Friday, July 01, 2005
Non-Literate Ways Of Communication
The values of the European Enlightenment, especially its left-brained rationalism, has certainly dominated the church by secular ways of operating for the past few hundred years or more. This leads to many (and including myself) to wonder if listening to sermons alone is enough to build up people's faith. I believe that the Church is yearning to return to its heritage. The church has had a grand tradition of the performing arts (storytelling, music, mime, dance, drama) and the visual arts (stained glass windows, painting, sculpture). Oh man, when I saw the visual arts in the various amazing architectures, cathedrals, museums and even just on the streets in Europe, my heart was filled with awe! The artists' gifts and talents are certainly a reflection of God's image in my opinion.
During the trip in France & England, I realised that non-literate ways of communication, particularly the creative arts, is really essential / useful to capture people's attention and imagination (certainly mine). I've never been a visual artist (I can't even draw the simplest things) and I never understood visual arts that much. Yet looking at arty things brings me closer to God without a doubt. We live in a visual and tactile age. At time, I think that 'worship' can happen even though there is no scripture, no singing, and no discussion. We can see God in various parts of our daily lives and experiences. One can grow through those experiences, and non-literate ways of communication through visual arts is surely one of them. I was actually feeling 'spiritually nourished' by just looking at the various paintings in the Louvre and The Giverny Arts Museum, and the stained glassed windows in Cathedral "Sainte-Chapelle" (see photo above).
I was also reminded that arts were central to Christian proclamation in a pre-literate age. To a congregation that couldn't read or write accessing Christian doctrine in song lyrics or coloured windows was essential. Now, in a post-literate age, it is true that many in the West can read and write, but they are eager to access information more sensuously. And using arts is a return to the church's heritage and a return to a more Hebrew sensuality found in the Old Testament.
What do you think?
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