December 11-C 2022

Oconaluftee River 09/01/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Joseph Campbell said the crux of the matter
of our spiritual/psychological/emotional/human development
hinges on which question we ask about our art.

Are we primarily concerned with:
"What can I do to make money with my art?"

Or with:
"How is my art enabling me to flower/bloom/come forth
as a human being?"

If we are pursuing commercial success,
that will take us in a certain direction.

If we are pursuing our own personal development,
that will take us in a different direction.

The difference in the two directions
is the difference between Adam and Eve
in the Garden of Eden,
and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In deciding which question is honestly
our question,
we face the truth of having to die to something
in choosing the question.
Something lives and something dies.

This is the kind of dying that follows us
throughout our life.

Campbell said, "T.S. Eliot said that the career
of a writer is a life of crucifixion every day."

Our relationship with our art requires this kind 
of devotion in giving up one way of living
in favor of another.

What are we interested in getting out of our life?
What are we here for?
What are we willing to give up--
to sacrifice--
in the service of what we are here for?

Both Eden and Gethsemane require dying to something.
What kind of death are we going to die?

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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