The difference that ‘nothing’ makes

For you theological nerds, I encourage you to digest this wonderful piece by Brian Robinette (Theological Studies 72|2011) “The Difference Nothing Makes: Creatio Ex Nihilo, Resurrection, and Divine Gratuity.”

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God is pink

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I first entitled this post “Pink dream.” You’ll see below why. But I later had to change the name to “God is pink,” and I hope you’ll appreciate why that’s better communicates what’s going on here.

My daughter, Jessica, is Deputy Director of the Iraqi-American Reconciliation Project (IARP). This month they’re featuring the work of a young Kurdish Iraq photographer some of whose photos I’ve included here.. She writes:

For the month of August, IARP is showcasing the art of photographer Jamal Penjweny. Jamal is an Iraqi Kurdish photographer, filmmaker, and war artist. This week we will be featuring photos from Jamal’s new project, Pink Dream. When discussing the project, Jamal said “These are black-and-white photographs onto which I have scribbled bright and rosy drawings. The original images speak of sadness and loss, but my additions elevate them, telling the viewer to read instead a message of hope. When I thought of a color to represent peace and happiness, I could see only one – and that was pink.”

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Jamal’s photos beautifully embody the truth that God has put himself at the center of human consciousness in that irreducible appetite for truth, beauty and goodness that defines us at our core. Who and what must God be if he gives himself graciously as the ground and end of our irreducible, indelible desire for truth, beauty and goodness, if his existence is, unlike ours, the fullness of a truth, beauty and goodness which does not achieve or derive its fullness through sources and reasons and realities outside himself Reminds me of Flowers in Auschwitz.

Music1While I’m in the Arab world (my home for half my life) linking the work of local artists to traditional Christian anthropology (viz., our being inseparable from the divine beauty that creates and calls us), let me draw your attention to the work of Faried Omarah.

What belief do you see at work in his depiction to the right of music as antecedent to, not a consequence of, the layers of identity that define us materially and culturally? I see a created icon of divine apatheia in the midst of finitude and suffering.

 

The coincidence of loving and being loved

unity-rhiannon-marhiFellow Californian Rhiannon Marhi combines captivating colors and themes that settle the heart down and help it find its center where all is gift – where one experiences oneself most fundamentally as graciously gifted. It’s popular (and correct, I think) to argue that beauty describes a more fundamental, more primal mode of knowing than language. That’s why ‘ineffable’ doesn’t imply ‘irrational’ or ‘meaningless’. When I find a great quote, I think of what it would look like if it were painted. Nicholas of Cusa’s quote here speaks of self-knowledge as coincident with knowledge of being loved by God. I thought that quote sounds like Marhi’s painting appears.

“The likeness which seems to be created by me is the Truth which creates me, so that in this way, at least, I apprehend how closely I ought to be bound to You, since, in You, being loved coincides with loving. For if in You who are my likeness I ought to love myself, then I am exceedingly bound to do so when I see that You love me as Your creature and image.” (Nicholas of Cusa, 1401-1464 CE)

Skeet shoot

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Emperor Trump’s treating the nation like a bully,
Wolf in sheep’s clothing, but the outfit ain’t too woolly, no more.
Yeah, his stark nakedness is a shame,
But American white supremacy just lets him play the game.
Meanwhile, coppers pull on a black man and aim like a skeet shoot,
For the melanin, they swoop like pelicans, that’s how they treat you.
Rough you up, engulf you up, cuff you up, and then seat you.
Later, you try to get justice, and they use the Law to defeat you?
That’ll make a sane people crazy, instant pathology,
And then you’ll have a real Clash of the Titans, instant mythology.
We will only take a foot on the neck for so long;
We wanna do right, but don’t push us, cuz things might go so wrong.
When you chose the Infamous Leader, you showed your true colors;
So don’t come to us actin like we all sisters and brothers;
Yeah, we love you, but it happens at a distance,
Because of persistent ignorance at your insistence.

(Dwayne Polk)