art is dead. your death killed it.

I was talking to one of my very talented, very artistic friends recently and he made this strong suggestion:

“Art is dead.”

At first, it didn’t sit very well. The period at the end is so… so defeating. If this statement stirs up a response, even indignation inside you like it did me, then I wonder why. Why are you offended by this idea that art and creativity have died a painful death?

I’m offended because I want to believe it’s not so. Somewhere deep down, beneath the indigestion and tortillas, somewhere in that “gut” region people refer to when talking about instincts, I refuse. Something in me revolts at the finality – there is no room for explanation. Just a period and that’s it.

It’s like falling off the monkey bars on the playground and landing flat on my back. I’m laying there, with the wind knocked out of me, unsteady and unsure of what just happened.

After I caught my breath, I realized I agree with him. Nearly everything “creative” these days is a well-dressed marketing ploy to respond to our basest desires. With all our technology and supposed intellectual advancement, we tread the very same trail to bark up the very same tree, whose roots reach only as deep as our most carnal desires.

Instead of searching for music or entertainment that makes us think and question and understand life, we look for a spoonful of sugar so that (what we pass for) art goes down easy. We don’t want art to challenge us or move us or convict us because… well, that doesn’t feel good. We want to take in a movie like we take in the uber-buttered, theatre popcorn… without thinking. We want to walk out with our heads bobbing, digesting the plate full of artistic pudding without questioning the grumblings in our bellies for something of more substance.

The second part of my friend’s thought took a step closer to my offended spirit. He suggested I’m to blame. Art is dead and my death killed it. I again had to shake the shock of such a suggestion, but again arrived at a convicted conclusion. I agree.

How can something dead make something living? How can an unconscious potter work with clay? How can life come from death? We re-work the same ideas, plots, notes, melodies, story lines centered around sex, money, jealousy, and greed. Then we pronounce it “version 2.0” and, with some clever advertising, have people believing they are consuming something that has “never before been seen.” I almost apologized just now for being so cynical, but I held back because it wouldn’t be genuine.

The Original Creator took great care in designing the smallest details, from the juice pockets in oranges to the strange mating habits of penguins. Creation is so complicated that we will never, ever exhaust its intricacies. If we let ourselves marvel, we will never be bored and the subject will never be dull. Never.

How does God accomplish this? How does He keep our attention?

He lives.

This is certainly not the end of my musings on this subject, but please chime in with your thoughts!

Also, I read this article over at The Gospel Coalition and I really appreciate the views on creativity, the arts, and the church.

if it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t LOVE

I just want to say something… a simple something with switchfoot as accompaniment.

Few things hurt more than watching beautiful, amazing, inspiring, lovely kids live without the unconditional love of their parents. It can be a kid on the street or a kid in my office. Oh, boy… it HURTS to hear of empty houses and awkward dinner conversations and all sorts of cover-ups that make it seem okay.

it’s NOT okay.

This is a link for a free download of a Switchfoot song covered by Darren King of Mutemath. It’s called, “Yet” and these words keep playing over in my heart today:

If it doesn’t break your heart, it isn’t love.

what is breaking your heart today?

let LOVE fly like CrAzY

Monday Madness

WEEKEND fun

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Monday LINKAGE

Enjoy this list of wonderful things (arts, crafts, music, and generally things that have inspired in the past couple days).

  1. Sleeping at Last new music
  2. Slothpop new music
  3. beautiful mess blog
  4. inkismyfavorite blog
  5. Oh Joy blog
  6. Friends of the Challies blog
  7. this sermon by John Piper
  8. paper lanterns
  9. recycled fabrics
  10. Dr. Seahorse new cd you can download for FREE

Yes, folks. My post today is mostly pointing to inspiration instead of giving any, but there are more important matters… like planning for this weekend’s SLEEPOUT event to raise money for the Micah Project and cleaning up after a crazy weekend…. and enjoying many uninterrupted cups of coffee, accompanied by Miike Snow, Joy Williams, and Brooke Fraser.

I guess my stories about changing a car battery, learning to jerk in my living room, and making sushi at 4 am will have to wait for another day very soon!

age old faith

Kids bookshelf with German and American childr...
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Is it true? Am I really cracking open the cover of yet another book? I have pictures and napkins and bent pages marking so many books still clinging to “in-the-middle-of” status. Yet, the summer stack (in all its glossy newness) is under my window and it catches the light just right in the afternoon.

I know. I have an unhealthy appreciation for the written word. That aside, today I am starting something different and possibly brilliant. I don’t want to judge a book by its first few pages, but if I did I would be searching for a purple ribbon. Kevin DeYoung is an author I admire and follow not just because I read his books and blogs, but because I know someone who knows him and he assures me DeYoung is the real deal.

So, this afternoon, I picked up “The Good News We Almost Forgot” and I’m headed to a coffee shop to meet up with some students. They will probably be reading Cosmo or NYLON or the newest, trendiest vampire thriller. I’ll be there, with my book about the Heidelberg Catchechism like it ain’t no thing.

I hope (for my more than your sake) that this book uncovers some of the roots the saints in previous generations saw clearly.

And so it begins.

What is The Point of “Think” by John Piper?

John Stephen Piper
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My morning perusal of all my favorite twitter friends led me to an article about Piper’s new book “Think.”

After the initial shock of the realization that I needed to add yet ANOTHER Piper book to my list of “to-read,” I am thoroughly excited about the questions confronted in this book and the honest replies that point to Scripture alone.

Madison, WI pastor Zach Nielson posted an excerpt from pages 26-27 that has me wanting to read pages 1-25.

Read it here: What is The Point of “Think” by John Piper?.