In my journey between belief and disbelief, I have found Truth to be something I choose not to argue about, but to be what I have experienced in the mystery of the flesh-and-blood of the incarnation. My encounter with Truth is the Story — my responses, reflected in word and image, are but a ripple in the ocean of that mystery.
After a recent exhibit at an artist showcase at my church, I found that I was ultimately ambivalent about it. One image I preferred, titled Sinkhole, seen below, truthfully expressed the dark lull of depression which is a reoccurring struggle for me, but the rest of my images were drivel. After searching within, and asking for guidance, I found inside myself a desire which I came to understand as this:
I want my photography and poetry to reflect the improbable and shattering experiences I have had encountering Jesus — encounters between my grubby and muddled life and Truth. These moments aren’t at all pretty; my struggles with a life-threatening depression (the sinkhole), the death of an abusive yet charming parent, a loathsome self-esteem, the tensions between my passions & my search for ultimate purpose, and the shame & fear in acknowledging my alcoholism, are all relevant to my faith journey.
I am living with the tension of wanting to create beautiful, excellent art and to reflect the sweat and toil of my faith. To honestly reflect the sweet serenity of unconditional love & laughter, as well as suffering, pain and broken heart I have from things chosen and unchosen in my life. The satisfaction I have experienced in my slow, bittersweet surrender to believing God is who he says he is and can do what he says he can do! The heart’s quickening by the spirit of God which is earth shattering and good.
I’m fully aware that my writing and photography will never have the Answers to the Questions people have — but if it can be a simple witness to my experiences and a nudge toward Truth, I will be satisfied. Knowing Jesus promised that those who seek will find. We can trust him. He meant what he said.
I want my Art to be a connection that cannot help but push one toward God. I need to make this kind of art, need it desperately. And I hope in the act of creating, whether through a lens or written word., some restitution will be found.
Is it too much to ask that Art heals, directs, and in the end is a tiny inkling of God’s Truth? There is a certain anxiety or fear involved with the attempt. Not wanting to be marginalized by the world for making “Christian art,” I feel reluctant and yet strangely compelled! What other option do I have? If my art is relevant to the entirety of my experience, from the dazzling to the profane moments, then it just may be relevant to the people around me.
This is my wish.
Some of my thinking was inspired by: http://www.relevantmagazine.com, http://www.insidecatholic.com, as well as by the writings of C.S.Lewis. Teaching at Blackhawk Church, http://www.blackhawkchurch.org, has been a catalyst in this profound change in my life over the last seven years.