Beyond Sight: The Imago Dei Project

Guest post by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

“The problem is that people are no longer seeing,” said Linnéa Spransy, a visual artist who currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

“It goes way beyond seeing,” replied the biologist Calvin DeWitt, as he turned towards her. “We are not pondering. That’s what Psalm 111 encourages us to do, and we don’t do it.”

Cal DeWitt is an environmental scientist and a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin who had been invited by Image to spend a weekend with nine artists and a theologian to ponder creation and evolution.

The gathering was an unlikely one, sponsored by the unusual pairing of Image, an arts organization, and the BioLogos Foundation, which is dedicated to science education.

The hoped-for set of conversations would initiate a three-year project to involve artists in exploring the tensions and resonances of evolutionary theory and a faith-based approach to creation.

Cal DeWitt was very familiar with the problem: as a Christian, he had often faced the problem of elucidating evolutionary theory to other Christians, only to find opposition to the science he presented.

[Read more…]

Another Thing the Internet Can’t Do: On Curation and the Act of Discovery

Guest Post by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

I did not expect to give my eight-year-old grandson a stopwatch for Christmas, it just happened.

My wife Linda usually takes charge of the stocking stuffer gifts. With an extended family of eleven stretching over three generations and an agreed-on maximum of two gifts per stocking, it can be a daunting exercise. Linda has become a skilled surfer of the Internet, however, and between that and the nightly debriefing talks we were having, she was making progress.

Still, by the week before Christmas eight-year-old Joshua still did not have a gift, and neither did his two-year-old cousin Huxley.

So it was that we found ourselves at one of Seattle’s best toy and game stores on Sunday afternoon, braving the Christmas rush and wandering the aisles. Linda was seeking something for a two-year-old whose main enjoyment seemed to be throwing balls with increasing force and accuracy. I was dispatched to find “something that would get Josh off the couch and away from his Kindle.”

I was actually admiring an unusual ball (the store seemed to have thirty different kinds within three feet of each other) when I found the stopwatch: rugged, simple, it begged to be used to time races, bike rides, and sailboats. It was the antithesis of couch, and there was only one left on the shelf. I snatched it up triumphantly and brought it to Linda, who proclaimed it perfect, and asked me how I had thought of it.

Of course, I hadn’t been thinking about a stopwatch, I just happened across it. The area in which I was cruising for balls turned out to be devoted to outdoor toys.

[Read more…]

Going Home by a Different Way: The Image Fall Appeal

Guest post by Stuart Scadron-Wattles


The word conjures up for me an image of a medieval minstrel, someone pale and languid for love, lute in hand.

But in his recent post on Image’s 25th anniversary, Greg Wolfe cites Ezra Pound’s use of the word, evoking a more active vision—and one closer to the etymology: a troubadour is someone who finds something.

Or perhaps discovers it.

When I first began working at Image, I began asking people how they encountered us. With rare exceptions, it was by human agency. The poet Betsy Sholl, for example, answered my question by recounting a visit to her sister’s house, where her brother-in-law left a copy of Image Journal next to her bed.

“I had no idea such a thing existed,” she recalled. She read through the night and at her host’s urging, took that copy with her.

After the initial discovery, however, comes the recognition that this new thing ought to exist. It both awakens a thirst and slakes it. It leaves one both satisfied and disturbed.

And twenty-five years ago, the journal was just the beginning.

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Art, Risk, & Image‘s Near-Death Experience, Part 2

Erica Grimm-Vance, On the Question of Being III.

Guest Post by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

Read Gregory Wolfe’s part 1 post here.

The irony of the theme that Greg Wolfe had chosen for the Glen East 2013 conference (“Art and Risk”) was part of the silence between us, as we sat, glumly, opposite one another in two heavy armchairs, pondering our options.

Outside, a heavy rain was falling. Greg was rolling an unlit cigar between his fingers, never a good sign.

Image had risked an alliance with commerce, and it was about to cost us $65,000.

In my experience, the relationship between art and commerce is at best a one-sided affair, no matter how experienced the partners. Art is always the one risking its heart and getting it broken. Commerce walks away, counting the dollars snatched from the nightstand.

The events of the last few months had proved the point. [Read more…]

The Fool and the Beloved: Part Two

Guest Post
By Stuart Scadron-Wattles

Continued from yesterday.

At one time during our church life in Kitchener, Ontario, my wife Linda and I were asked to be sponsors of the junior high group in our church. As part of that responsibility, Linda co-led a trip to into Toronto, an hour away, to spend some time with young kids who were living on the street and the people who helped them cope.

The guide for part of that experience had been living on the street herself a few scant years before, and Linda asked her for advice on how to handle the myriad young panhandlers that she encountered whenever she visited Toronto.

“I carry a set amount of weekly pocket cash to give away,” the worker replied. “I don’t reason it out, I just give when I’m prompted to. And when I’m out, I know I’ve given what I can.”

But it was her next statement that got to me:

The most important thing you can do, though, is look us in the eye. Look at us: we’re human beings. The most dehumanizing force on the streets isn’t the lack of resources or the cold, it’s being ignored repeatedly, on a daily basis. I’d rather you gave me nothing and looked me in the eye, maybe said hello, than put money in my hat without seeing me. [Read more…]