The Journey of Love (Open Forum) – Gospel in Life

The Journey of Love (Open Forum)

Tim Keller |  April 28, 2002

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  • Art and Beauty
OF 27


This talk includes comments from a Christian perspective on Porgy and Bess.

Open Forums are specifically designed for skeptics or those wrestling with the claims of Christianity. Each Open Forum included a brief concert by guest artists followed by a talk and open mic Q&A with Timothy Keller. This audio recording includes the talk only.

Understanding Genesis 3 and Ephesians 5 through “Porgy and Bess”

“Porgy and Bess,” a masterpiece of art, has multiple levels of meaning that need to be understood. We’ll focus mainly on the third level, but the first two are important as well. The goal is to help you better understand this artwork and what it means on a broader scale.

1. The world is not an accident

Amazing art goes beyond everyday life. It brings us joy, awe, and a sense of purpose, reminding us that life isn’t just a random event without any meaning. Even if people’s beliefs differ, great art shows us a world filled with design, truth, and importance. In the end, it tells us there’s hope and that there’s something in life worth both living and dying for.

2. The reality of social injustice

“Porgy and Bess,” an opera, dives into the experience of African-Americans, sparking debates about how it is portrayed. Some people argue it strengthens stereotypes because it was created by white people. Others, like Maya Angelou, praise it for its depiction of African-American art and culture. The discussion it has started about African-American representation is a personal interpretation for each person.

3. It tells us about romantic love

The way “Porgy and Bess” talks about romantic love is quite different from the common American belief that love can solve everything. The opera challenges this idea by showing that love can’t always overcome natural evil, social injustice, and personal flaws. The story also looks at how society’s rules, stereotypes, and personal weaknesses affect relationships. It relates to the Old Testament by emphasizing the theme of God’s unwavering love and redemption. This suggests that real love comes from God, which can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships.



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