Thursday, October 28, 2004

spirituality of place

I visited the arthouse here in Christchurch this week, where a local New Zealand artist, J.S. Parker, is exhibiting. The exhibition is a series called Plain Song: referring to medieval Gregorian chants and the fact that his work captures a spirituality of place, drawing on the Plains of Canterbury and Marlborough. (It’s also an allusion to Parker’s painting techniques; in which he uses the 2-dimensionality of planes as a core motif.)

I have been reflecting recently on the relationship between spirituality and place, both given my geographic moves this year, and given that I am working on a theological article on indigenous landrights in relation to the New Zealand sea-bed and foreshore issue. I suspect that Western theology has been placeless due to its abstract notions of the Trinity, and so we are divorced from a spirituality of place.

A final quote from the Parker exhibition stood out for me: Parker “has always had a spiritual basis to his work and feels this may be one explanation for the recent, strong resurgence of interest in his paintings.” It is nice to see resonnance between my ponderous theological ponderings and the contemporary New Zealand art scene.

Posted by steve at 10:53 AM


  1. Sounds like a bit of me too – the exhibition. I’ve just printed off their latest newsletter…any accompanying booklets etc?
    Grace in your place.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — October 28, 2004 @ 12:11 pm

  2. Hi, steve. I was wondering if you’d seen John INge’s latest book on the theology of place? – he looks onto things like “thin places” and the recovery of interest in sacred space. Lots of interesting ideas there.

    Comment by maggi — October 29, 2004 @ 9:47 am

  3. Steve,

    This is a whole area that can go in many dimensions and am struggling in my head with some of your questions regarding Trintiy and Place. Anyway, I’ve begun a blog into such matters and am seeking to gather some dialogue around these areas too. Early days, but I feel that missiology is lacking as is our theology too hereand we need to explore space/place issues. Be keen to interact on this as have done some reading around and more…. to do. My aim this past while as someone displaced from Scotland so to speak, is to look at my new place and space and reflect on it. Don’t know how well that’s happening, but tring it asll the same.

    By the way, glad to hear that you have good caring people who advised you to get some R&R

    Rest well brother!

    Comment by Fyfe — October 29, 2004 @ 12:39 pm

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