Tuesday, May 18, 2010
A fun interview with Christianity Today (plus "Why these books?")
Here is a link to an interview I did with Mark Moring at Christianity Today. I was honored to be asked. A nice and very talented man named Todd Bennett took my non-bearded mug at the Nasher Museum of Art.
Somebody asked me why I was reading the books I mentioned. Here is a brief reply:
1. George Herbert's poetry: One of my areas of interest is Anglican history and liturgy. Herbert was both a pastor and poet, and he's certainly one of the best bi-vocational parsons the Anglican tradition has ever produced.
2. David Maine's novel, Fallen: I think Maine is fantastic. I know not everybody likes his historical fiction narratives. That's fine. But if I could, and if I had a $100 million, I'd option all three of his biblical re-tellings and hand them over to Alejandro González Iñárritu, P. T. Anderson and Clint Eastwood to turn them into movies. A movie, of course, would never be able to replicate its literary prototype. To expect that, as so often is, is to set yourself up for disappointment. But a film could very well make strange again what for many has turned all too familiar: the biblical cosmos.
3. Kevin Vanhoozer's The Drama of Doctrine: I'm sympathetic to Vanhoozer's post-conservative perspective. Also, as somebody who has loved theater his whole life, I love his dramatic reading of theology.
4. Harry Potter in Spanish: I've got to take a language exam for my program. I left Guatemala at 13 and never really learned my "adult" or "theological" or "academic" Spanish. So I'm working my way through the Harry Potter series in Spanish to oil down a very rusty foreign language machinery. After Harry, it'll be Gustavo Gutierrez and Rene Padilla. Next summer it's German.
A question that did not make the print version, but which was fun to answer:
"Your wife teaches art to children, right? I think of Christ’s command for us to approach him as if we were children, so I wonder if there’s something about a child’s natural ability to “get” art in ways that we as adults don’t get – or have to work at. Any ideas?
My wife tells me that her students can be just as paralyzed by fear and self-doubt as adults. But they also have a capacity more easily to be unselfconscious. They’re less burdened with the shouldas and couldas. One of her eight-year old kids recently said, with a little twinkle in her eye, “Mrs. Phaedra, I tried to draw a mermaid, and mermaids are hard to draw, but I just drew it over and over and over and over and over again, because that’s what you have to do.” I love that as an image for spiritual disciplines. By God’s grace you do something over and over again, and you trust that He forms us in the midst of our discipline."
Excerpt from Mark Moring's write-up:
"Growing up as a missionary kid in Guatemala, David Taylor was learning the meaning of beauty before he even realized it. Taylor names the tropical landscape as one of five key elements in shaping his own identity as an artist. The others: listening to his mother play classical music on her grand piano; watching his father tend orchids in the backyard greenhouse; reading 'books outside my tradition' recommended by his Regent College professors, including Eugene Peterson; and 'being given permission to try and fail—again and again—by the leadership of Hope Chapel [in Austin, Texas], as I sought to discover what an arts ministry was supposed to be about.'"