The Power of “Why”
“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
Joey O’Connor of The Grove Center for the Arts & Media, posted a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek about “Why.” While Simek’s brief 18-minute talk focuses on inspirational leadership and what I call, invitational marketing, the power of “Why” resonates with the faith I love by, the art I make, and their convergence wherein I dwell.
Before reading on, please watch the Sinek talk because nothing I say from this point will make much sense without it. Thank you.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, I want to share with you what I saw in this idea of “Why.” As I said, for me it had absolutely nothing to do with inspirational leadership or invitational marketing, but everything to do with faith, with art, and with Faith&Art.
Here in America, we seem to treat our church-life as if it were a job, and our churches as if they’re businesses. We seem to need to develop programs which, like modern corporate marketing, will “bring ’em in!” If however our churches taught and lived by discipleship; if they taught us how to find and develop our own “why-story,” I really believe that the Christian faith in America would be growing by leaps and bounds.
To my mind, it’s virtually impossible to invite someone to the foot of the Cross by explaining a boatload of facts, figures, rules & laws, and scripture. The walk to the foot of the Cross is not a head trip, but a heart trip. As I see it, we each need to know our own “why-story” really well. We need to be able to share it when it’s asked for; “Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you.”~1Peter 3:15. And maybe we need to learn how to gently help others find their own “Why” when they’re seeking Him.
Recently, arts advocate, Christy Tennant Krispin mounted a showing of the Krispin’s private collection of art. Entitled Close to Home, Christy gave a brief talk about why they had chosen each piece of art. It was about relationship; their relationship with the artist, with the artwork, and the artist’s relationship with the work. Christy didn’t wonder if a certain piece would go well with her draperies. She was buying someone’s story; their “why”.
I have heard a very few sage counselors say that we artists need to know, deeply, our own story and be able to articulate it. When people buy our art they’re buying a chapter of our lives, or at least a page. If we’re ready to share what’s behind our creative journey, we can connect with those who wish to make some of our work a part of their own lives.
Faith & Art
In these earliest of years of my journey into the convergence of faith and art, I find that my “Why” drives it all. In the realm of “Why,” I return to John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. The “Why” is about a) relationship and b) about bringing Him glory; about pointing to the foot of the Cross, and about becoming fully human (About You/Dick Staub). My own journey toward becoming fully human happens in the worship, the praise, and the wrestling of making art in service to the King, the Lord, my God.
The late Madeleine L’Engle got it so very right when she wrote; “To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of my life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.” Walking on Water, pg 16 / L’Engle.
I hope you know your “Why.” Mine’s at the heart of the creative journey.