Today, I had a class about art. Obviously, I was thrilled. In our class, we talked about our own experiences with art and the church. I have been lucky enough to grow up in church environments that do embrace art (visual, musical, you name it) as forms of worship. However, I’ve come to realize that that is not the case for many.
I have seen art affect people in ways that words cannot. I have seen incredibly spirit and emotion filled reactions to art that a simple conversation could not have had. Especially in the context of faith, art is an incredibly valuable form of worship, and of conversation. So what can art do?
In my experience, art can communicate things that words cannot. Are speaks to people’s spirits, not just their minds. With that being said, faith-based art creates the space for discussions to be had that other avenues cannot. Art is creation. And creation is from God. With that, so much can be done.
Julian of Norwich was a 14th century English theologian who longed to grow closer God—and did this by becoming an anchoress. This meant that she withdrew from the secular world in order to lead a life wholly oriented towards Christ and prayer.
One of her most famous quotes comes from what is most easily thought of as a ‘near death experience.’ She writes:
“But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
This is a quote that has brought me great comfort. I hope it can do the same for others.
This past week, the gallery hosted their First Friday event, where this month’s show was premiered. On First Friday, all the galleries in the Arts District open up and invite the public in to see their new shows. I have been to many First Fridays, both in Richmond and in Raleigh. However, this was my first time participating in First Friday as part of a specific gallery—as someone working First Friday.
I was hesitant at first, because while I love gallery work (and eventually would like to pursue that as my career), I was not sure how I felt about missing out on the rest of First Friday. Well, as soon as the gallery opened, and our featured artist gave his talk, and people started to come in, all my hesitance was gone.
Remaining in our gallery for the whole of First Friday allowed me to watch everyone who came into the gallery interact with the art, and experience it. I love watching people discover new ideas and styles of art. I love watching people see a different perspective on the world through art. This was exactly what I got to do all night.
First Fridays aren’t just about the art. More importantly, they’re about the people. Both those who help make First Friday possible, and those who come to enjoy First Friday.
I made two types of cookies in the span of two hours. As I was baking, I began thinking about the merits behind my baking so much. I know that the people I share the things I bake enjoy what I’ve made, and I enjoy the process of baking as well, but sometimes it feels a little excessive.
I find myself wondering, while baking, if the cookies or the cake or the bread I’m making will be good enough to have made using all the ingredients worthwhile. This concern over the quality of my baking was especially prevalent as I tried out a new recipe. Unfortunately for me, the cookies did not turn out like I was expecting. So, I made another batch of cookies. A batch that I knew would turn out well—almost as a way to make up for the first batch.
I’ve written before about how I enjoy the process of baking, and the ability to share the finished product with those around me, but today I realized too that baking is typically predictable—it typically goes well. The predictability and success of a good cookie is also important to me. I like knowing what’s going to happen, and I like knowing that it is going to be good.
After making some not-so-good cookies, I’ve realized that it could be good to try more new recipes, even if they don’t turn out well.
I had a very interesting class in which I learned about the Five Pillars of Islam. In the short two hours that we had for this class, I learned more about Islam than I did in my world religions class last semester. You’d think that a college course with two weeks dedicated to Islam would have provided me with a decent understanding of the religion, but you’d be wrong.
Our class today took an approach to understanding Islam in a far more personal way, in a way that gave more explanation to how individuals within the religion practice their faith, rather than a blanket statement about Islam.
I appreciate these sort of classes. I appreciate that I have the opportunity to learn about different faiths and traditions in a more personal way than in a college course.
- 2 sticks butter
- ½ cup Crisco
- 3 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, beaten after each addition
- 3 cups Swan’s cake flour
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream butter and Crisco with sugar
- Add eggs, beating after each addition
- Sift together cocoa, baking powder, and salt
- Alternating sifted dry mixture with milk and vanilla
- Pour batter into greased cake tin
- Bake 1 ½ hours at 325 degrees
This is a special recipe. I suggest you make it.