I used to think that some people just didn’t get it. I now realize they are actively hostile.
Some of us have a creative impulse, a muse that whispers to our souls, telling us to make, paint, write, build. We spend our lives learning how to get this thing that is burning inside us, out.
Others, like a crab in a boiling pot of water (thwarting any who dare try and escape a slow death), watch to mock, critique and reject.
There is another War of Art than the internal battle that Steven Pressfield so masterfully exposes.
It is a war with the anti-artist.
- That’s too expensive
- What a waste of time
- That extra stuff doesn’t matter
- No one can tell the difference
The Heart of the Creator
I once heard a friend quote (though I forget the reference) that one day we will ask God why He made so many stars, the majority of which will never even be seen by anyone on planet earth. They imagined God responding, “I like the way that one twinkles.” Maybe the stars are not twinkling for us.
The impulse to create is the divine spark.
Art flows out of love. Its legacy is found in our Creator Who created to love.
Art, as truth and beauty, is worship of the One who is truth and beauty.
Not everything has to be liked by everyone. We all have different sensibilities. But the truth and beauty that we find, always points to the source.
The anti-artist has mistakenly believed the art was for him which is why he feels empowered to reject it. It’s not. It wasn’t.
Did you know the human eye can see over 10 million colors?
Have you ever looked at the sunset and realized that you didn’t have to see it that way?
God could have given us monochromatic eye sight. He didn’t because of Who He is.
God is the greatest artist of all.
The Heart of the Anti-Artist
I have heard anti-artists complain about equipment expenses, costs of stage props, instruments and electric bills.
When Solomon built the temple, he had a different view.
When you read 1 Kings 6, you realize that Solomon spared no expense in building the temple –from ornately carved cedar to floors and walls overlaid with gold (Gold. Yes. Floors covered with gold.)–even though the vast majority of Israelites would never see it! Even the high priest only used the Holy of Holies once a year!
Maybe it wasn’t built for them.
“But it’s such waste of money,” the anti-artist will cry, “that money could be used for ministry.”
Hmmm. That sounds familiar.
“This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”
The anti-artist knows the value of money, but does not know the value of worship.
When we have a proper understanding of all that God has lavished upon us, we want to lavishly worship Him. Many of us love the story of the overflowing free-will offering that Ancient Israel gave on their way to the promised land.
Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.
The Israelites knew the value of worship and freely gave their possessions.
Anti-artists believe they are protecting the church from extravagant expense. They are actually limiting the church’s potential.
We must protect our churches from those who idolize money.
Anti-artists believe they are practical. They are actually people pleasers and have their reward.
We must care about details that only God sees. Then our art is worship.
Anti-artists believe they are doing the real work. They are actually Marthas who are preoccupied with what Jesus’ rejects.
We must be people who “waste time” at Jesus’ feet.
Anti-artists believe they are arbiters of propriety. They are actually self-focused, marketers of stagnation.
We must worship without reserve.
Do not give in to the hostile anti-artist. The anti-artist does not represent a valid, yet different, view point. They are not speaking for God.
God is the ultimate artist. So see the anti-artists for who they really are.