Inter-Religious Dialog and Artistic Vision
Just arrived in Bangkok and will get a good early turn in and hopefully a good night’s rest. In Manila my host was Augustine Loorthusamy who was WACC-Asia Secretary from 1987 to 1993. He is now working in Malaysia but kindly helped to organize my trip and particularly the meetings in Manila. He has broad knowledge about the media and communications issues throughout Asia. I gasped when, in the taxi, he explained that that families who live abject poverty, “Hardcore Poverty” has risen to 37%.
He drove me to the office of the Federation of Catholic Asian Bishops Conference where the Secretary for Social Communications, Fr. Joseph Franz-Eilers, explained not only the importance but the high interest that churches feel for inter-religious dialog. In this area where christians are in the minority (except in the Philippines) this takes on a high priority. While in his office, i was reminded of a previous conversation in Taipei, with Benoit Vermander. He had given me a paper he wrote in which he says that inter-religious dialog is rich opportunity. He says in his paper that when Christianity encounters Asia in its complexity, it makes “this tremendous variety of cultural resources the tool box that enables us to interpret anew our own tradition and culture. “
The next day (today) 9:00 am I visited Jescom, a production center that excels in high quality and soul-filled media: music cd’s that sell by the thousands; music videos that play on commercial TV; sms/text messaging products that download to your phone; booklets. Yes, they do all of that, and very well. It is really an amazing place, directed by Fr. Aristotle Dy, SJ, a young priest (ordained last year) who has great dreams and sensitivity. Just take a look at their website offerings.
One of their music videos was particularly touching and I made an agreement to compress it when i return to Houston and stream it so you can take a look at it for yourself. It will streaming on my website, with the link to the Jescom site.
From my speedy 2-hour visit that included watching videos and exploring their 3-D animation booth, I gather this:
Ary and his team continually work with freelance directors and artists and feel their way through productions to reach the bottom line: Art. The spirituality then just becomes manifest on the screen, for by doing art, they express what is in their souls.
This is truly one place that could share their work more widely with North America. The music and products are in English. Maybe the Internet will afford that opportunity.
Tomorrow I start the day with a 9:00 am meeting. Bangkok is really, really hot.