Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Sunday Sermonizing: The Spiritual Habit of Art

The topic of habit is oddly in vogue in 2019. Authors write blogs about the analysis of the books written from the piles of research on the subject.

True confessions: I think about the subject a lot, as well.  My consulting work has a lot to do with habits and behavior change.

Earlier this week I was listening to a lecture about the spiritual journey of Flannery O’Connor and the speaker made this statement:

The habit of art is a spiritual habit.

This was worth writing down for later reflection.

I mean, it sounds good.  Writing or painting or making music or pottery on a daily basis could be something of spiritual activity. But is it up there with prayer and Scripture reading, silence and solitude?

I’ve read Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way”, and I both love and hate that book. I love it because there is something to spiritualizing art. Daily pages is a habit worth doing. (This is the habit of processing your brain by free writing, preferably by hand, for three pages every day.) Yet, there is a lot of woo-woo in this book that I wasn’t necessarily a fan of.  The Universe asking you to dance, etc., etc.

There is, indeed, something deeply spiritual about creating. Making things. When we do this we are being most human and most like God at the same time. From etchings on the walls of caves to paintings on the ceilings of chapels, humans create. Sure. We don’t create somethings out of nothings in the miraculous sense of Creation.  But that’s semantics. Humans are an astounding part of this Creation, with the ability to not only write stories and draw things but to also develop creative solutions for complex problems.

Like our Creator, we create.

It is true that many of the complex problems we need to solve the problems of our own making.  We’re also very good at ruining things.

But that’s the human paradox as old as Eden.

But our capacity for destruction is only exceeded by our capacity for beauty. And maybe one of the most important things we can do is to remember our Creator in Word and prayer. Solitude and silence.

And creation.

To practice the habit of art.