Friday, 21 September 2007

Engaging with Light and Shade

"As I get older, I've found that there is a spiritual language to being an artist.
You really have to open up to an inner voice, guiding and assisting in what you do.
One of the 'massages' is to ignore those people who are seeking to make you a copy of someone else.

When I journey in directions I have not explored, sometimes against the grain, that's when my art really begins to speak to me".

Steve Hanks.

It's just like one of those 'first thing in the morning' moments - you know, when you've just got up, and you either scare or depress yourself silly by the image that confronts you as you look in the bathroom mirror...
I used to have a big problem with the whole question of what it meant to be 'spiritual'.
I would read Bible passages like Romans 8:1-8 and think 'Boy, I really haven't begun to get myself together - I'm still deep in the bowels of Romans 7!'

There's been a whole industry of 'how to' pietism built on this one - schools of 'holiness' living that urge you into all sorts of 'christian' duties. The trouble is, such constant introspection can often lead to serious legalism or self-righteousness or at the very least, deeper anxiety that you're just not living up to the grade.

Well, the good news is that is exactly what we're told - none of us make this grade, but that does not mean we're not redeemed.

The personal change came when I finally realized that my spirituality was all to do with the physical. Yes, the poison of sin is that it destroys, demeans and divides, but the reality is that right now, amongst our frail, weak minds and bodies, Christ has come and is renewing even this sorry state in something glorious (Romans 8:9-11). This means that we are dealing with a whole new situation with regards to this present world, which is why Paul spends much of the rest of this letter discussing some pretty down to earth things.

There's a key theme which runs through the New Testament when we allow this truth to fall into place - we have been made free: free to love, free to live, free to engage, free to begin to recognize the work of reconciliation. When that becomes the truth, then life once more becomes worthwhile, and we can even smile (occasionally) at the face in the mirror!

1 comment:

fashionista said...

Thanks for posting this, Howard. I sometimes wonder if I will ever get out of the Romans 7 state, but I'm trying not to worry so much about it anymore. Up until the last year, I tried so hard to fit into the whole Christian culture thing, but it just was not me. As in your quote by Steve Hanks, I was trying to be "a copy of someone else."

I still have a way to go but I'm slowly breaking away from the "cookie cutter" mold thanks to reading journals like this one. I'm also quite careful as to which Christian authors I read. I quite enjoy anything by Philip Yancey and Brennan Manning as they are very Grace based. There is a preacher here in the States by the name of Steve Brown, and one of his favorite sayings is that God would much rather hug a dirty child than an uptight, rigid one. That's not an exact quote but it is close.

Anyway, keep posting. You're a breath of fresh air.

Kathleen (posting on my Google account)