of artworks. T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets became our constant guide after these disasters. Bruce found these words from Little Gidding to be true: “to make an end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from.” When I read the third section of East Coker, which begins “O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,” I found even the darkest, most depressing passages quite comforting.

Art and Poetry are the scars-the “inveterate scars” – of trauma.  The scar tissue still thickens in us; it also hides, heals and replaces the smooth skins of our innocence.

And the nail scars of the One, visible still, even in eternity, shine like stars in the darkest of skies.  They remind us that we can look through the darkness to be “reconciled among the stars” (Burnt Norton).

What if artists and poets began to serve culture and seek each other, rather than striving for and retreating into self-expression?  What if artists and poets lost themselves in the process of giving themselves away? I wanted to paint images that disappear, so that Bruce’s works can emanate; my paintings are the stage that is being rolled away, “the movement of darkness on darkness.”  Such was a journey I was privileged to be part of for the QU4RTETS project; and as a result, paradoxically, I found my truest expression.