Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Sensual Theology: Pt 1 Eyes to See

The expression “theological aesthetics” has emerged as a fairly popular topic in current theological discussions. Aesthetics deals with our understanding of art and beauty. At its most basic aesthetics tends to refer to a type of knowledge. Aesthetics pursues a knowledge that comes not by reason or experimentation but by the senses. For this reason it is surprising that little effort (to my knowledge) is given to exploring the biblical and theological significance of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. Though it is against better aesthetic judgment I thought I would begin (and likely not finish) to explore each of these separately.

Eyes to See: A Theology of Sight

There was a commercial a few years back in which a model was either standing or walking down a red carpet. She was tall, blond, fair skinned and wearing flowing, shimmering sliver dress. She was illuminated in front of a black backdrop filled with a profusion of flashes. No one human figure could be seen only the quintessential act of worldly acceptance and affirmation. All “eyes” were on her, wanting her image. One side was the faceless photographers and on the other side lens transporting her into every TV set. This is the ultimate perversion of our desire for God. This is the desire to be surrounding by the “All Seeing”. That to be seen by all is to somehow be known or valued. It is to be worshipped . . . and this is the perversion. Or consider the flipside. You are the single eye, the one viewer staring into the porthole of the internet. You become the all-seeing. What we are able to see, what we desire to see, what we want others to see speaks to our spiritual nature.
This says nothing yet of how we are to see correctly . . . eyes to see. Those who claim to see are blind and those who are blind are given sight. Do we need to acknowledge that in the course of our lives our eyes are dimmed or smeared to see superficially at best. Or as referred to above are we simply in the wrong position? Are we attempting a panoptic gaze or are we positioning ourselves to receive the all-seeing eyes of the world? A theology of sight would be timely.


Dave said...

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you" (Job 42:5)

Unknown said...

I wandered so aimless life filed with sin
I wouldnt let my dear saviour in
Then jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the lord I saw the light.
- Hank Williams

(and no there is no intentional relationship between the new post and the amazing shatner video)