Thursday, February 17, 2005

creating art

Frederick Buechner describes "art" as the process of "framing." Artists, be they poets, musicians, or painters, capture a moment. They invite us to look at the ordinary in all of its uniqueness.

Leonardo de Vinci captures a moment in the life of Mona Lisa. She isn't very beautiful. If we would have walked past her on the street we wouldn't have taken notice. The little smirk that she is now known for would have just been a fleeting gesture. But by framing her, by asking the world to stop and look, she has become a celebrity of art history.

Robert Frost captures many moments in nature. He frames snow covered paths, trees and flowers in such a way that reminds us of the complexity and simplicity of the earth. His words frame reality in a way that delights the imagination. His poems demand a pause in our hustle and bustle.

Beethovan had an amazing ability to frame as well. But as a musician, he framed time. His ability to blend various punctuations of sound in the midst of well spaced silences in certain counts of time was his art.

In a similar and beautiful way, the first chapter of the first book of the bible acts as a frame for all of humanity. Genesis 1 causes us all to stop and take notice. It is a work of art which captures the beginning of the whole big story of life. Rhythmically and poetically its chiastic structure frames our understand of the eternal God and the beginning of Creation. It is a reminder of the art that is all around us everyday.

Friday, February 04, 2005

farewell the freedom of friday

I take myself less seriously on fridays.

I remember the glory of friday growing up. It meant the end of the week. It meant that when I got home from elementary school I could throw the bookbag on the livingroom couch instead of placing it in my room. It mean that I could strip down into shorts and a t-shirt and go outside to play basketball. No homework would be done tonight. No sir! It was the feeling of fresh air and freedom. The weight of the week was lifted off of my shoulders and I could begin living again.

A similar euphoria would envelop me in high school. Though sometimes I would have a basketball or soccer game awaiting me that afternoon or evening, I knew that freedom had arrived. The friday games on the field or on the court were always electrified by an audience free from the chains of the week. Parents were off of work and kids didn't have to worry about homework. Then there was the expected joy of hangout time with friends after the game. Always a great way to end a week.

College was the most fun on fridays. No parental safeguards. Just pure fun and freedom. Friday nights were held sacred by all would-be "daters" and "pranksters" alike. Saturdays were made for sleeping in. And to get a good sleep that lasted into the noon-time hours, one had to push the limits of twilight on a friday night.

Friday nights at seminary weren't much to speak of. Fun in seminary was really about people and not about events. It wasn't so much what you did but who you were with. So I enjoyed many a friday in seminary, but not necessarily because they were fridays. Saturdays were not exempt from the hours of reading or the long papers that had been assigned that week. Saturdays were good for playing football or softball in the park with friends. But fridays didn't stand out above all the other days as they used to. Friday's began to blend into the week with its brother Tuesday and step-sister Monday.

And now Friday has taken on a wholly new form. When one gets paid to be a Christian, as I do, one is expected to perform certain "duties" or tasks on sunday morning. That means friday is not freedom from work but a nice reminder that work is ahead. Kind of like those signs on exit ramps that give you a suggested speed to take around the curve. We all see them there but rarely take heed their warning. We appreciate the thought, but we will do as we please around this curve.

That's how fridays are now. They still hold some of that nostalgic feeling of freedom but it's faint. I do enjoy fridays. My friends are off work and their sense of freedom rubs off on me a little. But the glory of the friday is gone for some reason. I do tend to go "out" more on friday nights, which is a good release. But when you get paid to be a Christian, you don't have any "days off."

My life now is trying to blend into every day both an "off" day and a "work" day. I try to experience the Sabbath rest each day both away from and in the midst of my work. But for some reason, maybe locked in the human mind never to be discovered, I still take myself less seriously on fridays. Happy friday!