The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Friday, April 27, 2007
How Worldview/Faith Makes a Difference
is wonderfully demonstrated in this short article on how Western culture is shaped by Trinitarian thoughtfrom Doug Wilson which originally appeared in Tabletalk.

It astonishes me how many evangelicals (including Reformed) want to assert that cultural stuff is neutral - just a common grace thing common to all people Christian and non-Christian alike. Thus it is asserted that ther is no unique Christian way of painting, plumbing, educating, etc.

Wilson demonstrates how our faith makes a profound difference in how we see and work. It shapes all that we do.

Could it be that we are so used to doing things in a trinitarian manner that we just don't see it?

Monday, April 23, 2007
Time to Celebrate
Its Turn of your Televsion Week.

Since its alsoNational Poetry Month, maybe the thing to do is read a poem or two.

Or better yet, compose one and share...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Roots of Sentimentalism
If you want to know the origins of smarmy, over-sentimental Sunday-school art, look no farther than the Pre-Raphaelites. You can get an excellent intro to this tragic development from this article in Books & Culture on William Holman Hunt. The huge popularity of Hunt's "The Light of the World" demonstrates just how lame 19th century pietism had become in the western church.

We live with the results still. (Think: Thomas Kinkade).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Ceci N'est pas un Pipe
One of the sadly neglected aspects of Christian Culture is the pipe.

Thankfully there is the Christian Pipe Smokers page to help.

Also check out this member of the OPC who makes his own pipes. Kewl!

Monday, April 16, 2007
A Second Look
I mentioned the Mt Angel Abbey Library in a post a couple of weeks ago. Here is a group of pictures that capture much of the richness of the place.

Alvar Aalto, the Finnish architect who designed the building, was wise enough to refuse to make the space dominated by views of the valley (which are spectacular). He knew full well that this would be distracting to study. Instead he focused on the space which has a beautiful sense of openess and light, and a logical but not over-rigid layout. The detailing is also outstanding. Everywhere there is wood slatting which adds warmth to the interior.

Along with Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood, I think that the library is one of the best buildings in Oregon.

Friday, April 13, 2007
Besides the IAM NY conference that I was able participate in last February, this conference sponsored by Highlands Study Center looks really good.

Ah, to be near Virginia...

Here on the homefront, there is this lower key art conference in Eugene in late April.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
American Idol

...his greatest innovations were as an impresario and a businessman, and by the time he was done his combination of image and music and merchandise and theme park had paved the way for the cocooned entertainment culture in which we now exist. Even more than Coke and McDonalds—and perhaps even more than the church—Disney was the great brand artist of his era, carving out a niche in most American brains and hearts. As the consumer society grew more secular, he supplied an easy and alternate creed, complete with icons, pilgrimage sites, and spiritual comforts. In the hymnal of the American religion, most of the happy, whistling tunes were his.

from article in Books & Culture

Friday, April 06, 2007
Not Seen and Not Heard
I recently bought a wonderful exhibition catalog on the Dutch genre painter Pieter de Hooch. He is purhaps best known for his domestic interiors featuring mothers and children of various ages. But as the catalog makes clear, he painted many other kinds of subjects including scenes of courtship/flirting.

De Hooch is often compared with Vermeer. Both were residents of Delft and it is widely acknowledged that De Hooch has a profound influence of Vermeer's development.

But the comparison between the two painters points to a glaring omission: Vermeer never, ever included children in his paintings. Granted, there are only 34 (or so) paintings known by Vermeer so this is not a mountain of evidence. But it is still surprising.

Nearly all other Dutch painters of interior scenes painted at least some scenes with children. This includes Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Nicolaes Maes, Gabriel Metsu, Gerard Terborch, Isaak Ostade, etc.

The Dutch loved children. A biblical view of family life dominated Dutch culture of Golden Age and it is celebrated in the art of the period as well. Children have a major place in art of the period as well.

Which leads us to ask: Why did Vermeer choose not to paint them?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Culture & Google
Calvin College gets culture in the form of Emmy Lou Harris


Alan Jacobs plays around with Google.

Jacobs better be careful. He might wake up some day as a librarian. (Isn't there a Kafka novel about this?)

[Both stories brought to you by our friends at Books & Culture.]