Friday, March 4, 2011

Another White Bird

In his essay The White Bird, philosopher John Berger writes:

"The notion that art is the mirror of nature is one that only appeals in periods of skepticism. Art does not imitate nature, it imitates a creation, sometimes to propose an alternative world, sometimes simply to amplify, to confirm, to make social the brief hope offered by nature. Art is an organized response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally. Art sets out to transform the potential recognition into an unceasing one. It proclaims [humans] in the hope of receiving a surer reply...the transcendental face of art is always a form of prayer."

In his book Engaging the Powers, theologian Walter Wink says:

"When we pray, we are not sending a letter to a celestial White House where it is sorted among piles of others.  We are engaged rather in an act of co-creation,  in which one little sector of the universe rises up and becomes translucent, incandescent, a vibratory center of power that radiates the power of the universe" (303-4).

My conclusion:  Creating art and praying are both spiritual acts, both engagements with the divine, and equally powerful to usher in the reign of God.

PS:  Follow the link to read the whole of John Berger's essay.