Thursday, November 19, 2009

ELCA Splits Over Gay Clergy...some thoughts

ELCA Splits Over Gay Clergy
This article is on the front page of Sioux Falls' Argus Leader. My point in this post is not to argue who is right or wrong. Too much of that has been done already in hurtful and violent ways that are antithetical to the ideals of the Church. I recently had a conversation (via Facebook) with an old seminary friend about those who decide to stay and why we need to support them and the larger whole of the Church catholic in prayer over these issues rather than continually lead with condemnation of their actions. It is easier to critique from a safe distance than to pray and walk with brothers and sisters of Christ who remain for reform.

These situations in the Episcopal and Lutheran churches deeply sadden me as they have been my ecclesial homes over the past 4 years. I have seen the strife from within and from outside the denominations and local congregations because of ignorance and blanket types of statements. Within any large ecclesial body there is bound to be wide differences of interpretations; thus no blanket statement is just for the body. Within these bodies there are those who choose to stay within because they not only hold high the authority of scripture like Evangelicals, but also ecclesial authority found in the bishopry. Most Evangelicals fail to see that this dual crisis of authority. They only read these situations through sola scriptura mediated by an authority of interpretation rooted within themeselves. To an Anglican/Episcopalian considering leaving the denomination it is also a rejection of the bishop and their authority. It is a dangerous, and perhaps treasonous, collapse of their theology.

My hope is that those who stand outside these discussions can and will support those who remain with prayer and encouragement rather than insults and judgement. Furthermore, not only those who remain for reform, but pray also for those who oppose you and whatever side you may be on. And perhaps pray not even for conversion to your way of thinking, but for the sake of Christ's body and mission on earth. I encourage all sides to look toward each other with compassion in spite of their differences remembering that we are all sinners in desperate need of God's mercy.

God have mercy upon us all.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The other day I received a Facebook message from my niece asking for help with a college writing project on creativity. She is to interview someone about creativity and I was happy to help.

Creativity is something that I have thought about a fair amount...the 4th chapter of my thesis was positing a theory of creativity in a theological perspective. And yet, now that I have looked over these questions, my words seem to slip away. But I thought it would make for an interesting post series as I take on these questions. So I will be posting my answers to her questions and invite you to participate as well if you have thoughts along the way.

1)As an artist, how do you define creativity?

2)In your opinion, how interchangable are the words "creative" and "innovative?"

3)How has artistic creativity aided you throughout your life?

4)What areas of your life have been effected by creativity outside of your artistic career? i.e. problem-solving

5)In your opinion, how could others benefit from expanding/realizing their creativity?

6)Considering biological and environmental influences, what do you consider the source of creativity?

7)Do you agree with this quote? All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.-Pablo Picasso

8)Do you feel your level of creativity has been consistant through your life? If so, why? If not, what do you believe accounts for these changes?

9)Are there particular experiences or people that effected your creativity?

10)If you or someone you knew wanted to increase their level of creativity, what steps would you advise them to take?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Suzanne Gonsalez - Smith

Two posts in one day...

I post this with joy that one of my primary professors here at UND, Suzanne Gonsalez - Smith, has a gallery opening at the Center For Fine Art Photography in Colorado tonight.

"Artist and Public Reception
November 6th 6-9 pm
Show dates: November 6-28, 2009
Gonsalez was selected for the Solo Exhibition Award by the Portfolio ShowCase 2 juror, Rixon Reed.

Gonsalez series, Remains, focuses on the absence of what once was and what remains."

Click on the "Remains" link to see the images from this powerful show.

Eve gets a makeover by artist Roberta Paul - Sudbury, MA - The Sudbury Town Crier

Eve gets a makeover by artist Roberta Paul - Sudbury, MA - The Sudbury Town Crier
Roberta Paul, a UND MFA alum, is taking on a long theological heritage. According to the article,
"Challenging ingrained notions of shame, the Newtonville artist gives Eve a cultural makeover by contrasting Masaccio's famous 1427 painting "The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" with her own gentler contemporary vision."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Prairie Abstractions: A Preliminary Artist Statement

This semester as part of my photography credits I am being asked to work on my artists statements. I must work through 3 drafts, the last of which is turned in with the final 30 images at the conclusion of the semester.

For someone who likes to write, artist statements do not come easily. I think I tend to default to my theological writing style that many just find arduous and technical. This recent attempt at commenting on the Elevator Series, seemed to emerge a little more poetically this time. Take a quick read. I would love any thoughts on it.

"As child growing up among the fertile soils of Iowa farmland, grain elevators were a frequent sight and destination. In a land known for flatness, these vertical edifices become a towns’ most prominent and recognizable architecture. They tower above the trees and cast far reaching shadows at the extremities of the day. In the fall, they become the swollen bellied depositories of the regions hard work and financial hopes. Here I would wait with my father in the train-like lines of tractors and wagons. In other seasons, as I passed through this busy hub on my bicycle, I would dodge its deep potholes worn into the pummeled ground by the over-loaded traffic.

While my recollections of these times and places are fragmentary, they still loom as large as the elevators themselves in my memory and imagination. This series is, in a sense, a return “home.” Not only to similar places that evoke long stored and now partial memories, it is a return to a first love of black and white photography. This pilgrimage of memory and method allows a continuation of work in regional architecture and geometric abstraction.

These images follow a long lineage of abstraction, particularly found in the modernist photographer and painter Charles Sheeler. They allow the bucolic and vernacular architecture to be continually transformed by the play of light and shadow that daily creep over and around the corrugated angles and lines.

This body of work attempts to push back on the tendency within photography to emphasize indexicality and objective realism while still conveying an accuracy of representation. Viewers are challenged to see beyond the literal reality into the fractured structural form and overall composition."