Mission Statement: Channeling an explosion of Catholic creativity, The Flight House is spearheading the forefront of training and promoting artists for the New Renaissance.

What need do we see?

The world is currently inundated with agenda’d art - art that seeks to convey a message, more than to stand on it’s own two feet. And there are two types of that agenda: Cultural and Christian.

The current culture seeks to teach; and not only to teach, but to indoctrinate the masses into the beliefs that it upholds as most sacred. These three they hold most sacred: the glorification of the individual, subjective sexual morality, and the scientific debunking of religion.

The creation of fine art, film, books, and music all embrace these three sacred social tenants, and sacrifice good story-telling to the justification of those beliefs. 

This is a position for which we will not longer stand!

The Christian culture falls into this trap as well, by veering too far to the other extreme. Recognizing the immoral message of the culture, but failing to recognize that art ought not to teach, the Christian world has embraced creation as a medium for spreading its own beliefs. Even though I often happen to agree with those beliefs, I still have difficulty appreciating a work of art that is subjected to an agenda. These people have good hearts and, I have seen with my own eyes, have changed lives. For this, I am grateful to them.

However, for art to exist in this medium is only a slightly better alternative than the cultural agenda. It is not allowing art to live and breath in its own greatest sphere.

Art as it should be

Art is difficult. I will start by admitting this aloud, and then proceed by explaining myself. Art is difficult.

It is difficult in many ways: 

  • to explain

  • to create

  • to understand

  • to know completely

and this is as it should be. Walter Blythe, in the seventh novel of the Anne of Green Gables series, declares it best: “That is one reason why I like writing poetry - you can say so many things in it that are true in poetry but wouldn’t be true in prose.”

I have felt this with poetry, with story, with music - these things strike us on a deeper level, and if we can sum them up in one unpoetical phrase, then the artist has failed in their creation. If we can subject Pride and Prejudice to the callous summary that it is a book about a man and a woman who hate each other to begin with, but love each other by the end, then why did Austen write Pride and Prejudice in the first place? She could have saved herself so much trouble.

If we can say of Michaelangelo’s David that it is a representation of a God-fearing young man, then why look at it? He could have been spending his time reading 2nd Samuel. 

I cannot define art, but I will venture to go this far: it is a seeking after indefinable truths through the lens of beauty, or the lack thereof. 

That is a paltry attempt. 

I just looked up Oxford Languages definition, and I think it’s pretty good: “Art: 1.

the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” 

I like their inclusion of the words ‘imagination,’ ‘beauty,’ and ‘emotional power.’ 

The term art may be able to be defined (and like I said, I really like Oxford’s), but the application of it is impossible. Because it is relegated to the imagination, it expands beyond creed, doctrine, or social expectation. To confine it to such ideas is to stifle it. It is imagination that shows us that life is so much broader and richer than the boxes into which we put ourselves, and art applies the imagination, taking that boundlessness and confining, capturing it, using structure, medium, and technique. (Incidentally, this is why I enjoy Catholicism. It, too, though on a separate level, constantly challenges our man-made boxes and structures, all while adhering to basic, unflinching principles that keep us ever striding down the untraveled road.) 

The Flight House and Art

My brother and I believe, and Ina agrees with us, that as Catholics, we are all called to be saints, and CAN be saints. 

Living our best lives, and living them for Christ, is our own personal path to sanctity. When we are doing that, and intentionally building our own moral imaginations, then I believe in cutting loose with creativity. We do not need to make our art mold itself into a specific idea, and fear leading others down the path of perdition.

The Lord of the Rings is a very good example. Written by a devoutly Catholic man, can we say it has ever converted anyone to Catholicism? Perhaps, one in a million, and I’d love to meet that person, but in general, it is no Mere Christianity. And yet, the world it creates paints a picture of a world that captivates, entrants, awakens imagination, and immerses the reader in beauty. This world is Tolkien’s masterpiece.

Now, I will tell you about a sad thing I once came across. Apparently, there is a society in and around Chicago that dresses in Elf (and other LotR costumes) and meets regularly to discuss Tolkien’s world. So far, not a problem. But you see, they have taken the world structure of Middle Earth and made it a religion for themselves. They have woodland dances, moonlit seances, etc. They genuinely believe that Tolkien took an real ancient religion and coded it into his books. It is this religion that they follow.

Could we, from this last example, build an argument around Tolkien’s work and argue that he should never have written it, because it has led to this sin?

Most definitely. We could definitely build that argument. But I don’t think we should.

It’s not that the good outweighs the bad - that’s a whole other argument that I’m not going to get into right now. But rather, that Tolkien did nothing wrong in letting his imagination run free. We was creating. 

If we say Tolkien should not have created because it led to sin, then we must say God should never have created, because it led to sin.

No more putting “shoulds” and barriers on Catholic and Christian creation. By creating within the freedoms of who we are striving to be, we can create great work, even if our own lives are not perfect, our skill is not perfect, and our creation is not perfect. Even as we accept that we are limited, we embrace that imagination is not. We are not responsible, in imaginative creation, to convert others. We are only responsible for creating.

In Summary

The Flight House is spearheading this movement away from agenda’d art, and into a New Renaissance of beauty, as an overflow of the moral imagination. I see this overflow happening all around me. In grassroots, devout Catholic circles, Tolkien, Chesterton, George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, and many more, have fertilized a soil of young people who are yearning for beauty. Not finding it in the culture around them, their own minds have become the gardens in which they are building a new world of richness and depth.

I want to help cultivate that garden. I want to help bring beauty to life: Let’s help these artists’ work reach their audiences, inspire the world, and transform culture!