ABOUT THE ARTIST

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Mebane, NC, United States
My wife Emily and I currently live in Mebane, NC with our son Evan. I am actively accepting commissions at this time. You may request work by contacting me at artisservant@gmail.com. I currently charge $200 for 11x14 drawings and $150 for 8x10s. I sell prints of my work for $25 for 11x14 and $15 for 8x10. I hope that you will enjoy the works here displayed, and that you will contact me with your comments at artisservant@gmail.com - January 5th, 2015

Monday, April 07, 2008

DIETTRICH BONHOEFFER AND THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

This portrait is part of a larger project, but I am displaying it now because it stands on its own as a memorial to a man that I would not hesitate to call a great theologian and saint. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran Pastor and Theologian at the time of the rise of Nazism in Germany. As a very good article in Wikipedia recalls: “During World War II, Bonhoeffer played a key leadership role in the Confessing Church, which opposed the anti-semitic policies of Adolf Hitler. He was among those who called for wider church resistance to Hitler's treatment of the Jews. While the Confessing Church was not large, it represented a major source of Christian opposition to the Nazi government in Germany. After the unsuccessful July 20 Plot in 1944, Bonhoeffer's connections with the conspirators were discovered. He was moved to a series of prisons and concentration camps ending at Flossenb├╝rg,” where he was killed by hanging** at Hitler’s command, very near to the time of the Allies’ entry into the area where he was held prisoner.

My favorite work by Bonhoeffer is admired deeply by Christians of every denomination, and it is called The Cost of Discipleship. In this book, Bonhoeffer famously makes a distinction between what he calls “cheap” vs. “costly” grace. More from Wikipedia follows:

“But what is "cheap" grace? In Bonhoeffer's words: "cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ." Or, to put it even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: "Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness." The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship.

In contrast to this is costly grace: "costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."”

You can read more about Bonhoeffer’s life and work at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

(**Please note that this is a correction to an earlier edition of this post - I mistakenly wrote that the subject died by firing squad. Thank you for your patience and for the correction sent to me by an interested person**)

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I like the picture you created. I just finished editing "The Cost of Discipleship" in Romanian and I was wondering if you could grant me permission to use the image for a post on my blog, when the book is about to be launched.
    Let me point out that Bonhoeffer was born in 1906. He was 39 when he was hanged.
    Emanuel Contac, Romania

    ReplyDelete

WELCOME!

I appreciate your time and your interest in my work. If you are interested in knowing more about me and my philosophy of art, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of this page. I would rather spare those who have no interest in such things from having to read about me before looking at my work. God bless you :)

The Vocation of the Artist

I firmly believe that art is meant to serve others, especially in lifting the hearts of people, through "ephiphanies of beauty," (John Paul II's letter to artists) to the contemplation and the glory of God. The artist participates in a unique way in the inspiration of the Creator of all things, and knows something of His joy in the act of creation, for "the act of creation is an act of love."(The Agony and the Ecstacy) This act is essentially bound up with the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, in which what had been invisible was made visible in His person, His life and work, and finally in His death and resurrection. The artist is exhorted by the very perception of his gift to its service. Art is not merely, nor should it ever be, a vehicle for selfish ends or cheap shock and awe, but it must seek to give joy to the lives of others. The artist is then in the end merely a servant of truth, beauty, and goodness, and his work must serve to convey these to a wider audience. "Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 15-16)I believe that the artist finds in the lives of Jesus, and of His foster father Joseph, essential role models, especially in their hidden life at Nazareth. Though very little is handed down to us in the Gospels or in tradition illuminating this period in Jesus' life, I believe that this hidden, simple, carpenter's life of "working quietly" (2 Thessalonians 3:11) can be a model for all artists, in which delight is daily sought in the manifestation of beauty in wood, paint, charcoal, dance, the stage, and music. This is a life of humility, where the artist freely accepts that this world, including his own work, "will pass away," (Matt. 24:35) but what it points to never will. Obedience to inspiration, especially as it is inspired by God's Word (itself the revelatory self-expression of God) is the artist's highest calling. This new site is dedicated to this higher calling of the artist, to this challenge.

You will find included in this site examples of my own work, as well as links to other sites which
celebrate the arts, and especially challenge the artist to reach the fullness of his own abilities
in the service of something greater than him or his work. I hope that you will enjoy this site, and
take full advantage of its links, especially the Letter to Artists of our Holy Father (of beloved memory) John Paul II. Thank you for your comments and your consideration of this website.

David Myers