Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 108

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 1 2015 THE ART OF GOD: REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC, DIVERSITY, AND THE BEAUTY IN YOU Jimi Calhoun∗ The Bible opens with the following words, “In the beginning God created.” Is it not amazing that the very first thing that the Bible tells us is that God is creative? Put another way, the first thing we learn about God is that he is artistic in nature. In fact, God is the master artist! As the creation story unfolds, we see that God has an unlimited capacity to create and an unlimited reservoir of ability with which to make all of those creative desires reality. At some point in my journey as a musician, I became awed not only by God’s creative power but also by the thought processes that were necessary to be so very creative. That realization led me to see that God has an artistic view of the created order, and that God invites us all to see the world, and the people who occupy it, in a similar way. These perspectives have shaped my work as a musician and as a pastor, so much so that I put them to paper in my most recent book, The Art of God: Reflections on Music, Diversity, and the Beauty in You.1 There is a crying need for people to develop a virtuous, creative vision to see the value and dignity in each and every human being. At one point in his ministry, Jesus asked, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?” (Mk 8:18 NIV) Jesus’s question led me to hear and see the longstanding racial discord in this country in a new way. Our consistent inability to see the inherent worth in people perceived as different leads to an unwillingness to listen to them. The negative impact caused by such deafness and blindness is frightening, as the current racial unrest in our country reveals. To see and enjoy visual art, it is necessary to have already developed an appreciation for the intrinsic beauty and worth in a particular piece itself—or to hold the artist that created it in such high esteem that his or her work is perceived as beautiful. The paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo DOI: ∗ Jimi Calhoun is Lead Pastor at Bridging Austin, a Reconciling Community in Austin, Texas; 1. Jimi Calhoun, The Art of God: Reflections on Music, Diversity, and the Beauty in You (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015). 107