Welcome to Crafting Culture

You love the arts.

Movies, television, music, drama, fiction, poetry, painting, dance…

For you, these mean far more than “mere” entertainment; they are part of what defines us as human beings. And you believe the level of their quality helps either to make or break a culture.

You’re someone who knows the arts have a crucial role to play in the New Evangelization.

You’re not the sort of person who condemns Hollywood whole-cloth. You’re the sort of person who comes out of a movie and thinks: those characters, sinful and frail as they are, still manifest a yearning for, even if they fail to achieve, Redemption.

You’re someone who wants a movie to embody Chekhov’s dictum that a story should artfully portray both life as it is…and life as it ought to be.

You believe that movies are arguably the defining medium of our age, and so you want them to embody the sacramentality of a vibrantly Catholic imagination.

You’re hoping to see, here in the early 21st century, a renaissance of Catholic literature like we saw in the early 20th century. You long for a next generation of Bellocs, Chestertons, Bensons, Greenes, Waughs, O’Connors, Percys and Sparks.

You understand that even popular entertainment has a role to play in renewing our culture. You agree with Chesterton that although we can live without literature, we cannot live without fiction. And so even our popular fictions should move us to tears or laughter while manifesting some truth about the human person.

You get that not every work of art has to be Catholic to be good, but that every good secular work of art is Catholic avant la lettre.

You’re happy to heed Pope Benedict’s call to set out bravely upon “the digital sea.” You’re wired in and networked up. New media for you is middle-aged. Though needing to be approached out of an attitude of silence and contemplation, you see Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, and the myriad other social networking developments as potentially positive means of human communication.

You smiled when you read what Pope Benedict said about Twitter: “In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not fail to cultivate their interior lives.”

You read about the life of Steve Jobs and think: Whatever might have been his personal shortcomings, I’m drawn to his passion for excellence in craftsmanship. You feel he was on to something with his hunch that modern technology needs to intersect with the liberal arts.

You think it important to be surrounded by beautiful music and great architecture. You lament the forms of architecture in which most Catholics have to worship, and you often cringe at the music that accompanies the liturgy. You wonder: Why do we settle for this? Can’t we do better? How can we encourage musicians and architects to embrace the Catholic tradition of these arts?

Perhaps you’re an artist yourself, someone who believes, as Pope John Paul II put it, that beauty is a vocation bestowed upon you by God in the gift of artistic talent.

You’re among friends here.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee.

Welcome to Crafting Culture.

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