a monk at sunset
John is an amateur painter and writer in that he simply amares (Latin – love) what he does. although he has sold paintings and written for publication, he paints and writes to enter contemplative solitude. he was born in a small village of southern China to a family of peasant farmers. before long, John and his family migrated to America. during those formative years, he embraced Christianity as life’s faith and practice. in time, he responded to God’s calling to professional ministry. John was a parish cleric and seminary professor before he retreated to a more pastoral space in his sunset years. it is poetic providence that his home is on a street called Sunset View.
Many a morning, John brush paints to nourish his creative bent. painting’s introspective stillness provides inward gazes as he smears black smudges on white paper. he considers these sessions a solace with four friends: water, ink, brush and paper. his images become a philosophical consonance between his fidelity to the object’s essence and expressions of his aesthetic moods.
Three traditions guide his brushes:
Naturalism – 自然主義: every stroke reflects a naturalness that includes imperfection. and every subject represents the natural harmony between being human and nature.
Impressionism – 印象主義: every stroke expresses but a subjective impression. reflecting his philosophical (theological) slant, he paints what he feels as well as what he sees.
Minimalism – 極簡主義: every stroke seeks simplicity. simple lines in clear space endeavor to present a minimal reflection.
Many an afternoon, John reads. he frequents his local library and rummages his personal library for interesting volumes of infinite interests. they are complement to his Bible reading. his reads become quiet companions (Latin companio – with bread) who share cognitive morsels for his hungry soul. many an evening, John also watches movies and TV. like his reads, his watches inspire his other creative bent. scribbled thoughts, ideas and insights, phrases, quotes and references morph into a scribbler’s muses.
John’s informed Christian faith attends to his writes. three theological sentries guard his assiduous wanderings.
Three traditional church hymns best inform his bathos:
How Great Thou Art –
O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder;
consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder;
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
that God is the infinite Creator and abiding Superintendent of our global village.
that our human nature is wrecked with wretchedness and in desperate need of divine grace.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound;
that saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now I’m found;
was blind but now I see.
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
that being human as we are, we are our most normal self when our unrepentant trust rests on Christ and his redemptive presence in all human endeavors.
The quiets of painting, reading or writing are often delightfully permeated with the glorious light of Bach’s music or the soft glow of George Strait and Alan Jackson’s twangs. they illuminate his soul like the dawn’s early light in his room. they endeavor a mystical joy and simplistic comfort to his sunset elegy. God is never more close when John is painting, reading or writing. like a monk at sunset, he enters into a solace of solitude.