Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: beauty

474. Essay: Clearer Lines

For my drawing class I opted to draw the skeletons and the marble and plastic models rather than the nude model. I was prepared and more than willing to deal with the mockery and questions inevitably hurled my way from those steeped in a culture that no longer understands the concepts of restraint, dignity, and art. Here’s why.

Restraint

I believe it’s important to have boundaries for what you will and will not do. More important is knowing why you make those choices. For me, I don’t need to know intimately about any other woman than my wife. In fact, I doubt seriously that any marriage has been bettered by knowing more about another of the opposite gender than about their spouse. That’s how marriages are ended, not strengthened.

Dignity

I believe humans have immeasurable worth, both as individuals and as a distinct category of being.

Art

I believe art should reveal us to ourselves and invite us into the greater concepts to which we aspire: love, justice, mercy, truth, wonder, peace, selflessness. The greatest instances in the arts do not abandon us in the story at the height of displaying our selfishness, violence, or sensuality. They do not pursue those things for their sake alone, but neither do they erase all ambiguity, irony, and subtlety.

It takes precisely no talent to show a murder or nudity, but significantly more to hint at it without ever showing it in frame. (This is also how mystery and drama are well incorporated.) Even a cursory survey of seminal works reveals how the arts’ great pursuit is for the true, the good, and the beautiful.

I did not draw the nude model because that aspect of the assignment — the nudity itself — failed on multiple levels: it would not have brought me closer to truth, goodness, and beauty; it would not have revealed me to myself or invited me to “the aspirational perfections”; it would not have dignified the model, the medium, or myself; it would have short circuited my pursuit of artistic excellence; and it would have violated the boundaries and freedoms I now enjoy.

Clearer Lines

G.K. Chesterton said, “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” I would add that whenever art and morality intersect, those lines should be even clearer.

468. Liberty Through Restraint

What’s been seen can’t be unseen. What’s been done can’t be undone. They are only accompanied by shame, doubt, guilt, regret, and the like.

In this, restraint is the highest liberation you can know.

451. God’s Ability

God can write straight with even your most crooked lines.

444. Logical Life

If a scientist found one single cell on a neighboring planet, they would declare that they had found life.

We should celebrate all the same when we recognize the greater and more certain life growing within a pregnant woman.

This is not open to debate: Pregnancy is life, abortion is death. Science is not silent on this matter, and anyone trying to make the issue subjective or anything less than clear-cut is simply not dealing with the overwhelming facts.

441. Roles

Your role depends on your goal.

Colleen C. Barrett said, “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.” And just know that when it comes to dreaming up ways to please the eye, ignite the intellect, and transport the emotions, precisely the opposite is true.

440. Well Spent

You should spend more time taming your tongue than taming your hair; more time training your thoughts than training with weights; more time taking in ideas than spelling out your own; more time seeking truth than gathering verbal ammunition; more time investing in others than seeking your fame; more time arguing for justice than arguing your case.

429. The Ocean

Answer the ocean’s beckoning.

418. Utopian Emptiness

Often we hear something along the lines of, “Someday technology or science will help us with or prove that fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever.” This is the definition of faith. Hopeful of some abstract future, the present problems are dismissed rather than dealt with in any real way.

This is like promising tomorrow’s stunning sunrise to the blind.

380. Marvel

I maintain that you are not alive to beauty unless you can be compelled to marvel at a roadside flower in silence.

378. Quotes: Your Dad on Great Art

“Great art does not push aside the moral boundaries of the past, it pushes the art form forward. I do not believe that safe and status quo films, though decently acted, should garner awards. Those films which push the art form forward and add to its rich heritage should attain that distinction.”

—Your Dad

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