Monday, November 16, 2009

Post Sixteen

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/12/steven.curtis.chapman/index.html

My acting professor sent me this article today and asked us to discuss it as a class. Here are my thoughts below. Any thoughts from you guys?

I remember reading about this story when it happened, and praying that God would somehow shine through the incredible pain this family has experienced. (Imagine what the son who was driving must have felt)

I believe that God has given artists an exquisite gift in the ability to use their art to heal themselves and others through the expression of pain and grief. Chapman himself discusses this in the article and how God allowed him to grieve and heal through the music he was writing. He was not, however, able to do it immediately. There was a time of separation from the art for awhile, before the pain was ready to be processed. I think this is where grace and wisdom need to enter in. If a situation is too raw within us to allow any distance, it probably isn't ready to be fuel for our art. In such instances, the use of emotions can turn into therapy instead of art, and isn't a proper or effective expression. However, once some time has passed, and the healing process has begun, it is not only appropriate but necessary for us to use ALL of ourselves in our art. Not only including, but ESPECIALLY the deeply painful areas, because those are the places out of which our most powerful communication can arise.

For Chapman to be able to sacrificially give himself over to his music, and consequently give that gift to the world, is a powerful testimony to God's transformational power in our lives.

There's a fairly famous C.S. Lewis quote about pain being "God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." The point being, sometimes God allows pain in our lives in order to rouse us from our complacency. As humans, we resist being roused, we resist pain. And as artists, I think we resist the thought of "using" our pain in our art, as somehow disrespectful or dishonoring of the pain. I disagree, however. I think by allowing God access to the pain in our lives allows Him to transform it into something beautiful and possibly helpful to others in their own walks through grief. Being the instrument of this transformation is the most respectful and honoring thing we can do for ourselves and those we have lost.

2 comments:

jerrine said...

Very well said Amy. I have more experience with written art than performance art, but on many occasions, I've "felt" that an author has gone through something deep even though there isn't anything specific in the story indicating that. Something in the expression, style, something. Once I even got to find out the rest of the story and learned I was right.

CassandraMadeIt said...

I think that story heals. It is through sharing our story with community that we are able to transcend a situation. It is through hearing another's story that we are able to witness and learn from another.
I think an artist can not escape the need to express their experiences. To do ignore such a way of being is like cutting off part of soul.
I think that there is opportunity in everything; that we do not know how grief will shape is; but that we must embrace it and let it do so. The gifts that follow are all based on that embrace.
I think that all art, all action is a reflection of our conversation with the Divine. Some people are not listening, not speaking to the Divine. Some are in a tepid conversation while waiting for better things to come. Some are bargaining. Some are listening and asking and waiting with their entire hearts.
From all these conversations, from all the art and stories that come from them, we can learn and grow and take the gifts into our walk. If we listen... if we are open...

Great topic. Wish it were born of a happier experience.