3.Something Out of Something
What follows is the afore-promised Milli Vanilli article. Share it with your friends. Tease animals. You won't want to put it down.
I. We are not accidental gods.
Somebody somewhere once said, "Creativity is the art of forgetting the source of one's ideas." By this definition, most artists and intellectuals of our day are profoundly 'creative,' for they have forgotten God. With God out of the way, creative geniu
s Oscar Wilde is free to cleverly quip, "life imitates art." To Wilde, the human artist and the creator god are one and the same. Wilde writes a play about Rolf, a grumpy old bank teller with a mole on his forehead, and throughout London, grumpy old mol
e-headed bank tellers named Rolf begin cropping up in droves. Nietzsche writes that God is dead, and shortly thereafter God dies. Color me sensible, but I doubt that writers control the world like this. Either God exists or he doesn't. My personal vie
ws on the matter affect his existence (or lack thereof) not one bit.
Actually, Wilde's theory is correct in one sense. Although life itself does not imitate art, the media does. And some of us, in turn, imitate the media. But let us not confuse this vague chain of causal delusion with reality. In reality, Oscar Wilde
himself came from somewhere. Where did Oscar come from? Did Jorge Luis Borges (fellow creative pseudo-god) dream Oscar into existence. Gee, I seriously doubt it.
Some brainy types who know better might say that Oscar evolved
from a lump of clay that one day got up and started moving around because
of some electrical thing that happened somewhen. But where did the clay come from? "Well, a long time ago, th
ere was this random explosion which created everything. This explosion was really huge and it made a loud noise, so we call it 'The Big Bang.' We've got a theory about it called 'The Big Bang Theory.'" Yes, probably.
If you and I and Oscar exist because of some random accident, then how on earth are we able to paint and sing and weep and feel and think and create. "Well, Curt, you narrow-minded fanatical curmudgeon, that's just the way it is. No one knows how we go
t this power, but this power we do got. It comes from within, and mine is stronger than yours because I won the Cream of Wheat Poetry Competition, and you didn't."
One of the reasons we want God out of our way is so that we can take personal credit for all of the clever things we do. But credit rarely divvies up as neatly as we would like. For instance -- consider the omnipresent song, "Girl U Know It's True" by
the immortal Milli Vanilli. The words to "Girl U Know It's True" are written by some little known gas station attendant from Nebraskansas. Its beat is stolen from LL Cool J (LL himself stole the beat from the Roachfords). Milli Vanilli barely spe
ak English, they have fake hair, and they lip-synch.
Crushingly, and to the utter dismay of an entire nation, it is recently discovered that the two guys in Milli Vanilli aren't really Milli Vanilli at all. That is, they aren't really the ones singing on the Milli Vanilli album. Someone else sings on the
album. The real Milli Vanilli are someone else. Much media disapproval occurs. Who are Milli Vanilli? What is Milli Vanilli? Who gets the credit?
My question is, who cares? "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not" (I Corinthians 4:7). We are making art for the approval of others. We are living our lives for the approval of o
thers. Let's stop showing off and start worshipping God, from whom all blessings flow.
II. We are feathers on the breath of God.
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea in a bottle; he put the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand
in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth" (Psalm 33:6-9).
We are not God. God is God. We did not make the universe. God made the universe. We did not make ourselves. God made us. He is the potter, and we are the clay. We are the work of his hands. Is it possible for man alone to create something out of
nothing? No. "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new?' It has been already in the ages before us" (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
). Therefore rise up out of the subways, ye salmon-wielding performance artists, and heed the words of the twelfth-century composer/poet/child of God, Hildegard of Bingen --
"Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the gr
ound and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I."
Hildegard not only wrote for God; she was written through by God. She was not writing to be 'creative.' She was not seeking critical approval. Hildegard was seeking, both in her art and in her life, to know God and to make him known. "[Hildegard's so
ngs] are so profoundly motivated by [her] devotional life, that it is hard to tell whether she is exploring music and poetry through spirituality, or vice-versa" (Christopher Page).
Music, poetry, and art are tools through which the truth, beauty, and goodness of God can be viscerally experienced. If I use art as a means to glorify myself, then I am taking the paintbrush of the Lord and placing it into the hands of Satan. If I hav
e sex outside of marriage I am doing the same thing. Unless I use God's gifts for God's purposes, I pervert his plan and I defile myself, and I waste my time. Without God, our lives are vain parades. We each have only one life, and who we live it for i
s up to us. "Then choose this day whom you will serve,...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
III. Summary and Prayer.
Let's not get big heads. "Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth" (I Corinthians 3:7). Father God, thank you for loving us so much. Shine the light of your son Jesus Christ into the hearts of all who rea
d this, and set them on fire with a desire to know and love you, the one true God.