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Monday, February 28, 2011

Rustler Article for 3.3.11

I’m occasionally intimidated by people who are really knowledgeable in art and artists. I’m no rube when it comes to things a little more “cultured,” but recently it seems that I’ve been running into several people who make me feel as unaware of fine art as a bird is of the life aquatic.
The good news is that I don’t have to be an art history degree-holder to appreciate good art when I see it. I can stare at a masterful painting or an impossibly detailed marble sculpture and appreciate it for what it is: a thing of beauty. We know good art when we see or hear it, much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said when he tried to describe obscenity in 1964: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description… But I know it [obscenity] when I see it.”
I hope you take time to enjoy art in all its forms and mediums. For 2000 years Christians have had a near-monopoly on artistic expression, and most of that art is done in what I would call a worshipful posture. In Baptist life we’re surrounded and inundated with words both spoken and printed. I think it would be healthy and helpful for us to branch out and develop an appreciation for fine art even if we will never be the “artsy” people that intimidate us from time to time.

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