Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Back from a long break, with a question

Sorry for the long gap in posting! A spate of sick kids (having 4 young boys is like living in a giant petrie dish), and the busy wind-down at school, left me with a sense of nothing to say.

But.

My buddy Alan sent me an email that sparked a long response, and I thought it was interesting enough to post, and posited a question that I would be interested in any responses you all may have.

I all started when I sent Alan some Calvin and Hobbes comics about snowmen.

Here is Alan's response, and then mine to him:


Steve;

You made my day. Is there no way to get Watterson to draw again????????

-Alan


Alan;

Interesting question.
Let me posit this: if you are a Christian, and you have a talent, are you obligated to use it for the greatest good for the greatest number?

I don't know if Bill Watterson is a Christian, but I have read articles that indicate that he now lives in his boyhood home of Chagrin Falls, Ohio (great name!), and paints landscapes with his dad. He's rich, living an idyllic life, and has turned his back on conspicuous fame. Not a bad life. I would take it, given the chance.

But.

I am a Christian, and live not just for myself.

If it was up to me, I'd put the thumb screws to him, and get him to draw Calviin and Hobbes again, but is that what is best for him? If he was a Christian, would there be any moral weight incumbent upon him to draw it again?

For a real life example, take Tim Downs. In the 80's, he had a comic strip called Downstown. It was GREAT! Smart, funny, a Christian worldview without being preachy, and sydicated all over the nation. He quit, and now goes around to Christian groups and speaks about stuff (I think relationship stuff - what a shocker in the Christian community), and has written some books. He surely thinks that this is what God has called him to do, but as an outsider to that, I keep on wondering if he's wasting a gift that was infusing the general culture with salt and light.

Now, my view on Tim Downs or Bill Watterson is definately colored with selfishness. But, I think the whole thing does raise the issue I started with: as Christians, what is our responsibility in using our gifts and talents for the world at-large?

Talk to you soon,
Steve

8 comments:

Sue 6:41 AM, December 10, 2005  

It's not easy, is it? Yes, we have a responsibility to use and nourish are gifts, as in the parable of the talents. At the same time, our prior responsibility is to do what we are called to do, and while that may well include one of our gifts, it won't necessarily be the path that gives maximum exposure. Nor will a calling necessarily remain the same throughout life.

So - in my view - a mother with small children must primarily nurture them, no matter what other great gifts she might have. A missionary must first of all work with the people he/she is reaching. Someone called to look after an aged relative must put them first. A minister much work with his congregation, and so on. Someone with a powerful artistic ministry should continue as long as it's right to do so, and stop when it's the right time to stop. If they don't, they might become self-reliant and stop giving glory to God.

Of course the problem is then how to be more aware of the Holy Spirit's promptings, and how to use our time best when there's no clear guidance, and how to know for sure when a particular door is closing... but that's a whole different set of threads. In a nutshell, assuming I know what God wants of me, that's what I should be doing - no matter what gifts or abilities others recognise in me.

Professor Steve 8:03 AM, December 13, 2005  

Sue,

Thanks for the excellent points, and good to hear from you again.

Good luck with the hunt for a new home!

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