Church as Cubism?

ImageDoes the church ever feel like a Cubist painting to you? I am wondering to what degree some of people feel like the complexity of church life has become a mass of supposedly simple blocks that no longer looks like a body. Do you feel this way? Has the attempt to create a combination of professionalism and corporate simplicity actually made things more complex and less discernibly like a place that feels like home?

2 thoughts on “Church as Cubism?

  1. Cubist in a number of ways –

    Paul Cezanne wrote that he sought to “treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone”, breaking complex subjects into component parts. In our post-modern approach to to congregational life, the congregations themselves are broken up into individuals, while the integrated whole – the congregation, which is our home – is lost.

    Cubists often sought to represent multi-faceted, three-dimensional objects by portraying all sides of an object. In our churches, we often seek a multiplicity of programs until we see ministry as a collection of individual programs rather than a group of people gathered into one body.

    In cubism, artists sought to break old traditions they found confining, only to invent a new straightjacket equally alien and alienating. Our churches today often seek to include more people – and everyone who doesn’t what to go along with that can just leave. We have created a new form of inclusiveness that is as exclusive as our former traditions.

    1. thanks for taking us back to the pre-Cubist roots with Cezanne. Love your thoughts here. In a great blog post by Mark Phillips, he states, “Modernist parallax was about multiple subjectivities perceiving events within their individually flawed points of view. Postmondernist parallax is about bringing multiple orders of text into relationship.”

      Now, I would probably add the reiteration of the word “flawed” into the quote, as in “…bringing multiple [flawed] orders of text into relationship.”

      I tend to think that whether in modernity or post-modernity, we have a tendency to see our world in little palatable pieces, and like much of today’s fast food it is aggressively palatable but hardly nutritional. Do we in a post-modern approach try too hard to pretend that the flawed pieces we move together really fit, when we’ve made something like Frankenstein’s monster? and in modernity have we dissected the whole, laid the parts out, and made it undiscernible as a body? Just thinking out loud.

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