Saturday, May 27, 2006
Jesus and the Architects
"He is an amazing artist and I love the way he articulates his thoughts....would love that cuppa sitting with the 2 of you and so many others listening to each other.....Why have we so screwed up everything.....You just figure God is watching us saying come on can't you figure out how to love each other???..... "
I read this after having dinner with some friends. Our conversation over Killer Shrimp and pinot grigio was much different from the severe lunch I'd had the previous weekend.
Debbie is an architect. After 7 years she has landed in the middle of a dream job: money isn't a problem, and the clients really want what Deb has to offer. God has given her a gift. As is usual with such gifts it requires some stretching: Debbie is being changed by it. She's having to learn supervision skills.
If you were the common sort of crabbed, conservative Christian that wants to speak for everyone, you could easily say that the whole project is decadent and that no real Christian would be involved in it. The money could be better spent elsewhere. That would be to deny God's many gifts, and his guidance. Many things had to come together at just the right time to put Deb in this place at this time. She has learned, and is learning more. I don't believe in coincidences, and who am I to deny that God can give this lavishly? After all, I'm still here, which is about as lavish a gift as I can comprehend right now.
We all have stories like this. As BJK envisions, wouldn't it be wonderful to gather with some friends and share the wonders of what God is teaching us? Face to face?
One of the things I was chided for last week was spending so much time with friends on-line rather than face to face. I see this pragmatically: People in the face-to-face world won't make time to meet. My friends in Uru do make time. Every Saturday night we gather for music and conversation, and have been doing so for almost a year. If you want to know people you have to talk with them, and that takes time. I know my Music Night friends pretty well by now.
What led to Music Night is another of our Chief Architect's weird plans. I needed a PC to play Uru so started looking around on the Web. I'd played the game on noisy PC and sort of hoped that there were alternatives. Laptops looked like the best way, but are somewhat unreliable for games. Then, by chance, I found a "silent" PC. No fans. I bought one of those and played the game. Then I realized that a silent PC could be used as a music source; I'd already been using a Mac for music playback and liked the convenience. It was too noisy for daily use, but the new PC could hold my music collection and make it all findable. I started copying CDs to it. So, when I learned how to play music in Uru the two threads came together and Music Night was the result. Coincidence? No. I think it's a series of gifts, designed and built just for me.
Sand sculpture is an even better example. Who would have thought of making an arch from sand? The idea just came to me one day, and I enjoyed the experiments even as they failed because I like the feel of sand. Eventually I learned how to make the arch. It became a more complex arch, and then became bigger and more complex. After a few years I was confident enough of the structure that I could concentrate on design. It all just grew, little step after little step. What drives such an act? I didn't know, and was afraid to look for fear of making the goose quit laying golden eggs. Sand sculpture's complex and delicate arches built a bridge over a bad period of my life, creativity carrying me through until I was ready to admit defeat.
What drives such an act? God is driven by love. One day a woman told me that she saw love in the sculpture, and her word matched those of other people. I told her I knew nothing of love, which was the truth. She was astounded. For me it was business as usual. If there's love involved I don't want to know about it. I have a habit of ruthlessly stamping out any such delicate thing from my life. Love, beauty, kindness are all erosive of the rigid structure necessary for a sensitive man to survive in brutal world.
"You just figure God is watching us saying come on can't you figure out how to love each other???....."
Well, of course we can't figure out how to love each other. We're too busy emulating Dirty Harry and the Cat Who Walks By Himself. Wrong model. God hands us bread. We turn it to stone and throw it away. Advanced Christianity become equated with a herd of rhinoceroses crashing through a forest. What of the flowers underfoot?
God has the audacity to say he can teach me to love. He's pretty confident, too. He's using Mercy's comments to illustrate what he means and to bring me to consciousness of love. I still resist, having had enough bread turned to stone that I have little confidence that this time will be different. I'll get out there on the tip of the branch and then God will break it off. That's what we're taught. Christianity is full of pain and suffering. If you have joy it will be brief.
Well, I know all about enduring. I've been enduring for years. I look at Debbie and her face is just illuminated by the wonder of this project and the fact that it's her out there were the big ships go. She is the lead designer. It'll be her name in the magazine articles. Can I ever find something that would bring such joy to my face? I doubt it. God, however, has other ideas and while they include enduring, I doubt that it's endurance just for the sake of being here. I think the main thing he wants to erode is my insistence on a narrow life of survival. He wants to build something beautiful... Or perhaps it's more a matter of, as Debbie is doing with her project, removing the ugly remodelling that has been done before to return the house to what its real Architect desired. I still think he's nuts, but he's free to try. I'm going nowhere on my own.
I've had people tell me that I'm "prostituting" my talent by being an artist for hire.
No more than anyone else who does what they are trained or gifted to do. Why are the creative arts different? I've had many opportunities to minister through my work.
God wants us to be happy. He wants us to live. He wants us to prosper. Jesus and Paul needed funds to move about in their ministry...they needed their "bills" paid as well. God provided. He moves me now into the prophetic art...never thought in a million years I'd do that. I've been struggling against it, fearful of lack of funds. Why is it so hard to remember that He provides and will do so abundantly?