What is lost

I am blessed to know a lot of artists, many I call friends, and travel among many artist circles across many genres and disciplines. As someone who works in the arts industry and is an artist as well, I participate in and am part of many discussions about art, arts advocacy, the market in general, and the market for specific genres and disciplines.

What is most heart wrenching for me is when I know talented, gifted, and committed artists struggle with making a living and their efforts to understand why they struggle. The winds just aren’t blowing their direction for the voice they have refined and honed to express their thoughts, emotions, ideas, and questions.

If you don’t struggle with this in some way yourself, you cannot comprehend the frustration, anxiety, and self-doubt this can create. Why is “my” voice less valued than “their’s”? It’s a tough question. Even if one answers the question one can still be stymied to put food on the table.

So we try to find answers. Invariably things seem to fall back onto one or more of a few thoughts—thoughts about worldview, epistemology, meaning, value and how the content of those ideas have shifted in the last few years, decades, centuries, millennia.

What we see when we look back like that are the sets of presuppositions and subtexts that are now no longer considered. Ideas like Divine origin, human dignity, hope, beauty, truth, even a Divine Savior.

 The “1950s” were not that perfect

No one asks, if all these presuppositions and subtexts were so great, why the change occurred to begin with? What did these ideas and assumptions fail to address that, not just new answers, but new questions were needed?

What we don’t see when we consider those earlier days and times are all the presuppositions that are filtered out by our rose colored glasses. Not that those ideas existed, but how they were represented. Human significance and value… for only the slave owners. Divine origin… for only those who hold to the proper religious beliefs. A Divine savior… that somehow, even though born in the Middle East, looked oddly European, sometimes even with blond hair. Hope… but only for the Western educated and civilized. Truth… but at the cost of trust and only as “I” see it. Beauty… but not of the sort we actually find in God’s created nature and the ugliness of the cross of salvation, but of a sort where everything ties up nicely with pleasant proportions. Beauty only found in the face of tragedy and the monumental, no beauty in or out of the tragedy or the small of our day to day existence.

We want something, if not someone, to blame. Because I can’t be wrong. So “they” must be. Or there must be something wrong with them.

Maybe it is not about being right or wrong. Maybe they are trying their best to understand, to “get” something that is incomprehensible, unseeable, unfathomable. Something they have yet to hear or see or feel someone else address without the marks of the fall. Yes, “they” are fallen. But so are we.

Maybe if we all believed that we all came from some primordial goop, that we are from dust and to dust we return, none of us would think ourselves more than we ought, or think more highly of ourselves than others, that Christ died because we all need the salvation he provides. And we all still see through a glass darkly.

Thanks for reading,
Joe

 
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