Stop Making Sense

I had a really great conversation a few days ago with a member of my praise team. I stumbled upon the fact that she is a Talking Heads fan, as am I. How did I discover this? Well, to try to make a long story short, we played this game at a choir gathering, where we each had to say our name as way of introduction while at the same time do a physical motion. So my choir member, said her name "Lisa" and acted as if she were cutting her arm into a filet with her other hand (this will only make sense to those of you who have seen the video of the same title as my blog by the Talking Heads, where David Byrne was singing "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was" while making the same motion.)

Anyway, so we were talking about how delightfully strange the Talking Heads were, and how unique their music was along with the unusual antics of David Byrne onstage. Lisa informed me that he was very close to a nervous breakdown several times in his career. This is where it gets interesting. She said that she thinks that someone like Byrne, with his edge-of-sanity-creativity must have been given by God a sort of 6th sense of 3rd eye to see that of God's creation which most folks cannot see, thereby driving them almost crazy! I thought it was a brilliant explanation.

You see I really truly believe that all creativity is just a huge gift from the Creator himself and is just a reminder that we were indeed made from the beginning in His image. Don't get me wrong, tons of that creativity has been used in the exact opposite way than intended, but if we believe that God created everything, including humans, and that everything began in Him and lives because of Him, then reasoning demands that creativity itself is from God. And inside all of the creative music, or abstract paintings, or forms of dance, or moving poems, or stirring films, or can't-put-it-down novels lies some truth of the Almighty. At the very least it is the truth that a loving God made human beings to reflect his glory and to bring him pleasure, despite the fact that we try ever-so-hard to deny it and use our gifts for our own gain.

I also resonated with what Lisa said about Byrne. I am not by any means the most creative person in the world. I don't know that I've ever had an original thought or idea, and I know that none of my art will ever change the world. But I do tend to see myself as having a bit of an artistic bend. Because of that, I also seem to see many things very differently than a lot of people, such that I feel as though I go misunderstood sometimes. It's like I see things, and then I try to explain them, and it just never comes out like I intend. This may be a whole different problem than creativity can produce, but you see what I mean. The creative process does not, or at least should not, allow for mere status quo logic or reasoning. It searches for depth and deminsion that has heretofore not been seen, thereby often alientating itself from what is thought to be reality (this could become a slippery slope really quickly and could get really silly.....humor me will you!).

All I'm saying is that I think Lisa is right. Creative people are given a different bend, a different view of the world, and a different take on life. I think it is God's way of shaking it up a bit....not for the sake of just shaking it up, but for the sake, I believe, of revealing His beauty and creativity. That is where we as creators have the ultimate be sure that what we create in fact does point to the Creator, not because it always preaches a message, or wears a Christian shirt, or because it is slapped with a Christian label, but because it has redemptive value, full of integrety, originality, truth, insight, etc.

I'm not saying that I am on the verge of a breakdown......yet. All I am saying is that, if nothing else, you should definetly go grab a copy of "Stop Making Sense", it really is a fascinating expereince. Who knows, perhaps you'll even see a bit of God in it.....


Right now I am reading through a book for a class I am taking on the doctrine of worship. In this book, the author argues that as Israel is called to be a 'kingdom of priests' they are to be proclaimers. The author used the term "witnessing worshipers". The idea that in whatever area of our lives God has specially gifted us in we do so in order to proclaim the name of the Lord. Peter says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, (why?) so that YOU MAY PROCLAIM THE EXCELLENCIES OF HIM WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS AND INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."

Not everything an artist does will necessarily include pictures of Jesus on the cross or songs that hold high 'Jordan's stormy banks' but I do believe that God specially gifted mankind for the purpose of man proclaiming the name of the Lord.

PS: As a worship pastor, have you authorized any interpretive dance to Total Eclipse of the Heart?

February 7, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

Once our previous worship leader led the congregation in I'm a Believer by the Monkees. Of course we changed "then I saw her face" to "then I saw His face." It was really stupid.

But anyway, this is indeed a slippery slope topic. Because there are truths that are true all the time no matter whence they come. If David Byrne wrote a song that declared, in essence, "there's a friend that sticks closer than a brother", or "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" it would be making a true statement. The problem comes about when people do not recognize these as truths which an Almighty God has instituted or else they begin to think that David Byrne (or whoever may write such a song) is true in all that he says.

It reminds me of the charge atheists level at the OT. There other non-biblical, non-Jewish myths that talk about a global flood (such as Gilgamesh) and still others that present a creation story that sounds like Genesis, therefore, they would say, the Bible is not unique, therefore it is equally untrue as Gilgamesh and likewise is a mere fable. What they miss is that just because something states a truth, then another less authoritative source states the same truth does not mean the original source is equally less authoritative.

Ok, this is getting more complicated than I meant it to. The bottom line is, yes, creativity most certainly comes from God. In fact all things live, move and have their being in Him (Acts 17:24-28). And there is some creativity that is no doubt used for anti-christian purposes, but with discernment God can be seen in many things and in many places and we can constantly be astounded and intrigued by how he reveals himself.

February 9, 2008 at 7:52 AM  

So I thought about this topic for some time and decided I needed to follow up.

In response to my original comment, I think a question that must be asked is how much can we do for God to proclaim His name? And I think too many times we (as artists) unfortunately ask, how little can I do to proclaim the name of God and still proclaim the name of God?

February 9, 2008 at 7:59 AM  

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