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The Heart of the Artist: A Character-Building Guide for You and Your Ministry Team

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Overview

Over 100,000 sold*Great for individuals and teams*Includes provocative discussion questions'I wish I had your gift 'How do you handle those words as a creative artist? Somewhere between pride and self-abasement lies true humility---just one aspect of the balanced character God wants to instill in you as an actor, a musician, a visual artist, or other creative person involved in ministry. God is interested in your art and your heart.The Heart of the Artist deals head-on with issues every person in an arts ministry faces: *Servanthood Versus Stardom*Excellence Versus Perfectionism*The Spiritual Disciplines of the Artist*The Artist in Community . . . and more The Heart of the Artist will give you a better understanding of yourself and your unique place in the body of Christ. You'll find wisdom and encouragement that can help you survive the challenges and reap the rich joys of a ministry in the creative arts.'Breathtakingly personal, practical, and poignant.'---Timothy Tien, New York, New York'I am better for having applied these principles. . . . A must-read for church staff, creative types, growing Christians, human beings.'---Rev. Ginny Allen, Jackson, Mississippi'Rory Noland pinpoints issues that often arise in the life of the artist, and gives good, biblical solutions. A must-have for Christian artists in any field.'---Tom Hinkle, Tulsa, OklahomaRory Noland is director of Heart of the Artist Ministries (www.heartoftheartist.org), an organization dedicated to turning teams of church artists into communities of grace. A composer songwriter, author, and speaker, Rory is a graduate of the Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University and served for twenty years as music director at Willow Creek Community Church.

Details

  • SKU: 9780310565826
  • SKU10: 0310565820
  • Title: The Heart of the Artist: A Character-Building Guide for You and Your Ministry Team
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Release Date: May 18, 2009
  • Category: MUSIC
  • Subject: Christian Ministry - General
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Chapter Excerpt


Introduction

Those "Artsy Types"

But then, no artist is normal; if he were, he wouldn't be an artist. Normal men don't create works of art. They eat, sleep, hold down routine jobs, and die. You are hypersensitive to life and nature; that's why you are able to interpret for the rest of us. But if you are not careful, that very hypersensitiveness will lead you to your destruction. The strain of it breaks every artist in time. Irving Stone, Lust for Life

Some time ago I spoke at a church conference in Ft. Lauderdale that was attended mostly by pastors and church leaders. I talked about the current state of church music and the future of the arts in the church. However, my deeper passion is for Christian artists to be living lives of integrity and godly character, so I sneaked in a few words about character and integrity. I hardly mentioned it, yet there was a flurry of questions afterward, all dealing with the issue of character and integrity in the lives of artists in the church. Character is fast becoming the hottest issue facing artists in the church today. In fact, the majority of the questions I get about church music ministry never have much to do with music. They revolve around character issues: How can I get my people to serve with a servant's heart? How can I cultivate unity on the team? How can I get my vocalists or my drama people to get along with each other? What should I do about the attitude problems of a few of my musicians? The music department and other arts-related ministries have become a hotbed for major character problems in the church. I've even seen more than a few music ministries blown apart because their leaders failed to address such character issues.

I've had pastors call me, frustrated over character issues they see in their music staff. "Our music director doesn't listen to suggestions," they'll say, or "He doesn't take criticism well. He's not a team player-he's more interested in doing his own thing."

I've also heard music directors express similar frustrations about their volunteers. "So-and-so is a great keyboard player, but they're just so difficult to work with," or "Our key vocalist throws a temper tantrum and threatens to quit once a month. We're scared because we can't afford to lose any of our best vocalists right now. What should we do?"

For too long churches have ignored the problem, letting character issues in the lives of artists slide. We've turned our heads, hoping the problem would go away by itself, but it never does. A pastor sat with me on the bus back to the hotel at this conference in Ft. Lauderdale, and he said something very revealing: "I just leave those artsy types alone. They're kinda off in their own little world anyway."

What did he mean by "those artsy types"? How do you know if you're one of those artsy types? If you love music, drama, art, film, photography, dance, sound, or lighting, if you love doing artistic things-singing, playing, performing, writing, creating, or expressing-chances are you have some kind of artistic streak, large or small or somewhere in between. You might be someone trying to pursue a career in the arts or someone who dabbles in the arts as a hobby. Maybe the extent of your artistic involvement is that you sing in the back row of the church choir. You might be an "amateur" or you might be a "professional." You might be a performer, a creative person, or both. Perhaps you work with artists or live with an artist, and want to understand us artsy types a little better.

Unfortunately there are certain negative stereotypes that are attached to people with artistic temperaments. Some people say that we are temperamental and eccentric. Some people think we're difficult and strange. Some might say we are moody and emotionally unstable. Others see us as free-spirited, quirky, and undisciplined. Excuses are often made for the shortcomings of the artistic temperament, more so than with any other temperament. The problem occurs when we artists buy into those excuses and use them to justify unacceptable behavior.

The negative stereotypes are unfair because not all people with artistic gifts fit the mold. My son informed me the other day that in school he was learning about how weird musicians are. He had been taking a music appreciation class, and what impressed him the most was that Beethoven had such a bad temper that he would cause a scene in a restaurant if his food wasn't right, that women would throw their room keys onstage at Franz Liszt, and that Wagner was a quirky man with strong anti-Semitic views. Since so many of the musicians he was learning about were very strange, it made me wonder what he thinks about me!

THE MELANCHOLY TEMPERAMENT

For centuries now scholars have been fascinated with the artistic temperament. It started with the ancient Greeks, who divided human personality into four main categories: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholy. Aristotle said that "all extraordinary men distinguished in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts are evidently melancholic." As a result, people with an artistic bent were labeled as melancholy, which is somewhat misleading because not all artists are predominantly melancholy. I know quite a few who have only a few melancholy tendencies, and others who aren't melancholy at all.

During the Middle Ages melancholy was considered a physical disorder, and the church regarded it as a sin similar to slothfulness. However, during the Renaissance melancholy made a comeback and was seen as a divine gift. Astrology played a large role in Renaissance thinking. A person's behavior was determined at birth by his or her planet's conjunction with other celestial bodies. Saturn was the planet for the melancholic. Someone born under Saturn would "be either sane and capable of rare accomplishment or sick and condemned to inertia and stupidity." The capability for "rare accomplishment" obviously made the melancholy temperament quite fashionable during the Renaissance. In fact, it was written that "a veritable wave of 'melancholic behavior' swept across Europe" during the sixteenth century. The more eccentric an artist was, the more he or she was considered a "genius."

In spite of this rather exalted view, which continued well into the Romantic period, the melancholy temperament has always had its share of negative press. Even at a time when the melancholy temperament was in vogue, there were those who were expressing concern. Writing in the year 1586, Timothy Bright described the melancholy person as

cold and dry; of colour black and swart; of substance inclining to hardness; lean and sparse of flesh . of memory reasonably good if fancies deface it not; firm in opinion, and hardly removed where it is resolved; doubtful before, and long in deliberation; suspicious, painful in studies, and circumspect; given to fearful and terrible dreams; in affection sad and full of fear, hardly moved to anger but keeping it long, and not easy to be reconciled; envious and jealous, apt to take occasions in the worst part, and out of measure passionate. From these two dispositions of brain and heart arise solitariness, mourning, weeping . sighing, sobbing, lamentation, countenance demisse and hanging down, blushing and bashful; of pace slow, silent, negligent, refusing the light and frequency of men, delighted more in solitariness and obscurity.

(Continues.)

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