by John Ellis “Computers are bad phenomenologists.” Sarah Bakewell 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
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
by John Ellis Wrapped up in American evangelicalism’s heritage is an (un)healthy stream of Neoplatonism. To be fair, during the fourth and fifth centuries, Neoplatonism did help rescue Christianity from the contra-Biblical dualism of Manicheanism. However, some strands of theological thought also adopted Neoplatonism’s flirtation with Gnosticism’s rejection of the demiurge’s creation. That has carried … Continue reading Does Bad Christian Art Lie About God?
(Read Part 1 by clicking here and Part 2 by clicking here) by John Ellis To my slight frustration, many of the directors, teachers, and writers that I look up to seemingly only go so far in practice. Thankfully, in word they’ve shown me the aesthetic path that my theatre practice has taken. For example, … Continue reading A Christian Theatre Manifesto: Part 3
(Read Part 1 by clicking here) by John Ellis What does theology have to do with theatre? Well, theology and theatre are connected far more deeply than most people might assume. For many, whenever theology and art start being bumped together, one of two conceptual extremes are assumed: Art as a didactic evangelistic tool. Or, … Continue reading A Christian Theatre Manifesto: Part 2
by John Ellis The prophet Ezekiel was the first experimental theatre artist. The oft-lauded, ancient Greek theatre gurus commercialized theatre. Maybe. To be honest, I can’t prove that the Greeks read the Old Testament prophets and then bastardized Ezekiel’s theatre theory; nor can I prove my claim that Ezekiel was the first experimental theatre artist. … Continue reading A Christian Theatre Manifesto: Part 1
by John Ellis Christian contemporary music (CCM) didn’t play much of a role in my formative years. My parents, youth pastors, and teachers all believed that there was no real difference between “real” rock and CCM; if Bob Jones University banned it, it was banned in my home, church, and Christian school, even if the … Continue reading ‘Electric Jesus’: The Christian Rock Movie You’ve Been Waiting For
by John Ellis Like all good Gen-Xers who grew up in conservative Christianity, U2 is most often the answer to the question of who my favorite band is. To this day, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are two of my favorite albums; on most days, both are in my top-five of all time, if … Continue reading My Worst Concert Experience: Art Versus Individualism