oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Louter handeling vir alle Christene : dans, plavei en Van Gogh se Die sterrenag

Volume 16 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1995-5928



In hierdie essay besin die skrywer oor ’n persoonlike geestelike reis. Nadat hy aan ’n gedig van Robert Lax en aan die filosofiese beskrywing van God as louter handeling (“pure act”) bekendgestel is, het die skrywer meer van Lax te wete gekom deur Michael McGregor se biografie van hom te lees. Dit het in hom die begeerte laat ontstaan om te begryp hoe ’n lewe van louter handeling geleef kan word. Daaropvolgende besoeke aan beide New York en St. Rémy, waartydens hy Die sterrenag en Vincent van Gogh se briewe en kamer in ’n hospitaal vir geestelik versteurdes eerstehands beleef het, het die skrywer in staat gestel om ’n persoonlike interpretasie van ’n lewe van suiwer daad, of louter handeling, in en deur God te ontwikkel.

Pure act(s) for all Christians: dancing, paving and Van Gogh’s The starry night

In this autoethnographic essay the author reports on his spiritual journey over a period of four years. A friend introduced him to Robert Lax and to his view of God as “pure act” when he sent him one of Lax’s poems, “The juggler”. Reading Michael McGregor’s gripping biography of Lax greatly enhanced the admiration he felt for Lax and filled him with a desire to understand how one should live a life characterised by pure acts. The expression of movement and fluency in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, especially as seen in The starry night, then made him suspect – on a purely intuitive level – that personal engagement with these might contribute to a better understanding of himself as pure act – naturally under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He argues that we were, after all, according to Genesis 1:26, created in God’s image, to be like the Trinity. A visit to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art to see The starry night and to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in France, where Van Gogh had spent almost a year in an institution for people with mental health problems, followed, and these visits served as artistic and emotional stimuli in his search for the connections between Van Gogh, his paintings and the pure act. But it was only after reading Mary Lane Potter’s excellent reflective essay about the nature and influence of dance in her life that the author arrived at a nourishing and full understanding of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and his acts as a Christian. Potter empowered and energised him, and enabled him to develop what he rather hesitantly ventures to call a personally satisfying understanding, or working model, of how one might, should, and in fact – sometimes, at least ‒ does indeed act under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or in unity with God. He feels greatly indebted to Potter.

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