Reflections on Art

It has been said that we don’t judge great art, great art judges us.  Venus de Milo assaults our modern notions of beauty.  Elie Wiesel’s Night convicts us of human depravity and the depth of suffering.  Bono singing “Where the Streets Have No Name” reveals our hidden longings.  A person who approaches art must approach carefully, not quick to judge but eager to listen.  As Alexander Pope writes, “Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.”  If after listening we find it hollow then we may discard it, but not before.  In the exact point where we think the error lies there may be genius which we should reverence.

C.S. Lewis often observed this about the Bible.  The part that is most confusing or strikes us as odd may be a profound spiritual truth.  When we judge too quickly, especially with scripture, we miss a chance to be judged by something, or someone, greater than ourselves.

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