Studying here in Rome, I live in the the midst of ancient beauty. In fact, I’m just down the street from St. Peter’s square, which I walk through on the way to my job or architecture class. The church around the corner, where I attend several classes, is home to a lively local parish (the priest is a real character) not much different than my old congregation, except that the is Baroque building that could serve as a picturesque movie set. Indeed, we’re saturated in beauty, as we study the words of Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. I’ve laid eyes on wonders, on the works of Caravaggio, Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and others. And you can see them quite by accident, walking off the street and into practically any church in the city.
And as I experience all this–that vast tradition of Christendom’s art and literature–I think of the business of “culture making” today; at least ninety-five percent of the major commercial works dealing with mythic, moral, or religious subject matters are being made by non-Christians, with Christians coming along to produce second and third rate “me too!” knock-offs. I think it needs to stop.
So, what I’m doing is contacting people I know and organizing a professional get-together for Catholic and Christian writers–novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, game designers, etc.–for the late summer. Why? Because Catholics and Protestants lack on either side of an equation that needs to be balanced. Protestants are generally more entrepreneurial and comfortable with engaging the popular culture, but lack a significant aesthetic tradition to draw on. Catholics have a vast tradition to draw from, but have trouble translating that tradition into a contemporary context.
Yeah, let’s try to find Dante in a modern RCC congregation, despite that they are significantly under-represented above two sigma, and sell his magnum opus out of a megachurch bookstore next to the pastor’s fifty-page book “How to Love God (and Get Rich in the Process!)”.
(Gosh, I wonder why geniuses are all agnostic or heterodox.)
I could riff for days, but I’m gonna skip to the end and say what I think is the correct method: broad-based, individualistic, distributed creativity via genetically targeted mind virus. Yup, indie music, you got it.
It is not an accident that the blogosphere created Game and academia did not. So what you need is to seed a strain of Christian cultural tradition that isn’t commercial…what’s that? You’re retarded?
Fine, I’ll do it.