But he’ll be heard anyway
But he won’t stay under the rug
Maybe the voice of the spirit
In which case you’d better hear it
Maybe he’s a woman
Who can touch you where you’re human
Male female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see
Don’t let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it (Bruce Cockburn “Maybe the Poet”)
Art For Art Sake
When I read the post from Martin concerning the artists I was very excited. I have a resonance with this and a great sense that much is already taking place in the area of the arts. The problem in spotting what is going on is that the painters and photographers are not just painting religious pictures or taking pictures of church buildings, perish the thought. The novelists are not writing about people being born again and the poets are not rhyming heaven with Devon. The bards and song writers are not overtly proselytising through their lyrics and the playwrites are not writing skits for church seeker friendly service. They are creating art just for arts sake. They are not creating sub-cultures but are creating in the culture, shoulder to shoulder with artists of all beliefs and none. They need to be given the freedom of the city. They need to cry freedom in the Nations. For too long we have wanted the artists to submit themselves to our churches thus stifling the gift within them. Not allowing them to be creative because we have wanted them to use their gifts for evangelism or worship. To bless the body or win the world. We have wanted to own them as our own. Make them building dwellers and settlers when their gift makes them a nomadic, sporadic, travelling, spontaneous people. We have not appreciated that in being creative they just carry the DNA of God without having to say a word. Infact I believe that every artist whatever his or her belief carries the DNA of God. Creativity only has it’s roots in one place. I want to repent on behalf of the Body of Christ for trying to tie you down because we have not understood what you were carrying. You are a gift to the margins and we wanted you only in the centre. You just wanted friends to stand with you and all you got was confrontational leaders laying on the guilt trip of lack of commitment and accusing you of wayward lifestyles. It is time to take down the harps from the poplar trees. It is time for creativity to open doors. It is time for the artists to lead us into the margins. It is time to be the shapers. It is time to awaken the dreamer in us all.
The Art of Parties
In times of recession the stage is ripe for the artists. People are looking for an antidote to the depression. In the 80′s there were the New Romantics who ushered in a new style in many senses of the word. Designers and musicians and singers cross polinated and created a new scene where people found joy despite the desperate situations around them. In times of wars and rumours of war the stage is ripe for the bards and poets, just ask Bob Dylan. It is ripe for the photographers, the image of Kim Phuc from Vietnam will always haunt us. The scene is set. There is a blank canvas. It is time for the artists to step up to the plate. We need the images, the words, the tunes, the design. We need the unpredictable and spontaneous. David the bard was a man after God’s own heart. The Bible is so full of prose and imagery and yet the church is so empty of expression. The language of the Scriptures is so creative and yet our sermons so bland. We need to see the Word in the Book of Kells as images and not just in our translations as black and white words.
How Great Thou Art
I see gatherings of artists like the Inklings all over the world. Meeting to share and create. The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949. The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraged the writing of fantasy. Although Christian values were notably present in several members’ work, there were also irreligious members of the discussion group. (Taken from Wikipedia). It was to this group that Tolkien and Lewis belonged and first shared the Lord of the Rings and Out of the Silent Planet respectfully. Here are a few quotes that I like and say bring it on in 2011;
“There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.”
Meetings were not all serious—the Inklings amused themselves by having competitions to see who could read the famously bad prose of Amanda McKittrick Ros for the longest without laughing.
The Inklings and friends were also known to gather informally on Tuesdays at midday at a local public house, The Eagle and Child,Later pub meetings were at The Lamb and Flag across the street, and in earlier years the Inklings also met irregularly in yet other pubs, but The Eagle and Child is the best known.
Eagles and Lambs….very interesting.
I finish by agreeing that it is the day of the artists. Come on you painters, drawers, photographers. Come on you bards, poets, lyric writers. Come on you singers and musicians. Come on you designers and architects. Come on you story tellers and playwrites. It is time to fly. It is time to soar on eagles wings. Your wings are no longer clipped to domesticate you. Fly wild, fly free. Be creative and let the imagination run wild. And as you create God will be shared with the world through your images, your words, your lives. Just as David minstered to Saul, you will minister. The blank canvas of the world is yours to claim. We are sorry for being a pain to the arts. Now the baton has been passed on… the story continues.