Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thoughts on Creating

I think I'm at my most authentic when I'm writing something down.  The most myself.  The most honest.  I suppose my blog is a sampling of this- all an exercise of free writing my life, moments I stop to record and keep here.

Sometimes I write little, sometimes much.  Sometimes I surprise myself.  Often I surprise myself.

I liked where this went when I wrote it last week- it came from an honest place, a place that I've been having a near-daily conversation with for a long time now.

So often, artists of the "Christian genre"- if we can call it that for all intents and purposes- as no art can be redeemed or lost, but can only communicate expressions of the artist- these "Christian" artists are kept so tightly under a gray web of expectation, prerequisite,  and boundary.  So many boxes are set up for them- what is appropriate subject, audience, medium.  Overt and easy on the eye (and ear) is the rule- easy to mass-market, clearly understood by everyone, with a clear beginning, middle and end to the message- answers to every question, every phrase resolved.  Communicate clearly, offend no one, if possible.  Especially don't ruffle up the Christians.  If possible.

This market of "Christian" art, product, music, entertainment is very successful.  It gets success, perhaps, because Christians are boxed in their choices.  From what is available, and under the label "Christian", they choose their favorites.  And buy generously to support them.  And so fame comes to the big fish in the small pond, because Christians start with good intentions (and these things, most of the time, are very, very good), and somewhere, after years, in the middle, they get lost in image building, image bearing, image maintaining, in a world of black and white choices, where white is good, sure, to be held high- it's safe from the things we should avoid- or it gives the illusion of safety at least.

But their ears, their eyes, hearts, minds, are slickly, slowly being boxed- kept within the boundaries a Machine has set- as the box closes in, defining the limits of creativity in all it's myriad forms for the Christian, while the individual lets go of his or her own God-given ability to see and sense and learn and discern for themselves with Him.

Slowly, the Christian is no longer thinking, creating, inspired authentically- not fully, not with the full flex and freedom they were created to enjoy with God.  Now they are working from inside the box, the climate regulated for them.  The lines blurred and indistinguishable between what they do in the Name of Christ, and what they do in the name of Christians.  And isn't that a line we all need to examine from time to time?

Outsiders become hostiles- something to turn away from in the name of purity.  But honestly, this can easily become one more form of corruption.

God-given creativity is stifled, to a mere shadow of it's purpose and ability.

Yes, even very good motivations can indeed become their own trap.
 As redeemed, full, whole, living extensions of the one first, uncreated Creator, the one who makes all things new- The one who created color, sound, light, passion, art, nature, beauty, tears, infinity-  and who not only allows but encourages us to create along with Him- as these privileged people, fully connected to the ultimate artist- shouldn't we be more free, more inventive, more open to wild, new, authentic creation than anyone else?

But so often, we settle for clean, pre-made boxes- where we feel quite safe.


Danielle said...

Good stuff. Have you ever read "Walking on Water" by Madeline L'Engle? Think you'd like it.

Shelia said...

Megan, thanks for visiting my blog. I am glad to have had an introduction to you and your writing. So much of what you say resonates, and you say it beautifully.

I decided to park my comment here because this particular issue is near and dear to my heart. I echo Danielle's recommendation. You will also find this to be the theme of Anne's book, Permission to Speak Freely. I saw it on your list. Thomas Merton would prove a worthy friend as well, as would the poet Rilke and modern writer Anne Lamotte.

You will LOVE Africa. Be prepared for it to get inside your heart and challenge you in ways you cannot imagine. You will NEVER be the same. God has plans for you there you do not yet know.

Blessings to you and your family. Thank you for nourishment. I look forward to following your journey.