Very honoured to give a guest lecture at my alma mater BGST once again, on "Literature, Poetry and the Imagination". My key thesis is that literature is critical to shaping culture, and Christians would do well to engage with it. I uphold the Holy Bible as both humanities text and revelation -- it is the Book of books which tells the story of One God, one Plan and one Story. I also shared with the class what poetry means to me, and my posture regarding the vocation of the Christian writer. I gave several exams of powerfully told stories and meta-narratives. We then had a most edifying Q & A. I'm grateful for the opportunity to engage such thoughtful, Word-centred learners and kingdom leaders. Thank you Dr Kwa Kiem Kiok and BGST for having me. -Aaron
"We were treated to a feast for the soul with our week on the arts, with forays into poetry, the visual arts and dance. Special thanks to Aaron Lee and Namiko Chan for making this topic come alive for us and showing us what it means to be missional artists in God’s kingdom!"
- Sterling Campus, co-organiser of FYP 2020
We have been friends, supporters and partners of CRU for many years, and especially cherish the ministry of those of its members who are in the creative arts. So it was a pleasure for Namiko to present a hula dance "I Can Only Imagine" and Aaron to give the keynote address at the partners' dinner. This dance was taught to Namiko by the hula master Kumu Leihi'ilani Kirkpatrick during our very first visit to Kaua'i. At that time Namiko was in search of a mentor, and God brought them both together in a miraculous way.
Aaron's keynote was titled "Hearts Awakened, Culture Renewed", and both Scripture and culture were exegeted, yielding insights into the vocation and calling of artists and an exhortation to authenticity, excellence, and a posture of stewardship. Aaron shared about Schaeffer's staircase, the Japanese traditional art of Kintsgui, the world famous 1986 photo of the 'Afghan Girl' on the cover of National Geographic, and powerful artworks by Jacob Epstein, Yuichi Ikehata, Lee Wanxiang and Marie Toh. Whether we make art as worship or witness, let the Master Creator be our raison d'être. May His mission be our mission always.
CREA's ministry to artists and culture stewards is important and truly worthy of our support and co-labour.
“Many of the streams that feed the river of culture are polluted, and the soil this river should be watering is thus parched and fragmented.” ...
Effective stewardship leads to generative work and a generative culture. We turn wheat into bread—and bread into community.”
(from Makoto Fujimura's 'Culture Care' 2014)
Photo credits: Daniel Ho
Both a celebration and fundraiser, this dinner was the capstone event of BGST’s 30th Anniversary.
Human flourishing is where social, spiritual, and physical conditions come together to allow people in society to grow fully into all that they can be. The biblical concept of Shalom encapsulates this, where people live in love and harmony with God, the land, and one another. Throughout history, the arts have played a vital role in this endeavour.
To begin our reflections, Dr. Greenman spoke on Human Flourishing & the Arts. This was followed by a conversation with three artists - Constance Fourie (dance), Aaron Lee (poetry), and Wendy Wong (visual recording) - on how the arts can help realize God’s Shalom in our society. As an expression of this theme, there was an exhibition and silent auction of art pieces including sculptures, paintings, and ceramics.
The Dinner was also be an opportunity for us to share how we want to bring about flourishing in all that we do.
Two-day Singapore conference on #digitaltheology, an emerging field of study within #digitalhumanities Many great presentations on the way the world is becoming sparked rich discussions on the host of ethical issues embedded in the practical use of new scientific knowledge. Lots of cross-references to visionary writers (Huxley, Asimov) and films/TV such as Ex-Machina, Ready Player One, Blade Runner, Black Mirror etc. Lots of great conversations were generated between speakers, practitioners and conferees!
I'm glad to have been part of the organising team, working with my alma mater BGST, CODEC, Indigitous, SGVillage and others.
#ChristianX #AIethics #tech4humanity
“One By One” - a song I composed with lyricist Aaron Lee for “Stories We Sing” (2017) - sung by 360+ children from 12 schools at STAR’s Engaging With Songs Day 2019, featuring an amazing orchestra of teacher-musicians.
For most of these children, it was their first time experiencing the tonal colours & dynamics of an orchestra. What a thrill for us too, to be energised by the exuberance of their singing ⭐️🎵🌈
Special thanks to Suriati Suradi & Jo Chan , the architect & curator of EWS Day, & Mrs Rebecca Chew, the visionary behind the EWS programme, for this exciting opportunity to engage & enlighten children through music.
Let’s do it again 🐠 🦀 🐢 🦑🍠❗️
#OneByOne #StoriesWeSing #EWSDay
- Kelly Tang's Facebook Post, 8 September 2019
LAW ON LIFE - FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SOCIETY
Yesterday's LAW ON LIFE dialogue session at SMU Law School featured national legislator Sylvia Lim, justice advocate Eugene Thuraisingam and me. We shared stories about how we each came to pursue law studies, and how it has helped us do what we do. Sylvia and Eugene were thoroughly inspiring. We all agreed that a law degree provides a good foundation to serve society in various ways. But a robust ethical backbone, deep compassion for people, and a spirit of self-sacrifice are also essential to serve well. The session moderator Prof. Low Kee Yang kept the candid conversation flowing with good humour and wisdom gleaned from his own career as scholar and educator. Many well-meaning young people feel the heavy burden of solving all the world's problems on their unseasoned shoulders. It is better to be realistic about the odds, count the cost and bear the load with like-minded people. Knowing one's life purpose helps to keep the faith through the inevitable ups and downs.
#lawonlife #smulaw #servantleadership
It was a great pleasure to return to guest lecture at the Trinity Theological College and to meet a roomful of thoughtful students seeking a holistic theological view of arts and culture today. All of them are readers and some of them are writers. I spoke about literature's foundational impact on culture, poetry as the "chiselled marble of language" (Ann Shalaski) and went deep into its mechanics and magic, introduced the writings of William Franke ("the Bible is both revelation and humanities text"), posited common problems of interpretation, and shared thoughts about the writer's vocation. A student asked for examples of writers with the Christian worldview, and I mentioned JRR Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, TS Eliot, Eugene Peterson, Malcolm Guite, Edwin Thumboo, Eric Valles and some others. - AMDG, Aaron