HAoH: Chapter 1

Note: This is my first post on Chapter 1 of The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer as part of this online book club.

If I ever teach an art class, the first chapter of this book will be required reading.


Artists, appreciators of art and would-be philosophers are always asking, debating: What is Art? and What is good Art? It’s about more than just appealing to the trained eye or being “original” (in some skewed sense of the word). I’d be willing to say it’s even about more than just the fundamentals of contour, color, shape, value, space and texture. Yes, all of these are important elements — but the best Art, the most true Art, emanates a message greater than that contained in purely physical or visual elements.

Edith Schaeffer does an excellent job of explaining the why and wherefore of this principle. Human-created art does not find true value in human appreciation (although, as Schaeffer mentions, communication and appreciation are a big part of sharing the message). Rather, the true value of ‘sub-creation’ is that it points back to the original Creator: the original Artist whose creations were truly original and “good”. My own personal artist statement acknowledges this principle:

“Since we are all part of the design of a divine Creator, and made in His image, what better subject matter are we given with which to emulate His handiwork and, in doing so, further His glory?” (http://margaretmccarthyart.com/)

In the world of studio art, and the day-to-day task of my computer-based design job, this has always been clear to me. This is why I do what I do. Or at least, this head knowledge is stuffed somewhere back in the recesses of my brain from whence it is occasionally dragged to remind me of this purpose. But I look forward to learning more from Schaeffer”s insights about how to integrate this knowledge into a lifestyle that is not merely focused on purely creative tasks like painting or design, but emerges in every word, action and deed of a Christ-focused life. This means a lifestyle of servitude that makes the task of serving others the daily creative goal. How can I create compassion and humility in a cold and calculating business environment? How can I generate comfort and peace in a tense, fast-paced city environment?

These are the creative tasks that would go completely unnoticed in an art gallery, and will never receive recognition in a professional environment, sometimes not even in the home. But these creations, actions inspired by the Divine Creator who humbled himself to the point of death and derision, are those that will change the world more than any artist ever could.



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