I was at my second Residential Study Week at the University of St Andrews for my PGDip/MLitt. in ‘Bible and the Contemporary World‘ this week. This module is entitled ‘Theology, Art and Politics’, which is essentially studying how these three fields are interconnected – how theology affects which paintings are painted, the interplay between faith and the state, how political ideas are expressed in art, etc. I’m quite excited about what I’m going to learn. Although I’ve never really been that interested in politics, I think I have an aesthetic eye and a discerning ear and the ability to apply theology to various contexts.
Quite coincidentally, I found that during the week I managed to immerse myself in the topic extremely well – in two ways.
First, I finally put the generous voucher I received when leaving OCC to good use in purchasing an Olympus E410 digital camera. (I also managed to wangle a free £30 memory card too). As you can see from my Facebook photo album here I found the worlds of art, theology and politics mix very nicely. (I aim to open a Flickr account or similar soon.)
Second, I happened to notice a bunch of books that the university library was selling off cheap and picked up a treasure trove of 2 books on the relation of church and state (which will be excellent for my first essay), both for £1, and my new favourite book of poetry, The Rhymes of G.A. Studdert Kennedy.
If you’ve never heard of Kennedy, he was a Rev., a Padre serving in the First World War. Many of his poems have a war context, but all combine the expression of a genuine searching, wrestling, questioning Christian faith with the realities of human life. This is surely where Kennedy’s real genius lay during the war – his poems would have helped his fellow soldiers to reflect on the horrors they were facing whilst allowing them to contemplate Christ’s sympathising with their situation.
If you’ve never read his stuff, an online copy of the book I bought (and have already finished), published under the title The Unutterable Beauty, can be found here.
I recommend these for some of his best work (click on the titles: