after a few years of trying i finally have read the gift: how the creative spirit transforms the world by lewis hyde. i had it on order for months and it never came through but it has just recently had a uk release and jen gave it to me for christmas (thank you). lewis hyde also wrote trickster makes the world which is brilliant. these books were very formative in the thinking in vaux and kester and nic first introduced me to them. my favourite two chapters in the complex christ are gift and dirt - inspired by these books.
where there is no gift there is no art
is a stunning statement in the first few pages. hyde's interest is art and creativity. he suggests that there are two kinds of transactions - gift exchange and commodity exchange and that art should function as gift. we live in a culture that is dominated by the market, and where more and more of life is being commodified so it is a difficult environment in which to be an artist. and the temptation or the danger of commodifying what should be gift is pretty real. that isn't to say that art can't be sold or exist in a market economy - it can but even if a piece of art is sold it has to retain some spirit of gift within it.
kester does a great job in his book of suggesting that worship should be a site for gift exchange and that the emerging church should function on a gift economy which i wholeheartedly agree with. i'll add a few other thoughts into the mix over the next post or two that spin off from ideas in the book.
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