Tuesday, February 24, 2004


I've never read an Ebert review before and I don't watch him, but this gives me new respect for his opinion.

It is a film about an idea. An idea that it is necessary to fully comprehend the Passion if Christianity is to make any sense. Gibson has communicated his idea with a singleminded urgency. Many will disagree. Some will agree, but be horrified by the graphic treatment. I myself am no longer religious in the sense that a long-ago altar boy thought he should be, but I can respond to the power of belief whether I agree or not, and when I find it in a film, I must respect it.

Read the entire review here.


Can photography be art? That is the current visual discussion—The Last Picture Show—over at the UCLA Hammer Museum. I haven’t been to the exhibit, but looking at the selected photos on the website , I would say yes and no. Some of the photos succeed—at least for me. For example, Giovanni Anselmo’s Entrare nell'opera (Entering the Work). This is unforced—it is what it is. It makes a statement, but does so subtly. On the other hand, Louise Lawler’s Why Pictures Now is a too forced. It seems contrived. Nevertheless, is each art? I don’t know. Personally, I consider my photography to be art. So the answer to the initial question is, “Yes, photography can be art,” but the determination of whether any particular photo—or painting or film or novel or sculpture—is art remains in the control of the experiencing community. And different communities may classify the same work in vastly different categories (from art to trash, and everything in between).

Thinking about all this points me back to some previous discussions on indigenous worship and holistic worship. How do we determine what is worship art and what is worship swill (noun def)? What are the criteria? Surely honest grappling with biblical truth is one criterion. Theological reflection is another—at least for me. What goes into determining what is art and what is not? Who decides? Well, if we’re serious about indigenous worship, then the local body—the community—decides. So, do we throw everything out there for the congregation/community to experience? Or do we prescreen everything and let the team decide? Is the Senior Pastor or the Worship Arts Pastor the final gatekeeper? Does it need to be art to be used in worship?