Friday, January 28, 2011

Read: Scribbling in the Sand

Title: Scribbling in the Sand - Christ and Creativity
Author: Michael Card
Publisher: InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illiniois, Leicester, England
ISBN: 0-8308-3254-8


One of my colleagues thought of me and generously lent me a book related to Christ and creativity, titled "Scriblling in the Sand" by Michael Card. Surprisingly, despite a growing list of books to read, I open-mindedly accepted her offer and read the book. I suppose I was searching for answers related to what it meant to be creative in a meaningful way, so I took the offer of the loan as a sign that it was a book to read.

So I put aside a few of the books that I was reading back then to read this book so that I won't have to hold on to the book for too long.

Michael Card's "Scribbling in the Sand" has some earnest messages and ideas for us. I would like to think each of us is an artist of our life, and creativity is an element that can help us live our lives with deeper sense of meaning.

Here are some great ideas in this book that I thought would be worthwhile sharing:

Using parables and stories from the Bible, the author illustrated how for art (including music, dance etc) to have meaning, it must serve. I thought that this was a moving concept that is worthwhile for artists of all time to meditate on.

In addition, I also like the chapter titled "The Call is to Community". In much way, I could see the gift that creating within the context of a community could provide the needed context of respect and trust, excellence and aesthetic accountability for artists to grow and to be nurtured. Admittedly, I yearn for it more. The author also offered a practical suggestion at the last few pages of the book to encourage artists to "do all one can, to be part of, foster", and pour himself/herself in a community.

It is quite a thoughtful read to read the author's on how community can facilitate meaningful Constructive Criticisms, offer apprecnticeshop, provide the context for Aesthetic Accountability, allow the space for artists to have the Freedom to Experiment, and to give artists the needed Unqualified Acceptance to trust that regardless of their ability to perform, they are still fully accepted.

The author also speaks of the value of humility in art. For whatever art we are doing can only be influenced by Nature or other people's art, rather than from nothing. Paradoxically, I think the author is right, when the artist does not boast of himself through his art, and seeks to serve through his art, his art instantly becomes great because of its meaning. Somehow, I was reminded of the late-artist, Wu Guanzhong, and his unbroken kite's concept.

One particular chapter that I find quite a good read was that on "A Lifestyle of Listening". The author outlined that there are three keys to developing a lifestyle of listening. These involves listening to the Word of God, the silence of prayer, and that of listening to our own lives - first as poems, then as living parables. I may have to reread this chapter to better appreciate its deep wisdom.

Overall, while I am not a Christian, this book is quite a thoughtful read for me. Perhaps Christian artists may find this book even more worth their time to read since they could possibly relate more to the parables mentioned in the book?

I thought that Michael Card is a sincere artist, and decided I could embed a copy of a video of him singing "Scribbling in the Sand" in this post. Enjoy it please.

No comments: