Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I live in the Bible Belt.
I am a Christian.
I also believe in marriage equality.
I don’t know the mind of God and I refuse to put words in the mouth of Jesus. However, I know that God is love and that wherever there is love there is God.
So you may call me a heretic*, but I can’t understand how discouraging a loving commitment to another person is justified. It looks too much like hate or fear disguised as love and that doesn't sound like Jesus to me at all.
Most of us are simply trying to find our way through this life. Being able to make a commitment to someone we love and having the ability to walk through life with that person makes this journey easier. Part of loving my neighbor is wanting the best for them and this involves not discouraging them in pursuing strong relationships in their own lives. So from this perspective, supporting marriage equality is the right thing.
*Note: Jesus was called a heretic by the religious leaders of his day. I’m in good company.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
So ... what are the consequences of an artist’s imagination?
Artists are often visionaries who see new possibilities. In some cases, they can bring deeper understanding to things in our current world because artists look at common objects and situations with new eyes.
However, individuals who want to keep everything the same may feel threatened by an artist’s creativity. Therefore, one of the negative consequences of thinking differently is that the visionary may become marginalized by those holding the power in the status quo. People who fear change will often resort to persecuting the agents of change in an attempt to stifle the process.
At the same time, artists can hold the keys to the future. We would never have most of our modern conveniences without creative people. There would be no automobiles, telephones or cell phones, computers, movies, or streamable online entertainment. All of these things are the result of someone thinking outside the box and saying “what if ...?” Creativity has the potential to enhance the lives of everyone. The arts feed the creativity within science and other disciplines.
But it can do even more.
Artists have the potential to help in healing the common wounds that life inflicts upon all of us. Movies, paintings, photographs, stories, and other forms of art can be used to depict our common shared experiences. Knowing that we’re not alone in these experiences can ease some of the pain. It can also point the way to dealing with loss in a way that is helpful, rather than destructive to the soul. Art is also able to help us overcome our fears by showing us how to walk in the darkness with confidence instead of avoiding it. The possibilities are endless.
Regardless of how you look at it, art makes life better for everyone both materially by feeding the creativity that brings new and better products to market, as well as emotionally by enhancing and helping us to understand the human experience. Taking a few moments to appreciate art can also help us to remember that money, while we need it to survive, is not the best measure of anything.
The bottom line is that art is essential. Society and culture need art, but artists also need to create. If all the artists stopped engaging in the process of imagination, both the artists and society would fail to thrive. Life would go on, but the development of society and culture would stagnate.
So invest in something that will leave a lasting impression. Buy some art, whether it’s an original painting or a print, music, jewelry, pottery, or a book. All artists need to be supported. If we don’t support their work financially, their creativity will not be able to feed our culture and heal our souls.