Author: Calvyn du Toit

  • Reintroduction

    Reintroduction

    I started writing again. Hello, world. A cliché. I am guilty. Guilty of not writing, producing, ideating in public. Mea culpa, open admissions, words worthy of an eye-roll emoji. After all, here I am writing. Why, when I didn’t write, did I feel so empty? Why didn’t I fill the emptiness with writing? Here’s a […]

  • Good Friday 2020, The Way of the Cross: Ninth Station, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

    Good Friday 2020, The Way of the Cross: Ninth Station, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

    Luke’s Gospel loves cities more than any other gospel but here Jesus seems to warn they need transformation before they can welcome all.

  • Good Friday 2020, The Way of the Cross: Fifth Station, Jesus Judged by Pilate

    Good Friday 2020, The Way of the Cross: Fifth Station, Jesus Judged by Pilate

    We seldom notice things until they break. The stations of the cross invites us: stop, become aware, see what we uncover when things taken for granted unravel.

  • March 18, 2020 — Psalms

    March 18, 2020 — Psalms

    During the day, I run through a variety of emotions. I was reminded that my “generation” and younger often harbored low-level angst. At least now, I caught myself thinking, we have somewhere to put such images of future gloom (although Global Warming should have been enough). Today, we have something more than mere perceptual, non-immediate […]

  • March 17, 2020 — Plague

    March 17, 2020 — Plague

    Overwhelmed by all the constant important updates and numbers concerning the Covid-19 virus, I thought I’d turn to chronicle a few thoughts. For updates of a more urgent nature one must consult government agencies and trustworthy news sources. The majority of us have never faced a significant world event that effects all of us so […]

  • Studying Spirituality: Two Reactions

    Studying Spirituality: Two Reactions

    Reactions When I Mention Spirituality At Parties So, I’m busy with a PhD focused on spirituality. Once I mention my topic in polite party conversations, I get reactions which fall somewhere between two extremes. The first extreme is fascination. What is spirituality? How does one study it? Can such an endeavour be useful? Can you […]

  • The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene — the Paper Disciple

    The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene — the Paper Disciple

    Exploring how making Simon of Cyrene less self-important makes him even more important to the Passion narrative.

  • Tenth Station: Jesus Is Crucified

    Tenth Station: Jesus Is Crucified

    And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. Mark 15.24 Ecce homo. Behold the human. Christ’s body. A broken Jewish body. Our body. Not an Olympian body. Not the exalted Emperor’s body. He mocks them with a crown of thorns and inscription on the cross. Our […]

  • Psalm 19: A Lenten Plea for Wisdom

    Psalm 19: A Lenten Plea for Wisdom

    A short Lenten reflection on Psalm 19 and Wisdom

  • Sacred Buildings: First Presbyterian Church of Stamford

    Sacred Buildings: First Presbyterian Church of Stamford

    The sanctuary surfaced like a small whale as I strolled over concrete memory slabs up the New Haven hill. Each tile marks a historical path-maker; although, the middle ages are omitted. Eventually, I entered through a side-door; a clairvoyant interior peered at me. The coloured glass windows, held in place with spindled concrete, broke the […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Hockney

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Hockney

    Hockney’s art takes us beyond the perspectivist reduction which insists our perception is static. What does this mean for Spiritualities?

  • I Turned Off AutoCorrect

    I Turned Off AutoCorrect

    Non-reflective, poor-produced, and often hurt-filled or hurt-inspiring gibberish fill the internet — that scares me. I yearn for honesty, quietude, and gratitude but where my realist, the internet, and reflectiveness meet is a depressing space. Despite all this, I write because I love words and how they can inspire, elevate, and invigorate. Then when even my […]

  • Storms and Pink Elephants: Psalm 29

    Storms and Pink Elephants: Psalm 29

    A Hijacked Song Baptised Don’t imagine about a pink elephant. Try really hard. Think about anything except a pink elephant. It’s hard, isn’t it? Soon we will see how Psalm 29’s writer played the same trick of asking its audience not to imagine of something. Indeed, the writer was most likely riffing off an older […]

  • She’s Still Sleeping: Mourning Loss

    She’s Still Sleeping: Mourning Loss

    The second post of two mourning the sadness of HIV/AIDS in the South Africa’s Eastern Province.

  • Tents and a Town in Transkei: Cala

    Tents and a Town in Transkei: Cala

    Snapshots from the Eastern Cape during the middle Ohs, leading up to a song.

  • 5:40

    5:40

    Half-wakker, vroeë oggend gedig oor romans, moontlikhede, Camus, and Pascal.

  • No Title Adventures

    No Title Adventures

    A quick take on T.D. Suzuki, Thomas Merton, and Titles.

  • For My Grandmother’s 80th Birthday

    For My Grandmother’s 80th Birthday

    A speech composed for my grandmother’s 80th birthday; a life lived in faith.

  • My Decompression Chamber in the Compacting City

    My Decompression Chamber in the Compacting City

    New York City, the great compressor of time and space, can also become a compressor of memory. Today I start on a mission to decompress mine.

  • Big God — Florence and the Machine

    Big God — Florence and the Machine

    Ghosting and God Florence wrote Big God after she felt ghosted by a potential lover. Ghosting, for those unfamiliar with the term, is slang for when a friend or lover decisively and unilaterally cuts all forms of communication. The song, however, quickly moves from this seemingly everyday slant to a profound psychological and theological question. […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: On Kawara

    Modern Art and Spirituality: On Kawara

    “Death, if nothing else, is a form of transcendence—particularly from a life spent accounting.” – Holt’s review of On Kawara’s 2015 retrospective at the Guggenheim. The artist died just before the show’s opening. Today April 27, 2018—today. Imagine for a moment you got up each day with two crucial tasks. First, paint the date on canvas […]

  • Lovers of Righteousness: Isaiah 51

    Lovers of Righteousness: Isaiah 51

    Meditation on Isaiah 51 which reframes Abraham and Sarah mythical figures of righteousness while Isreal is in exile. Righteousness it turns out is not something one can possess but rather a way of participating in a historic ​community.​

  • Media and Medium: Entertainment and Culture

    Media and Medium: Entertainment and Culture

    In a moment of self-reflective poetic irony I decided to investigate the media with this my renewed attempt at something resembling a blog on Medium. Although many may know this already, it is always worth a reminder: media is the plural of medium. But, the word is changing meaning from suggesting form to content. One […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Rothko

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Rothko

    Your Long Lost Brother Rothko is like a long-lost sibling, met in a serendipitous way, and without which you cannot imagine living. But the connection isn’t based on the optimism and excitement often shared in such a discovery. Rather, Rothko is your commiserator. He and his work sits in silence, looks at the world’s sad […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Turrell

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Turrell

    Lights On Arrival We return, in this post, to one of Taylor’s[2] preferred artists. With Turrell, we enter even more dangerous territory than Warhol, for he is not only very much alive but also vogue. The 2016 blockbuster Arrival, for example, draws on Turrell’s Shallow Spaces for the meeting place between the aliens and humans. Under […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Warhol

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Warhol

    Introduction: Reading Notes Crack Open the Velvet and Coke While reading this post, I recommend listening to The Velvet Underground, eating your can of Campbell Soup, and cracking open a Coke. Yes, today we will consider the one, the only, Andy Warhol, or whatever copy of him you prefer. Now, a word of initial warning – […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Beuys

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Beuys

    Artists: Spirituals or Portfolio Managers Mark C. Taylor’s [1] Refiguring the Spiritual: Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy starts by juxtaposing the four artists mentioned in the title subsection with Hirst, Murakami, and Koons. Art has come under the sway of market forces which inflates its value. At the same time, chasing dollar value deflates art’s critique of […]

  • Modern Art And Spirituality: Brâncuși

    Modern Art And Spirituality: Brâncuși

    1. Constantin Brâncuși: The Folksy Artist More than any artists we have met thus far, Constantin Brâncuși grew up poor, his parents peasants. The Romanian would, also, live a life of simplicity, continuing with the habits, cuisine, and religious practices of his forbears. Although versed in philosophy and friends with many names we have already covered, he remained […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Kandinsky

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Kandinsky

    The Russian-born Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky came late to art. In 1896, at age 30, he gave up a legal career to take up painting inspired by Monet’s Haystacks. His first works such as Der Blaue Reiter shows Monet’s influence on Kandinsky. Similar to the artists we considered earlier, Kandinsky’s work increased in abstraction as he matured. […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Picabia

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Picabia

    1. Who was Francis Picabia? 1.1. From Sisley to Dada… This week we turn to another of Duchamp’s friends, Francis Picabia. Picabia’s juvenalia resembled Alfred Sisley, who preferred quiet nature scenes. Soon, however, he found such romanticist natural scenes trifling and turned to cubism in search of a more honest sentiment. Picabia unique sensibility, however, […]

  • Repost: Ready Made for Mystery

    Repost: Ready Made for Mystery

    I’m in South Africa during the festive season. While taking a break from bustling New York, I’m working on the next piece for Modern Art and Spirituality: Picabia which will be posted on December 28th. In the meantime, here is my year-old post on Duchamp published in Decontextual. Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer of New York Dada, gave […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Duchamp

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Duchamp

    This week considers a third artist often grouped with Picasso and Matisse—the polymath Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp is the crossover figure of the triad. Paris’ early 20th-century art salons, for example, already found it difficult to classifying his Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2. He was too Cubist for the Futurist and too Futurist for the […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Matisse

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Matisse

    The next stop on our tour through modern art is Henri Matisse. Compared to Picasso, Matisse was a temperate man with a bourgeoisie work-ethic, yet not humble. Indeed, he imagined himself the high-priest of art. Van Gogh influenced both Matisse and Picasso. John Peter Russel exposed Matisse to van Gogh in 1896 and by 1899 Matisse […]

  • Modern Art and Spirituality: Picasso

    Modern Art and Spirituality: Picasso

    In my ever scattered state many vague inklings float around in my head. One idea I’ve tinkered with and have not found the time to explore is creating spaces between spirituality and modern art. By modern art, I mean the art of the 20th and 21st Century. Now, please don’t expect long, profound essays on […]

  • Reformation Day: Luther and Assange

    Reformation Day: Luther and Assange

    Reformation Day (31 October) honours Martin Luther’s objection to the Bishop of Mainz about the selling of indulgences. The anniversary is observed by societies of various stripes. Chile and Slovenia, for example, celebrate Reformation Day as a national holiday, even though both countries have Catholic majorities. Others, especially Reformed Churches in the United States, move commemorations […]

  • Apostles’ Creed 5 | Dancing the Dead out of Death

    Apostles’ Creed 5 | Dancing the Dead out of Death

    Originally written for the Book of Common Thought. Here adapted and ameliorated.

  • The Dusky Dearth of Listening

    The Dusky Dearth of Listening

    One often feels the weight of dusk approaching. Has this day been a success? Was all that needed to be done achieved? Can any calculation even tally such a tall order? Often when such thoughts cross the mind, it quickly wanders off into the abyss of a stream of consciousness. Here, in this simple abeyance […]

  • Apostles’ Creed 4 | What Is Pontius Pilate Doing in the Apostles’ Creed Anyway?

    Apostles’ Creed 4 | What Is Pontius Pilate Doing in the Apostles’ Creed Anyway?

    Originally written for the Book of Common Thought. Here adapted and ameliorated.

  • Apostles’ Creed 3 | God Born Unto Us, God Why Us?

    Apostles’ Creed 3 | God Born Unto Us, God Why Us?

    Originally written for the Book of Common Thought. Here adapted and ameliorated.

  • What Is Worth Saving? Brexit and Orlando

    What Is Worth Saving? Brexit and Orlando

    The recent events in Orlando, FL and England, should leave us stunned, but not paralysed. When emotional reactions and hate are all we can muster, we have already lost most which makes modern North Atlantic values worth saving. Once cognition does not even come to mind, the very notions of inclusion and national inter-reliance deplete. […]

  • Father’s Day Prayer

    Father’s Day Prayer

    God, you who have also been called ‘Father,’ Thank you for those, who under the same name, like you, care for a family, You who have been called ‘Abba,’ inspire those who have been called ‘dad,’ to live in community, as you live in the community of the Trinity. Where the name ‘father’ has been callously […]

  • Apostles’ Creed 2 | Jesus Joins Us In Bruges

    Apostles’ Creed 2 | Jesus Joins Us In Bruges

    A few years ago, Nadia Marais, Curtis Love, Shaun Darker, and I, read the Apostles’ Creed from four perspectives. This post contains some new thoughts on the Book of Common Thought. 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. In Bruges, tells of Ray and Ken, two hitmen stuck in the Belgium town after a hit involved a […]

  • Apostles’ Creed 1 | Why and What: Wayward Thinking in a Creator’s Name

    Apostles’ Creed 1 | Why and What: Wayward Thinking in a Creator’s Name

    Originally written for the Book of Common Thought. On that blog, Nadia Marais, Curtis Love, Shaun Darker, and I, read the Apostles’  Creed from four perspectives. In the future, I will revisit and amend more of my contributions from the blog. 1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth In Heaven’s (Or Earth’s) Name, “Why?” Why should we read such an old, nonsensical, […]

  • A Church for Those It Cannot Bear to Include

    A Church for Those It Cannot Bear to Include

    Consider the cliche: ‘…the church is the only society in the world which exists for the sake of those who are not members of it.’ It is true enough that the church is for others. Yet, claiming the church is the only true altruistic society is not enough truth. First, claiming the church is the only altruistic […]

  • It’s Not About Trump Anymore (If It Every Was)

    It’s Not About Trump Anymore (If It Every Was)

    No, the title isn’t a typo. Trump’s campaign has for some time now not been about Trump. Also, it does not matter if he wins anymore. This quick note on Trump’s campaign will not follow the usual musing over Trump’s intentions, frequent flip-flops, or popularity. Neither will it turn ad hominem. No, in the following few paragraphs I focus on two worrying affects […]

  • Secular Invocations Are so Ecclesiastical

    Secular Invocations Are so Ecclesiastical

    What is a secular invocation? In 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled prayer would remain part of legislative meetings as long as people of every faith were invited to pray. The ruling seemed unfair to the American Humanist Association. Prayer is not exactly synonymous with secularists. The Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association, came […]