21 November 2010 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #250, 5934 AM
Separating Culture from Truth
Picked up a fascinating book for 25p today called, Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. It has had me spellbound. I think I am almost as amazed by the book's content as I am by my own dramatic shift from scientist to what might be said to be an 'artist'. I have shelves of books at home but whereas once I would have eagerly devoured them, now they are lifeless and boring. I have moved on from the form of life to life itself. And yet I was very much 'into' music when I was younger, less so now (at least of the older forms) as I have embraced devotional over classical.
Continued in Part 2
What I like about my new book is that it has accurately put into words what I have long felt about art but been unable to express it. The author, H.R.Rookmaaker, a Dutchman, makes the critical point that Christian art is essentially reality coupled with truth, whereas modern art is just what you feel and want a picture to mean. Rookmaaker's conclusion is brilliant, and he comes to it by posing a question, namely: "How can Christians live out their faith in the culture around them?" And the answer (today, at least - the book was written in 1971) is that you can't. He rightly observes, in the context of 32 years ago when the cultural revolt was gaining momentum, that:
Of course, he had no idea what 2003 would be like, but he is right still - we not only have to understand the natural, created order and how it works (which is where science comes in) but we [also] have to know what the devil is up to. This means we need to know about demons, about human nature, and the lies people are currently believing and living out - both to keep ourselves spotless and to show people how to get back on the path that leads to eternal life. And this we must often do by showing them sets of contrasts.
"If we are called to keep ourselves from sin, keep ourselves clean, it means that we must understand what the world is. If we think we can keep away from the world by living the life of a hermit, we are mistaken" (p.227).
I think Rookmaaker compromises towards the end of his book, hoping that modern forms of music and art can be Christianised. I think he miscalculated the demonic element for he doesn't even mention it. What we call 'deliverance ministry' wasn't known 30 years ago. So I feel no necessity to change my position. And I believe I am pretty much on the mark.
(From the Diary of Lev-Tsiyon, 13 October 2003, England)