Welcome to Image of Truth, a blog dedicated to engaging aesthetics and the arts from a Biblical Christian perspective. As a brief introduction, there will be numerous contributors here, each from a somewhat unique perspective when it comes to their involvement in art, church tradition, and background, though we could all be considered Protestant and broadly evangelical, thus coming at this from certain set presuppositions that will hopefully unify our conversation. From practicing artists with a commitment to the Christian faith to ministers and theological students with an interest in art (and many in-between), we will act as a community trying to shed light on the issues regarding beauty and art from the perspective of Biblical Christianity.
The goal of this blog is simple:
To equip the Church to recognize the importance of beauty and developing a truly biblical aesthetic (that is, a philosophy of beauty).
To equip the Church to recognize the importance and sanctity of the arts in the daily life of the Christian and the corporate Church, as well as in the history of God’s people over the course of history. Specifically, we will address issues of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, etc.), music, theater, film, and literature.
To engage the arts in our contemporary culture by interacting with and analyzing various artistic expressions today, from contemporary art to music, film, and theater.
It is my hope and prayer that this blog will be of great use for the Kingdom.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the renowned 19th Century English Baptist pastor is known for his love of fine cigars. A particularly nice evening with a friend this past Saturday helped remind me of this, and I was able to recall the following anecdote a couple of days later at work. Here it is in its original telling by William Williams. I do love this little story:
While Mr. Spurgeon was living at Nightingale Lane, Clapham, an excursion was one day organised by one of the young men’s classes at the Tabernacle. The brake with the excursionists was to call for the President on their way to mid-Surrey.It was a beautiful early morning, and the men arrived in high spirits, pipes and cigars alight, and looking forward to a day of unrestrained enjoyment. Mr. Spurgeon was ready waiting at the gate. He jumped up to the box-seat reserved for him, and looking round with an expression of astonishment, exclaimed: “What, gentlemen! Are you not ashamed to be smoking so early?”
Here was a damper! Dismay was on every face. Pipes and cigars one by one failed and dropped out of sight.
When all had disappeared, out came the President’s cigar-case. He lit up and smoked away serenely.
The men looked at him astonished. “I thought you said you objected to smoking, Mr. Spurgeon?” one ventured.
“Oh no, I did not say I objected. I asked if they were not ashamed, and it appears they were, for they have all put their pipes away.”
Amid laughter the pipes reappeared, and with puffs of smoke the party went on merrily.
Text: William Williams, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Personal Reminiscences (London: The Religious Tract Society, n.d.), 30-32. Text and image courtesy of The Spurgeon Archive.
I found this quote in the bookThe Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianityby Skye Jethani, which I wholly recommend and will be soon publishing a review of here. This is from former U.S. Senate chaplain Richard Halverson: “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”
Bart Ehrman recently appeared on the Colbert Report. Unbeknown to some, Stephen Colbert is a committed Catholic Christian and actually defends the Bible in the way he knows best… his wit. This is thoughtful and hilarious. Disclaimer: not for the prudish.