Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations
Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations  -     By: David Bannon
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Paraclete Press / 2018 / Hardcover
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Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations

Paraclete Press / 2018 / Hardcover

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In Stock
Stock No: WW601455


Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 9.00 X 7.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1640601457
ISBN-13: 9781640601451

Publisher's Description

"This book summons an almost visceral response in its brilliant counterpoint to the customary understanding and celebration of Advent and Christmas. In the arena of wounds and griefs, though each experience is unique, we are joined in our humanness, finding common ground. The word sympathy means being together in profound distress. Art makes such anguish visible. Commentary penetrates and elucidates. These meditations and images are a marvelous gift." —Luci Shaw, Writer in Residence, Regent College, author and poet 

Christmas can be a time of joy but also of tears, memory and prayer. Celebration does not always come easily.

In twenty-five illustrated daily readings we commune with Scripture and the wounded artists that gave the world masterpieces of hope: Gauguin, Tissot, Caravaggio, Tanner, Delacroix, van Gogh, Dürer. We’ve heard the names. We recognize the paintings. But do we know the artists? They were flawed and often troubled people: a widower that saw a vision of Christ; a murderer who painted himself as Peter; a grieving father that drew his sons as Jesus and John; an orphan who saw his salvation in the Holy Family. Despite their wounds—perhaps because of them—these artists achieved the sublime. Their humanity inspires us. Based on the latest research in history and grief, Wounded in Spirit returns us to where Christian art began. From mourning in Roman catacombs to works of the masters, we join the world’s great religious artists on their pilgrimages of hope and brokenness. In their wounds, in our wounds, we may once again encounter "God with us."

Author Bio

David Bannon taught college for many years and publishes on art, history, culture, and translation. He has appeared on The Discovery Channel, A&E, and The History Channel and has been interviewed by NPR, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal. He has lectured at libraries and museums and was curator of Asian art for the Florence Museum of Art and History in South Carolina. The present book is a result of the author’s own brokenness, wounds and grief: he was convicted on felony charges in 2006; his daughter, Jessica, died in 2015. David currently lives in South Carolina with his wife and their cat, Yeti.
 

Editorial Reviews

For those who are hesitant to leap into the good news too quickly, David Bannon’s book of Advent art and reflections will be a valuable resource. "We are so accustomed to rushing through life," says the author in the introduction. Bannon, who has a felony conviction and whose adult daughter died in 2015, has lived through the realities of failure and grief. In this book, he intersperses carefully curated photos of Christian art with his own reflections on the artists—their lives, their tragedies, and their persistent hopes. Bannon also evokes an honest grappling with grief by including brief quotations from a variety of thinkers: Carl Jung, Annie Dillard, Terence Fretheim, Isabel Allende, Elie Wiesel, Julian of Norwich, Simone Weil, N.T. Wright, and Søren Kierkegaard make appearances. Particularly evocative are the excerpts from Friedrich Rückert’s poems, which Bannon translates here into English for the first time: "Do not wrap yourself around the night, / bathe it in eternal light. / My tent is dark, the lamp is cold, / bless the light, the Joy of the World!" —Elizabeth Palmer, Christian Century

This glorious full-size hardback book (with a wonderful foreword by Philip Yancey) is the most beautiful devotional book of the season. Each meditation is paired with a moving reproduction of classic art, nicely reproduced on rich, glossy paper.  In this mature and artful presentation, it reminds us of the early (now out of print) Paraclete classic God With Us. (That is still available in the "readers edition" that omits the artwork and remains one of our best-sellers in recent years with its literary ruminations and poetry and mature reflections.) Like that one, this is a treasure to behold.

Wounded in Spirit stands out not only because of the subtly lavish design but because of its amazing content and spirit. David Bannon writes from profound personal experience, offering ways to commune with God through Scripture. He also tells some poignant stories of artists who lived through great pain. He himself has gone through some very odd stuff, and much grief. His adult daughter died of a drug overdose even as his own professional life was in difficulty.

I could review this book in great detail, but I suppose you get the picture – it is very handsome, mature, thoughtfully spiritual and honest about the great brokenness of our lives, of our society, of our times. This book will inspire in the deepest, truest sense of the word as it evokes ways to be honest about our sadness and helps us find God’s comfort (and joy) in this season. That is uses artwork to help us get there is such a blessing as sometimes words just fail. This book is a gift for the hurting, but a gift for any of us who feel what we feel these days. —Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Books (Dallastown, PA)


"Christmas can be a time of joy but also of tears, memory and prayer. Celebration does not always come easily."

So describes Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations, a gorgeous full-color art book to help the grieving get through the season.

I wish I had had this book six years ago, when my mother was dying. From diagnosis to death, it took just eight weeks, and it all unfolded in November and December. I was horrified to see degeneration from one day to the next: how could cancer spread that fast?

Advent is a time of waiting, I wrote then, but this kind of waiting is the worst of all. Waiting for the doctor’s phone call, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for your life to irrevocably change—and not for the better.

One thing I hated about that Christmas was the false cheer that seemed everywhere around me, from the hospital hallways to the fast-food restaurants where I would pull through exhausted after a long day of caregiving.

I just could. Not. Think. About. Christmas. There was just nothing left in me to give.

The following Christmas, the first without my mom, was little better. It seemed like everything reminded me of her: the Advent calendar we would stuff each day with leftover Halloween candy, the ornaments she saved from my childhood that I was adding to my own tree for the first time.

It was hard. And I think it would have been better if I had been able to spend a little time each day that December with the new book Wounded in Spirit, by David Bannon.

If you like art and find that it feeds your soul, and you are struggling with grief as Christmas approaches, this may be the Advent book for you.

Every day there is a new artist, with one or two examples of their work and several quotations about grief and loss and love. Here’s a two-page spread of a typical day’s meditation.

The liturgical season of Advent begins this Sunday, December 2, but the book is organized by the month of December, with the daily reflections beginning on December 1 and ending on Christmas Day.

Instead, the book focuses on what was going on in the lives of the artists themselves. The answer: a world of pain.

Some of the artists profiled here are famous for their suffering, like Vincent Van Gogh, whose infamous ear mutilation happened the day before Christmas Eve. But many are painters I’ve never heard of, and their stories are heartbreaking. Nineteenth-century French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau lost four of his five children, and his depiction of Adam and Eve discovering the body of their dead child Abel

They lost spouses, friends, and especially children; their art reflects this. The painting of the twice-widowed Francisco de Zurbarán "hints at his sorrow" and points always to kindness between his subjects, which Bannon says is characteristic of those who have grieved many losses. "Studies show that there is often a sense of transcendence or transfiguration in the hearts of the bereaved: in their search for meaning they turn outward, commiserating with the suffering of others."

Or, as Richard Rohr puts it in one of the book’s well-chosen quotations, "I think your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others."

This Advent, may you work through grief and beauty simultaneously. God is good. —Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood, Religion News Service

Author/Artist Review

Author: David Bannon
Submitted: December 10, 2018

    What was your motivation behind this project?  After my daughter died, I sought solace in reading about others who knew similar grief. Many creative artists endured terrible losses and found ways to express their wounds and hopes in painting, sculpture, poetry, prose and music. One need not have suffered to create great art but I believe that great artists communicate truth in their work. Truth can be painful. It can also be joyous, hopeful, sorrowing and profound. Great art speaks to us across the centuries. It reminds us that we are not alone.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  Some hurts are so deep that the wounds will remain with us all our lives. We each grieve in our own way—no one can know our individual sorrow. At the same time, others have traveled their own paths, stumbling and crawling, through the same dark valley. Somewhere in this book readers may discover an artist, a painting, or a bit of grief research that resonates with them, that offers a communion of grief.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  As a child I wondered at the psalms of lament: why were they included in the Bible at all? Never mind the terrible sorrows of the prophets. Now I see. There is grief and harm and waiting in this life. There is also joy and hope of reunion—surely the very heart of Advent. Great religious art communicates all of this and much more that words may fail to express. In it we find recognition and, at times, precious moments of peace.

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