What do you do when you’re asked to write something that you might not agree with? Recently I was asked to interview an artist whose work is on display at a well known gallery. Usually, this is something I look forward to, but when I viewed her website my spirit stirred uncomfortably within me. While her subject matter is a rugged National park with surprising canyons, her message combines the tenets of two trendy religions, fraught with deception, albeit very popular and appearing innocuous.
What was I to do? I prayed much about this. It is my job to cover topics that my paper assigns me. Should I refuse this particular assignment so that I could honour Truth? I didn’t want to encourage potential viewers of her art to follow her over the cliff into a canyon of darkness. However, I also felt that I should try to cover this assignment to the best of my ability, while staying true to absolute standards.
But, that still didn’t solve exactly how I was to write this article. Within minutes, a little bamboo sound notifed me I had email. It was a quote by Francis Schaeffer from his book, Art and the Bible. Curious, I opened it and it helped me discern how I should approach this article. It said, “If the artist’s technical excellence is high, he is to be praised for this, even if we differ with his world view. Man must be treated fairly as man.” Aha, I could angle this piece towards the artist’s technical expertise, which was interesting and highly praised. I still had a niggle in my spirit, though.
We walk along valleys of the shadow of death, but we fear no evil. I am learning to navigate these dark canyons as a writer.
Asking questions and allowing the other person to tell their story and the reasons for their message is a good place to begin. Maybe even having tea with them. But standing firm on the Cornerstone of truth – by the grace of God - is where I will remain.