April 4, 2006
In the air between Minneapolis and Seattle.
Cosmos in Chaos
According to Madeleine, my job as a Christian artist is to point to the “cosmos in chaos”--the truth, beauty, and undeniable reality of a God who inexplicably loves and orders his creation.
Oh to be a truth-teller. Of course I want to be a purveyor of beauty. A clear reflection of the God I love as a portrait in shining glass. But above all I long to speak the truth. To take a knife to some of the ropes we weak-minded humans have bound ourselves with.
Truth resonates. Aaron has said that to me so many times. “Speak the truth, Niki, and even if your words make people angry, if what you say is true, it will echo.” And so it is. When you hear truth it strikes a note deep in your soul and makes one more piece of this universal puzzle of life fall satisfyingly into place. I want my writing to be like that: a deep, contented sigh. A feeling of, “Oh yes--that is so real. That is so true.”
I long to be a source of truth--not as I see it, but as God has seen fit to reveal it through me. I don’t say “to me” because I believe God’s truth--in what I do when I am acting in obedience to the call he has placed on my life--will far surpass any wisdom or truth that only I can perceive in it. Isn’t it so with any work of art, no matter how grand or small? God whispers, often shouts, his truth to his children, and sometimes he singles out each child and draws back the curtain on what he has been waiting to say to them. I love those moments.
As a Christian artist, I need to be obedient and open, ready to listen. It is not about me, it is about God in me. It’s about being faithful to the work that he is waiting to do in me and through me. I need to be a servant to the work, for when I truly am, the work far surpasses me and my feeble attempts to capture truth and beauty.
God is constantly creating in us, through us, with us, and to co-create with God is our calling. No wonder I feel lost and depressed when I’m not creating. Responding to my call is an act of obedience to him. It’s okay, no, necessary--imperative--for me to take time out of cleaning, cooking, mothering, and all my other daily duties to find time to create with God.
“I must work through myself in order to be enabled to get out of the way.” Madeleine
A Living Mystery
“To be a witness does not consist in engaging propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” Cardinal Suhard
Oh that I could be a living mystery! Oh that the world would look at me and ask, “Why?” so that I may respond, “Because of him.” And isn’t that they very point of my writing? To stir up something in people that makes them wriggle with wonder. Isn’t that infinitely more effective than trying to tell them what they should do and how they should feel? Weak, wicked woman that I am, I hate it when someone tells me what I should do. How then, can I presume to preach at my audience?