Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 109

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Picasso dominate the list of the world’s most expensive paintings, and their value is seldom doubted. It may be safe to assume that, since the betterknown works by these artists are so highly valued today, all of their remaining works are valuable as well. The same is true for human beings. Each human being is uniquely and infinitely valuable because of their creator, not the value that our culture has historically assigned to them. In my work as a pastor, I seek to view all the people I come into contact with as God’s masterpieces. I go looking for these masterpieces that are often hidden from view or invisible to people at first sight. Ralph Ellison’s famous novel from the 1950s, Invisible Man,2 is about a man who is not literally invisible but invisible in the figurative sense due to the refusal of others to be aware of his presence and to see this darker skinned person as a real person. He wanted to be seen. We all want to be seen for who we are. With this point in mind, take a minute to consider these words that were sung by the English rock band The Who on the main stage at the legendary Woodstock Festival. See me Feel me Touch me Heal me3 Reread those words and try to imagine them as being the impassioned plea of a young urban youth, like the man in Ellison’s Invisible Man, just starting out in life, asking the majority culture to see him as a masterpiece created by God, instead of a threat, a “thug,” or worse. Great works of art, whether novels or paintings or songs, can help to foster reconciliation. Take music for example. In musical vocabulary, the blending of different notes together in ways that produce music pleasing to the ear is called harmony. That word could also be used to characterize a societal arrangement where each person feels included and welcome. Like musicians who explore harmony through blending different notes, people make beautiful music when they come together from diverse backgrounds to create a harmonious way of life that is pleasing to God’s ear. 2. Ralph Waldo Ellison, Invisible Man (New York: Random House, 1952). 3. Peter Townsend, lyrics from “See Me, Feel Me,” released by The Who on Tommy, Track Records, 1969. Released as a single in 1970. 108