amberhaines
About me

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17 Comments

Amber
Reply June 2, 2009

Madeleine L'Engle in Walking on Water writes of true, good art as being what we do to find cosmos within chaos - as if to say that art is trying somehow to order invisible things and even the Great Invisible God so we can have understanding. Ahhhh, yes. I agree.

Do you believe that art has to be "Christian" for you to appreciate God in it?

Aunt Pam
Reply June 2, 2009

Mercy... the teacher is coming out of you this morning! :-) My view of the answer to your question. If God made everything...and he did, then God is in everything. We choose to see what we want, we choose to find good in everything. Then art...is also what we make it. Oh...there HE is.

Jo@Mylestones
Reply June 2, 2009

Love that song! And I'd answer your question, absolutely not. He is the the Creator and we are formed in His image. So we should not be surprised when we find Him in the song and dance, the painting or sculpting, the poem or prose of an artist He formed, no matter how far away the heart or how rebellious the soul of His creatures.
Did I mention I love that song? My 2 yo is dancing to it now. Now there's some art that inspires my soul.

Jo@Mylestones’s last blog post..Stories in my Pocket: The Pitstop

Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light
Reply June 2, 2009

Thanks for the reminder....I really needed that today. Trying to make extraordinary moments out of what seems like such an ordinary life. It's my current struggle. This sort of fanned some flames. I knew they were there.

Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light’s last blog post..Changing my expectations...

Stephen
Reply June 3, 2009

there's something primal about samuel beam's music that speaks to me in ways most "christian" music does not. (that isn't to say christian music doesn't speak to me, but it speaks a different language. also, i have to admit i tend to cringe whenever that word "christian" is used as an adjective, so my bias may be skewed by a subtle cynicism toward the marketing of the church. you can pray for me if you like.)

i have found beauty and truth and art in created things and found things stashed away in the most surprising places. here's one (apologies in advance for the length of this comment):

there's a scene in the movie "garden state" (an imperfect but mostly compelling little film) where andrew largeman (played by zach braff) and my favorite movie character of all time, sam (as played by natalie portman - marry me, natalie/sam) are sitting in an empty tub together. after a long season of being numbed by medication, largeman has finally gone off the meds and is coming to life for the first time since he was a child.

in that tub with his new best friend, he is in agony because of the recent death of his mother (among other things) and he says, (edited for propriety's sake): "[Expletive], this hurts so much" and Sam replies "I know it hurts. That's life. If nothing else, it's life. It's real and sometimes it [expletive] hurts, but it's sort of all we have."

when i watch that scene and see largeman shed his first tear in forever (just one), i see adam turning to look at the garden he has just been banned from and feeling in his soul of souls the very substance of sin, the pain of being separate, the ache of missing. "it's sort of all we have" could almost be a throwaway line, but instead, it's like the feather-end of an arrow pointing to the only answer for that pain. not a trite answer, but a real one - one that invites both pain and hope into a paradox of belief.

i fear that sometimes the church inadvertently preaches "numb" as the answer to pain, but there is amazing beauty in pain and it can only be found in the raw, true experience of it, not the avoidance. pain binds us to a Savior who feels every stomach-twisting moment of our ache.

sure, some of the imagery, some of the language, and all of the pain is ugly in one sense, but is there anything more beautiful than the one place where only God himself can offer redemption?

i guess that's a very long answer. and it probably skirts the question a bit, but my point is this: i saw truth in the exchange. beauty in the tear. and God wrapped all around it - even if zach braff, who wrote the movie, had no intention of inviting Him into the tub.

of course, i could have shared about the scene in monty python's "the life of brian" that revealed a godly truth, but i'll save that for another time. thanks for listening to the long-winded commenter.

Stephen’s last blog post..10 Stages of Grief: The Editor’s Note Edition

Amber
Reply June 3, 2009

Often, when I turn on the Christian radio stations (for which I am grateful) I hear cliche lyrics and uninteresting melody. Often the next line is easy to guess if you aim for the most obvious rhyme.

I do think that things are changing with artists like Sufjan Stevens and John Mark McMillan. They are true to their work. They acknowledge pitfalls. They groan - and so I believe them, because I groan. My spirit is stuck in this flesh, and I 'm learning and failing and being saved, and it does often hurt like hell.

It's okay to groan in longing. Stephen, it really speaks to me that you say that the church inadvertently preaches numb. I myself have been so guilty of secret sin, of acting out the lie that if I believe in Jesus that I have no struggles. We hide our humanness and pile on the pride when we believe we have to seem perfect to be a leader or to walk through church doors or to even go needy to God in prayer.

The real believable art always comes from the honest. I have to say, too, that I attend a church that is very honest about its depravity. I've not met a soul who isn't quick to confess how screwed up he or she is. The truth sets the body free.

I believe that with every touch of honesty about the human condition is an overarching truth about God and His character.

Malia
Reply June 3, 2009

Stephen, I'm intrigued by that movie and will be checking it out soon.

Amber, thank you for posting this song! It's haunting and lovely and so much more that what it appears to be on the surface. And the video is exquisite. I'm especially fond of the solo dance at the end and the special effects that have birds flying out of her skirt and swishes being etched and the erased on the floor. Mesmerizing!

I keep looking at the lyrics and wondering about their meaning. There's so much imagery in them.

Malia’s last blog post..The Song in My Soul

patty
Reply June 3, 2009

my, amber, how you inspire such "conversation" on your blog-love it.

not sure on the lyrics.. i googled them, but still... as mentioned, we can see different things when viewed through different eyes.

as for the video, and music, both of which i loved, i think it's a statement to leave the world more beautiful as we 'dance' through life... create magic and awe in how we live. maybe that's lookin' at it through hopeful eyes... ;)

patty’s last blog post..sunday

Autumn Brown
Reply June 3, 2009

Do you believe that art has to be “Christian” for you to appreciate God in it?

Okay so I an artist. Not one of those people who say they're artist. I have a very expensive piece of paper that says I am. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Anyhoo, I find it a bit unfair (cause this life is about fairness right?) that my job, my work, my toiling of my hands has to be relevant to Christianity. That question is never asked of dental hygienist or shop keepers or baristas. No. But God forbid I paint something that doesn't represent Christianity in any way shape or form. Cause you know it’s the objects that surround us that matter not the heart, soul and intent behind them.

Was that a bit much? Forgive me. I think that topic made me a little emotional.

So check out my myspace page (below) to review the art work of a Born again Christian. Forgive the fact that it's a myspace page. I don't really post my work anymore.
http://www.myspace.com/autumnnbrown

OH...my Walking on Water just arrived in the mail! Yea!

Autumn Brown’s last blog post..The Fall

Amber
Reply June 3, 2009

Well, Autumn, I'm not sure. I don't think anyone has to make their work relevant to Christianity. L'Engle writes about simply being true to the art you've been called to make. She thinks that if you're true to your art, to work until it is fully developed, then your art will point to God no matter what you believe.

My question is aimed more to those of us who are experiencing the art because I've watched many Christians seem so afraid of enjoying something if the word JESUS isn't written on it. Can you experience God in art that is not labeled "Christian"? I believe the answer to that is absolutely YES! He's everywhere! (And there are believers who make a lot of money off things that don't remotely point me toward God.)

Your nudes are completely gorgeous. It is a copy of the blueprint that God made. Gorgeous!

There is a painting hanging in our bedroom called, "The Morning After." The girl is nude, and the painting is of her back. Her hips are huge. I love her. She had been loved the night before, and in the painting, she glowed from it. Aaah. There is nothing in me that says that painting is evil. To the pure all things are pure. I guess it's according to what eyes you're using when you see.

PS - Steve, I forgot to say earlier that Garden State is absolutely one of the best movies of all time ever. Amen.

Amber
Reply June 3, 2009

Also, Autumn, you're going to read Walking on Water? I can't wait to hear what you think.

Stephen
Reply June 3, 2009

I knew you were a Garden State girl. Surely, then, you caught the subtle segue from Iron & Wine to Zach Braff's masterwork.

I'll say this much more about Garden State. It changed my life. Or maybe it was just one piece of the perfect storm, an accompaniment to the most dramatic change in my life. Either way, it stands as an irrevocable pivot point in my story.

This change has been the opposite of easy and the damage done in the wake of my awakening has been more than monumental. But I am still here. And ever thankful for both the bliss and the agony that follow an introduction to the infinite abyss.

"It's so amazing here, It's all right, 'cause there's beauty in the breakdown..." (Frou Frou, "Let Go")

Stephen’s last blog post..10 Stages of Grief: The Editor’s Note Edition

melody
Reply June 3, 2009

Lindi reminded me today of an analogy she heard once about how our hearts are like balloons, and pain swells them up in ways that nothing else can, and when it goes away there is so much more room for joy. I think that, like the science of our emotions and our non-physical selves, is like art somehow. Maybe that existing is like a paradox, and the more paradox is in art the more i seem to love it as true and right.

melody’s last blog post..the deep, deep water

Amber
Reply June 4, 2009

Oh, I love that, Mel.

Kimberly
Reply June 4, 2009

Amber, thank you so much for bringing this to light. It has been my experience (as a long time believer), that the church has done us a huge disservice by wanting to keep art safe by "christianizing" it and neutering our ability to see Christ at work anywhere else. I went through many, many years of living in an exclusively "Christian" bubble when it came to most art forms, and I feel robbed somehow. I then swung in the opposite direction and spent some years exclusively avoiding the Christian bubble. I'm still trying to find the balance. What speaks most to my heart, regardless of the origin, is that which is real and raw and expressive of what it feels like to be fallen. I am fallen. I can identify with that in every way. I don't want to ever forget where I came from, what He saved me from. I think that at times secular art can speak more truth than much of the "christian" stuff out there.
And I loved Garden State by the way. A beautiful metaphor for rebirth.

Kimberly’s last blog post..Cupcakes and Tutus

Amanda
Reply June 4, 2009

I love, love, love Iron and Wine and this is the song that turned me on to him!!! Beautiful!!

Amanda’s last blog post..I ♥ Faces Week #21 - Lucy Belle, the Fabulous Pug

Autumn Brown
Reply July 8, 2009

So I was listening to the accuradio.com today and this song came on. After I told myself I liked it, I remembered that I knew it from somewhere. Seconds later I remembered. Here is where I had heard it. I loved it even more a second time. I picked up Ziva and we danced and spun until the music stopped. I tucked her giggling into her crib, it was nap time, all the while wondering if you hadn't posted this song would I have noticed it a second time? And if I wouldn't have noticed then would I have had that sweet moment with Z? Only the Lord knows. Either way, Amber, thank you for having a well "versed" blog.

Autumn Brown’s last blog post..Good Girl/Bad Girl

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