A corporate experience

Paul Tillich as a Chaplain in World War I was comforted by Botticelli’s Madonna and Child with Singing Angels (Plate 2). “Writing many years later, Tillich declared: ‘That moment has affected my whole life, given me the keys for the interpretation of human existence, brought vital joy and spiritual truth’” (Brown, 1990, p.91)

“Clearly we should add, however, that perhaps some art allows one not only to think more but also to feel more, and that in both of these ways together it manages to mean more, possibly even letting one be and become more.” (p.92) I have been reading Frank Burch Brown’s Religious Aesthetics - where the preceding quotes come from - for a paper and have been thinking about what visual art means to us.

Therefore, I have an idea for an experiment or experience whichever you prefer. I have this theory that visual art can help us connect to something deeper in our lives through engaging the senses, imagination, and language centers of our brains. What I am proposing to do about this theory is post a picture a week on this blog (assuming I can find a good place to host them). What I would ask from you (my two or three readers) is that you write about the picture. This could be creative fiction, theological ramblings, experiences, whatever comes to mind when you see it.

I would love to hear what speaks to you when you encounter something visual. My plan is to post the picture and then follow up with my own thoughts a couple days later, to allow a blank slate for those you who wish to try the experience. I would propose that you post your story, thoughts, ides, or experiences on your own blog with a trackback or link to the picture so that I can read what you have written. If you don’t have a blog, then feel free to post it here in the comments. I would just like the opportunity to read what people have written and comment if possible.

This is a process that I want to engage in for its creative potential and the possibility of reaching the depth of our emotional and mental processes. My hope is that some of you might take the journey with me and see what comes. Don’t wait for someone else to write one first, I will do my best to be that first person. Whatever comes to the surface of your mind through this process is good material to work with, be it happy, sad, joyful, painful, depressing, or so on. Your thoughts and experiences are as valuable as mine and I will respect what you have written as if it were my own.

If you have any thoughts let me know, I will try to post a picture or a link to a picture at the beginning of next week.

grace and peace



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