There's an old proverb of King Solomon that goes something like this...As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another. Proverbs something something. (translation, mine)
Sounds hard, right? Kind of painful, perhaps. And definitely would produce an awful sound. So what's the point? A real friend is one who puts it to you straight and has the courage to hear it from you straight. Or to continue with the analogy, a true friend speaks hard, painful, awful sounding truth. What good comes from this? Well in blacksmithing, a refining happens. This is the outcome in friendships as well.
Are we friends really? Have we given our friends permission to refine us? Do we submit ourselves to their refining?
As an artist, I have a few close friends that I have given permission to refine me and my creative efforts. These friends know they can tell me that my work is crap, I spent too little time on it, haven't thought through the ideas thoroughly, or simply- they don't enjoy it.
As a friend who has submitted myself to their discretion I know that; (1.) My identity is in my creator God, therefor this is not a critique on my personhood. And (2.), this is a critique of my artwork and these words will refine my creative efforts. Because of this, I do not stay angry or hurt. I receive their input respectfully and I ask the questions; How will this refine my work? What can be done to make this work excellent? Do I erase it, do I cover it, do I transform it, do I scrap it, or do I set it aside? I thank my friends for their honesty, knowing their courage in speaking the truth. Then, I think about tomorrow and what I'll do to better the work.
This is not the responsibility of every friend you have, every acquaintance, everybody you meet. This is deserving of your closest companions. In this context, it will be most effective.
Coming soon, we will have the opportunity to engage one another at Trinity's Symposium on Faith & Art. This Symposium will focus on friendships and community. We will gather and eat simple foods while listening to some local music. The Photography community is submitting portraits for the occasion and these may be purchased if you are a patron. After viewing these works, we will hear a short keynote talk on healthy community. Then, we will be given time to break out into groups based on our various disciplines. We will get to meet like-minded artists and patrons. The hope is that friendships like the ones mentioned above will form. If you are seeking to be a friend and be part of a vibrant community of believing artists then I would encourage you to come. It's going to be on Monday, September 28th beginning at 7:30pm here at Trinity.
I hope to see you there. Christ be with you as you create.