Finished an excellent book this morning. It's called (didja read the title of the entry?) Scribbling in the Sand, by Christian musician/poet Michael Card.
It is an outstanding book about Christ, creativity, and how we as the artists fit into all of this. He deals with art of all forms in this book, and includes perspectives from several other artists, most specifically in a chapter called "Letters from Christian Artists." These letters come from artists from all over the world.
It's a refreshing look at how art fits into the Christian lifestyle.
The appendix is of special interest, and I'm going to quote it entirely here. This would be, I think, of special interest to people like minstrelite and anyone else who considers him/herself to be a "Christian musician." If you are in that category, I strongly recommend this book to you.
Here is the appendix, called "Growing in Creativity, Some Practical Advice."
1. Allow the Bible to speak for itself. Develop a listening stance to Scripture, no matter how shocking or risky the message might be.
2. Always point to Christ and away from yourself (avoid the personal pronoun at all costs). Allow yourself to become "hidden in Christ" (Colossians 3:3).
3. Never allow the vehicle to overpower the message. The vehicle must be appropriate to the message. It must reflect an interdependence with the message.
4. Risk not being understood; risk not saying everything all the time.
5. The Bible calls forth the fullest range of emotions, from anger and disappointment to praise and worship. Therefore, be honest.
6. Do all that you can to be a part of, foster, and pour yourself into community. Do your best to make that community a part of your own felloship. If nothing like that exists in your church, seek to establish one. If that is not possible, put together a local group that is composed of believers. It can be evangelistic in character--not absolutely closed to nonbelievers--but care should be taken, for problems can quickly and subtly arise when a different value system is introduced into your group.
7. Share with your community the things you create, for all the obvious reasons.
8. Seek to further your understanding of humility, servanthood and radical obedience as they relate to your craft. Allow the things you learn there to pervade every area of your life.
9. Remember that creativity can be seasonal. There can be springtime surges of creative energy. There can also be winter times of frustrating cold.
10. Remember that one of the greatest freedoms you possess is the freedom to fail. We are not called to succeed all the time. We are called to be faithful to the call of Christ on our lives.
11. Never cease praying that you will not become a star or celebrity. Donald Davidson has said, "Our culture places an absolute premium upon various kinds of stardom. This degrades and impoverishes ordinary life, ordinary work, ordinary experience."
Well, there it is. Some excellent advice. My favorite is number 4. Some of my favorite Christian artists have lived by that advice, Terry Scott Taylor, for one. Never be afraid to be misunderstood. After all, YOU know what you mean, right?
Also, I want to give out a special "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart to Robin Lee Hatcher for recommending this book to me. Thanks, Robin!! It may have actually changed my life.