Sparking Together Toward Illumination
A dear creative friend of mine, Sue Beckman, is often parading powerful spiritual insights past me. On FaceBook she shared a post from a blog called Apostles & Prophets. In a post written by Dr. Stephen Crosby, we are reminded that The Body of Christ of the 21st Century has a lot of work to do in order to work as a single, unified body. Before going further you might want to click on the title above and give it a read. Things will make a lot more sense.
The passionate question God has endowed me with in the conversation of Faith & Art is; How do we make art that will have a powerful and positive effect on our culture? I voraciously read in pursuit of answers, and I work to incorporate as much as possible into my own art practice. Some top favorites applied to this question are The Culturally Savvy Christian by Dick Staub, and Walking on Water by the late Madeleine L’Engle.
It was near the bottom of Dr. Crosby’s article that I read something which further confirms the need for God’s faith-driven creatives to take very seriously our call. We are called, in one form or another, to make meaning which brings God glory, and which is an invitation to the foot of the cross of Christ. I know these two phrases are messy and loaded, I apologize.
When I say “brings God glory”, I mean what scripture says (Col. 3:23), that we make and offer God only excellence. It does not mean that the art must be drawn from the Bible. When I say “is an invitation to the foot of the cross”, I mean that in some way, subtly or overtly, the work points us to the only ultimate answer to what ails us in this life, the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Again, interpretations and applications ought to run rampant and be as varied as the artists producing work.
Alright, back to Dr. Crosby; he writes, “Daniel went into captivity with Israel. Jeremiah was not spared the rigors of Israel’s “divine chastisement” at the hands of a Babylonian invader. Incarnational living in Christ does not exempt any of us from the travails of the culture we may worship or live in. Rather, we will be the representative agents of God as we go into captivity together.”
With these words, “…we will be the representative agents of God as we go into captivity together.”, the Spirit revealed to me another layer in the significance of our work as faith-driven creatives. We are to walk into “captivity” (I love that word in this context) with both believers and un-believers and, in Christ (Phil. 4:13), meet adversities head on. We are to make meaning in this milieu of messy, gritty, uncomfortable life and, as God’s Second Voice [ref other posts], point to Christ’s redemptive love.
In fact it is my opinion that without these adversities, we artists would have absolutely nothing to say. It is in the midst of our crises that we come to know who and what we are. We come to know our short-comings, and realize how desperate is our need for a deep and abiding relationship with God through Christ.
For the faith-driven artist we can heed this admonition, “Let each of us, in our assigned spheres of life and ministry, be sober and more resolute than we have ever been. Let’s burn. Let’s be hot. Let’s be light. Let’s remember that the ultimate act of spiritual warfare is not prophetic intercession or a spiritual warfare conference. It is a converted/transformed, soul who lives a transformed vibrant life in right relationship with God, one another, and humanity.” Dr. Stephen Crosby