Monday, February 9, 2009

on calling. or, the question of calling

i know it's been a while since i last posted -- i'm still trying to find a rhythm for this. i am posting an article i wrote for centered: thoughts on evangelical spiritual formation. the question (or questions) of calling is always on my mind. this essay poses some questions about calling, and addresses the calling of the artist particularly. i suppose it's a bit of a manifesto. i'd be interested in your responses, thoughts, challenges, quibbles or outright disagreements. heh. and so:

part the first
I am an artist.

There. I’ve said it.

Being an artist is a calling. I was an artist before I became a christian, and I will continue to be one. Now by artist, I don’t simply mean someone who is creative. We all carry the Imago Dei, therefore we are all created in the image of God, and as such, are creative. The calling of the artist is for a very specific application of that creativity. It is purposeful.

That calling is, of course, secondary to our calling as a christian. That call is our opportunity to enter into God’s grace and equipping. It involves an invitation, an offer of salvation, of deliverance, of relationship. It demands a response. I think it has something to do with sonship. I think that has something to do with the kingdom. I think it involves being part of a community, a tribe, a family, a body. There’s a call to salvation, a call to sanctification, a call to maturation. But basically, the call is to Christ. To be re-created in his image.

The language of calling can be confusing. We use calling to refer to ministry positions. These living gifts: apostle, prophet, evangelist or pastor/teacher have a role -- to prepare, and release, the people of God for service (or ministry). So perhaps the word calling confuses the issue. I would like to use “calling” to denote much the same thing as vocation. Or responsibility.

But that doesn’t address the calling of the artist (and by artist I will be referring to artists of all flavours and languages whether visual, textual, material or visceral) directly. Yes, our call is first to Christ, and his kingdom. And then we are to fulfill the role he has for us within his kingdom. But how do we do that? Here are some questions that may provide some direction.

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