Devotion for the day – from Laura Swan, a modern ascetic

“As the ammas taught, inner hesitancy and resistance to meet God in honesty, silence and solitude are related to our resistance to come to know ourselves in our frailties.

“An honest encounter with God challenges our capacity for intimacy. We may come to discover that we fear our passion for God. We may want to run from our sense of emptiness.

“Self awareness calls us to face our hurt and anger. Above all else, self awareness reveals our idols – those self serving false images of God that deny who God actually is.”

Art depicts images all the time. Whether real or inferred there is nothing that can be painted, photographed, made or performed originally that does not display or infer our perception of God in some form. Some historic Christian teachers, not to mention Islamic and a handful of others, believed that ANY art, if not an idol itself would inevitably lead to idolatry. Calvin himself said that the closer an artist comes to true artistic freedom the closer he comes to disobeying God.

What then? Should we not paint, draw or perform? Should we deny our compulsion to create? I do not think so. God is THE Creator, and if we are made in His image we will also be driven towards creativity and will spend time creating images of all kinds (including children! :-). So what is right? Or even more, what is GOOD? for goodness also  contains a standard of rightness but adds beauty and pleasure and appreciation to this virtue. Consider again Swan’s closing thought,

” Above all else, self awareness reveals our idols – those self serving false images of God that deny who God actually is.”  I think that when we deny who God is we will create art that does the same, and then the art becomes an idol to that ideology or philosophy. Or it becomes an idol to ourselves honoring our own image as the highest.  Such art is less abut what we see because it is made from our internal will and desire. So let our internal desires be shaped after God, through the process becoming self aware so that we may be transformed, causing our expressions reflect the Beauty of Christ.

“From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Luke 6:45.  The mouth, the hands, the body, the art….


A photo from my old home in Idaho right when I was first starting my recovery from a severe back injury.


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