21 August, 2010

The Library

Peanuts


Lots of thoughts in my head tonight - hard to pinpoint one to settle on, so I'll go with what is in the forefront. 


I am attending a conference this weekend on the arts - and what it means to be a "Christian artists." 


Eeeeeehhh I hate that phrase - I hate to type it and my chest starts to tighten because I know that before I even get the words out you have ideas and concepts - most of them probably not good. (Trust me, they are not for me either!) 


So how about - I am a writer, a photographer, and a crafter wannabe and I believe in God. 


And there is no separation for me - no, today I will take pictures as a Christian but tomorrow I will leave my faith on the shelf for the sake of taking some image of the world for you to see. I believe in, worship, and follow an amazingly creative God - and so to take a picture - from the most beautiful of sunsets, to the most broken in any situation - is to reveal the One who made it all. 


I see God in the mire, in the ugly, in the unacceptable. I see God in moments of pain, sin, brokenness, tears, doubt, failure... I see God in stories where it is said He does not exist. Some of the greatest visualizers of God to me are people who claim to not know Him or who despise Him. 


So to say, "I am a writer," is, to me, to capture that I am also a Christian. I don't say - I am a punky writer, I am a traveler and a writer, I am an advocate and a writer - and yet those sentences are just as true about me as to say - I am a God follower and I am a photographer. 


Ultimately - what does that mean? 


One of the speakers listed these as his questions he asks when making art:

  1. Is it faithful to the reality of man and creation?
  2. It if faithful to the Spirit of God at work?
  3. Does it bring order out of the chaos?
  4. Do I work at being skillful at my art?
I would add one more:
  1. Is it speaking Truth?

This means that what I produce with my pen and my camera will be anything but cliche, cheese, trite, minimizing, easy-answers, all put together, just be happy. It means it will be messy, and broken and questioning - because life (and the reality of my life at least) is those things. I do not know a lot at the moment - I know I love God very much and yet I am struggling for air most days. 

Does my photographs bring order from the chaos? Maybe - because it is one moment to focus on - one face, one image connected to a fact.

I want to use my art to advocate, educate and embolden movement. I want someone to read what I write or look into the eyes of someone I've managed to capture for a moment and feel a bit more educated, connected to something, and compelled to move. 

A bit audacious - maybe. But I've been told to strive for big hairy audacious goals. 

If I am a co-creator with God in the beauty of this earth - and I believe I am - all artists are - even if they don't see or want to admit it - then I must portray the world around me as it is and then let the photograph or the story I've penned speak for itself. 






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© Amanda Lunday