March 17, 2008 Ration

Acts 4:29

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…”

This is a very good and necessary prayer for the artist to have ready in the pocket of his heart. Our threats in the U. S. are not of the nature of imprisonment, beatings, or death. But for some brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, even these are a very real and present threat against what is spoken through artistic expression. We more often tend to be threatened by our own fears for acceptance or provision. Some threats we saddle on ourselves. Some threats even cloak themselves as counsel. O Lord, grant us all boldness to speak your word. Make us impervious to the various threats found in art culture.

A threat is only effective where its consequence has earned our highest regard. This is very telling of where our truest affections lie. The consequence may be almost laughable. But even a measly consequence, when considered and yielded to, reveals just how spineless we actually are and demonstrates how short our highest regards stand. Let us not be foolish and forget that God Himself has a consequence of His own for cowardly unfaithfulness. God says to Jeremiah, “Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them” (Jeremiah 1:17).

Threats these days in art culture often look more like marketing counsel motivated by sales figures or cultural acceptability. Threats may even come from within the artist himself as he oscillates unconvinced of whom the real provider and protector of his frame is. Many threats do not sound so much like a threat when they are couched in encouraging terms. But don’t be fooled artist, any term meant to influence you away from speaking, in love, that which is of the purest, most honest truth, is not the counsel of Boldness.

Artists, we must be able to discern the difference between seductive threats and bold wisdom. A threat often dons the sash of wisdom so that it doesn’t seem so threatening. But be careful, all whores doll themselves up and promise to satisfy. Boldness will set its sights on the purest God-fearing wisdom and discern from there when to wait, when to advance, and on what hill to potentially die. I do mean here “potentially” as there is both the potential for death as well as a life of freedom! Your death, from your perspective, is never certain, so do not fear death’s threats. If God is for you, who can be against you?

On the one hand, there are certain battles where the spilling of your life or artistic career must be embraced, from faith, before you step onto the field if the fight for truth to be known and enjoyed is ever to be eventually won. While on the other hand, you do not know; the Lord may just grant a fresh freedom through your bold faith by which you and many others will drink of the grace of God poured out on that “terrible” hill.

Threats can come from every side, wherever a man or devil can be found. O Lord, look upon the threats of the art market; look upon the threats of the religious; look upon the threats of curators, managers, big industry ships, and renegade independents; look upon the threats of the world; look upon the threats we conjure up ourselves and grant us the boldness to speak your word in truth and love! You stand over all threats! Who can threaten you and deliver on it? Make our hearts immune to all varieties of threats so that we could know and enjoy the unrevealed pleasures you have for those who are bold enough to trust in you alone against the shallow threats of men.

Artists, be bold, and ask the Lord for boldness in His word and the things of God and heaven. Ask the Lord for boldness in your creativity. Ask the Lord for boldness in your vision. Ask the Lord for boldness in your articulation. Ask the Lord for boldness in your presentation. The Lord has particular pleasures for the bold artists to enjoy that the limp-backs will never know.

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project