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Liturgical Art and Its Discontents

A friend of mine – a true artist of Christ – sent this quote to me and I would like to offer it to you for contemplation:

“Too many efforts to relate religion and the arts have stumbled because they attempt to channel the imagination into pious patterns. At the root of this failure is an underlying fear of the imagination itself- a force that can’t be tamed or made to fit into comforting, predictable categories. Believers who fear the imagination prefer art that doesn’t stray too far from the Church porch; they want to see things they already know gussied up with ornaments and flourishes. But art at its highest pitch tries to tell us things we don’t know, or have forgotten, and that can be unsettling. Also, the majority of our waking hours are not spent in church, but in the world. And if religion is too important to be confined to church services, then so is art that grapples with religious themes.”

Gregory Wolfe, publisher and editor of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion

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