It is funny to my how thoughts often run in seasons. I will meditate on particular ideas for days, weeks, months...some even years. Some come to some form of resolution...others do no not. Sometimes, that previous resolution comes undone again later in the course of encountering new ideas that unravel old ones. But lately I have been thinking, once again, about the artist and the creative idea.
These questions were what originally brought me to seminary. I can remember exactly where I was when the question first came to mind. I was sitting at a friends house one night engaged in good discussion. He had been a dual major in art and religion and subsequently went on to earn an MDiv. But he describe his frustrations at time as an artist. He talked about how at times he had a great idea, but could not render it. At other times, the work seemed to emerge without much "work". I too had experienced similar events and frustrations. Neither of us could adequately explain the disparity of these experiences but he began ponder if the Holy Spirit might somehow be involved in the act of artistic creation. I was intrigued. Actually I was overcome by the thought.
I liked the idea so much because it seemed to make sense of my experiences. I headed off to seminary, cultivated my course work as much as possible to explore art related ideas, and set into my thesis work to make more sense of his questions that night. It really was a remarkable time of growth for me. I had not taken well to the biblical and theological curriculum in college, but now I had a purpose and a tangible question. As a result, theology came alive.
While my thesis deals more with an overlap of language of "inspiration" and "revelation" my work gradually shifted from wanting to argue for pneumatological presence within artistic creativity, I found myself actually arguing against it. Funny how things work out sometimes. But as I said at the outset, its funny how thoughts come in periods. The question has come up recently again as I began to notice a growth of books on Amazon that seem to be tying both Vocation and the Spirit to the creative process. I've also run into it on a number of blogs recently too. So, perhaps the Spirit is trying to tell me something...or I am just created a curious person who seldom is satisfied with other my own or others answers, but it seems like it is time to pick up these ideas again. I've ordered a number of the books and will begin to slowly pick my way through them.