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Art: A Gift Guide to Art-Spirituality Books

By Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson
This Christmas season, what about giving yourself or the artful person on your list a thought-provoking book on art and spirituality? Here are some suggestions:

Intruding upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery By Gregory Wolfe
Book List Review on “Wolfe firmly believes that religion and art can help us discover who we
are, where we have come from, and where we are going. In these pieces,
Wolfe’s topics include the ongoing culture wars; the faith-based work
of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Joyce, Flannery
O’Connor, Graham Greene, and Walker Percy; the evangelical subculture’s
appropriation of pop-cultural trends and cliches; and how the artist of
faith can survive in a market economy that rewards the media-savvy
personality. Far from being preachy or doctrinaire, Wolfe’s elegant
prose is a joy to read and savor; his provocative, illuminating essays
fully engage the mind.”

Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the ArtBy Steve Turner
Editorial review on “Imagine art that is risky, complex, and subtle! Imagine music, movies, books and paintings of the highest quality! Imagine art that permeates society, challenging conventional thinking and standard morals to their core! Imagine that it is all created by Christians! This is the bold vision of Steve Turner [who] believes Christians should confront society and the church with the powerful impact art can convey.”

Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in DialogueBy William Dyrness
Editorial review on “How can art enhance and enrich the Christian faith? What is the basis for a relationship between the church and visual imagery? Can the art world and the Protestant church be reconciled? Is art idolatry and vanity, or can it be used to strengthen the church? Grounded in historical and biblical research, William Dyrness offers students and scholars an intriguing, substantive look into the relationship between the church and the world of art.”

Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist
By Robert Wuthnow
Publisher’s Description: “In a provocative book that explores the fascinating link between the creative and the sacred, Robert Wuthnow claims that artists have become the spiritual vanguard of our time. Drawing on in-depth interviews with painters, sculptors, writers, singers, dancers, and actors, Wuthnow includes the spiritual insights of accomplished artists who have gained prominence as Broadway performers, gospel singers, jazz musicians, poets, Native American painters, weavers, dancers, and installation artists.”

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and ArtBy Madeleine L’Engle
Editorial Review on “Walking on Water collects 12 brief meditations by Madeleine L’Engle on the nature of art and its relation to faith. L’Engle, the beloved author of A Wrinkle In Time, has written and spoken widely and wisely about the connection between religion and art.”

Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual ReadingBy Eugene Peterson
Editorial Review on “Drawing on language in Ezekiel and Revelation, Peterson says that we ought not read the Bible the same way we read a cookbook, a textbook, or even a great novel. Rather, Christians are to absorb, imbibe, feed on and digest Scripture.”

Concerning the Spiritual in ArtBy Wassily Kandinsky
Book Description on “Pioneering work by the great modernist painter, considered by many to be the father of abstract art and a leader in the movement to free art from traditional bonds. Kandinsky’s provocative thoughts on color theory, nature of art.”

My Name Is Asher LevBy Chaim Potok
Book Description on “Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy.In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.”

Spirit Taking Form: Making a Spiritual Practice of Making ArtBy Nancy J. Azara
Customer review on “This is a wonderful book for artist and non artist alike. You do not
need to have experience with meditation to follow the guidelines in
this book. It has been a delightful experience to follow the exercises
here. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to enjoy a thoughtful
art making experience.”

Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st CenturyBy Marianne Williamson Review on “The spiritual practice of imagination informs and animates this
collection of essays by 40 contemporary thinkers who present their
visions of a better America in the next 50 years. Marianne Williamson (The Healing of America)
serves as editor, and the photographs in the volume are by Joseph Sohm.
This is the kind of book that will speak to the heart, mind, and soul
of all those who believe in holistic health, educational reform, civic
activism, societal transformation, personal growth, ecology, and
spiritual politics.”

SpectrumAnd, last but not least, a subscription to Spectrum makes a great gift.
Spectrum web site: “With a mission to encourage Seventh-day Adventist participation in the discussion of contemporary ideas, Spectrum magazine tackles topics as diverse as religion and science, racism, forgiveness, and vegetarianism. Articles about the Adventist experience are also featured. Original art and poetry grace its covers. Each issue is 80 pages. It is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October.” Order gift subscriptions.

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