RTN Theology 13 is a conversation between Chris Breslin and Dr. Jennifer Allen Craft in Durham, NC as she participates in the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts’ 10th anniversary symposium. Dr. Craft wrote Placemaking and the Arts: Cultivating the Christian Life: a beautiful vision for investing in real places and loving real people, while we cultivate a rich experience of God through the arts.
Jennifer Allen Craft is an associate professor of theology and humanities at Point University. Her research interests include: theology of place and space, theology and the visual arts, and the doctrine of creation. She is a member of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA).
Lowland Hum is comprised of Lauren and Daniel Goans, a folk duo living in Charlottesville, VA who recently released a new LP.. Glyphonic is Lowland Hum’s fourth full-length of original material, following the 2017’s Thin. The band spent the last two years on the road in both the US and Europe with the likes of Josh Ritter, Penny and Sparrow, and The Oh Hellos. Over an expansive career, they’ve earned critical praise from NPR, Huffington Post, American Songwriter, The Washington Post and more.
Mentioned in the Episode
The Perfect Game (First Things) by David Bentley Hart
A favorite article to revisit at the beginning of each baseball season. DB Hart is crazy smart and I have to think only half serious here as he runs circles around other lesser “oblong games.”
The Secular Age by Charles Taylor
A huge and hugely important work widely referenced and setting up helpful categories and constructs like “social imaginary,” the “buffered self,” and the way Western culture has moved towards an “immanent frame” which shields from and rejects an enchanted view of the world.
Desiring the Kingdom, Imagining the Kingdom, & Awaiting the King by James K.A. Smith
This Cultural Liturgies trio talks Worship, Arts, and Politics engaging everyone from Augustine, O’Donovan, Hauerwas, Charles Taylor, Willie Jennings, and more. Jamie Smith (guest #1 on RTN Theology) features art, music, and many other cultural references to reflect his insights (my favorite is “reading Wendell Berry in a Costco foodcourt”).
This prolific Kentucky author has written fiction, essays, and poems all reckoning deeply with what it means to be human beings situated in real places.
The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics by Hans Urs von Balthasar
Von Balthesar is a theological giant, writing very densely but staking out the claim that beauty must be considered primarily through the lens of God’s love. For a tl;dr intro on HUVB’s magnum opus check out this piece from David Taylor on Transpositions.
On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry
As mentioned in the conversation, Scarry’s book argues that beauty creates possibilities for and beckons us towards responses of justice and activism. Because beauty “un-selfs” us, we can then act for the Other.
Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff
Wolterstorff argues that art should also be appreciated in action — in private homes, in hotel lobbies, in factories and grocery stores, on main street.