Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Work of Art: YouthWorker Journal Article

Photo Credit: nojhan (Creative Commons)
I recently wrote an article for the November/December issue of YouthWorker Journal on the theology and discipline of creativity in ministry:
The blank canvas was set before the artist. Commissioned to create a masterpiece, he scanned the palette of colors and dipped his paintbrush into a bowl of water, then slowly swirling it around until the brush had soaked up a good deal of paint. Satisfied with the tint on his brush, the artist went to work, painting broad strokes across the stark canvas, meticulously sweeping the brush back and forth with a growing passion and fervor.
The cycle continued. Dip in the water. Swirl in the color. Spread paint onto the canvas. Repeat. As the colors blended together, the artist made a sudden and radical decision. With the paint still fresh, he flipped the entire canvas over, exposing the unmarked underside. Without missing a beat, the artist swept a new stroke of paint onto the clear canvas and began afresh.
I stood over the artist's shoulder, being careful not to disturb his work while too curious to keep a distance. "How is the painting going?" I inquired.
"I'm not finished, Daddy," the artist said. More dips. More swirls. More strokes. Eventually, the artist became distracted and decided to take a step back from his work in order to play with trucks in his sandbox.
I held up the final product. It was a swirling mass of brushstrokes, the colors bleeding together and forming a sort of blackish-brown on the paper. He had chosen to mix all the colors at once and dip them into the tiny bowl of water: "I want to color the water," he said, then slathered it onto the construction paper.
Will this abstract masterpiece end up in a Parisian museum for the world to see? No, but I couldn't be more proud. See, this particular artist is my son, my child, my beloved. The artwork reflects the artist, imperfect and unfinished, yet cherished and blessed.
So it is with God and the work of youth ministry. Every action as ministers of the gospel in the lives of young people can and should be considered art.
Click here to read the rest of the article. Subscribe to YouthWorker Journal here. Embrace your God-given vocation as an artist!

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