Monday, February 9, 2009

the question of community

part the fourth
At this point, we’ve established two very important things. We need to know who we are: artists called by God for a purpose. And we need to be faithful stewards – training and preparing and honing our skills, both technical and intellectual. Now what? As I’ve stated above, artists aren’t there to serve themselves, or to live for themselves. We have been called to serve a community, or communities. That is our “ministry”. That also means you have a responsibility. Take a look around you. Where can you serve? Where will you serve (because it really isn't optional)? Wherever you look you will see a need that you could address, whether through your skills or your work.

There is a reason so much contemporary creative work is alienating to people – it is alienated from community. At least, any community other than its own. While I enjoy a nice theoretical and conceptual puzzle every now and then, I have no illusions about the ability of such work to connect to the general population. If I want to connect and communicate something, I will have to make specific choices and take responsibility for what I make, how I present it, and to whom. It’s not a small thing to look outside your self and serve.

Further, the question of community is also important for artists as a tribe. Why do we often operate so independently? Why have we swallowed the lie of individualism and its isolating effects? How much stronger would we be if we learned to collaborate? If we learned to receive appropriate criticism and challenges from other artists? What if we were willing to be mentored and discipled and trained? What if it wasn’t about “me”?

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