Sunday Conversation: Pondering Art as Spiritual Practice

The need to do something creative rustles inside me. Driven by the daily ugliness, I hunger for beauty in my life. It’s an itch I need to scratch. Not just making art, but experiencing it.

As part of our StayCation, Terri and I purchased tickets to the immersive Van Gogh exhibit hosted at the Lighthouse ArtSpace located near the Dallas Farmers Market. Based on a couple of videos I’ve watched and a few posts I’ve read, this looks to be a beautiful way to experience art.

We will undoubtedly visit the new local Richardson coffee shop “StayCation,” while we are pummeling about the Metroplex.

As a spiritual person, peculiarly as a Christian minister and chaplain, I have invested considerable time exploring different aspects of a variety of spiritual disciplines and practices like worship, prayer, quiet time, solitude, and fellowship (yes, being with people is a discipline).

Where creativity connects us to God—that Higher Power—-is a matter I’ve spent considerable time ruminating. No doubt, God is creative. He made us after all and everything we see and don’t see.

Given that truth, it only makes sense that nurturing our own human creativity is a spiritual practice through which we can draw nearer to the Divine.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16 (New Living Translation)

My interest in maintaining a form of art as a spiritual practice is driven, in part, by the need to add some beauty to the world. In my previous work as a chaplain and now as part of a homeless discipleship ministry, I’ve encountered the seedier side of life. Truth be told, as a once practicing addict now in recovery, I lived in the midst of debauchery, despair, and depravity. But then, God…

What I’ve learned about art as a spiritual practice is that, like mindfulness, it diverts my focus from the hurts and horrors of this world, recalibrating my sight to see the goodness and mercy of God.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:5-6 (New Living Translation)
View from Where I Sat
by Rainer Bantau
©2022

For me, albeit a newly begun exercise, drawing provides a type of instant gratification. I grab my sketch pad, choose my pencil, sit down and start sketching. I’m sure this is like fingernails screeching on a chalkboard to my artist friends who have worked hard over many years to build their portfolios. To be clear: drawing is not easy. At least not drawing well. Undoubtedly, as I pursue this new passion, the sense of gratification will be delayed as my sweat pours out over a drawing bereft of a tiny detail.

Drawing—or sketching is an endeavor I hope to continue. Hopefully, my skills will improve the more I do it. While I haven’t had any spiritual a-ha moments yet, I believe that creating art is a spiritual practice.

Reeds
by Rainer Bantau
©2022

How about you? Is there an endeavor you pursue as a spiritual practice?

May the Lord shine His favor down upon you today. I value your engagement, so please feel free to share your thoughts and comments. If you enjoyed reading this post click “like” if you feel the Spirit so move you.

Blessings,

The Devotional Guy™

#bgbg2 #BibleGateway

8 Comments

  1. Love this post. I love art (although I’m not the gifted artist in my family) and when you experience art that causes an emotional response it’s refreshing to your soul. We were blessed to visit Italy this year and to see the works of art glorifying God was an amazing experience. I hope you enjoy the exhibition of Van Gogh. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Nicola! We are looking forward to the immersive exhibition with great anticipation. I’m grateful that you took time to read my post today and for your encouraging comments.

    Like

  3. omnimarkusa says:

    …all the time.
    Some days, I find myself repairing some little thing, often, before coffee. I hadn’t thought of it as a spiritually edifying exercise before, but maybe like beauty in an ugly world,; redemption in a broken world. Van Gogh exibit looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To live with the simplicity of Thoreau and the worshipful heart of Tozer…
    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. We are looking forward to experiencing Van Gogh.

    Like

  5. My dad was an artist and my daughter too … and just a few years ago I felt a strong pull to create – so I slang paint and create and that has become such a wonderful time in the Secret Place for me. I even sold a few pieces! I really could relate and enjoyed your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How interesting to hear how you arrived at your art practice. Thanks for sharing and for your encouraging words. I’m glad you found my blog and continue to find connection through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ranier, you have found a blessed outlet for your spiritual energy through art. God provides us with a diverse canvas as each of discovers our own way to experience it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree. Thanks for commenting!

    Liked by 1 person

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