Suggested Reading List: Part 2
Last week, I listed five of my top book choices on the relationship between art and faith. This week, as promised, I want to continue spreading the love and give you more suggested reads for your library. Again, these are not in any particular order.
6. Drawn In: A Creative Process For Artists, Activists, And Jesus Followers by Troy Bronsink
This is a well-written, practical read by an author I know personally and highly respect. Troy is a spiritual director, musician, workshop leader and author. He spoke at last year's The Breath & The Clay gathering. You can listen to his keynote on our Makers & Mystics Podcast.
From the book cover: "Bronsink shows how we can connect the creative life and the life of faith through design thinking and creative processes. Exercises invite participation in God's creative life and redemptive rhythms. This holistic approach will shift how Christian creatives think of mission, worship collaboration and everyday discipleship."
7. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
This book shoots straight and slaps you in the face when needed. The author is not afraid to call BS when he sees it but also understands the spiritual underpinning of the creative process. This book helped me face common obstacles we all face in creative work. "The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline." One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got."
8. Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland
I have read this short but essential read over and over. I highly recommend it, especially to those first launching out into creative work. This book, like The War of Art, is a helpful guide to persevere and not give up. A quote from the book: "Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience no reward. Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself."
9. On Beauty And Being Just by Elaine Scarry
When I read this book bearing in mind the One who Is Beauty, I am smitten over and over again with a renewed awe of God's presence. This book isn't written with that correlation in mind. However, you can't discuss Truth, Beauty or Goodness without finding yourself faced with the sources from which they flow. I have read this book countless times and keep it close by as a continual reminder of the relationship between Truth and Beauty. Ms. Scarry, though a "skeptic" when it comes to spiritual matters, confesses that beauty incites us to long for truth, to yearn for something bigger and outside of ourselves.
10. This is difficult! Why? Because I have hundreds of books I could list here which have impacted me beyond measure. I haven't even touched the poets, Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, or the spiritual writers, Frederick Buechner and Henry Nouwen. What about the philosophers or Gaston Bachelard and his phenomenal work "The Poetics of Space"? I haven't room to tell you about all the contemporary writers, many of whom I've met along the way, or the psychologists, Rollo May and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. So who fills this tenth and final spot? Ahhh!!!
You know, I'm going to keep this one simple and go with Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book is real, honest and encouraging. She shares her personal successes and failures and invites the reader to take the journey of your own. I don't see eye to eye with her on everything but there is gold in her experience and a gentle wisdom in her approach that liberates the aspiring artist to be okay with where you are. We all need that.
So there you have it friends. I hope these books inspire you the way they have me. See you soon.