Friends of Silence e-letter, July 18, 2016

In a time of mass shootings, refugee crises, and environmental degradation it is hard to speak of the need for art and creativity. One wonders what, if anything, they have to do with changing the heart-break of the world or serving a greater good than personal growth and pleasure. Yet why is it that those who would control and bully us feel threatened by musicians and artists and poets? How can we envision a better way if not by searching deep within the imagination and stirring creative reservoirs into a provocative, life-giving “re-presentation” of the world and our place in it? It seems important to tap these wellsprings for the sake of our own souls’ transformation. But it is also time to send these creative energies out into the world because we are in desperate need for resistance, for saying no to death and destruction, for boldly setting forth an agenda of life and love and respect. That these works are beautiful and inspiring and authentic is what arrests attention, what causes people to listen and see, to stop and think. We need soulful media, less rhetoric and more poetry, less shouting and more music. Photographers would say their draft is all about capturing the light. And we are all desperately in need of light. Annie Dillard speaks of the art of writing: “Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?”