Friday, January 7, 2011

the subtle way

i was having a wonderful conversation with my sister (over a few beers, of course, because that's how all the best conversations are made) about our roles as Christian artists. i coined a new term for myself, though i don't know if it's purely original. it has been said that we are called to be "Warriors for Christ", but i see myself more as a "Ninja for Christ". i'm not just saying this because i am a ninja (because i am) i'm saying this because in my profession -- that of the arts (not of the bank) -- my duties are to slip ideas into people heads. make them think about things. discuss things. question things. through questioning we can perhaps come to answers, if nowhere else but in ourselves. kind of like what ninjas do, only they slip shurikens into peoples heads. and the only thing a ninja will make you see within yourself is your insides when they become your outsides. the key point here is, subtlety.

well, maybe your entrails becoming your extrails isn't very subtle... but we all know what the key elements of being a ninja are. stealthy, quiet fierceness. the only way you know you've encountered a ninja is when you wake up dead and you're like "whoa what happened" and God's like "it was a ninja. don't worry about it. wanna hang out?" and then by that point it doesn't matter. but i like to think of myself not as a warrior, but a ninja for my faith. both fighters are key in winning this battle. but both have very different responsibilities.

take my mom, for instance. she owns the oldest online Catholic merchandise store in existence. she's written books on Catholic parenting. she's a warrior. me? i'm steeped into one of the most non-Christian-friendly zones a Christian could be in: Theatre. and lets not kid ourselves here. the arts in general aren't very Christian friendly zones. artists like to be free to express themselves in any way shape or form they want... well, almost any way they want. modern art is strewn with lewd and crewd attacks on Christianity, but anyone else...

I think this is a good way to sum things up.

but i digress. my point is, artists see churches as "institutions" with "rules" that hold back their ability to express. a "warrior for Christ" can't really survive in that kind of environment. as soon as he starts swinging his battle ax around, he'll get swarmed and outnumbered. because, lets not kid ourselves again, theatre isn't exactly a "hot spot" for Christians, either. anyway. the world of the arts -- especially theatre -- needs to be attacked in a subtle way. i need to show the people that i work with that not all Christians are raving right wing lunatics. i need to show them that Christians are loving, caring, kind, and happy people. i need to show them that most Christians are actually pretty down to earth people, people you can talk to.

but really, this whole analogy about "warriors" and "ninjas" is just silly. "attack", "enemies", etc, it's all kind of ridiculous. no one's really looking for a fight. the term "Warrior for Christ" really just implies not being afraid to show your faith. and i'm not. but screaming into someone's face about what you believe in will never, ever change anyone's mind. you can show how happy you are as a person -- how happy you really are knowing that Christ died for you and salvation is waiting for you if you really want it -- through your actions. through your attitude. and when people get to know me, when they find out that i'm Catholic and they can tell that there's something different about me, that's how i stand for my faith.

i am a happy person. i might be tired a lot, i might be grumpy a lot, but anyone who knows me knows that i am happy. i am hopeful. i am positive. or at least i try to be all these things. all they need to do is make the connection between me and my faith. my church. and maybe, just maybe... that will be how i can do my part.

a discrete, assimilating, but strong and determined man for my faith.

like a ninja.

or Batman.


1 comment:

  1. Nerd. Some good stuff here though. Being a Christian in our profession is not easy and, unfortunately, I've failed more often than I succeded. However, I do believe that we need to be, not necessarily subtle, but simply strong and grounded. We have nothing to hide, nor do we have anything with which to beat anyone down with. Our faith is a faith of love and grace. We need to extend that same understanding to the people we interact with. Even if people do something we disagree with, that is between them and God. It's none of our business. It is our business to love them. Theatre is a fickle mistress and is full of people that have been hurt by a church at some point. We must tread softly in theatre because we are treading on people's dreams and we must tread softly in our faith because others have given so many so much to hate.