Recording, Reading, Writing, Studying
by Dave Skipper
It’s been a few months since I posted anything here, but I have been far from idle, and now I hope to start chipping away at this blog again. Here’s an overview of what I’ve been up to…
I have just about completed two full-length concept noise albums:
- One album follows the dramatic dynamics of a particular Old Testament Bible story through the medium of noise, produced with modular synths and processed field recordings. Details to come. This will be released on CD through the Tokyo-based independent record label ϕonon, hopefully by the end of the year. I started planning this album last December, and I am really happy with the results. It has been a very rewarding project!
- The other album is a sci-fi story, and is constructed from the very best fragments of live recordings that I have accumulated over the years. I haven’t decided what to do with this yet, but it will probably be released next year (whether self-released or through a label). Being a vivid sci-fi tale, I’m also toying with the idea of collaborating with some animators to bring it to the screen, but that would be a massive undertaking so I’m not sure…
I have been able to procure a few stacks of theology books through the generosity of others, and have so far worked my way through and marked up about half of them (40ish out of 90ish). These are all books that relate in one way or another to my planned book writing projects, see below. Topics cover such areas as epistemology (theory of knowledge), apologetics (defending the truth of the Christian faith), hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible), typology (symbolism, connections, foreshadowings, echoes, and prophetic fulfilments in the Bible), the doctrine of creation (its meaning, importance and implications), Biblical covenants (how God commits to and relates to humanity), theology and the arts (how they inform and enrich each other), and the Trinity (who God is, and implications of his One-in-Three and Three-in-One nature).
The best book I have read in this period happens to be one of the shortest: Theopolitan Reading, by Peter J. Leithart. It’s an introduction to how to read the Bible well by seeing how its key themes are all intricately interwoven throughout its entire story. Highly recommended!
I have been able to spend a lot of time focusing and refining the overall thrust and rough outlines of four books that I plan to write. I have already worked out provisional chapter topics for all four books, so I have a pretty clear idea of where this is all going. The reading I have been doing constitutes some of the research for the first book. I was tempted to write a little bit here about each book, but on second thoughts decided it would be prudent to keep the details to myself for now. But very briefly, the first book will be about a Biblical perspective on creativity and the arts (spoiler alert: my thesis is that the Bible emphatically vindicates the vitality and necessity of the widest spectrum of creative endeavours, and that it provides a vast amount of wisdom and insight for how and why to be creative, far more than is initially apparent).
Building on this foundation, the following three books will constitute a trilogy in which I will focus in and form a detailed and comprehensive treatise on the Bible and noise; these works will be significantly more in-depth than anything on this blog, though I might also make some small complementary booklets which summarise the books’ ideas and findings.
To do all this properly is going to require a lot of time (at least a decade-long undertaking?), tenacity, and books (Amazon gift vouchers always welcome!). Ambitious much? Even remotely do-able? Totally unpublishable?!? Only time will tell, but I am convinced of and committed to the necessity of this work being done. I believe the centuries ahead will require and gradually see comprehensive, detailed Biblical excurses in increasingly more (including more narrowly-focussed) fields, disciplines, and spheres of human thought and action. My prayer is that my books will be (God-willing, if I finish them) merely one such tentative contribution in one little corner to the long-term growth of the kingdom of God in history.
To help me step up a gear (or several), I am starting an in-depth writer’s course to bolster my knowledge and skills in effective research, quality writing, and the nuts and bolts of getting published. I am especially excited that this will include a (modestly-sized) thesis project with direct oversight and advice from a long-established theologian/author who I respect greatly. In addition, I am looking into the possibility of pursuing a Masters degree in some aspect of Biblical studies/theology, again in order to help push my future research and writing to a higher level.