January 8, 2008

Threatened With Resurrection

I believe nonfiction writing is art.


I could be wrong. But I doubt it. I mean, cinema is art, poetry is art, and art is art. So why can't someone putting together information and making it palatable be defined as art? With that being said, I understand that art is highly subjective. Not everyone, including rising artists (see: Jeremiah Sazdanoff), likes Monet, Manet, and Rembrandt. And other people, including my mother, can't separate street art (see: Banksy, Swoon, and Escrif) from graffiti (see: tagging). Furthermore, there are still millions of fans supporting a certain no talent ass clown. So obviously, art is subjective. We all know that Britney had the best artistic release of 2007.

Using the above as a backdrop, and understanding that you might not agree with me (or even know who he is), I want to suggest that Parker Palmer is one the most artistic nonfiction writers of our times.

Palmer is the author of a book I just finished titled, The Active Life. It was beautiful. Palmer's background is full of contemplation and beautifully slow living. The book takes a look at how to engage in a spirituality of work, creativity, and caring amidst a chaotic world. Definitely worth a read if you don't have nineteen (19) credit hours this semester. Which is why I finished it today, a (seemingly) few short hours before I plunge back into the world of academia. In any case, I wanted to share with you a short excerpt in order to illicit a little feedback. And try to explain, through his words, why I believe the title "art" belongs firmly attached to any work of his.

Bone-deep knowledge of resurrection would take away the fears that some of us presently use to justify our cautious, self-protective lives. Death-dealing fear would be replaced by life-giving faith, and we would be called to do God-knows-what for God-knows-who. Perhaps we would be compelled to take in a homeless person; to go to prison in protest of nuclear madness; to leave jobs that contribute to violence; to "speak truth to power" in a hundred risky ways. In the process, we might lose much that we have, perhaps even our lives- and that is the threat of resurrection.

I end the same way I started. I believe that nonfiction writing is art. When art is a possibility for otherwise "boring" topics (like theology for us lay people), it brings the text to life for me. It resonates. It breathes. And I love it. I hope you do to.

Cheers,
Sam

Accompany us then on this vigil
and you will know what it is to dream!
You will then know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection!

(Excerpt of poem that Palmer was writing in response to)

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