Last night I started reading God is not Yet Dead by V. Gardavsky, a book I was introduced to within the pages of Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson. Why is a book about a prophet, referencing a book written by an atheist, demanding my attention? It summarizes my 2017 experience, caught in the clash between two systems of thought and belief.
These books, and a bowl of shriveled beets on my kitchen counter, give me perspective.
In 2017, I suffered through the petty meme-induced, twitter-fed, mud brawl of culture that has become the dominant news-feed of American society, as did we all. What is this landscape that we have created, where animosity and shaming the “other” have become mainstream on all fronts?
Why does my discovery of beet leaves in a bowl of decay give me hope? Because, like Gardavsky, I must look to an answer to the decayed civil landscape by ‘digging down to the roots.’ What looks ugly and wrinkled in a state of decomposition, like the uncivil state of Western Civilization, remains the source of life even so. Beet roots of latent, mold-covered energy are not yet dead; a mid-winter shimmer of burgundy and chartreuse life springs forth from it’s shriveled mass.
A resident pattern of regeneration testifies to Life. On this we can all agree.
How the pattern became resident has been the matter of debate since human-measured Time began. Was the pattern created or accidental? If created, then the hope of Life originates and remains in it’s created Source and all men are created equal, with blind-folded Justice consulting an absolute Morality outside ourselves, often called God. If accidental, then the hope of Life has evolved and our trust must be in the evolutionary system and Ourselves as its accidental, yet sagacious spawn. Justice is determined by ever evolving moral conduct as determined by genius-leaders at the top of the evolutionary matrix. These are the twin roots of our info-wars.
As an artist who mingles between these two camps in a cultural estuary of fresh water and salt, I must guard against becoming reactionary, and instead point to the pattern of regeneration found in each system. It is my job to help create a generative culture of green-leaved connection. This mandate I have gained by reading another book, Culture Care by Makuto Fujimora. More reflections on that later.
A resident pattern of regeneration testifies to Life. It is my job to help create this generative culture through my work.