A Manifesto

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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"Since there is only one of you, here is what matters the absolute most, listen close … " Erika Morrison offers her manifesto as part of our series Art Matters.

It’s most likely that we’ve never met, that I don’t know who you are or the specifics of your story, what your vices look like or how many victories you’ve celebrated or the number of scars you count on your arm (or soul) at night before your head hits the pillow. Have you been to hell and back or has your life been smooth-sea-sailing or some kind of ebb and flow and go between the two?

I might wonder if your chromosomes are more Y and less X or the other way around, if you’re a youngin’ or all grown-up. I might wonder about the shade of your skin, the hue of your hair, the intensity of your irises, the stretch of your smile, if you’re stout or slim or strong, solo or hitched. I might wonder at your hobbies or occupations or interests or talents, the places and people and projects that get your all-out energy.

Your intimate details leave me hanging with their unknowns, but it isn’t a prerequisite to comprehend a person's particulars in order for another person to speak something to them; there are universal truths, and I’m going to give you one right here, lend me your ear: There is only one of you.

Now, I know this isn’t any new news, but some things bear daily repeating to counteract the beating our brains take from the bleating voices of insanity, also known as lies. And here I’ll tell you again for good measure, and you can write this on your wrist or the bathroom mirror or the doorframe you most frequently walk through: There is only one of you.

And since there is only one of you, here is what matters the absolute most, listen close: What matters most is your specific, uncommon, original, never-been-seen before … ART.

Your Art Matters

Art. Now there’s a lively and laden topic, an inherently beautiful noun all bedecked and accessorized from top to toe with her fair share of interpretations and opinions and descriptions. Everyone has ideas of what she is, including me and you and your neighbor’s great aunt Sue.

For thousands of years we’ve been adding layers of manmade perceptions and parameters to one of the most fundamental factors contributing to what it means to be a human, to be alive. With the advent of so much defining and prescribing, we’ve run headlong into the danger of domesticating an indigenously wild and creative energy purposely designed to pulse with insatiable life inside everyone of us.

Art and artists are not meant to be tamed or contained, and yet our precisely cut boxes have caught some people inside its definition and separated others to the outside and in different words. Over time and through ongoing [mis]interpretation, “artists” became a specialty subculture, an outside or other group of exceptionally talented people … rather than a divine birthright gifted to each individual.

Art is your soul outside your body.

Stop and think about that for a quiet minute.

This unadulterated definition for art is not offered to minimize the work of fine artists, but rather to invite you to reimagine the vast rolling hills of creative energy already embedded in your precious make-up, to reconnect—if necessary—with the birthright of your own artistic nature.

Your Soul Matters

Your art matters, which is just another way to say your soul matters.

Do you believe it?

Art is everything you do with your soul outside your body. It cannot be taken from you, undone, or divested, but you can fail to realize it. You can fail to be awakened to the truth of your only parts. You can squash or stomp your essence to death by allowing mass culture (or an enemy) to suffocate it with the errant sounds of untruth.

Art is the way you make your coffee and how you pour the boiling water in that pattern you do. It’s the specific sound of your free laugh and what you create with the ten fingers attached to your two clumsy mitts. It’s the how-you-get-yourself-ready routine and the black hat you wear next to your blonde hair because you like the contrast and the peacock feather you stick in the brim to create an uncommon look in the mirror. It’s the way you skip a stone to trouble the waters so you can make a metaphor happen right in front of your eyes.

Art is when you go outside on purpose just to feel the wind on your cheek because it feels like the Spirit breathing on you. It’s why you want a microscope to look closely at the molecules in grace and gunpowder, snowflakes and stardust, or the reason your lips get pursed when you're deep in thought. It’s the way you spread your arms because of that one feeling or why you’re the only one snorting with amusement at the movie theater when everyone else is silent.

Your Vital Presence

The interlocking circle of our united souls is designed to reveal the luminous and loving Kingdom of Christ and slowly sets the earth to rights. If you are not shining the way you could, then we, your brothers and sisters, are left without your very vital presence and necessary gifts. We are left feeling like we’re bleeding inwardly because something is missing from our whole body.

The edification of your only, inventive art is kingdom come, a planting of heaven in the ground of here and now.

So take your molecules and your moments and your unprecedented mess and the intoxicated music of your life and make a masterpiece that reflects the truth. On the other side of Jesus, art is a revelation of the kingdom. Art—your art—is how the elbow or eyelid or ankle ligament of Jesus is made known to the world. Isn’t he beautiful?

Your contributions of art fill a hole in the cosmos.

I wouldn’t lie to you about something so substantial.

Do you believe me?