It’s Arts Week at DTS!
Our theme for this Arts Week is: A Madness Most Discreet. The phrase comes from Romeo and Juliet 1.1.170. In that scene, Romeo is bemoaning his frustrated love for Rosaline, who has rejected him as a suitor.
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,
Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes,
Being vex’d, a sea nourish’d with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
– Romeo & Juliet, 1.1.167-171
Love is a mystery to the befuddled Romeo. It is real, it is consuming, it seems to be self-contradictory, it is frustrating, and satisfying all at once – it is a madness most discreet.
Of course, Romeo’s “love” for Rosaline isn’t love at all, but mere infatuation and youthful lust. Rosaline is quickly forgotten once Romeo meets his star-crossed lover, Juliet. Romeo’s confessor, Friar Lawrence, sums up the youth’s mercurial temperament thus:
So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
– Romeo & Juliet, 2.3.67, 68
Romeo objects to Friar Lawrence’s correction:
Thou chidst me oft for loving Rosaline.
For doting, not for loving, pupil mine..
“Doting” in Shakespeare, denotes one who is foolish, stupid, or weak-minded [cf. The Comedy of Errors, 4.4.42 (Antipholus of Ephesus); Henry 4.2, 4.4.126 (Thomas, Duke of Clarence)] In other words, Romeo’s “love” for Rosaline hadn’t been tempered by any semblance of rational thought. He was a slave to his passions, his feelings. He mistook “loving” (blindly, selfishly) as an end in itself rather than as a way to know and thus truly love Rosaline more deeply. Romeo would have done well to attend our Arts Week at DTS!
This week at Dallas Seminary we are explorers. We are discoverers. We are celebrants.
Under the expert guidance of our guest lecturer, Dr. Esther Meek, we will explore the questions, “what does it mean to know,” and “what is the relationship between knowing, feeling, and the arts?”
We will discover the feelings that we all share – a longing for knowledge that runs deeper that fact. A longing for love that will last. The music we will hear in these sessions will rekindle those feelings. For the most part the music we hear will not be the music we hear in church. It will be the music we listen to on the way to church. And that’s good, because it will remind us that all of us – Christian and non-Christian – share longings for which we have the answer in Jesus Christ. And we will discover an epistemology – a way of knowing – that will help satisfy those longings.
Finally, we will celebrate the Lord as the Fountainhead of our knowing and the deep Reservoir of our feeling. The God of our intellect, the Master of our heart, the Telos of our longing.
We begin with the basic question, “how do we know?” Do we trust our head, or our heart? We have a tendency to reduce knowledge to a rational construct. We are captives to the scientific method – a way of knowing (called an epistemology) that insists on quantifiable data as the sine qua non of knowledge. Knowledge-as-information. Heady stuff.
Capture it, count it, categorize it, control it – knowledge: the compliant child of my intellect.
But there is so much more to knowing than what we can squeeze onto a 3×5 card or dictate into Evernote.
We know this – at least, intellectually.
We know that knowledge, left to itself, will embalm the heart. Absent the heart, there can be no love. And without love, Paul reminds us, we are little more than walking shadows, infinitely less that we were made to be.
We know that God designed us to think and feel. To teach truth. To Love well.
This morning we want to start fresh – We want to broaden our understanding of how thinking and feeling contribute to a more robust epistemology.
We want to unravel the mystery of what it means to love in order to know.
Arts Week at DTS runs Tuesday, October 20 through Friday, October 23. Dr. Meek will speak in Lamb Auditoreum from 10:40 – 11:20 each morning. Visitors welcome!