I’m giving a talk for Wheatstone Academy in a few weeks on the relationship between courage, theology, and the creation of culture.
I am still putting together my thoughts on the talk and trying to identify the specific angle I want to take. My audience is Christian high-school students, but that has never limited me in any way. I’ve always had the most success with high school students when set the bar high.
That said, here are a few sources that are influencing my thoughts on the topic, and that may shape the final product:
- de Tocqueville on the “equality of conditions'” moderating effects on the emotional lives of the citizenry. This raises a question about the relationship between the arts and egalitarianism.
- Ellul on the stultifying effects of technocracy (though he really seems to just channel Heidegger on this critique). Ellul contends that the entertainment industry has a self-propogating function that functionally lulls people to sleep.
- This book by Paul Johnson.
- The Theology of the Body. The creation of culture and the creation of children share some similarities (Plato thought they were motivated by the same desire for immortality), which raises the possibility of talking about the body, death, and immortality with respect to the creation of culture.
- Chesterton and Dickens: after reading Chesterton for years, I’ve been reading his favorite author, Dickens. The similarities between them have reminded me that cultural creation starts with wise consumption. See also on this point George Steiner’s work.
- Avatar and Twilight (I need to get a little more mileage out of them than I have to this point).
- Galatians and Colossians: the former for its critiques of envy (which seems to be grounded in an inability to delight the success of others) and the latter for its emphasis on Christ’s rule over all creation.
One of my aims is to avoid starting with the imago Dei, if only because anyone who has ever talked about the urge to create takes that as their starting point. I’d rather they not see me coming.
But I thought I would solicit help.
“The Courage to Create.” What would you say?