Thursday, April 27, 2006

198. on passion (thanks Kelli)

Maybe what I'm really lacking is passion. On the way home from house church, I was talking with Kelli about the prayer session and she was asking me all these questions about what I was passionate about, about what drives my life, about what God put here to do. And it was an odd conversation for a couple reasons. First, I didn’t have very much sleep that weekend and so I was having a hard time getting my thoughts together enough to adequately answer her barrage of questions. Second, she was asking about my passions, and I thought I knew what they were but she kept picking my answers apart (Socratic method style) and in the end I was left in a dizzy mess, feeling like a tornado had just torn through my life’s mission statement.

My passion?

Well, put simply it's to reconcile the church and the arts. Actually, the original version used to read, "to get the church back into the arts," but like I said, it was found lacking when called into question so I kind of reworked it with the reconciliation bit. And I'm not sure if the new version is any more robust than the old one but Kelli's not around to pick it apart so I'm going to roll with it for now.

Back in blog 187, I wrote about why I'd like to see the church encourage (with words) and support (with funding) artists. And it has to do with building culture, a task that we've neglected for far too long.

And I think of stewardship, the task of overseeing what belongs to another. I think about how God has given us stewardship of this earth and how caring for culture is a part of that mandate. And I think it's no accident that at a time when the arts have become all but irrelevant in the church, that many Christian conservatives willingly trade a sustainable environment for a thriving economy.

I'm ashamed to say it now, but there was a time when I was all about mocking tree-hugging environmentalists. I remember reading a chapter in one of Rush Limbaugh's early books about the environment and how the earth is far more resilient that we give it credit for. He said that all this talk about man hurting the environment was arrogance on our part. He actually said (and I'm ashamed to say that I actually believed him at the time) that for us as humans to say that we can have an adverse impact on the earth, even with all of our cars and factories and paved roads and clear cutting, is overstating our impact on the globe. He pointed to studies that showed how a volcanic event, like Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, releases more greenhouse gasses than all the greenhouse gasses emitted in the first half of the twentieth century (actually, I don't remember the exact comparison he used, but it was something along those lines).

Follow that line of reasoning and it gives us clear mandate to rape the environment since our dick isn't big enough to do it any harm. And that's such irresponsible bullshit. Even if our impact on the environment isn't as large as we think it is, isn't it still an abdication of our responsibility to steward the earth to say that we can pollute the air with impunity?

Among other things, art can be about reminding us about the delicate beauty of nature, about what a rare jewel of a planet God has given us, about what we need to protect and preserve.

Unfortunately, capitalism is the pagan god of our day and I think it's clear that the church in America worships at its feet along with corporations and political parties.

(Randall steps off his soap box)

You know, this blog was originally going to be about me not knowing what my passion was, but even with the little bit that I wrote above, I guess it's clear that there's fire left in me yet.

No, I don't have it all figured out just yet and I suppose that's why it was so easy for Kelli to poke holes in my ideas. But I know I'm asking some good questions and in the end I'm aiming for nothing less than a kind of revolution. Capitalism is a wonderful economic system but like any system, we have to remember that it's there to serve the needs of humanity, not the other way around.

And I can't believe it but I feel like I'm talking like a liberal more and more these days. But that's a whole other issue that deserves it's own blog entry.

Anyway, I know she meant well. Maybe she just wanted to understand where I was coming from. Maybe she was trying to get me to understand myself better. I don't know. It got me thinking again and that's a good thing.

Two kudos for Kelli.

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