The Christian Church hasn't always been so good about talking about or understanding spirituality. What does that mean exactly?
Here are some quotes from my speech...
“ To be human is to ask unanswerable questions, but also to persist in asking them, to be broken and ache for wholeness, to hurt and to try to find a way to healing through the hurt. To be human is to embody a paradox, for according to that ancient vision, we are “less than the gods, more than the beasts, yet somehow also both.”
“We are not “everything” but neither are we “nothing.” Spirituality is discovered in that space between paradox’s extremes, for there we confront our helplessness and powerlessness, our woundedness.” -The Spirituality of Imperfection
"And, that is where God meets us. “God comes through the wound.” I've experienced this personally with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis eight years ago. It is a chronic illness involving a lot of pain, exhaustion and weakness. I didn't blame God...I think because my mom always said, we all will have something, some struggle, some disappointment or sorrow in this life. It is the way it is on this earth. My only take away through this experience is that God was with me in my pain, sorrow, and anguish. There was mystery here and I've accepted that I can't know it all. I think my mom said that, too! :)
The arts help us to explore the fundamental mysteries of what it means to be human...who we are, why we are and how we are to live. The arts can give us a glimpse of the beauty that is God’s love for us through creation and through our human relationships. The arts can also give us a glimpse of the spiritual side of who we are as human beings, our joys and sorrows, our struggles, our questions.
Art, music and dance, then, are part of a universal language that speaks across culture, geography and time. What a beautiful thing that is! Where language and culture can divide us, the arts connect us to each other and to the One who made all things.
“To have the answers is to have misunderstood the question. Truth, wisdom, goodness, beauty, the fragrance of a rose -- all resemble spirituality in that they are intangible, ineffable [indescribable] realities. We may know them, but we can never grasp them with our hands or with our words.
Spirituality points, always, beyond: beyond the ordinary, beyond possession, beyond the narrow confines of the self, and - above all - beyond expectation. Because ‘the spiritual’ is beyond our control, it is never exactly what we expect.
The word spiritual originally meant what the most obvious synonyms of spirit -- breath, wind -- signify: something that cannot be seen but that we nevertheless experience.” -The Spirituality of Imperfection
The arts, then, become a voice for the spiritual...those things we experience but can’t quite grasp, can’t seem to express with words. The arts tap into our deepest questions and wonderings... they speak of our joys and our pain, of light and darkness, of chaos and beauty. We connect with God in new and different ways through the arts. So, yes, I believe the arts are crucial for the church and for all of humanity, whether you follow Christ, Muhammad, Moses or Buddha. The human spirit was made to create, and in that sense, I believe we are created in the image of God.