Info on 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage

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September 28, 2006


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Ian McKenzie

Dimensionalist prejudice??? That phrase leaves me a little flat. 8-^


Ian, you are now exporting your puns!

I'm hoping that if I come up with enough jargon, I can get a gig as an art critic...

ps, for those who want to be subjected to more of Ian's puns, take warning from this example:

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other and says, “Does this taste funny to you?”


BTW, I wonder if there is any connection between selection process bullet # 3 and the Anglican analysis offered by our friend from 3 posts back... must think about that over a pint.


Oh! Goody Gum Drops!! No boring and oh so yesterday Christian theme and symbol of, like, for example, perhaps the Cross of Christ? I mean what the heck does the Cross have to say about reconciliation and community and wholeness? Let's have the good old pagan Spirit Circle! Or the Buddhist Wheel of Life! Or the Native American Medicine Wheel! Or the Druid's Circle! But. Wait. Isn't it Christians who are gathering together for GS2007? If I were a faithful Druid or Wiccan or Buddhist or follower of Native American spirituality, I would be very offended at this co-opting of my sacred symbols by another faith. I thought that the "circle" as a Christian symbol represented the perfection and everlastingness of Almighty God. Don't see any mention of that in the blurb. How deeply disturbing. But, in the end, how absolutely predictable from this Committee.
PS Love and totally agree with your "dimensionalist prejudice". The Committee appears to be ... how can I put this politely? ...Stupid.


I notice that the committee was theologically inclusive, but not age inclusive. Would they accept a crayon drawing by a possibly evangelical 19-month old? Or perhaps some spewing of Anglican milk by a 2-month old?

I'm sending in a picture of the burp-cloth with Hebrews 5:13 as the tag-line.


Initially, several things jumped out at me:

the plight of sculpture (and other visual art) in a TV, flat visual, world.

the place of the arts in the church, and do we even understand what we are trying to do?

"The problem with the church is that it;s full of engineers" - spoken to me by a friend from Vancouver who is an artist. I'm beginning to understand what he means. Everything is about being pressed into the service of the process.

Secondly, if the church seriously believes that art can and does move human beings in some way, and there is aplan to have this display going on throughout synod meetings, then there is a little part of me which questions the wisdom of the last bit of the selection criterion.

Oh dear, this is turning into another post... But either such use of visual media is intended to influence or not. Either art is powerful and moves people in a direction or it does not. If it does, then why not at least have some indication that being part of the councils of the church and having some influence and impact on it requires at least some... oh forget it, I'll work on it later.


Oh, we poor engineers - always the culprit of choice when things seem too banal.

The best engineers I've worked with are the ones who were as much philosopher as technician. Really good engineering work is always the result of more art than process.

Banality exists independent of profession. You can be a technically great artist who moves no one; or an exceptionally artistic engineer whose 'moving' bridge designs move and topple in the wind.

Perhaps the state of the church has less to do with engineers or the process-focused and more to do with our unwillingness to risk God's action in our midst. "The problem with the church is it's full of people (poor sons of Adam and daughters of Eve)."


Matt, you know visual artists: they never communicate well verbally (incoming, incoming...) I suspect his comment was aimed at his idea of "engineer" as one who only engages the "techne" of things, and sees all objects as having some other end and "useful" purpose, rather than an end in themselves. What you say of course is true; I've even heard that people lay blame for such ills at the feet of the clergy! I think once I get past his terminology and reframe his statement, he provokes me to several questions: are we only a church of "doing process"?

So many tangents, so little typing skill: there was a time when great works of art were produced under patronage, and in the service of some other end; I would love to preview the show before it is displayed at GS; as I said above, good on them for at least moving in a direction which recognizes the arts, even though the format leaves much to be desired.

I suspect that someday folks born within the last 3 decades will be amazed to find that there was (and still is) a body of serious art which has an intentional reference to Christianity in a positive sense, rather than the usual "shock and outrage" stuff which makes the CBC arts column on Fridays.

Rob Willms (sculptor) has a great quote on his site: "Sculpture, as such, does not survive digital reproduction; a sculptor, it seems, cannot survive without it."

As well, I have a few unfinished thoughts about that last sentence in the selection process. Does it imply that being an "Anglican" is entirely self-referential? It just doesn't quite rub me the right way.


Perhaps it has to do with the extensive use of physical modelling products (e.g. playdough) in Anglican Sunday Schools?

I agree. Representing dimensional art in a flat format with no texture would be like teaching surgeons to operate only by cutting paper pictures.

I saw one of Rob W's pieces (in the back yard of a local Anglican). While I could represent it with an engineering drawing that would allow the work to be mostly reproduced, it wouldn't allow you to find the 'sweet spot' of the sculpture. Examining it flat on your back framed against a starry sky (with a pint in hand?) would be similarly frustrated.

As for the Anglican-only welcome, we are a navel-focused group. Heaven forbid we invite those outside to provide an interpretive lens looking back at ourselves. Could this reflect a thought that only notional Anglicans are worth listening to (or looking at)?

I could get pretty nasty on that topic as I wonder at times if such things are undertaken so we can self-congratulate: 'Look at how radical / innovative / forward we're being at Synod this year.' I recall the comic character Pogo's thought, "We have seen the enemy and it is us"

Is the Primate hosting a GS2007 hospitality suite in the Radisson? Maybe I'll crash, but only if there's Russian caviar.


ps - - did you see the current post on studiosavant? "Every religiously minded artist was convinced that God's aesthetic judgments coincided with his own..." A bit of a read, but excerpts & comments from "On Being Modern-Minded" (Bertrand Russel) and looking at the Good, the Beautiful and the True.

I'm frankly puzzled by the meaning of the last phrase of the selection process. Maybe there just aren't enough Anglicans who are artists? I can think of a few off the top of my head (Peter Hide et al.). Either accept submissions from all and sundry, and put it that way, or don't. Well, maybe it's an outreach and evangelism opportunity to those whose gifts are being sought.

I am a misunderstood genius...

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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