There is growing interest in the relationship between the arts and Christian faith. Much has been written about the arts and theology and the place of the arts in church life. Not as much has been written, however, about how the arts might actually advance spiritual formation in terms of the cumulative effect of religious experience and intentional practices. This book provides a modest step forward in that conversation, a conversation between theological aesthetics and practical theology. Understanding aesthetics as 'the realm of sense perception' and spiritual formation as 'growing capacities to participate in God's purposes', James McCullough suggests how these dynamics can mutually enhance each other, with the arts as an effective catalyst for this relationship. McCullough proposes an analysis of artistic communication and explores exciting examples from music, poetry, and painting, which render theoretical proposals in concrete terms. This book will engage both those new to the arts and those already deeply familiar with them.
James McCullough (PhD Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, University of St. Andrews) is an adjunct instructor at Lindenwood University, St Charles, Missouri. He has published articles on the music of Anton Bruckner as well as on the art of Graham Sutherland and Makoto Fujimura.
Foreword by David Brown Preface Introduction PART I Theoretical Framework 1 The Arts and Spirituality 2 A Communicative Theory of the Arts 3 Aesthesis, Ascesis, and Catalysis PART II Practical Application 4 T.S. Eliot - Four Quartets 5 Makoto Fujimura - The Four Holy Gospels 6 James MacMillan - Seven Last Words from the Cross 7 What Are They Saying? PART III Conclusion 8 Eyes that See, Ears that Hear Bibliography Recomended Reading