Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
Monday, March 17, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
The boxes stand about 10 feet tall. There are over 20 of them. Some act square as others elongate into rectangular behavior. Their concrete construction means you will not sneak off with one in the night.
Donald Judd, a founder in the minimalist art movement, placed each box just precisely so in the middle of a cow pasture outside Marfa, Texas. Tall grass lives with mesquite and cottonwood trees and concrete boxes that look like dice rolled out on a large tabletop. You can imagine the local ranchers’ reactions to this tableau. Maybe the boxes could be used to store hay?
We talk about box-y life in LifeSpace. Box-iness that constricts and minimalizes life with God. Judd found a way through the boundaries. His boxes are windows into another horizon as they frame the possibility of what is beyond. I got in the boxes and stuck my whole body out the other side into the expanse. I appreciated Judd’s portals into air.
When I am in despair over our uninspired way of being church or the ungraciousness of Christians or one more “Real Men Love Jesus” bumper sticker, the boxes help me remember there is a way through. There is hope. Joni
Thursday, November 01, 2007
or a pencil stub from a race track.
As long as you draw the line a third
the way up from the bottom of the page
the effect is the same: the world suddenly
divided into its elemental realms.
A moment ago there was only a piece of paper.
Now there is earth and sky, sky and sea.
You were sitting alone in a small room.
Now you are walking into the heat of a vast desert
or standing on the ledge of a winter beach
watching the light on the water, light in the air.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
A Familiar Face
In American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon, Stephen Prothero notes that this painting "would eventually be reproduced in almost every imaginable form—on prints, plaques, bookmarks, funeral cards, church bulletins, buttons, calendars, clocks, lamps, coffee mugs, stickers, billboards, and key chains. As it multiplied, among Christians and non-Christians alike, this picture helped to transform Jesus from a celebrity into a national icon. As of the turn of the twenty-first century, over 500 million copies had been produced, making Head of Christ the most common religious image in the world." Many thought the image made Jesus more accessible. Divorcing him from the Gospel narratives with a head and shoulders portrait in soft light, Sallman offered an image of Jesus that was warm, approachable, and—he thought—masculine.
Why did its popularity fade? Even in the sixties, critics derided it as too soft, too effeminate, and too transcendent. It made Jesus look kind, but not empathetic—a Jesus who sees our pain, but does not share it. Fortunately, the realities of life draw us to the real Jesus, of whom Bonhoeffer said, "Only the suffering God can help."