We have been celebrating the recent book by Jennifer Hereth, An Artist Responds to Political Injustice. 

Previous to considering Hereth’s work, we were meditating with Meister Eckhart on the nobility to be found in all humans and the image of God within each of us from which the nobility derives. 

Eckhart talks about this as the “seed of God” that needs tending and nourishment.  He also talks about it as the “spark of the soul” that never goes out and is related to the “fire” of the Holy Spirit.  All art invokes the Holy Spirit—that is what it means to say that “creativity is where the divine and the human meet” as I do in my book by that name.

Syrian Refugee Mother and Children, part of “Refugee” series by Jennifer Hereth. Published with permission.

In writing her book during the pandemic lockdown of 18 months, Hereth looked back on her life, an exercise it is wise for us all to do from time to time.  “What does it all mean?  What does it add up to?  Where have I been journeying?  What lessons are worth sharing?”  These are all questions that elders need to pose and in their answers there might be found some wisdom for future generations.  

Jennifer’s book includes many of her paintings and performance art pieces and stories of their origins and purpose and impact.  It reveals a life of teaching and awakening and linking art to healing in the deepest sense.

Like so many other artists, Hereth is using her gifts and inviting others to use theirs to arouse the nobility in self and others.  Bring it alive.  Share it.  Put it to good work, work for the common good therefore.  Work with future generations in mind.

See Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet

Banner Image: Detail of promotional poster for Teenage Archetype Card Deck by Jennifer Hereth, featuring her former students with their creations. From her Facebook page, by permission.

For a transcript of today’s video teaching, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

How do you see artists responding to political injustice?  Are you one of these?  What art forms do you enlist to respond to injustice?  Think broadly.  Does it include parenting and grandparenting? 

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

Upcoming Events

“Wisdom, Grace, Love” – a 3-part online lecture series by Caroline Myss, Andrew Harvey, and Matthew Fox, September 8, 15, and 22, 3:00-4:30 pm Pacific (GMT/UTC-7). Learn more HERE.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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3 thoughts on “Jennifer Hereth, Eldership and Artists at Work”

  1. Avatar

    Personally, in all honesty I tend to create art that connects us to awakening to our nobility or that reflects the beauty inherent within, not only within ourselves, but also within the all and the everything of creation. The reason I tend to lean in this direction is that I feel that we are often bombarded with images daily of all the injustices that are happening in this world and that we need to see more images that inspire hope… images that feed our souls. In being overly stimulated with so many images of the injustices happening in this world, we often loose site of that which is noble, beautiful and inherently good and our connections to this reality. I’m not saying in this that artistic images that speak to the injustices happening in this world aren’t important… for they are a means of awakening at times. Yet I also see that when these artistic images are vastly consummed, they can also create a kind of numbing atrophy. Personally I think there needs to be a balance between these artistic means of truth telling.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, I too like art that “connects us to awakening to our nobility or that reflects the beauty inherent within, not only within ourselves, but also within the all and the everything of creation” but I’m not as concerned with “artistic images that speak to the injustices happening in this world” because they are far fewer than the other. Why I say this is, ARTISTIC images that speak to the “injustice happening in this world” are fewer compared to those that are not. I myself, am an abstract artist, and I think it would be hard to call any of my paintings unjust–that goes for almost all abstract artist. So while I agree that we are “bombarded with images daily of all the injustices that are happening in this world,” I feel that art that reflects this is minimal in comparison when it is compared with all art combined.

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