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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Art: What Would Jesus Do?

Today’s Daily Prompt poses a challenging question:  Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

Whoo boy.

You noticed, of course, that I’m a Christian writer.  As a Christian, I often choose to listen to music by Christian artists.  I often choose to read books that help me develop in my faith.  I frequent blogs with Christian content.  All this I do on purpose, because having faith means more than having once been sprinkled with holy water.

And yes, I’ve had my doubts about secular artists.  For a time I particularly enjoyed a performer who made frequent drug references in his music.  They made me squirm.  As I watched the scene of a lovely spring day in Poland become a horrific nightmare, I admired Roman Polanski’s artistry while despising his behavior.  I sometimes find humor in the work of Alec Baldwin, yet I hope to never meet him.

These doubts sometimes make me wonder if I should allow my entertainment dollars to go to people with views that don’t match mine.  I don’t want to support anyone who leaves long and abusive phone messages for a daughter.  I think Roman Polanski should feel our outrage and disdain.  And I like the idea of giving my money to Christian artists.

But it’s just not right.

I live in the real world.

I interact with people in the real world.

If I limit myself to the ideas and the art of only those who agree with me, I’ll never learn anything.  I’ll become stagnant, hidebound.  But when I examine art that challenges my world view, I have the opportunity to grow.

I felt the same way as my children grew up about content that might be “too adult” for them.  On a few occasions I chose to shield them from content I felt would frighten them or confuse them.  But on far more occasions, my husband and I chose to watch the television show or movie with them, and then talk about what they saw and what we saw.  I’m glad we did this.  Often, we learned that our children viewed the world much the same way we did.  We learned that they had interesting, thoughtful questions.  They, in turn, appreciated that we valued their opinions.  (I confess, both kids learned exactly what to say whenever I grabbed the remote to hit the pause button.  “I know, Mom,” they would say.  And then they’d mimic my views on the subject at hand.)

It’s also how Jesus lived his life.  As a man with new ideas to share, he couldn’t spend his time with the like-minded because at that time, there were no like-minded souls.  Instead he reached out to speak with the sick and dying.  He challenged the religious leaders of his day.  He brought women into his inner circle.  He spoke with people his society considered unclean and unworthy.

So I’ll continue to view art that makes me squeamish.  I’ll read books that challenge my conservative, Christian views.  I’ll watch movies that make me wonder if anyone in Hollywood has ever met anyone outside of Hollywood.

Because it’s the right thing to do.

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Too many posts for one day, I know.

But I’ve been wondering how to address the subject of the Steubenville rape.  How to share my frustrations with the crime, the aftermath, the trial.  How to put the case in context.

Turns out I don’t need to.  Turns out a blogger named Ann Voskamp has done it already.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/03/after-steubenville-what-our-sons-needs-to-know-about-manhood/

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The Sparrow Story

A friend recently shared this Paul Harvey story.  I thought it was remarkable.

One raw winter night the man heard an irregular thumping sound against the kitchen storm door. He went to a window and watched as tiny, shivering sparrows, attracted to the evident warmth inside, beat in vain against the glass.

Touched, the farmer bundled up and trudged through fresh snow to open the barn door for the struggling birds. He turned on the lights and tossed some hay in the corner. But the sparrows, which had scattered in all directions when he emerged from the house, hid in the darkness, afraid.

The man tried various tactics to get them into the barn. He laid down a trail of Saltine cracker crumbs to direct them. He tried circling behind the birds to drive them to the barn. Nothing worked. He, a huge, alien creature, had terrified them; the birds couldn’t comprehend that he actually desired to help. The farmer withdrew to his house and watched the doomed sparrows through a window. As he stared, a thought hit him like lightning from a clear blue sky: If only I could become a bird – one of them – just for a moment. Then I wouldn’t frighten them so. I could show them the way to warmth and safety.

At the same moment, another thought dawned on him. He grasped the reason Jesus was born.

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Because of the shooting July 20 in Colorado and the recent flurry of activity regarding the views of the owner of Chick-fil-a, not to mention the survivor’s benefits that won’t be paid to the partner of astronaut Sally Ride, I’ve been opening my Facebook news feed each day to a louder than usual cacophony of opinion.

One friend’s recent post has me thinking.  “Let me know,” she wrote, “if you agree with this guy so I can unfriend you.”  This post included a sound bite of an elected official stating an opinion that he probably now wishes he’d kept private.  He essentially blamed the Colorado shooting on a decline of Christianity among Americans and said something about wishing an armed person had been present. (more…)

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Of all the posts and article I’ve read about the theater shootings in Colorado, this one, by someone who was there, speaks truth to me.

 

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Slate has an article about Jesus and homosexuality this week.

Though the article doesn’t reach much of a conclusion, it does allude to my own belief that Jesus believed in tending his flock.  He believed in reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the forgotten.

I guess what I really believe is that Jesus loved us, and wanted everyone to experience the love of his Father in Heaven.  Whenever I hear anyone using the Bible to decide that something is “wrong,” or that certain people can’t be loved by Jesus, I’m automatically suspicious.

We ascend to Heaven based on our relationship with Jesus.  Yes, we can live happier and more meaningful lives if we follow the Ten Commandments and do the things Jesus asked of us.  Yes, we try to glorify God each day through our behavior.  But Jesus isn’t about rejecting folks for the time they coveted the neighbor’s wife or new Lexus.  He’s about loving folks so that they can become more like Him.

Imagine the line of souls waiting to enter heaven.  No one will be asked, “Who received your love?”  But everyone will be asked, “Do you love me?”  And those who answer yes will pass through the pearly gates.

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Once again I’m linking to Jon Acuff for today’s dose of Christian philosophy.  This entry has everything:  humor, Jesus, and a fun opportunity to help out.

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