Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweet Inspiration

Infringement is a word that some creative people worry about. People who are drawn to artistic self expression risk the chance of running into the legal entanglements of copyright infringement – creating work that resembles so closely to the work of another artist that the latter sues the former for stealing. And the demands of the plaintiff can translate into millions of dollars.
If God can be likened to an artistic type who shares his inspiration with others, it would seem that he has no interest in securing a definitive signature to his work. It is not long ago that the Sprit was believed to be most at home on a Catholic inspired canvas. The church has a huge catalogue of religious art, texts, statues and hymns that are readily catalogued as religious. I think he has been at work beyond that space.
I once heard a monk say that the plastic chairs in the cloister should be removed because they were not Cistercian. I still wonder what a genuine Cistercian chair looks like. Maybe it can be trusted for its style of stability. The monk who said that eventually moved on. He changed his stability. The chairs are still here, very stable.
God seems to have a larger catalogue that has used the mediums of all cultures that have been known to sense the spirit and to give it form through beauty. And God has yet to suggest that there has taken place an infringement. In fact, the opposite would seem to be true – that God is generous beyond measure with his gift of inspiration.
The church at its best follows the workings of the spirit in the world, the spirit that blows where it wills and that, like the wind, reserves its origin and destination to itself. It may lead the church to strange yet beautiful places, places that will demand a new way of seeing and trusting. It should have no fear of losing its uniqueness as it moves into what is different from itself. It should not fear an infringement of its style. The spirit inspires the sharing of all that is life. It is not about loss. Its sole mission is to teach life to all, and to expand our palettes to express that in every color and variation that God gives through people who seek him.

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