Creativity / The Arts


PT This is a mixed post: part pride and part relevant.

My brother, Declan Keefe, is the director of a environmentally-focused Architecture firm in (Placetailor) Boston. His firm was recently featured in what I am told is The Architecture magazine in the U.S. and I wanted to both give him some press (seriously, folks who read this blog will also likely be people interested in Placetailor) and reflect on the fact that his vision for architecture is almost exactly parallel to mine in regards to theology.  


…Placetailor was started in 2008 by Simon Hare, Assoc. AIA, a designer and builder passionate about developing new models of design and construction that challenge industry standards. Placetailor’s first project was the Hare family’s home, Pratt House, which garnered attention for its energy-efficient renovation and small physical and environmental footprint. Hare recruited a team of young designers and builders turned off by design-firm hierarchies and an industry they see as pitting architects against contractors. The company has had an evolving cast of characters, united by the conviction that designing and building should be joined together as a cooperative enterprise.

Declan Keefe, who has been with Placetailor from the beginning, took over as director when Hare went back to Israel….

“Design needs to include input from the entire community,” Keefe says, “rather than being imposed by architects from above.”

Whenever a profession or field of study becomes too distanced from those for whom it is supposed to work… well… things get wonky. At best.

I'm excited whenever there is a vision in which education isn't held up as a tool for elitism but rather as a means by which to more fully connect and serve.  That my brother shares this vision is sweet. 

Good stuff.


Check out Placetailor (they've got a great site) and there's a copy of the article from Architect Magazine below:

Von Balthasar and the Body AKA Theological Aesthetics is not Aesthetic Theology

So as part of my mid-sized project to more seriously think about aesthetics, embodiment and theology [Side Note: if you're going to SBL or AAR and these topics are of interest you might want to check this out] I've been reading from Scary, Johnson, the Frankfurt School, and now… Hans Urs von Balthasar. For those who don't know that name, the basic gist is that he was a Swiss Catholic priest (nominated for Cardinal-ship) who lived until 1988 and while he did an ENOURMOUS amount (see his wikipedia entry), the reason I found my way to him was because if you read about Aesthetics and Theology pretty much anywhere you end up seeing his name.  Sooo…

My task was to cut through to the heart of his content about aesthetics and start there. Results in video below.

Things referenced in the video:

The von Balthasar Reader

Elaine Scary's On Beauty and Being Just

Kevin Mongrain's "Von Balthasar's Way from Doxology to Theology"

Von Balthasar's The Glory of the Lord, Vol. 1: Seeing the Form




Seedbed and 5 Ways to (Mis)use the Arts and Artists


This is just a brief directing post in case some folks read the site, but don't follow the twitter feed. I recently wrote a guest piece over at Seedbed,  and it is here, so I figured I'd share it.

Oh, and please forgive the self-indulgent weirdness of me wearing my conference-friendly "The Image of Fish" shirt to record a TIoF video. I forgot I had it on and how meta it would get.




Pete, his Problem, and the “Lack” of Emergent Leadership


Once again, Bo Sanders from Homebrewed Christianity has got me going… This time it came in the form of his post "The Problem: with Peter Rollins," particularly the following bit:

So when I was listening to Pete the other night make some astoundingly insightful points about televangelist and revival preachers I realized the importance of the medium and the message. Here was one guy, standing up front, we were all facing him and listening to him – and he was a little bit smarter/further ahead than we were. It’s still the problem of the one person at the front of the room with all the ideas/answers.

Now, that is not Pete’s fault. He is utilizing the medium to get out the message. But it did convict me that the architecture, furniture, and facilitation need to be different so that the medium matches the message if what I am concerned about is community and authenticity.

From there I went off on a wild ride, hitting on McLuhan, my Made as Makers film project, and some thoughts I have about leadership in the Emergent Church (Movement). As usual, the vid is below. In it I mention the following:

Oh, and please forgive me on two counts in this vid: 

(a) my hyperbolic categorization of "didactic lectureship"  as a tool for oppression and patriarchy. I mean, come on… that's over the top. 

(b) the self-indulgent weirdness of me wearing my conference-friendly "The Image of Fish" shirt to record a TIoF video. I forgot I had it on and how meta it would get.