I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
– C.S. Lewis
The truth about Jesus is something you need to see. In Jesus, the God-Man, the Creator of the Universe stepped into His world to death with the rebellion against him of the people he lovingly made. He cared enough and loved enough to take the curse on Himself and to die the death we all deserved. In the face of condemnation, He brought forgiveness. In the face of alienation he brought reconciliation. In the face of despair, He brought hope, and in the face of death, He brought life.
But it’s more than that. It isn’t just information, it’s a way of seeing. Knowing all this doesn’t just make life a bit nicer. It changes what reality is all about. It changes what you think you know about the past, how you deal with the present, and the way you approach the future. It makes sense, but it doesn’t just make sense. It makes sense of everything. “Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
But what does it have to do with art? What does it have to do with a blog about art?
Francis Schaeffer called us “glorious ruins,” bearing the fingerprints of the glorious God who made us, but the indelible stain of the sin we fell into. The world we inhabit is the same. Glorious. Ruined. How does an artist fit these two aspects together? Beauty and ugliness. Joy and pain. Life and death. As we create, we follow in the footsteps of a Creator God, but always caught between these two – the glory and the ruin.
“By it I see everything else.” The Christian message makes sense of both of these. It points us to the source of Glory, and to the reason for its Ruin. But it goes further – much further. It offers hope, to be found in a person, the Lord Jesus. This is not just tea and sympathy, followed by despair when the pot goes cold. It’s what reality is all about, it’s where the universe is heading.
I’m an amateur. I don’t know that much about appreciating art, and I know even less about making it. But all around me, artists are asking me things and telling me things about the world in the art they produce. But if I think I know what the world is about, then I have questions of my own for them. And I have stuff to say.
Art is a conversation. This is me joining in. Feel free to join in too.
“These paintings, these poems and these demonstrations which we have been talking about are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expressions in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to our generation. These men are dying while they live, yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.”
– Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There, p36