Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A few words about beauty and justice, ethics and esthetics

A full box of pencils. Still awhile before school starts. 
The older balding man is back. I talk to him abut not sleeping here during the day. Later I see that he has  simply moved to the sidewalk a bit further down the street. Call Reachout to talk about George. He is in court. They think they can keep him in his apartment. And our new guest. They will try and connect with him.
Long conversation with Sarah about the church and the Center and spirituality. What are church activities, what Center, what both. Understanding spirituality in the deeper sense, how the process of creation and experiencing what has been created is itself a spiritual experience. My creativity as resistance idea. (See blog for July 16, Creativity as Resistance.  That these are doors that can open into transcendence, wonder. Their own experience of the holy, not simply didactic metaphors. And that religious practice, the arts, are parallel sometimes intersecting pathways to the sacred mystery that is beyond us.  
Likewise, our idea of ethics and esthetics, beauty and justice. Our artistic experiences lead us beyond materialist anlaysis viewing the world through simply socio-economic lenses to true transformation. Again, not didactic metaphor but expressions of inspiration to reimagine the world.
Ethics without esthetics is deadening, soul numbing. Esthetics without ethics is cultural oppression, even violence to the human spirit. 
The difference between social realist art and say, Guernica, though even that references a particular atrocity. I think of David Michalek’s 14 Stations (see blog for July 15, He has a name that graced our walls, itself a call to justice, not didactic, both in its process of creation and its presentation.
And I think of Rubem Alves, one of the first liberation theoogians, who moved from a materialist anlysis of liberation to a theology of transformation. For him, images of only misery ultimately lead to resignation and deadening. If you want to inspire people to work for a better world, they need images of beauty, of imagination. In the Spanish, ver/hacer, ie, see, do. Alves saw his call change from simply a quasi-marxist revolutionary theorist to in his words, Warrior, Poet, Priest. What we are trying to create is a Center where people can explore these ideas, work to build a more just, humane and sustainable world together.
Sarah is excited by these ideas, hard as they are to put into verbal expression. Now to apply them to  concrere tasks, like rebuilding a website. 

While we are talking, a very troubled man walks in.  Sarah looks up, Martin, hello. They've met here before. He's got a much beloved but sickly cocker spaniel.  She tells him we'e got no money for the dog, but Sarah looks up the ASPCA and gives him directions to get there. He shows his picture, thanks us, leaves. 
Around 4pm or so, like everyday, the sounds of Bon Hiver’s michicant fill the sanctuary as Woodshed runs their soundcheck. I tweet about that. It gets retweeted. And I’ve got three new followers. Thank you, Bon Hiver.
Out in the yard, Stephen is anxious with anticipation. The first reviewers come tonght. 

1 comment:

  1. I think creativity is a deeply spiritual process. It is right there in the first chapter of Genesis. And yes it is a form of resistance to the wasteland, the emptiness, the tohu va bohu, the Chaos monster...which is much like America...