Apologize? For What?
Episode 24 explores what it looks like to stop apologizing for being a serious, committed Christian who works in secular culture, and a serious, committed artist whose art life is guided by their faith practice.
Hello, hello, and welcome to Episode 24 of the Kingdom Art Life podcast. I am Marlita Hill, here to help you flourish in faith, art, and career.
Over these first few episodes of season 2, I am spending some time to introduce the three pillars of a healthy relationship between faith, art, and career. In episode 22 and 23, we looked at the first pillar, which is wholeness, embracing all parts of who you are as an artist in Christ working, or pursuing a career, in secular culture.
The next pillar of a healthy relationship is liberty.
In this pillar, I use another word. That word is unapologetic, by which I mean being free from the need to apologize for, justify, alter, diminish, choose between, or feel guilty about any part of your experience as an artist in Christ working in secular culture, from the kind of art you make, to where it lives, to who you make it with.
It’s being free to love God, live your faith out loud, create your art, build your career, and intertwine them all. To be all of them at the same time, all the time, in the same space, without having to apologize for it.
Now, this unapologeticness has two sides. The first side is being unapologetic about being a serious, committed Christian who works in secular culture, who doesn’t make art about faith, doesn’t make art for evangelism, and who works intimately with people who are not Christians. It’s being able to put your heels down, straighten your back, and lift your head and say this is how I participate in building the Kingdom, in representing Christ and making Him known. This is how I engage in Kingdom community.
Now, I understand this could be difficult if you struggle with answering how it’s possible that such an art life could build the Kingdom and make Christ known. I would venture to propose that this is the root of some of your current struggles. But I have good news. Such an art life does build the Kingdom and it does make Christ known. Such an art life is an honorable way to serve God, even your kind of art life; and we’ll get into how in later episodes.
The other side of being unapologetic is not apologizing for being a serious artist, who is serious about their craft and industry, and whose creative, business, and relational decisions are led and guided by the Spirit of God. It’s not apologizing for the fact that honoring Him takes precedence over everything.
Now, I could see how this could make some of you uneasy. For some, imagining God dealing with complicated industry negotiations and issues is like imagining your cute old grandmother trying to do it. We might not want to admit that, but we’re just not used to imagining God in that space, being able to effectively lead us there. I know this because when I’ve talked to some artists of faith, I ask, “What did God say?” – to which they annoyedly reply, “Don’t get spiritual on me.” Or, “It’s not that simple.”
And I get it. It’s honest. It’s wrong; but it’s honest. And hopefully, our journey together will help you begin to see Him as powerful and capable in that space.
Another hesitation is anxiety about what He might make us do, that whatever He leads us to do will have us looking straight stupid among our peers and industry. But guys, though God is supernatural, He’s not weird. He guides us in very wise and practical ways. Supernatural and practical are not mutually exclusive. His direction might not make logical sense at the moment. It might not seem like that instruction He gave you will actually get you where you’re trying to go but that’s the supernatural part because He’s leading you from His eye, from beyond what you can naturally see in front of you.
And the other thing I think we’re a little nervous about is how to talk about decisions God has led us to with people who don’t serve Him. We’re unsure how to communicate what we know we should or shouldn’t do spiritually in those industry conversations. But we shouldn’t be. Just say what God told you to say. You don’t have to go into details about how you got it. You don’t have to quote your Source. You just have to communicate your decision. And if there’s anything more that needs to be said, God will lead you in how to say it.
So that’s liberty.
When you’re in the church community, you don’t back away from the kind of art you make, who you make it with, or where it lives. And when you’re out in secular culture working your career, you don’t back away from the fact that following the Spirit of God is the way you navigate your career. You don’t have to beat people over the head with your faith. You just don’t apologize for it being the way you make career decisions.
TALK TO ME
Are you already flat-footed in this liberty? If so, how did you get there? Or, is this something that you’re working on? And if you’re still working on it, let us know how it’s going.