Art and Stuff

If you start wondering how many souls this song, this poem, this story, this movie is going to save, you’re done for.
Walking on Water - Madeleine L'Engle

I just started reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water, which deals with the whole relationship between art and faith, something in which I’ve always been keenly interested. And it makes me realize, again, how wrong Christianity has it sometimes. I’ve written about the arts, and even dabbled in them, and one of the worst things you can do is try to have some sort of “religious” mindset about your art.

If you start wondering how many souls this song, this poem, this story, this movie is going to save, you’re done for. Saying that, if you’re an artist of faith (isn’t that politically correct of me?), than your art should certainly reflect your faith. Even if you’re an atheist, it should reflect your convictions and passions. And if your faith is really a part of your life, as pitted and broken as it might be, and your intent is to create honestly and truthfully, than you shouldn’t even need to think about it.

Personally speaking, I’m tired of writing a song (or HTML) and wondering if it’s “spiritual” enough. The Church seems to encourage this mindset, that we should keep in mind all of those damned souls whenever we create. I’ve done that, and it just kills you; suddenly, you’re worried if this or that is Godly enough, or if you’ve labored over it too long and it’s becoming an idol.

It’s like music education. I know people who loved playing music and went to college to study it with hopes of becoming a teacher, only to see that enjoyment die because it was no longer art, just technique and form.

Why can’t we just do the stuff we enjoy and we know we’re good at, without worrying if/when it’s going to be held against us? I’ve heard the stories about people who forsake everything at the drop of a hat to do a “work of God”. Are those stories supposed to encourage us?

I want to talk to a writer, a musician, a painter who kept creating what they were creating because it never occurred to them to do otherwise.

What about those of us who just want to stare at a computer, working with Photoshop and BBEdit, PHP and MySQL all day… not because we have some grand vision of the Kingdom… but because it never occurred to us to do otherwise.

Read more about Art and Madeleine L'engle.
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