Sunday, November 10, 2013

Compelling! Day 3 (final)

I sit here in my room today, after everything has ended, and I am still overwhelmed.

This morning I sat down at my small group table, and one of the guys whose name Travis turned to me and said, "I wanted to wait to say this, but your song was beautiful, it was amazing. I just wanted to make sure you got a compliment yesterday and today." Thank you, Travis.

Today was a Q&A session with the panel of staff that's been working with us in the "God at Work in the Arts" track this weekend. I hadn't submitted any "burning questions" questions yesterday, but the questions that were submitted got some really good discussion going about things that have been bothering me. Below are a few highlights.

On fighting against the desire to compete and be perfect:
"God calls each of us within our art to be in different places, and we have to be okay with that."
On overcoming writer's block:
"90% of everything you come up with is crap. Write the crap (and keep it, revise it), 'til you get to the good stuff."
On how far is too far:
"Good art proclaims truth about God, the world, and yourself."
On whether or not God is in all art, "secular" or not:
"God is in everything that's true. Approach art as an explorer, not with judgment."
"Christians often forget about the human side of Jesus. We need to remember that people are human."
"As a Christian in the arts world, you need to not be shocked by things."
On how to approach art that seems to go against God or be anti-God:
"We need to learn to be good interpreters, because God's calling is higher." 
"Loving and affirming your artist friends will take you a long way."   
 On how to reach our peers and impact our artist communities:
"Reach out during those in-between moments; take advantage of small opportunities."
"We've been strategically placed in relational networks, and we need to build trust between us and the people in them. This requires time and risk. Sometimes it means being countercultural." 
"Presence is key!"
My small group

Yesterday we spent a lot of time discussing the vision and calling that Ezekiel received from God, as recounted in chapters 1-3 of the book named for him. After seeing God, receiving his instructions from Him, eating a scroll that He handed him, and being lifted by the Holy Spirit back to Israel, the prophet said, "And I sat there, overwhelmed among them seven days" (3:15 ESV). That's how I feel right now. I can't think straight. I'm confused. I am both inspired and distraught. Inspired because I've heard, done, felt, said, and thought things that I hadn't anticipated. Distraught because in the presence of God I've realized that everything I've thought about myself, my life, my "art", about nearly everything, has been off-base. Like way off-base. Like I've been living in a cave with blinders and earplugs my whole life, off-base. I don't know what to do next. But I do know that I'm different now. I must be.

I am beyond glad that I decided to do something different and go to Compelling! This experience was completely new to me, so I tried to not go into it with too many expectations. And after a weekend full of Jesus, art, learning, prayer, fellowship, worship, and more Jesus, I am in awe. Thank you to all of the beautiful people who were there with me. God bless you.

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