Losing religion?

Too much of a good thing? When there is so much grace that one does whatever they feel like. Freedom. I went to go to a ‘contemporary’ church, much on a whim rather than thought-through, which was not into religion or religious people. Someone there, seemingly not concerned, yelled at me when I did not do as she expected in her group. Human nature, I guess. But is it also a belief? God graces me, so I am entitled to treat someone ungraciously, even when it is a mistake? I guess you could feel justified in losing your temper if you have lost religion and got grace. At wit’s end, eh? But should not grace wind you up to better responses? Being gracious, for example.

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The Imitation of Christ

The Imitation of Christ was originally written in the Middle Ages by a monk, Thomas A. Kempis. It’s mind blowing devotional literature, to use the modern expression, but firmly in keeping with the essence of the best Christian devotional literature that points to God.

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Jesus: known or obscure?

In a brilliant film, Van Gogh, in At Eternity’s Gate (2018), says Jesus became known thirty years after his death. Before then Jesus was obscure, he says. I have a problem with this. The gospels says about Jesus is that he was well-known to the people during his lifetime, and known soon after his lifetime, as Jesus’ message and Spirit spread immediately after his death and resurrection. One of things that get overlooked at times, is that the gospel narratives and the story of the early church in Acts are reliable. It may sound like one of those disagreements Van Gogh and Gaugin had in this movie–but this is me, a viewer, disagreeing with what Van Gogh says. Sounds strange, but it’s the point of view here I’m pointing to that’s a problem, not the movie itself.

Grappling with faith

Image Journal, as well as proving helpful descriptions about the submission process (see previous post), also provided helpful descriptions of one’s relationship to faith in their submission guidelines.

All the work we publish reflects what we see as a sustained engagement with one of the western faiths—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That engagement can include unease, grappling, or ambivalence as well as orthodoxy…

Let me say first that they are an arts journal in which faith is involved in that. What they’re saying is an engagement with faith that is uneasy, or grappling, ambivalent, or orthodox. I find their distinctions helpful and true. One can be uneasy about faith, grapple with faith, be ambivalent, or be orthodox. And one can approach art from those perspectives. These distinctions opens one up to the question of where one stands. Which way? Is one uneasy about faith? Grapples with faith? Is ambivalent? or is orthodox? I think Image Journal don’t try to convert people to one way or another, but I think they are a journal and forum for discussion, thought and illumination about the arts and faith, although I’m not directly quoting their about page.