"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spiritual and Artistic Askesis

Given the ongoing iconoclastic crisis in the Latin Church, which has shown few signs of abating over the last half-century at least, it should not surprise us that the West is not only alienated from an incarnational understanding of imagery in keeping with Nicaea II, but also unaware of the fact that the very process of making icons is itself a spiritual process. Those who have produced images know that it is no mere "mechanical" or "technical" undertaking, though technical skill is of course essential. It is also a process of prayer, fasting, and contemplation.

Thus this latest book, though welcome, has, once again, the feel of the West having to "rediscover" something that was never really lost in the East: Sense and Spirituality: The Arts and Spiritual Formation (Cascade, 2015), 146pp. by James McCullough.

About this book the publisher tells us:
There is growing interest in the relationship between the arts and Christian faith. Much has been written about the arts and theology and the place of the arts in church life. Not as much has been written, however, about how the arts might actually advance spiritual formation in terms of the cumulative effect of religious experience and intentional practices. This book provides a modest step forward in that conversation, a conversation between theological aesthetics and practical theology. Understanding aesthetics as "the realm of sense perception" and spiritual formation as "growing capacities to participate in God's purposes" James McCullough suggests how these dynamics can mutually enhance each other, with the arts as an effective catalyst for this relationship. McCullough proposes an analysis of artistic communication and explores exciting examples from music, poetry, and painting, which render theoretical proposals in concrete terms. This book will engage both those new to the arts and those already deeply familiar with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...