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artistic license

God Has Given Us A Full Palette From Which To Paint His Message

I attended the Art Institute of Seattle for a time.  Most of my classes were forgettable, yet one class about different types of art was a real eye-opener for me.  It is the first time I met, what I consider to be, a real artist.  During this class, as we surveyed different mediums and categories of artistic expression, our teacher played a documentary film about American composer John Cage who is famous, for a piano composition entitled 4:33.  4:33 is the time it takes to play this composition.  In order to play it, you sit down at the piano, read the music, turn the pages, but play nothing.

This, according to my teacher, was profound.  I suppose that the sounds of the audience, not knowing what was going on, or the ambient sounds of the auditorium was the point.  Suffice it to say, my teacher was also in awe of Vincent Van Gough, who it is said would sometimes eat his paints.  To him,  these artists showed total commitment to their art.

Total commitment to nothing

I, of course, objected to this type of avant-garde expression. In the spirit of John Cage, for a project, I nailed together two boards, took a blowtorch to them, setting a grubby, plastic flower on top.  I dubbed my masterpiece “Eden” and turned it in.  Upon showing it to the class, my teacher simply said, “I wouldn’t have gone with the flower”.  That day, my instructor taught me that I should commit to my message, no matter what it is.

Now, to me, John Cage was not a musician, but rather a performance artist whose chief talent was to get people talking about what he did.  While I don’t agree with the direction he tried to take people, I do agree that he was totally committed to his “art”.  It is that unabashed “being” that is remarkable, even if his point of view is questionable.

In a similar vein, let’s all look at Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is perhaps the most famous and infamous expression of this unabashed “artistic license” in our day.  Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta intentionally breaks everything in our culture, supposedly making a statement while doing it. Yet, as far out as she is, people eat it up.  Her music video “Bad Romance” has just shy of a billion views on YouTube at the writing of this blog.  Therefore, her music is connecting with something fundamental in a significant portion of the human race.

If the world has such “artistic license”, why can’t we?

I have been thinking about “artistic license” lately.  Given that those who do not acknowledge God paint with a full palette of colors, unashamed of anything they say or do, why shouldn’t Christians have the same such freedom?

Though many artists degrade and defile everything they get their hands on, that is not what I am talking about here.  As believers, our palette is naturally richer than the muddied colors unbelievers access.  Why not allow God full artistic license in our lives to do whatever He wants to do when He wants to do it?  How about living with no boundaries except those that His Spirit creates at the time He creates them?

It is truly difficult to break free

We all grow up in our cultures and are issued a set of values.  As children, we unconsciously imbibe the attitudes and behaviors of those around us.   For instance, in American culture the guys in the white hats are good and the guys in the black hats are bad.  Good guys in Asian cultures wear black hats and the bad wear white hats.  However, now that we are adults, we have a choice of what to believe.  God wants to break us free of all of our preconceptions, giving us a massively increased palette of truth to work with.

Determined to be free

Revelation, given straight from the Holy Spirit, is the reason why we can be free.  Without His leading and guidance, we could never see the forest for the trees.  Without God’s divine light, Jesus Christ, we would be like the world, ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.  I pray that YHWH gives me the courage to have the true “artistic license” of the Holy Spirit so that I might express, accurately and without fear, everything and anything He is.

Open Your Eyes by Keith Gree