Something I’ve long resisted is this idea that there is the world and culture of art, and the world and culture of faith, and that the twain never shall meet.
And why not, I say? At what point did these two worlds become diametrically opposed? Why should art and faith have any issues whatsoever with one another?
The part of me that harbors this deeply convicted feeling that these two worlds ought to co-exist delighted when I read, in the book “Bonhoeffer,” that Dietrich was raised in soil in which it wasn’t either or, but if/and:
As author Eric Metaxas writes: “The family seemed to have the best of what we today might think of as conservative and liberal values, of traditional and progressive ones.”
He adds, “According to Kierkegaard, man belongs either to the moral or the artistic type. He did not know this house which formed a harmony of both.” (my emphasis…)
Oh, I love that. I love the thought that we can have order and expectation and form and, at the very same time, be free-spirited enough to cherish life to the full; to not be so stuffy with our order that we forget to play, as I’m fairly certain God designed us to do.
And so it was that I also read with delight the headline from a recent news article noting that a former atheist poet has converted to Christianity.
“Until two years ago, I was a really committed atheist and I really hated the Catholic Church,” the article begins, quoting poet Sally Read, who explained how all that dramatically changed over a period of months in 2010.
A thinking person, an artist no doubt, who delves deeply into words and thought, discovers the Christian faith? Hmm….(scratches head…)
The whole process, Read reveals, took place from March to December, in “a bit of a lightning flash.”
Read is not some novice poet, either. Rather, she’s described in the article as “one of a new generation of younger poets shaping the future of British poetry.”
Even better, it was while she was working on her art, writing a book, that her conversion began take shape; at a time when she “became very aware that I didn’t know where the soul was and I didn’t know if the soul existed. And it was really driving me crazy.”
She began talking, arguing really, with a Canadian priest in the coastal resort town in Italy where she currently resides.
“So, while I was talking to this priest about, well, is there a God and all of that kind of stuff, I kind of had this feeling as a poet that God was the ultimate poet and the ultimate Creator, and I was simply being used as an instrument,” the article notes that Read said.
God as the ultimate poet, and the poet as instrument. Brilliant, and true.
That’s it, isn’t it? It’s the discovery of a lifetime: realizing that we are, each and every one of us, creative individuals made in the image and likeness of…the ultimate Creator. Wow…blows the mind.
There is no separating out art and faith, or, said another way, morality and creativity. The two glide along together in a beautiful pattern that has been in motion since the moment God breathed his first nto humanity, and even before.
You can read the rest of Read’s conversion story here.
Q4U: Have you ever sensed a divide between the worlds of art and faith? How did you reconcile this dissonance?