So how’d that title grab ya? Not something you’d normally see associated with a “life-balance” blog, right? So, you may be curious as to how this is all going to fit together, and quite honestly, so am I. Please indulge me as I give it a try.
I recently toured the J. Paul Getty museum down in LA-LA Land while the “Book of Beasts” happened to be the featured exhibition. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my Auntie Lynnie is a docent there, so I was fortunate enough to see some of the “behind the scenes” action of how that place operates. I was included in the “morning briefing” meeting, where the docents on duty that day are briefed by one of the museum employees, (I’m not sure what his title was, probably something like an administrator).
It was at this meeting where it began to dawn upon me that being a docent at the Getty Center, is a pretty big deal. As we’re sitting around the conference table in the breakroom having this discussion of the days expectations, I gazed upon my Aunt, reflecting upon what I know about her. She’s always been a study of antiquities, art, historical events and people, but now I see she’s discovering a passion to teach and share about these things. As I realized this about her, I had to realize this about all the other volunteers in the room, that’s right, they’re volunteers. All passionate about art history, which consequently is a visual of history itself. Because if you weren’t passionate about this stuff, making the trek to the Getty on a weekly basis from an hour away in any direction, simply would not make sense.
OK, now onto the featured exhibit itself. Then, we’ll bring it all back around, I promise. So the exhibit is titled “Book of Beasts, The Bestiary in the Medieval World”, I really had absolutely no expectation going into this tour, the only book of beasts I had ever read was “There The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendack.
The most simple way I can describe this is “The Book of Beasts” was the beginning attempts to explain Christianity by creating visual aids of certain animals that represented certain virtues that could be applied to how humans should conduct themselves. For a more in depth study of this concept, please read this from Ancient Origins. I really haven’t done it justice, but the purpose of this mention is to simply expose you to this concept, what you do with it from here is your business.
One more thing to know before I try to pull this all together, I’ve been a born again Christian since 1999. I absolutely believe in “God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit” not so much in a religious sense (although that’s where it started, Trinity Lutheran Church) but in a spiritual sense. My understanding of my own spirituality has evolved over the past 20 years and oddly this exhibit kinda tied up some loose ends, if that’s even possible when it comes to spirituality. I’ve read alot of the Bible and I’d say I’m pretty versed in the messaging, pardon the pun. What I don’t know so much of is the history of religion itself. Why this desire seeking to explain and reason the existence of intelligent life on this planet? Furthermore to define or conform to certain moral virtues? i’m not challenging the idea, but where does the drive within another human come from to even begin to tell the story of Christ?