FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 170 George Harrison and his song MY SWEET LORD (Featured artist is Bruce Herman )


George Harrison’s song MY SWEET LORD and what the word GOD actually means according to Francis Schaeffer

Image result for beatles in india

George Harrison is the only member of the Beatles who stuck with Hinduism while the other three abandoned it shortly after their one trip to India.  Francis Schaeffer noted, ” The younger people and the older ones tried drug taking but then turned to the eastern religions. Both drugs and the eastern religions seek truth inside one’s own head, a negation of reason. The central reason of the popularity of eastern religions in the west is a hope for a nonrational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religion is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of nonreason could put anything up there and the heart of the eastern religions  is a denial of reason just exactly as the idealistic drug taking was.”


George Harrison My Sweet Lord

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (page 191 Vol 5) asserted:

But this finally brings them to the place where the word GOD merely becomes the word GOD, and no certain content can be put into it. In this many of the established theologians are in the same position as George Harrison (1943-) (the former Beatles guitarist) when he wrote MY SWEET LORD (1970). Many people thought he had come to Christianity. But listen to the words in the background: “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna.” Krishna is one Hindu name for God. This song expressed  no content, just a feeling of religious experience. To Harrison, the words were equal: Christ or Krishna. Actually, neither the word used nor its content was of importance. 

This problem has been around for a long time because people need to clarify what they mean when they say the word GOD. Many years ago Charles Darwin even had to clarify this same issue when he responded to different letters. Recently I read the online book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters, and in it I noticed that Francis Darwin wrote In 1879 Charles Darwin was applied to by a German student, in a similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of my father’s family, who wrote:–

“Mr. Darwin…considers that the theory of Evolution is quite compatible with the belief in a God; but that you must remember that different persons have different definitions of what they mean by God.” 

Francis Schaeffer commented:

You find a great confusion in Darwin’s writings although there is a general structure in them. Here he says the word “God” is alright but you find later what he doesn’t take is a personal God. Of course, what you open is the whole modern linguistics concerning the word “God.” is God a pantheistic God? What kind of God is God? Darwin says there is nothing incompatible with the word “God.”

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

“My Sweet Lord”

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you lord
That it won’t take long, my lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)
Hm, hm (Gurur Brahma)
Hm, hm (Gurur Vishnu)
Hm, hm (Gurur Devo)
Hm, hm (Maheshwara)
My sweet lord (Gurur Sakshaat)
My sweet lord (Parabrahma)
My, my, my lord (Tasmayi Shree)
My, my, my, my lord (Guruve Namah)
My sweet lord (Hare Rama)Look at the first two lines above, “I really want to know you, Really want to go with you.” Is this just a mumbo jumbo kind of talk or did krishna, Gurur Brahma, Vishnu,  Devo, Maheshwara, Parabrahma, Tasmayi Shree, Namah and Rama all speak of a historical faith rooted in history that can be researched?

Thought Snack: What Christian Faith Really Is

“Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock, and suddenly the fog shuts down. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide, ‘Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?’ The guide would say that you might make it until the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason to support his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said, ‘You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices. I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning.’I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and if he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the adequate and sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.This is faith, but obviously it has no relationship to the other use of the word. As a matter of fact, if one of these is called faith, the other should not be designated by the same word. The historic Christian faith is not a leap of faith in the post-Kierkegaardian sense because [God] is not silent, and I am invited to ask the adequate and sufficient questions, not only in regard to details, but also in regard to the existence of the universe and its complexity and in regard to the existence of man. I am invited to ask adequate and sufficient questions and then believe Him and bow before Him metaphysically in knowing that I exist because He made man, and bow before Him morally as needing His provision for me in the substitutionary, propitiatory death of Christ.” – Francis Schaeffer, Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, He Is There and He Is Not Silent__________________________In the 1960’s when so many young people from the USA jumped into eastern religions Francis Schaeffer called it a leap into non-reason and Schaeffer also asserted:The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. Instead of making a leap into the area of non-reason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.


Two things should be mentioned about the time of Moses in Old Testament history.

The form of the covenant made at Sinai has remarkable parallels with the covenant forms of other people at that time. (On covenants and parties to a treaty, the Louvre; and Treaty Tablet from Boghaz Koi (i.e., Hittite) in Turkey, Museum of Archaeology in Istanbul.) The covenant form at Sinai resembles just as the forms of letter writings of the first century after Christ (the types of introductions and greetings) are reflected in the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, it is not surprising to find the covenant form of the second millennium before Christ reflected in what occurred at Mount Sinai. God has always spoken to people within the culture of their time, which does not mean that God’s communication is limited by that culture. It is God’s communication but within the forms appropriate to the time.

The Pentateuch tells us that Moses led the Israelites up the east side of the Dead Sea after their long stay in the desert. There they encountered the hostile kingdom of Moab. We have firsthand evidence for the existence of this kingdom of Moab–contrary to what has been said by critical scholars who have denied the existence of Moab at this time. It can be found in a war scene from a temple at Luxor (Al Uqsor). This commemorates a victory by Ramses II over the Moabite nation at Batora (Luxor Temple, Egypt).

Also the definite presence of the Israelites in west Palestine (Canaan) no later than the end of the thirteenth century B.C. is attested by a victory stela of Pharaoh Merenptah (son and successor of Ramses II) to commemorate his victory over Libya (Israel Stela, Cairo Museum, no. 34025). In it he mentions his previous success in Canaan against Aschalon, Gize, Yenom, and Israel; hence there can be no doubt the nation of Israel was in existence at the latest by this time of approximately 1220 B.C. This is not to say it could not have been earlier, but it cannot be later than this date.

Merneptah Stele, Israel 1200 BC



Artist Profile: Bruce Herman

Published on Mar 29, 2012

Profile of Gloucester, MA artist Bruce Herman.

Featured artist Bruce Herman

A Conversation with Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman about “QU4RTETS”

Published on Jun 11, 2014

This spring, Cairn University hosted an exhibition of QU4RTETS, a collaborative response to T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” in word, image, and music, by Jeremy Begbie, Makoto Fujimura, Bruce Herman, and Christopher Theofanidis.

On April 28, artists Fujimura and Herman visited campus to present a gallery talk about their paintings. Dr. Jonathan Master, Cairn University’s Dean of the School of Divinity and Director of the Center for University Studies, was able to sit down with the two artists for a conversation about the QU4RTETS project.

Courtesia: Bruce Herman, Artist in Residence

25/09/2013Posted in: Artists, Painters

detail Spring

(detail) QU4RTETS No. 1 (Spring) ©Bruce Herman, 2012; oils with gold, silver, and moongold leaf on wood; 97 x 60″

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in our new Artists in Residence series, a series intended to draw working artists like Bruce Herman, Alfonse Borysewicz and Makoto Fujimura into the theology/arts conversation here on Transpositions. 

In his book Real Presences, George Steiner begins half-jokingly by imagining a country where no “secondary” art criticism is allowed; where the only critique of a painting is another painting, the only analysis of a symphony is another symphony. Of course the joke is that this country exists everywhere and always has, and the primary “criticism” of art-commenting-on-art has always been around–but the secondary form of criticism has overtaken it in the past hundred years or more. Analysis has nearly replaced making-as-commentary, verbal critique has eclipsed the traditional means of elaborating or evolving a style. In former centuries an artist or poet assumed that she or he must first master the tradition personally before “commenting” on it by producing a better or more complex or different and developed style or content or form. That tradition might be called the “long apprenticeship.” And a central part of that tradition was courtesy––the welcome and gracious admission of the younger artist by the master into the conversation of art.

In Real Presences Steiner spends a full third of his book elaborating this concept of courtesia, the intellectual welcome that is required of the artist as well as the beholder, writer as well as reader, composer as well as audience. Without this elemental trust and gracious welcome the apprentice never learns. Without this open door to enter the world of the novel or symphony the reader or audience member never experiences the beauty and mystery of the story or music. It is the nature of genuine courtesy to create a space of freedom and ease, a place of warm welcome where those lacking confidence and status can experience and participate. In one sense, all hospitality is like this: the stranger, the needy treated as the honored guest, just as in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast. And art is meant to be a feast open to all.

In the past three years I’ve had the blessing of collaborating with two close friends on projects that model the reality of artistic courtesy. In the first instance, the co-authoring of a book, Through Your Eyes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), in the second, a touring exhibition entitled QU4RTETS (read the Transpositions review of the latter here). In both cases the whole became greater than the sum of the parts. The synergy created in the conversation, the constant dialogue required to produce these collaborative projects, was ennobling and stretching and helped to propel me into a creative space I hadn’t known on my own. In effect, the hospitality and courtesy required to collaborate is the very thing that generated the work of art.

My co-author, Walter Hansen, was the common link in both the book and the touring exhibit–and it was his literal hospitality that created the space for both of these successful projects. Walter invited Mako Fujimura and me to dinner and served us great food, great wine, and great conversation. It was that evening, during the meal that we discovered that the three of us shared a common influential text, T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Eliot’s masterpiece became our touchstone. Since then, Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis has written an astonishing piece of music to accompany the touring show. At the Still Point harmonizes the entire project and extends our artistic vocabulary.

The other project, Through Your Eyes, contains in its title the very heart of what I am laboring to express: it is through the eyes of the other, through their ears, imagination, intellect and heart that the work of art comes into being. The courtesy and risk of hospitality, the welcoming of the other across the threshold into one’s intimate place of being––this basic risk is what brings the work of art into the world. Without this kind of trust between artist and beholder, between artist and artist, the work of art remains dormant or dead. The hospitality of collaboration and the courtesy of welcoming the other into our deepest conversations are the hallmarks of great art. And the greatest artists are accessible to all audiences.

Why is this? Because accessibility is not mediocrity, but a sign of courtesy.

Bruce Herman is an artist and educator, serving as Lothlorien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts at Gordon College ( His art has been published and exhibited widely, both in the States and abroad in Italy, Japan, Israel, England, and Canada – and his work is housed in many public and private collections, including the Vatican Museums in Rome, the Armand Hammer Grunewald Collection in LA, the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the DeCordova Museum, and many others. For more information visit


Bruce Herman is living proof that not all visual artists have a hard time with words! As a teacher, gallery director, and leading figure in the organization Christians in the Visual Arts, Herman brings an invigorating intellectual energy and articulateness to all his projects. One of our finest painters of the human figure, Herman always places his figures in a larger context of meaning—involving a profound understanding of Western history, philosophy, and culture. His paintings can be taken in at a glance with pleasure but they also repay careful attention. We at Image are delighted to announce that Bruce will be heading up the visual arts course at the 2001 Glen Workshop. For more information on the Glen Workshop, click here.

Some of Herman’s work is featured in Image issue 7 and issue 62. Read a conversation with Herman here.


Bruce Herman is Professor of Art and Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He recieved his Master of Fine Arts degree at Boston University where he studied under Philip Guston and James Weeks. His paintings have been exibited in seven major cities (including Boston, Los Angeles, and NewYork) and four countries outside of the United States. His work is housed in many public and private collections including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and the Armand Hammer Museum at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Second Adam (Detail of Younger Virgin Mary). Oil on. Oil. 2005-2009.

To see more of Herman’s work, visit his website. Some of his most recent paintings are featured in the collection A Broken Beauty (available from Eerdmans), and will be exhibited in Laguna Art Museum this fall.

Memory & Origins. Oil and gold leaf on wood. 2005. 49 x 36 inches.

Current Projects
November 2000

“I began a series of paintings entitled Building in Ruins about eight months after a devasting house fire (September 1997) that consumed some twenty years of my work as an artist. Of course, the phrase ‘building in ruins’ can be read both ways—using the term ‘building’ as a noun or as a verb. The neat correspondence between my personal disaster and the themes I was beginning to address in my work before the fire has helped me to focus on a fairly coherent series of new images. Let me explain.

“It’s my conviction that the whole enterprise of Western culture (or any culture for that matter) is based upon the notion of ‘building’—that is to say, making objects, making a mark in time, making meaning. The Psalmist says, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house/they labor in vain who build it.’ The fundamental human act is to build—yet the possibility of our work lasting, marking time and causing remembrance is predicated upon the idea that we mean something by what we do—and upon the genuine possibility of communicating that meaning to others. This ability to make meaning is underwritten by God—the Logos which speaks the Creation into being and undergirds all speech, all art, all building of meaning.”

“Another conviction I have come to in recent years is that the Tower of Babel story is emblematic of the human condition par excellence—i.e., that our attempts to build are fraught with all sorts of problems (and the deconstructionists have been helpful in pointing out some of those problems for us in recent decades). Simply stated, my recent work—Building in Ruins—addresses the problem of making visual meaning in a post-literate, post-GOD human universe.

“For example the painting entitled ‘Pieta’ shows a worker/building shouldering a large wooden beam which is draped with a hoisting rope that dangles somewhat limply off the end. He is quietly gazing at a partially effaced religious painting on a facing wall—(specifically a reference to Bougereaus’s ‘Pieta,’ but the fact that it is a Bougereau is less important than the fact that it is a pieta). The word ‘pieta’ is Italian for pity, or grief. The workman’s grief can be seen as both specifically religious—and in more general cultural terms a grieving over the failed enterprise of Western culture. This failure is not, to my way of thinking, a final or crippling failure—rather I see it as one of that species of failure that is related to the apparent failure of Jesus on the Cross (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18 ff). The brokenness of the body is the fertile ground for hope—as opposed to the nostalgia that seems to show itself everywhere in our present-day culture.”

Bruce Herman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bruce Herman
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Nationality American
Education B.F.A. and M.F.A. Boston University: School for the Arts under Philip Guston, James Weeks, David Aronson, Reed Kay, and Arthur Polonsky.[1]
Movement Figurative Painting
Spouse(s) Meg Matthews

Bruce Herman (born 1953) is an artist who holds the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the art department of Gordon College. He achieved both a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts from the School for the Arts at Boston University, where he studied under Philip Guston, James Weeks, David Aronson, Reed Kay, and Arthur Polonsky.[1] He joined the faculty at Gordon College in 1984 and was awarded various chairs and positions until he was awarded the aforementioned position.[2] His work has been exhibited around the world, and has paintings housed in the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art, the Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts, and the DeCordova Museum.[1] Between 1983 and 2011 he has been a part of more than 50 exhibitions, and has been invited to do nearly 50 lecture series.[3] He is working on a series of paintings for an artistic, literary, and theological tour in response to T.S. Eliot’s set of four poems known as the Four Quartets.[4]



External links[edit]


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