Sunday, April 20, 2014

A New-Sprung World

This world which was made by God,
Then unmade by us,
Is now remade by Christ,
That a new-sprung world,
In lilt of light and song,
Might surge with joy, crying "Glory!"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brief Apology for My Photography

There is an older sense of "apology" which denotes a defense of some idea, perspective, or action. This older use, less common today, does not necessarily carry the notion of regret for an idea, perspective, or action. It may simply indicate a defense of something against skeptics or critics. The word "apologia" -- for example, John Cardinal Newman's "Apologia Pro Vita Sua"-- serves this meaning and clearly does not suggest regret. As it happens, though, I think I use the word "apology" in reference to my photography in both senses: defense and regret. I find that, in any given photographic excursion and in such excursions over time, I tend to take similar photographs. For example, this mid April day I took a long walk in the early morning to the Potomac River in Loudoun County just above Rowser's Ford. I love this walk and make it frequently. It involves trespassing on a private golf course to get to the river, but I usually do it early in the day and do no harm to the property. I transgress benignly. Along the way I often find many birds, a fox or two, flora in all stages depending on the season, smells and sounds, and the river as the destination. There and back, I take photographs. Almost by definition I take similar photographs repeatedly. I know that, and any who look at my photographs would know it. But -- and here is the defense -- the experiences are similar yet new every time. The same things -- herons, foxes, trees, river banks, the Seneca Acqueduct across the river, moving and still water, reflections -- change by the hour, the month, the season. Precipitation or its lack changes how things look. The season changes how things look. Light in particular changes how things look. And the light changes moment to moment, day to day, month to month. In only a short time on the same day the water or the trees or the acqueduct takes on new qualities of color and form as the light changes. How much more do qualities change and manifest over weeks and seasons? I find the colors and forms fascinating. I find the play of light on all things wondrously and endlessly interesting. So I iterate similar photographs each excursion and over time, always with the urge to express new nuances of what can be seen. But -- and here is the regret -- I know that some of my repetition of photographic subjects owes to lacks in imagination and discipline in the exercise. In terms of imagination or vision, I tend to seek the same experiences repeatedly. I do not push myself to extend my range of photographic subjects. In terms of discipline, I tend to photograph without sufficient intention and effort. Greater purpose and attention in the act of photography would yield better results. Also, I tend to keep and show too many photographs rather than paring those of lesser quality. Editing in photography, as in writing, requires a certain asceticism, especially with respect to what to possess. And so I offer an apology for my photography with the desire that the photographs -- to the extent they succeed, with regret where they fail -- will please and enhance the lives of any who view them. I pray that I do not make and show them to put myself on display, at least not primarily or finally. Rather, I hope the viewer will see what I see, which is a world of wonder and beauty in myriad forms, in things small and large, in things broken and perfected.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God is First the Answer to Our Being

"Revelation is not mere information. Revelation is God disclosing his intimate self to us as a lover to his beloved." Ruth Burrows, OCD, in Love Unknown. || God is not first the solution or answer to the truth. God is not first the solution to the good. God is not first the answer to the beautiful. God is first the solution or answer to being. And being is not abstract, not monistic, not quality-less. Being is irreducibly personal and intrinsically relational: the triune God. Hence, God is first the answer to our being, and that is why our rebellion against and repudiation of God, of our relationship with God, lead to untruth, sin, and chaos, and ultimately to death. God in and through Christ restores our being -- personal relationship with God -- and in and through the Holy Spirit nurtures that relationship such that truth, goodness, and beauty fruit in and from us.