The Importance of Understanding Story/Narrative for Reading the Bible

by John Ellis Is understanding story/narrative helpful, if not important, to understanding who God is? I argue, yes. Most emphatically. God is the Storyteller, and being made in His image means, among other things, that appreciating and understanding story/narrative enables us to better understand who God is and implores us to worship Him. Unfortunately, evangelicals … Continue reading The Importance of Understanding Story/Narrative for Reading the Bible

Absurdist Theatre and the Gospel: How Then Shall We Live? (Part 1)

by John Ellis Absurdist theatre has gotten a bad rap within conservative Christian communities. Whether it’s viewed as a postmodern rebellion against God, simply dismissed as some sort of aesthetic version of the emperor’s new clothes, or has never even crossed their radar, absurdist theatre is not the preferred theatre genre of most conservative Christians, … Continue reading Absurdist Theatre and the Gospel: How Then Shall We Live? (Part 1)

In Praise of My Wife: Danita’s New-ish Venture

by John Ellis It’s the rare person who doesn’t fall in love with my wife upon meeting her. Friends old and new frequently marvel at her many talents and give thanks for the myriad ways in which she has encouraged and served them. Meeting Danita inevitably means falling in love with her. I know the … Continue reading In Praise of My Wife: Danita’s New-ish Venture

Preachiness Doesn’t Damage Art; Bad “Artists” Damage Art

by John Ellis Words are a funny thing. I don’t remember who said it – Winnie the Pooh, maybe? – but the observation has been made that words don’t stay where they’re put. If the Fall and Fall’s Curse (not to mention the Tower of Babel) are true, and I believe they are, this is … Continue reading Preachiness Doesn’t Damage Art; Bad “Artists” Damage Art

Theories of Aesthetic Distance and the (probable) Need to Reform Corporate Worship

by John Ellis Our church does a good job of providing a well-rounded Sunday school “curriculum” for adults. Class topics not only serve to glorify God and edify the students (and presumably the teacher), but the classes are also thought-provoking and practical. Starting this past Sunday, my wife and I began attending a class on … Continue reading Theories of Aesthetic Distance and the (probable) Need to Reform Corporate Worship

Film’s Superiority Over Theatre

by John Ellis I am (was) a theatre artist. But when asked, I always state that I much prefer going to the movies over the theatre, and not just because I can eat popcorn and not feel constrained by the myriad of ridiculous "theatre appreciation" rules audiences are expected to adhere to while watching a … Continue reading Film’s Superiority Over Theatre

The ‘New Nirvana Song’ Unwittingly Refutes Materialism

by John Ellis “Computers are bad phenomenologists.” Sarah Bakewell[1] Formalism was always doomed. Intriguing as a theory, its very existence disproves itself. As Wayne Booth commented in his introduction to Mikhail Bakhtin’s masterful Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, “Everyone who has pronounced thus boldly for a purified form has been confronted with the scandalous fact that … Continue reading The ‘New Nirvana Song’ Unwittingly Refutes Materialism

Art for Art’s Sake is Idolatry

by John Ellis Borrowing and, as his objective suited, warping Aristotle’s aesthetic disinterestedness, Lord Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper) helped create the notion of art for art’s sake. The aesthetic ideals of John Locke’s famed pupil prioritized the enjoyment of beauty for beauty’s sake apart from utility. A true response to art does not broach the … Continue reading Art for Art’s Sake is Idolatry