Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

2 June 2010

Good taste is the enemy of great art

"I remember reading a thing Picaso once said. I like to read what famous artists have to say because I'm barely able to look at their paintings without going into a coma trying to figure out what it's about. He said that 'good taste is the enemy of great art' which I think is very true. Good taste has all to do with being cultured and being refined. If art has to do with anything, it has to do with being human.

Here's the thing that I think we often forget is that we don't have to impress him. He's already knocked out about you. And if He was cultured and He was as civilized as most Christian people wish He was... you would be useless to Christianity.

God is a wild man. Because God takes the junk of our lives and he makes the greatest art in the world out of it."

The fact that God uses us as his masterpiece in the sloppy mess we find ourselves in... should keep us humble and full of grace for others. Although it doesn't always work out that way. Here's an excerpt from Don Miller's "Having Right Theology does not mean you know God".

"Theology can become an idol, but it is more useful as guardrails on a road to the true God. Theology is very important, but it is not God, and knowing facts about God is not the same as knowing God.

What I came to understand, then, is Christian conversion is relational. It is not theological or intellectual any more than marriage is theological or intellectual. In other words, a child could become a Christian if they had a mysterious encounter with Jesus, and a simple thinker could become a Christian if they had a mysterious encounter with Christ, and even a person who was a Muslim or a Buddhist could become a Christian if they had a mysterious relational encounter with Christ. This is the only answer at which I could arrive that matched the reality in which we live, the complexity of scripture, and the mysterious invitation offered to us by Jesus.

I hear the masses saying, “But no! A person cannot believe in multiple Gods and be a Christian.” Let me counter with some questions:

Can a person have bad theology and be a Christian?

Has your theology ever been corrected, and were you really a Christian before?

Is your theology all worked out now so you have no more reason to study, and if not, are you a Christian?

If you believe a person’s theology has to be right to be qualified for Christian conversion, then you are saying a person comes to know God, in part, because he has right ideas, and I respectfully disagree. Do I think right theology is important? Absolutely, but I do not believe it has any agency to convert anymore than directions to the doctor’s office has the power to heal.

I have a friend who countered, adamantly, that unless a person understood and agreed with the theological idea of total depravity, he could not be a Christian. I asked my friend when it was that he understood the idea himself, and he answered his sophomore year in seminary. I asked him, then, when he had become a Christian, and he told me when he was in the third grade. His reasoning was obviously insane, and I don’t think he is alone. I believe that God wants us to engage with and be transformed by His Word."

These things should be so liberating and fill us with patience, grace and humility. I think when we really think about them and choose to acknowledge them, it does. Because we WANT to be the freedom freak Pete Greig talks about in The Vision.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs.

If we're holding on to our precious little rights and wrongs... we'd best not because good taste is the enemy of great art.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If a child/ 'simple thinker' (as you put it - a derogatory term, I could apply it to yourself if I willingly allowed such naive statements into my vocabulary and such naive sentiments into my mind)/ believer of other ideologies (I'd say religions but Buddhist is not a religion, whilst Muslims worship the same God as Christians/ Jews, only differ in theology*) had a 'mysterious' encounter with Jesus I don't think that they would necessarily convert - if they had a material, non-mysterious, encounter with Jesus they would be much more likely to surely? It depends upon the usage of 'mysterious' (which if you would elaborate on I would be appreciative please).

Your use of the term 'insane thinking' regarding the disparity of synchronicity of coming into being a Christian and the fruition of realisation of theological grounding is also vague - at worst insulting. There are many people who have suffered tremendously because of the misuse of the term 'insane.' That wasn't very 'Christian' of you.

Does my pointing out the gaps in your logic make you an 'insane thinker?'

Surely if one thing can be determined from am analysis of Christian theology and Christian interpersonal relationships is that understanding of Christianity is extremely disparate.

No two denominations agree on their interpretation of what it is to be 'saved' and how to get there.

In terms of theology, no two books in the bible outside of the letters of Paul (one author, obvious explanation) present the same moral code. Morality in the Bible is a process between covers.

Your admirable sentiments may have been articulated more successfully if you had said simply (for 'simple thinkers' maybe that would have been less patronising) that: 'Faith in Jesus earns Salvation** regardless of moral success.'

*Theology therefore it is not: the term theology refers to the divine by definition, a devine entity would surely only desire peacefulness and coexistence amoungst their children, not slicing up that populous into groups that cannot coexisit successfully. Anything that results in such an end is man's study of the nature of man, not a study of the nature of God, He would surely shy from distinctions that create barriers between members of the family of humanity.

**Therefore the label 'Christian' (which is a meaningless, again vague, moreover pointless distinction anyway - just a distinction that creates another barrier between members of the family of humanity.

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