Saturday, January 19, 2013

Artists, humility, God's vision... and the trap door

Today we walked around the glorious Berkshire art museum, Mass MOCA, in North Adams. It is one of our favorite haunts and only 35 minutes away in North Adams.  Their "Oh Canada" exhibit was the prompt, but their "Invisible Cities" and "Phoenix" installations were inspirational reminding me that after all these years I must always give thanks to God - and keep trying to grow up.

Maybe it is because I'm an American - or a Christian - or just kinda slow most of the time, but it appears that my core is addicted to dualistic thinking.  I want to go deeper into paradox - I ache to be able to have my default setting be something more nuanced than yes or no/black or white thinking - but it takes a lot of work, yes?  Maybe that's the point: it is always a journey of humility.  As T Bone Burnett sang years ago, "Watch out for the trap door... cuz the funny thing about humility is just when you think you've got it... you don't!"

Taking-in the profound creativity this group of artists filled me with hope - and reminded me just how complicated it is to keep growing into God's inclusive and creative Spirit. I think of the words of two of my tradition's saints - the Blessed Virgin Mary and Paul - whose vision was often as bifurcated as my own, but who also experienced times of transcendence, too.

+ After the fullness of Christ's birth - the mystery, the revelation, the blessing and the challenge - the gospel of Luke tell us:  Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.  She didn't comprehend all things at once, not did she fret that it took her a lifetime to grasp what God was doing within her - and in the world.  She simply returned thanks, kept the mysteries in her heart where she pondered them.

+ And beyond St. Paul's reminder that "when I was a child I thought like a child..." there is this admonition from Ephesians:  We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

There were a few exhibits today that at first I didn't get - I wanted to hurry into and beyond them - until I told myself:  Hey, knuckle head, slow down; the whole point of being here is to take the time to try to see something new from the artist's perspective.  And when I did, the blessings were beyond my deepest imagination.

2 comments:

Peter said...

"The answer, grasshopper, is not to seek it!" --Keye Luke, as Master Po, in Kung Fu

RJ said...

And I am still learning that simple truth, yes?

WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN

U2 mixed the blues and the gospel - rock and roll and B. B. King - to create the best blend of faith and testimony in contemporary music. This blog is a summary of my weekly meditations at church - my stories of faith, hope and love. I hope to mix culture, art and biblical stories with the best of the progressive Christian tradition to express my take on God's love coming to town in the 21st century.