Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bad Art, Healing Art, and the In-between

On Sunday I had a frustrating day, the sermon felt really flat even though I like the content, potluck meant more time at church and less time for some visits. I did not get my usual afternoon nap as I did visits and some errands. I threw together a pot of tortilla soup in the crock pot, it smelled amazing. We took some down time to see Hidden Figures, which is amazing. After the film we came home to a house full of the smell of this soup. We started to eat the soup, we could not eat the soup, I put the whole lime in, it turns out lime rinds will make soup so bitter, nothing will counter act it. I ended up eating pop tarts, dinner of champions. Then in a move that was less than wise, I decided to work on a craft project I have been dreaming of for almost two years. Right before we moved here I saw one of those canvas signs that said in this home we do... I liked it but waited to purchase it. When I went to purchase it, it was sold out. I did some internet searches and found more words I liked. I had a picture of a sign and a few extra words to add. I had spent Saturday evening designing my template/stencil on the computer and Sunday I had "printed" it on my cutting tool. This is a tedious process. My kiddo went to bed in the middle of this process. I didn't plan to finish the project that night but I did. Once I got going I couldn't stop. The thing is I had attended a sign painting class a few weeks ago and I had the steps down. In the class we used boards at home I was using a canvas I had purchased. It turns out that canvas in addition to being too textured and pliable to really hold my stencil, also bleeds when you paint with this technique. I made a good first try but it bled and it is splotchy and not what I envisioned. I decided I would regroup and try again. I hung it on a wall to dry so we didn't get painted kitten feet.

Fast forward to the next morning, kiddo gets up sees my project on the wall and excitedly say, "Mommy is THAT your poster!" I replied, "Yes it is, but it got a little splotched up. I need to do it over." "MOMMY! There is no such thing as bad art!" (I know she hears this at home but I am pretty sure she hears it at school too.) As always she has me thinking on my toes. "Well it isn't bad but it isn't how I would like it, so I will try again." This led to a good conversation about practicing and trying again.

Now it is not lost on me that the first word on these signs is REAL and there is a chance that maybe I should leave it as in an attempt to be authentic. I told my daughter I liked the over all design and the colors but I would like to try again. She talked about how she could try again on her drawings. It felt like an excellent teaching moment. On Tuesday I remade the soup and made sure to point out, I was trying again. This weekend I will do take two on this sign to get it how I want it. She is right there is no bad art not in soup or signs. Yet, there is the idea that if something doesn't turn out how we might like we can try again, most of the time.

It would seem that there are no second chances when it comes to this past election because tomorrow the inauguration happens. I am not going to lie, this election has been hard on me, it has not only pressed on everything I hold dear in a negative way; it has made preaching the gospel with out sounding political nearly impossible. My job went from challenging to overwhelming in one day's time. I am hurting, I am a little angry, I am a little afraid. My call is to serve the people of God, the people of God are well, everyone. How do I raise my voice for the oppressed because of my call and convictions, when suddenly the love of Christ is totally political like it was 2000 years ago?

Long before I was a pastor, long before I knew this would be my life, I lived, worked, and dreamed in film production. Film was and is my art form of choice. Now I left this field, particularly live news (my last related gig) because I didn't like some of what it stood for. Lately, art has been my balm. Art has been helping me to heal and process my emotions. There is a lot out there that can be considered entertainment: music, tv, movies, books... you get the idea. Not all entertainment is art. The difference is entertainment amuses us, art speaks to the full breath of human experience. Art speaks to pain, uncertainty, oppression, joy, love, and overcoming. Art speaks to all that we experience and it stirs in us through pictures, paintings, words, songs. It hits that place of commonality we humans tend to have, it overcomes all the barriers we build to protect ourselves, hits us right in the heart. This past week I was reminded of the powerful voice of art in our lives. I am grateful for the way fearless art spoke to me this week. I am proud that in this contentious time the artists are not afraid to speak truth into the world. In this strange time we must cling to what gives us hope.

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