Arts Wannabe

Last week’s Transforming Culture Arts conference hosted by the Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity was a bittersweet experience for me.  Sweet in that I got the chance be instructed by some extraordinarily wise brothers and sisters–Eugene Peterson, Lucy Shaw, Barbara Nicolosi, David Taylor just to name a few– and to hang out with artsy people.  (Growing up in Alabama I was told that there are two types of people: athletes and athletic supporters. Barbara amended this to artists and arts supporters.) Bitter in that while I’m an arts wannabe, I often feel that I barely qualify as an arts jock.

The TC conference encouraged me to think more broadly, both about art and about myself.  "Art" is not restricted to creativity practiced professionally or publicly. Indeed, in the confusion of the market true beauty often isn’t even recognized until it’s been around for awhile; ask Van Gogh and Bach. And even the contributions of those of us who aren’t creative geniuses may prove in God’s economy to be more valuable than we can imagine.

Paul reminds me of this in I Corinthians 3:  "If any man builds on this foundation {i.e., Christ himself} using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light." In his Diary of Private Prayer John Baillie echoes this hope (and my fears) like this:  “…from thinking lightly of the one talent thou hast given me, because thou hast not given me five or ten: O God, set me free."  Greg Grooms