Wednesday, January 23, 2008

See Barb in Austin, TX

I am very honored to be one of the speakers at a very exciting symposium that is coming up in April:

I know this is going to be a great event because the web-site already has enough stuff to fuel several doctoral theses!

My talk will be called something like "The Proper Care and Feeding of The Artist." From the conference web site, here are some of the points on which I will be ruminating:

THE ARTIST: What is an artist and how do we shepherd these strange creatures?

What is the anatomy of an artist? What is their peculiar nature? What do artists need to be healthy, mature persons? What do artists need but don’t immediately realize they need? How can we provide spiritual formation as well as community and opportunities for expression for the artists in our care?

Our desire here is to help pastors understand the way God has created artists. Artists don’t need to be idolized or marginalized—often the two primary ways our culture treats them—they need to be loved with understanding, appreciated for the often non-useful, non-marketable but glory-bearing work they create, and invited into the gracious lordship of Christ and the protective, generous care of His Body, the Church.

Our desire, more fully then, is to help pastors understand artists so they can shepherd them well, with skill and wisdom, with love and joy, whether the artists are serving the liturgy or the community or the culture at large or perhaps just needing to sit in the pew and be loved for who they are, not for what they can do.

I am doing a bit of advance reading now as I get this talk together. I am going to use several film clips as some of Hollywood's most profound movies have been those about artists. I am also reading several biographies of artists so as to have some good anecdotes in my frontal lobe. I am going to make use of John Paul II's Letter to Artists and Josef Pieper's Only the Lover Sings. Anybody have any other suggestions for works I should consider?

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