Guest post by Bob and Joel Kilpatrick, authors of The Art of Being You: How to Live as God’s Masterpiece.
God is not trying to solve the problems we call “ourselves.” He is not attempting to repair us. God is more than a mathematician or mechanic. God is an artist. He is preparing the greatest art show ever staged, and we are the materials of his art, the grandest expression of his creativity. The art show he is preparing transcends canvas, clay, chords, or cinema. He has expressed his creativity in you and me and is making a living display out of the whole human race.
Too often, instead of enjoying the beauty our Maker is creating in and through us, we view God through the lens of our personal weakness. Our theology is shaped by what we lack rather than by who God is. For example, if we see ourselves as a problem needing a solution, we want God to be a mathematician. If we see ourselves as broken and needing repair, we want God to be a mechanic. If we see ourselves as lonely, we want God to be a friend. If we see ourselves as ignorant, we want God to be a teacher. It’s as if we are all lining up to visit the Wizard of Oz, each with our own deep deficiency, and the wizard becomes to each of us what we need
If the Christian life were an equation — Problem + Solution = Happiness — we would have solved it long ago. But we haven’t. All the self-help programs that advertise a better life in six easy steps, or thirty days to a new you, or ten habits that will change you forever are trying to solve the problem that you think you are. They are trying to grant you happiness through an equation.
Every testimony you’ve ever heard in church probably fits neatly into this equation too. “I had a problem. I found the solution. Now I’m happy.” We witness to people using the same equation. “You have a problem. If you accept the solution, you’ll be happy.” We try to convince people of the logic of our faith. We reason. We count up the evidence and offer up verdicts and conclusions. We add everything up, hoping the sum of it all will prove convincing to others and ourselves.
We don’t get “solved” when we get saved — if we did, there would be no unhappy Christians. Problem + Solution = Happiness just doesn’t work with anything dynamic and alive, such as you and me.
Somewhere along the line, Christians began to expect the Bible to be more like a textbook than an expression of the art and mystery of God. Mystery has been so banished from Protestant churches that most of them have adopted theologies that more or less leave the mystical completely out of their practices. Today the Protestant Church is by and large disengaged from any true artistic or mystical expression of the faith. Oh, we use the arts, especially music and drama, as vehicles to communicate our beliefs, but we use them to argue a point rather than tell a story. We tell the facts as though they were the whole truth. We reason rather than point to the mystery. We speak to the mind rather than to the heart. We use artistic tools in mathematical ways, which is why so much of our church-based “art” is hollow and thin. It’s not even art. It’s an ad campaign. It’s logic masquerading as mystery…
Learn more about The Art of Being You
About Bob Kilpatrick
About Joel Kilpatrick