With Actor Jonathan Jackson & Dr. Norris Chumley
While Jonathan’s views about Art in his book The Mystery of Art: Becoming an Artist in the Image of God are quite controversial, as two opposing book reviews below indicate(*), the narrative of his conversion and finding the true Church in “A Conversation About God” is captivating.
Watch a fascinating conversation about God, Conversion and Art, with Actor Jonathan Jackson and Dr. Norris Chumley:
(*) Moses Benjamin Cabe (Ben Cabe) is praising Jackson’s views here, while Richard Barrett (Orthodox Arts Journal) urges caution in
“The problem of art in Anglophone Orthodoxy: a review essay” .
As for me, I am undecided yet and still studying the matter. Jackson invokes Dostoyevski‘s quotation “Beauty will save the world.” and quotes Elder Porphyrios’ words in Wounded by Love: “Whoever wants to become a Christian must first become a poet.”, both central in my life and this blog.
Indeed, you do not have to be a Christian to create true art. In fact, it may be that you have to become an artist before you are able to truly become a Christian. Jackson adds that, when someone is drawn to the beauty of a certain piece of music or painting, he is really being drawn to Christ. Far removed from Christ is anyone who does not, and cannot, appreciate beauty. “It is an incredible thing to discover that Christianity is an experience of saying yes to what is truly beautiful. … From the beginning, the pure and ancient faith of Christ, which is still alive today, proclaims that God is beautiful!”
While Jackson is surely right in all this, there are other claims he makes in this book which may be problematic and will hopefully be addressed in future blog posts, when this whole matter is clearer in my mind…