In which I tell it like it is. For me at least.

I guess when I started this thing I figured I'd pretty much post to the site what I was reading and thinking about earlier each day. Right now, I happen to be re-reading Walking on Water. The first time I read it I was so into it that I pretty much read it straight through. I remember thinking over and over that "I have to remember this quote" or "I never thought of it that way before." I went ahead and let myself tear through it knowing that since it was my book I could go through again and make notes and highlight and think more about the parts that really spoke to me.

This book is a starting point. It's just that this is what's moved me lately and this whole thing is pretty much a big experiment to see if there are more of you out there feeling like I do. After I work my way through it? I'm open to whatever comes up.

Ok, so. Chapter 1 - Cosmos from Chaos. Madeleine L'Engle pretty much summed up my deep down darkest feelings when she wrote:

Why is it that I, who have spent my life writing, struggling to be a better artist, and struggling also to be a better Christian, should feel rebellious when I am called a Christian artist? Why should I feel reluctant to think or write about Christian creativity?

I mean, honestly, I completely understand her questioning. I admit that I do not think of Christian and Art as being two things that really fit well together. My first response would be to say that Christian wants to be respectful and good while Art wants to be honest and real about how I think and see things. Ok, I'll go a step farther and say that when I think of the words Christian Art? I think of Precious Moments or most of the cheesy resin "sculptures" I've seen at Christian bookstores or craft shows (not all... but come on. "Most" is probably being too generous.)

When it comes down to it? Christian Art just sounds lame to me. It sounds like that totally unrealistic painting of the blond, blue-eyed Jesus that used to hang in quite a few churches back in the day. It sounds like something that will have to meet certain requirements. And if there are requirements then you'd better believe that some peoples' versions of those requirements will be much different than others and before you know it we'll have more denominational wars on our hands. And that is too much drama. And drama? Annoys me. So I'd rather just create what I feel and hide that slight uneasy feeling that I should be trying to be a better Christian artist. That feeling that maybe it's something wrong with me instead; that it's not the art but me that's not Christian enough.

Ok... now that I've put that out there... let me tell you what makes me feel even worse. If all that is my honest feeling about Christian art? What does that say about my impression of Christianity overall? Why is Christianity good enough for me every in every other aspect of my life but not in my art? In the one thing that is so personal and so real to me? I can't give up my need to create. I cannot separate myself from the thing that causes me to see things the way a lot of other people never see them. I don't want to separate myself from it. There are times when that part of me is the one thing that saves me from feeling like I'm half asleep inside.

Thinking about this and being honest with myself about my attitude towards my art and my faith made a big difference in how I read the rest of the book. I'm realizing now that there is no way to cover a chapter at a time. This is only the first few pages I've dealt with. But I want to know if there are more of you than just myself who have felt this way. Who have pushed aside that feeling that you and what you do and what you take joy in aren't Christian enough and then you battle with yourself because you need that part of you, regardless of whether it's Christian enough or not. Do I make any sense at all?

P.S. This whole thing is not about "Art" as in painting, sculpting, drawing, etc. It's about art as it's written about in this book. Art as the act of creating. Creating story, a song, fine art works. But also creating great food, beautiful gardens, knitted baby booties or a fourth grade lesson plan. Creating a home and an environment for people to be cared for and loved. This is not strictly a site for fine artists. If you create anything (even a mess. I'm not picky.) Then you are invited to join in.

Comments

Jodi said…
WOW...that's a whole lot of profoundness going on right there right before I go to bed and have lost to ability to comment with something just as profound, how about I reread chapter one and have something meaningful to say, because right now all I got is I like to make a mess, I am good at it and have taught my son this fine artform as well.

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