Ghetto Buskers and Lepers

Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehoods grapple: who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter? – John Milton.

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. – bumpersticker.

It occurs to me the thing we have to fear most as artists, as writers, as citizens, as Christians especially, is agreeing to comfortable delusions. To embracing a consensus of wishful thinking that offers certainty over reality. We naturally gravitate to the like-minded, but if we’re not careful, our assembly can discard any sense of defined mission and mutate into a gated-community of enfeebled intellects bent solely on keeping the disagreeable from spoiling the view. We come to fear dissent not because of toxic malcontent, but because it treads all over the manicured lawns and tramples the flowerbeds.

Confining this to the realm of Christians in the arts and writing, I think we must resist the call to become ghetto buskers, entertainers in the modern evangelical echo chamber, hat in hand hoping for spare change. CS Lewis once said reality was iconoclastic. I think all truth belongs to God and no discovery will ever blindside His reality. Christians must pursue excellence in their vocations with passion and humility, circumspect but ultimately unafraid to ask hard questions, portray difficult situations, question the status quo, and handle the madness and mystery in the gray areas of our existence.

Are we always going to get it right? No. But like the lepers outside the gate in 2 Kings 7, we’ve got to do something. ‘Cause sitting around pretending, while we wait to die isn’t any kind of destiny.


For a broader opinion on the value of dissent, watch this:

3 Replies to “Ghetto Buskers and Lepers”

  1. “We come to fear dissent not because of toxic malcontent, but because it treads all over the manicured lawns and tramples the flowerbeds.” I think that’s the statement that most resonates with me. I believe wishy-washiness is running rampant, but there’s also a trend toward using the shock-factor as the default means to draw attention. Certainly we need to shock the world from time to time, but as a rule we are called to gentleness (perhaps shockingly gentle?). We must be careful that our attention drawing is the sweet scent of Salvation and not the stench of “look at me!”

    1. Thank you very much for weighing in. I hear you loud and clear, but in the intended spirit of the post, I’ll quote Flannery O’Connor:

      “The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”

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