Gregory Wolfe: Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery

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Listen to the Dick Staub podcast of the interview with Gregory Wolfe, author of book, ” Intruding upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery”,” today at “The Kindlings Muse”.(Originally broadcast March 18, 2004)

Well good afternoon everybody. This is Dick Staub thanking you for joining me. Our next guest is publisher and editor of what Annie Dillard calls “one of the best journals on the planet,” the Image journal. He’s also writer and resident at Seattle Pacific University, author of a number of books including a new collection of Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. Obviously, one of my favorite subjects and I know a subject that many of you enjoy as well. I’m referring to Gregory Wolfe and he joins us in the studio this afternoon.

Q. It’s good to have you with us.
A. Great to be here.

Q. Some people know your journey. You make reference to it in one of these essays. From Christian Science to Congregational to Episcopalian to Roman Catholic in four easy steps.
A. Not quite.

Q. Really quickly, how would you summarize your trajectory in terms of the spiritual path?
A. Well, I suppose the simplest way to put it was that I started out with a great deal of abstractions and ideas about God and I wanted to move closer and closer to a flesh and blood incarnate understanding of God and of the Christian faith. So in one sense that trajectory, I feel, moves in that direction. I mean, I’m prejudice but I was searching for a more incarnational, imagination-friendly approach. And the imagination isn’t abstract, it’s concrete. It’s always placing the big ideas and-and emotions and concepts, like faith, into very practical stories and symbols and ordinary stuff of daily life. So I wanted to move towards a sacramental tradition really, and that’s where the journey went.

Q. Now, did your parents make any of those moves with you? They started out¢â‚¬¦ Were they both Christian Scientists?
A. Really it was my father. I sometimes joke that an interesting parlor game would be which novelist would you like to have tell your family’s story, your family history? And in my case it’s hands-down Dostoevsky. All with a kind of intellectual intrigue, passion, fathers and sons at odds with one another, rebellion, revolution, it was all in my family. And just the short version is that my grandfather was a Marxist atheist who is in the outer edges of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s brain’s trust. And his son, my father, went into advertising as a young man in ¢€œ

Q. In New York.
A. ¢€œ in New York and in Los Angeles, wrote continuity for Jack Benny’s show and many other classic, Bob Hope and so on. He came back to his father and said, Look, I’ve made something of my life. His Marxist father said, Well, you are as if I had a prostitute for a daughter, you have whored yourself off to Capitalism. I will disown you if you don’t renounce this way, and I give you a week to decide. A week later my father said, You know, I really don’t think I’m doing anything that evil or bad. I really want to keep working in advertising. And his father said, Well, I disown you. Well, at the root of that split ¢€œ and they never saw each other from that day forward ¢€œ was also a religious split because my father decided that the free market and a belief in God were related to one another in American tradition, and so he rebelled against his father religiously. And I’ve diverged in my own way from my father, particularly in the specific denominational journey, but nonetheless the two of us stay closer than recent generations prior to us did.

Q. What a colorful history. Dostoevsky does come to mind. Explain your passion for the arts. How do you see that early on in your life?
A. Yeah. Well again, I had really two very powerful influences in my mother and my father. My father was a writer, he was an intellectual, he liked to write about economics, about history and ideas. My mother was a dancer. Her father, my maternal grandfather, was a painter, trained in Scotland at the Royal Scottish Academy of Arts, so I had these two powerful drives. You might say a rational discursive and then this intuitive imaginative side. And they were, you know, finding at times uncomfortable living in the same neighborhood. But literature, to me, was where they came together because literature is concrete, it is about narrative, it’s about symbol, it’s about the ordinary stuff of life being transformed by the artist into something special. And yet literature has plenty of room for the big ideas, for philosophy, for ideology, for vision. And so in literature I found the sort of influences from both parents coming together.

Q. We’ll come back to that obviously, because that’s what he’s flushed out in the book that we’re going to be talking about in just a moment. But you-you’re at Seattle Pacific University.
A. I am.

Q. How did you end up at Seattle Pacific University?
A. Well, it’s an interesting¢â‚¬¦

Q. I mean, there’s not a lot of former Marxist in the family history at that school.
A. Yeah.

Q. As far as I know.
A. No. It is an evangelical university that, through a whole variety of different influences, has turned out to be an extremely ecumenical campus. That is, it is a place which cares about Christian identity but which is very vibrantly diverse in terms of its sort of theological background. And so as a Roman Catholic I’m welcome there. In fact, I’m encouraged to be there and find a great deal of interest in what my wife and I have to offer. My wife also teaches at the campus.

Q. Yeah. It’s okay. So now¢â‚¬¦ And by the way, the title of the book, folks, is Intruding Upon the Timeless. I gave the subtitle earlier, Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. And if you want to order a copy the best thing to do is to go online to imagejournal.org. It’s published by Square Halo Books, by the way. But imagejournal.org and you can order the book direct from Image journal. You can also order it through Amazon and so forth, if you want to do it that way. And by the way, there are engravings by Barry Moser, who has been on this show before, and it’s just an incredibly nicely done book, which is essentially contributions that you’ve written from Image journal. Now, let’s talk about the founding of Image journal. Kind of why, when, and how did this happen?
A. Well, to hook up with that family story very quickly, I was groomed, you know, in a very well-intentioned way by my father to become a young conservative intellectual. And I went to Hillsdale College in Michigan, which is a sort of mecca for ambitious young conservatives. And I very much began to feel that I was going to be a warrior in the service of defending western civilization from all the various modernist and post-modernist attacks on it. So I was rather more political in those days than I am now, but I really cared very deeply about those things. And yet at the same time, aside from the politics, I was interested in literature and the arts. And I was beginning to find that that dimension, which always kept calling me towards a sense of awareness of the ambiguity of human motives and the kind of unintended consequences of political action, pulling me away from politics. And so I had another conflict, another inner agony to try to solve somehow. And I thought to myself, well again, my combination of things can be saying, Who are the great writers of the present day who embody this tradition? It’s been said that-that-that, you know, in the modern era that faith and art can no longer coalesce both. The secular critics seem to believe that as if art was beyond such infantile things as faith, thanks to Freud and others, and the church, the religious people seem to think that, too, because they treated art as if it was monolithically part of the modern world and therefore poisoned at the root. And I wanted to say, well, I’m going to explore this nexus and see if anyone’s doing anything. And if there is, I’m going to try to share that with other people. And so I did and the journal became the place where we searched out the new Bachs and Rembrandts and Dantes and T.S. Eliots and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ of the present day.

And we’re going to pick up there when we come back. Gregory Wolfe is our guest. You can check out Image journal, by the way, by going to the website, imagejournal.org. It really is a wonderful, wonderful journal. And we’ll find out a little bit more about Image journal and then talk about some of the thematic issues that Gregory has taken up as the editor of that magazine, which are now available in the book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. Go to imagejournal.org for more information about Image and to order your own copy of Intruding Upon the Timeless. We’ll be right back.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Gregory Wolfe. He is the publisher and editor of Image journal and the author of Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. And I’ve got to say, one of the encouraging aspects of originating this show from Seattle has been the number of artistically inclined folks that are listening to this show who have felt like they’re kind of in a vast wasteland when they learn that Image journal exists. And I had a few of you who are directed towards the Image conference in the fall and found it like a, well, a full meal for emaciated Christian soul in the arts. So it’s encouraging to connect these dots for you.

Q. You were just talking about the fact that secularist, Marx and Freud kind of discouraged people from believing that the arts, and certainly faith, belonged together. And then within the Christian community you had that same kind of rejection of the arts. You believed that there was a place where they might actually converge. And you describe it actually in the introduction of this book as kind of “the hunger of the secularist and the believer for mystery.” Talk about that and how in fact Image journal began to prove that that was, in fact, the case.
A. Sure. Well, mystery is a very ancient term in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s been eclipsed in recent decades as Christians have reacted to the modern world, they’ve tended often to go into a very rationalist mode where everything becomes doctrinal, becomes apologetics, becomes somehow rational formulation as a way of staving off what is reasonably perceived as threats to the integrity and the coherence of the faith tradition. But there is a cost for that kind of movement towards a rationalistic prepositional approach. And of course, religion tends to get brittle, legalistic, dry, out of touch with human experience and a kind of holistic understanding of life rather than this more prepositional statement-oriented view of life. So to be interested is not to be interested in what I would call mystification or mere confusion, mystery has always been seen as kind of the shining light of truth which was, as fallen human beings, can penetrate into only to a certain depth. And to assume that we have the power to penetrate all the way to the heart would be pride on our part, but to rest with a kind of awe and openness and awareness of our limitations in the outer ionosphere of that truth is where grace and where meaning, where things kind of connect for most human beings. And the arts are very well suited to bring you into that zone and to let you be illuminated in that zone. And that’s one reason why I’ve been so drawn to it.

Q. Now, your book talks about some of the standards early on that were going to be set for Image journal. Aesthetic excellence, public square, and a place where those who are settled in their religious faith and struggling with religious faith would find a home. Just talk about the importance of each of them briefly. Aesthetic, public square, settled and strugglers alike.
A. Sure. Well, you’re not a stranger to this whole question of the way Christians relate to culture. And we looked very carefully at past efforts in this area and we were very disheartened by the temptation of many Christians to create what I would call a subculture, and to kind of create a Christian ghetto where there is some kind of separate track of publishing companies and record labels and so on, all that have some kind of good housekeeping stamp of approval on them. They’re safe, they won’t challenge you, they won’t scare you, they won’t shake your faith or, frankly, shake you up in any way, shape, or form. And the danger of that kind of realm of safety is that it becomes a realm where people are not challenged to live up to their highest, not pushed towards the bleeding edge of life and experience and artistic excellence to go by the board. Preaching to the choir becomes the name of the game. So we wanted to both be in the public square as a way of saying that we had the confidence that people of faith in the arts could, by achieving excellence, gain a hearing. That whole notion that boo-hoo, woe is me, I’m a Christian, I’m within the margin lies, we just didn’t feel that was the right spirit of the faith. And so those two things were absolutely kind of intertwined from the beginning. Now, as far as the whole issue of those more settled in their faith and those who I call “grapplers” ¢€œ I use the word grappler because I think the word seeker has been so trivialized that it’s almost a meaningless term ¢€œ but grappler to me is somebody who at least is in some kind of serious, agonized engagement with faith and therefore they’re not just using faith in their works of literature as background wallpaper or muzak, they’re using it as the central means by which to come to grips with the meaning of life.

Q. Yeah.
A. So we wanted a balance where there was this community where people could come together in a forum, those who had found peace and some identity within the faith, within the church, but those who were still not quite there. And that interaction has been fruitful for both.

Q. Well, when you read the people who have written for the Image journal, when you look at some of the people who have spoken at Image events ¢€œ and I’ve interviewed a lot of these people who are definitely in the grappler camp ¢€œ but what a wonderful thing that they find a place where they can come and engage with other people who shares their aesthetic concern and the core issues of life concerns. And there’s very few places where that happens and, obviously, my congratulations go to you for providing that. You have this phrase, editorially, that you’re asking questions of art, “Does it rise?” What does that mean?
A. Well, I’m cribbing from, as I do in so many ways, even to the title of the book, from Flannery O’Connor whose shoelaces I’m not fit to untie, as a brilliant, profound Christian writer and thinker. And she loved this whole notion that everything that rises must converge.

Q. Yeah.
A. Everything that has a spark of openness to this divine mystery is going to find a way to converge on a central truth. And it won’t do so by these discreet, rational prepositions that segment things into discreet territories. The nature of art is to be all over the map. But what art does that I think the rational, philosophical, theological modes also do is to converge on a central source, on a unified form of truth. It just does it in a means that sometimes scares people because you start from left field, or you go by way of left field and you’re never always sure where you stand. But then, at the same time, why would we want to live with absolute certainty about every moment of our lives? Faith is about risk, faith is about openness, it’s about breaking out of ruts. And so art has a way of complimenting, not replacing or supplanting, complimenting these other modes of discourse that have so dominated the public nature of religion in America.

Q. The title, Intruding Upon the Timeless, the origin of that. And it is the first essay.
A. Yeah. Well, that comes from a Flannery O’Connor quote that talks about the relationship between faith and art. And the big question that art really is ultimately asking anyway the big questions that are inherent really religious. Who are we? Where have we come from? Where are we going? And so Intruding Upon the Timeless is a metaphor for what the artist does. And does so with humility, hopefully, and a sense of their own limitations and yet with also a kind of boldness at the same time.

We’ll be back with some more of Gregory Wolfe. We’re talking about his new book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery, with engravings by Barry Moser. You can learn more about Image journal and order your own copy of Intruding Upon the Timeless by going to imagejournal.org. That’s imagejournal, one word, dot org. Our guest is Gregory Wolfe. He’s the publisher and editor of Image. We’ll be right back.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Gregory Wolfe. He is the publisher and editor of Image journal, which Annie Dillard calls “one of the best journals on the planet.” From that journal have been extracted a number of editorials packed into a wonderful book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery.

Q. And there is this interaction with a James Joyce quote, and the James Joyce character says, “You have asked what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church. And I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use: silence, exile, and cunning.” And that is, in fact, the title of one of the essays in this book. Talk about the ways in which that James Joyce quote resonates with the issues that we’ve been discussing and that matter to you at Image journal, and the way they also, that quote also illustrates a problem and a tension for those that are trying to engage the artistic endeavor.
A. Absolutely. Well you know, the pursuit of God or the pursuit of grace is like the pursuit of happiness. I mean, it’s fraught with the difficulty of trying to approach it in a kind of direct, frontal way. Emily Dickinson once said, “Tell the truth but tell it slant.” And that, I think, is something that goes to the heart of our human perception that attempts sometimes to come straight on to a thing. Whether it’s through this sort of rational, prepositional language that tries to capture truth in discreet language or any other frontal approach, the thing seems to go wrong for us. It seems to always, the mystery, the grace, the excitement, the spirit seems to flee, the letter seems to remain inert on the page in front of us. So telling it slant is what, again, what art does so well by going indirectly. And that’s perhaps another function of our limitations as fallen partial creatures. We need sometimes to, again, put ourself in the right neighborhood to experience grace. We can’t will epiphanies left and right. And the artist works with a number of means that enable us to come slant-wise at the subject. And Joyce’s trilogy of ideas, silence, exile, cunning are very appropriate to the modern era where the very sort of language of religion has become so hackneyed, so overdone that you have to find ways to renew ancient formulations and visions in contemporary language. And sometimes the way to do that is by focusing more on the silhouette than on the actual figure. The dark patch sometimes in between things, or to use kind of post-modern language, to be aware of absence as well as presence. But even absence, even the absence of God, the so-called death of God, tends to come with edges around it. And again, artists are very well attuned to kind of trace their fingers around the kind of filigree of those edges of things which, in a mysterious way, can reconjure presence back up again. And so, you know, somebody like T.S. Eliot, who was very much in that generation where Freud was making the big impact, would write a poem about the birth of Christ, the journey of the Magi, but would do so without ever mentioning Christ child, nativity, any of the traditional language. It was a monologue by one of the Magi from a purely existential point of view. “A cold coming we had of it,” is the way the poem starts. “And were we there for birth or death?” You know, and so he goes back to tell the old, old story in a very new way. And he does so by a kind of exile, by a kind of denying himself the kind of cliched hackneyed language in an attempt to use this cunning means to bring back the heart of the meaning of the incarnation through a kind of slant-wise approach.

Q. Yeah. One of the things you do in these essays ¢€œ and I’ve kind of pulled them out of order here ¢€œ is you throw yourself into some of the discussions that take place within evangelical circles or religious circles, people that are uncomfortable with art. You have a chapter which describe yourselves as a conscientious objector in the culture war. And people have heard a little bit about your interest in politics and then your kind of emerging calling and interest in art. How do the culture wars play themselves out in your mind as a conscientious objector from them?
A. Yeah. I think, I try to make clear in that piece that I don’t consider that the issues over which the battles are fought are of no interest.

Q. Yeah.
A. They’re of profound interest. And as I say in that piece, I would gladly, you know, fall over a ball of barbed wire in any of the instances where I have a strong conviction. And in many of them I do. But what bothers me about the whole culture war as a phenomenon within the church and within the larger public square is that more and more politics has a way of sucking the oxygen out of the atmosphere, of becoming an all-encompassing phenomenon, and becoming more ideological. And to me, faith is not about ideology, it’s not about sort of always us versus them as a mentality, it’s often looking for the good in others and trying to build on that. And art is good at doing this, of trying to bring dissimilar things together into similarity. So we have become so obsessed by the us versus them mentality that it has made our minds more dumb, more crude, more monolithic at a time when we need to be more subtle, more nuanced, more aware of just how complicated the world is. And so, to me, politics is a very limited tool. Ultimately culture, the stories that we tell, the symbols that we are moved by, those are the things that shape politics.

Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. Politics, in and of itself, lives off of culture.

Q. Yeah.
A. But if it becomes so all encompassing that it actually starts to dry out and poison the kind of cultural base, I say in the piece it’s like if we were kind of spraying pesticides forever on each other’s crops, we never water them, we never nurture them, we never fertilize them, nothing will grow. In the end there’ll be nothing to fight over.

Q. Right. And you interact with the issue that politics is about power. And power without ideas or with wrong ideas is not worth having. You talk, too, about base imitation and the degree to which, unfortunately within the Christian subculture there’s been this kind of imitative nature that you say is missing the transformative power of imagination. What do you see going on there?
A. Well you know, to the extent that we think we have a message as believers we’re always thinking, well, how can we package our message? How can we get the message across? And I would question that. I think we do have a message but it’s also a message that we have to learn each time we attempt to tell it to somebody else, but that’s a long conversation. But specifically to go to what you’re saying, I think that Christians have been tempted to say, well, pop culture is a huge phenomenon and it’s incredibly cool in its way. Why don’t, instead of we rejecting pop culture, let’s get on the pop culture bandwagon, let’s just place the message inside the vehicle of the pop culture medium, whether it’s the romance novel, you know, that is being used or the techno-thriller, or the rap music, or what have you.

I’ll tell you what. We’re going to have to pick up there when we come back. A good place to stop, though, because I know you’re going to come back. You want to hear the rest of what Gregory Wolfe has to say. We’re talking about the essays in his book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. You can order it through imagejournal.org. And while you’re there why not get an annual subscription to the journal as well. We’ll be right back.

(Break)

Well this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Gregory Wolfe. He is the writer in residence at Seattle Pacific University. He is publisher and editor of Image journal and the author of the book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. Gregory Wolfe is a precocious, active, engaging writer and thinker and throws himself with great passion into the intellectual fray and does so on a consistent basis in Image journal. And this gives you a chance to kind of look at a range of the issues that he’s been reflecting on over the last decade. It’s a wonderful piece of work and you can pick it up at imagejournal.org.

Q. We were in the middle of the imitative nature of Christian community, and particularly around popular culture since it’s so popular, since it’s so pervasive and powerful. Let’s piggyback on it and kind of insert, you know, cryptic or not so cryptic messages like, you know, floating a bottle out there and then see what happens. What’s going on there and what’s wrong with it?
A. Well, here’s the danger. The great Marshall McLuhan once said, “The medium is the message.” And the danger with pop culture, it seems to me, is that the notion that you can somehow insert some idea about faith or the faith itself into this vessel and simply transmit it and it be opened up and received in some kind of pure way is naƒ¯ve. The very nature of pop culture is to dumb things down, to make things more special-effects oriented, more in terms of spectacle than in terms of the more, let’s say, demanding exercises of heart and mind that high art and traditionally mainstream art has actually called us to employ. And so the danger is that, you know, what the young Christian listening to as he kind of rocks his head to the Christian grunge rock is grunge rock and not the faith at all. And in short that the imitation of the mainstream loses the faith by simply trying to piggyback onto a form that is already dumbed down.

Q. There are a lot of other chapters that you’ll want to read clustered around these kinds of issues. Offensive art, the argument of the weaker brother. A really interesting little piece about Regeneration magazine calling the artist to come home, as if artists by definition are wayward. A little interaction with Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light. Pretty much hitting a lot of issues that deserve serious reflection. And I point you towards the book, Intruding Upon the Timeless, by Gregory Wolfe, to go for it. I want to get to your vision for religious humanism. It’s an essay in this piece, it’s a big idea of yours. What do you mean by religious humanism?
A. Well first, I use the term “religious humanism” because I want to include, as humanists always have, a kind of dialogue of different traditions. So I want very much to have Jews and Christians, particularly, in dialogue with one another. And that’s one thing that we do in the journal is have a consistent steady stream of Jewish contributors. To us that’s just essential to our own tradition to have that continual sparks flying from the way that these two sister faiths relate to one another. So I don’t mean by religious humanism some synchrotistic mush that eliminates the distinctives of faith traditions, but I do feel it allows me when I use it to engage traditions speaking to each other across those traditions. I myself, of course, would consider myself a Christian humanist. And then again, in a sense, a Catholic humanist. But the conjunction to me is precisely not an opposition, as many people in the current day think it is. We’ve been schooled for the last 50 years to hearing the phrase secular humanist and to feel that the word humanist always has to be modified by the word secular. It wasn’t so, it was never so in the beginning. The kind of origin of humanism ¢€œ that is a passionate interest in all things human as a reflection of ultimate meaning ¢€œ came from the religious tradition that said that man was created in the image and likeness of God. That led to the tremendous flourishing of art and culture within this western civilization of ours. And so at times when things get too rational and political, as I’ve been saying during the earlier parts of this interview, to me the humanistic tradition, which is more arts/imagination oriented, needs to come to the floor to help restore balance, to help bring culture and faith back in touch with each other. Because faith that is not made incarnate in culture remains abstract. Culture is the body, the very stuff of life that we deal with and we have to touch and feel it. And unless it’s made manifest in culture it just slips through our fingers.

Q. When you talk about aesthetic and art, and we know the distinction between serious literary fiction and broader popular fiction, usually the stuff of Image journal is considered elitist within that definition of popular culture. You describe it in such a way that one would conclude that you think that if we took our faith more seriously that serious art would be popular using the phrase, “popular, widely embraced.” Is that true?
A. Yeah, absolutely. And I¢â‚¬¦

Q. So you think popular culture is, in fact, the child of superficial, shallow theology.
A. Absolutely. I mean, it’s a kind of vicious circle. I mean, great folk culture, great popular culture has always, there has always been a kind of spectrum and a whole series of linkages along that spectrum, Shakespeare being able to play both to the kind of plebs, you know, below and the people in their booths above. And in the modern era we’ve tended to force those parts of the spectrum further and further apart from each other to the detriment of both. And you know, I think part of what we’re trying to do is to work in a particular vineyard. We’re not saying it’s the only vineyard.

Q. Yeah.
A. And in the end I think even Christian humanism, which seems to be about being highly sophisticated and highly erudite, I would argue it doesn’t have to be seen just that way. There’s an intimate relationship, I think, between the balance of Christian humanism at this intellectual level and what I would call common sense.

Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. Common sense. I mean, I’ve known a lot of people who are not scholars and not artists, they’re just, you know, people who live a full life and try to find their way through the culture in their faith and the church. And they’ve said to me, you know, I resonate with what you mean because, I mean, I’ve always felt that these extremes of political edges are wrong and the truth is somewhere in between.

Q. Isn’t the embracing of “church planters” of a post-modern paradigm itself creating a whole ¢â‚¬Ëœnother set of problems? I mean, you talk about master narrative versus the post-modern emphasis on personal story. And I’ve seen a younger generation of Christians who are taking their faith seriously but who are being kind of led to believe that post-modernism has to be embraced in order to communicate within it. You end up with this focus on personal story and the loss of master narrative, don’t you?
A. Yeah. Well you know, I often¢â‚¬¦ Image is about nothing else if it isn’t about the idea that the faith needs to be made incarnate in the forms that are, the forms of the present day. And those forms are post-modern for the moment in which we live. But here’s the thing. So many Christians, as I say, tend to be more, let’s get on the bandwagon and imitate what’s already going on rather than what I would call transformative. And that would be to take what is the kind of form of the day and bring about through a real effort of mind and heart a transformation of the form into something new, into something that isn’t just tagging along but something dynamic, something that others would want to look to and imitate themselves.

And “something that increases the stock of available reality,” another just wonderful charming phrase. You’re going to find so many of them. You’ve just got to pick up a copy of the book. The book is Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. Go to imagejournal.org to get a copy. You can order it online at Amazon as well. Our guest has been Gregory Wolfe. We’ll be back with more of The Dick Staub Show right after this.

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