10. A Hand Outstretched in Darkness: Evangelical Encounters with Art
Religion and Sight - Louise Child
Philip Francis [+]
University of Maine
Philip Francis is a professor of philosophy and religion in his home state at the University of Maine-Farmington and Director of Seguinland Institute. His book, When Art Disrupts Religion: Aesthetic Experience and the Evangelical Mind, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. After teaching at Carleton College and Manhattan College, he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. His work has appeared in Harvard Theological Review, The Atlantic, and the LA Review of Books. He teaches courses on religion, aesthetics, and back-to-the-land spirituality.
Based on the author's ethnographic work, the essay focuses on the destabilizing effect that visual art may have on the metaphorical wall that conservative evangelical communities construct between themselves and the outside world, in large part to keep non-evangelical influences out of sight. The essay explores what it is like to view non-evangelical art through the wall from the evangelical side; in what ways the arts created sight lines over and through the wall; how the arts worked to tear down the wall.