I never wanted to be an artist. In fact, I ran from it. I yelled and screamed and asked God why He was sending me to “minister” to self-absorbed, fame / money consumed narcissists. (That’s what I thought of artists, or at least those in Hollywood.)
@@And the thought of being a Christian artist — please! Christian art has a reputation for being cheesy and overtly preachy, so I definitely didn't want to be that kind of an artist.@@
But after years of declaring that I didn't want to work with artists and that I didn't want to be a Christian artist, a funny thing happened: I realized that I was one.
I saw that I am a spoken word poet, actor, sketch comedian, and writer. I am more than what I had grown up thinking that I was, which was just an entertaining public speaker.
And just as importantly, they (artists) were my people. I was like them; they were like me. Not necessarily in our relationship to fame and material possessions, but in our innate desire to create and perform, to live our professional lives on a stage.
@@I’ve worked in arts and entertainment for about a decade now, and I am now proud to call myself a Christian artist. Or an artist who is Christian. Or an artist. I don’t really care what you call me.@@
But if you have to label me as a Christian artist, that’s fine, and if you need to know what that means, here’s what it means to me, at this stage in my career:
- It’s Interviewing a woman for a story, realizing that she’s hurting, and asking if you can pray for her.
- It’s being on set, staying after you’re wrapped so that you can learn, and then inviting a fellow actor out for coffee after, even though you’re REALLY sick. You do it because something inside you compels you to. Actually, it makes you invite her, even though all you want to do is go home and sleep. Over coffee she pours out her heart to you, you pray for her (in the middle of Starbucks), invite her to church, and she comes and experiences God in a deep way.
- Being a Christian artist is asking God to give you comedic characters (because you don’t have time to fully form them) and having God give you your first character at 8:30am on a Sunday morning, as you prepare to lead worship at your church. And then having God give you grant money to create more characters, and then getting opportunities to perform on stage because of those characters you created.
- Being a Christian artist is simply asking God to open up opportunities to share His love and then walking through those doors when they open.
- It’s needing $300 more dollars to cover your expenses for the month and praying that God provide, and then selling a $300 story three days later.
- It’s needing money STAT, praying for it (even though most companies have a net 30), and somehow receiving a check the following day.
- It’s praying with your prayer partners and God bringing an acting class buddy to mind, praying for her (not knowing why), only to realize that her father is on his deathbed.
- It’s being in the middle of your daily devotion and God leading you to pray that an acting friend not be consumed with anxiety. This happens to you not one day, but two days in a row. It’s you praying for her and texting her, only to learn that she experienced her first ever anxiety attack that week.
- It’s being in the middle of your daily devotion and God giving you an idea for a story, and another story, and another story, and then pitching the ideas to editors who published them.
- It’s God telling you to adjust your schedule or keep it the same; to wake up early or stay up late working; to text someone or leave them alone and just pray for them.
- It’s opening up your life to God and watching God live through you: sometimes you’re asked to move and speak, but other times you’re being moved and the words flow through you, even though they didn’t originate with you. @@It’s almost being possessed by something —a gentle something that leads you, like the moving sidewalks at the airport. Somehow you find yourself moving, even if you’re not walking. And if you do walk, you walk exponentially.@@
- @@Being a Christian artist is walking, working, and living exponentially.@@
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If you want to hear the perspective of another Christian artist, read L.A. Times film critic Justin Chang's article on the topic. It actually inspired me to write this post.