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10 Days of Aesthetics: Introduction

I have enjoyed using this website as a place to think through aesthetic ideas. I am in the process of developing a systematic theory on philosophical aesthetics. I began talking about these ideas here with the …

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Five Evangelical Christs

This essay is from our Anastasis Series where we resurrect articles from the past that are either still relevant today or can be easily updated. This piece, first published in May 2013 as a series …

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California Fires: Finding Beauty in the Animal Evacuations

Something Unexpected

There were two weeks in October that didn’t go as I expected.

On Monday, October 9th, my wife was following the developing Northern California fires online when she saw that they were woefully shorthanded at the large animal evacuation site near us. We decided to spend a few hours the next morning volunteering. Those few hours turned into much more.

Soon after arriving to volunteer, we were assigned to watch a barn and help care for the animals, mostly horses. The instructions to volunteers were that the horses needed water, walking, and food. But, there were a ton of volunteers and the waters were getting checked every 10 minutes and people with little horse experience were walking them. At one point, our barn had seven animals and 12 people trying to help. Everyone meant well but it was stressing the animals out. Then when a horse got stressed four people would try to calm it… which didn’t help. 

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Dive into Art & Faith

Art and Faith is really at the heart of what I do and who I am. I know there are many others who are also interested in art and faith. I started my career as …

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Revisiting 2014…aka another top 10 list.

A little while back I had a fan of Faith on View message me on Facebook asking me to once again post regularly on Faith on View. Okay, truth be told it really was more of an internet friend teasing me for my failures. For those who follow this blog, they noticed that in September posts stopped fairly abruptly. What happened was that I had the wonderful opportunity to become a Senior Lecturer at California College of the Arts which is one of the top Art Schools in the nation. But, I had previously committed to teaching two classes at William Jessup University, an evangelical school in the Sacramento  area, and a class at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where I am pursuing my PhD. This meant that in addition to the Theological Aesthetics course I was auditing from the esteemed Frank Birch Brown, I was also now teaching five classes at three different institutions. All that to say I was really busy and I let my writing on Faith on View slip. The good news is that this semester my teaching is reduced and I am only teaching one course at GTU and one at CCA. This should translate into more regular writing from me. I have a lot of ideas so I am looking forward to having more time to get them on “paper.”

Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014 portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography
Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014. Portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography

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Prisoners: Hinting at Grace

I’ve never been a huge movie guy. I enjoy them like everyone else but I wouldn’t consider myself a serious critic. Mostly, I see action films, with a real soft spot for Sci-Fi, and kids …

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Art Is Not Frivolous

I have an art show installing this week at  Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California and I sent them my standard professional bio. But, the show is at a church and their interest is not …

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Distinguishing between the Pretty and the Beautiful, Part 2 in the series On The Beautiful, The Sublime, The Pretty, and the Ugly

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series please take a look.

When I started to think about my aesthetic system, it was in large part inspired by my belief that there is an overlap between the beautiful and the sublime. I still think that is an  important part of my system. However, the part that is more innovative (time will tell if it is good innovation) is the addition of Pretty to the system. So, a good deal of my thinking over the last week has been dedicated to trying to think through the implications and problems of this system.

The relationship of Beauty, Sublime, Pretty, and Ugly.
The relationship of Beauty, Sublime, Pretty, and Ugly.

In real life, I have been doing exactly what I have been doing with this blog and on social media. I have been testing out my ideas to both specialists and non-specialists. When I was teaching my 2-D Design class at William Jessup University, I asked my students what the difference between pretty and beautiful was to them. This particular class only has one male and he was absent that day. So essentially I was asking a group of college aged women the difference between pretty and beautiful. In many ways their answer was exactly what I articulated in the last post. But, what really struck me was when the conversation turned to how these women felt about men calling them pretty or beautiful. This was a revelation to me. These young women expressed that they felt it was presumptuous for a guy they did not know well to call them beautiful. For them, the term pretty had to do with their exterior but beauty was also about something on the inside. The argument went that if a guy, who they did not know well, called them beautiful he was presuming to know something about them that he could not know just by looking at them. This is fascinating to me and to a certain extent echoes my own thinking on the terms.

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