Before I point to this great term I picked up at the fairfax, let me jump on my soapbox for a second. One of my biggest peeves is when somebody says the phrase "let's not get into semantics". I've probably been guilty of it just as much as the next guy, but nine times out of ten, when somebody says that phrase, they're really saying "There's something deeper there, but let's just gloss over it and stay on the surface." If you ever want to see me bite my tongue to the point of bleeding, let me talk for awhile and then butt in and say "let's not get into semantics here."
According to wikipedia:
"Semantics (Greek semantikos, giving signs, significant, symptomatic, from sema, sign) refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language, code, or other form of representation."
As Eric Maisel has eloquently said in two or three places, the role of an artist is making meaning in the world. So if somebody doesn't want to get into what a word or phrase or an idea means, why do people like me even exist? There's probably a lot that could be unpacked here. There are probably many out there who wish people like myself didn't exits, but let's not get into semantics.
At any rate, Alice at the fairfax brought up a new phrase that I really like. Not sure who first coined it, but the term is "believer-artist", and I think I'm going to incorporate it into my everyday conversation. There's a debate that's been going on at least as long as I've been in music, and probably a lot longer. Are you a "Christian band" or a "band of Christians"? I usually will answer that I'm in a Christian band, but realize there are a lot of artists out there who are called to make art that falls outside of the CCM world. But what if somebody who falls outside of that world wants to make "Christian art"? Do they have to change their whole approach? Or what if I want to write a song that doesn't directly refer to my faith in Christ? Am I to be shunned and banished to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth?
The idea of the "believer-artist" frees me of this. I'm a believer, and I make art. Sometimes it might fall under the realm of "Christian art", and sometimes it may not. But my belief in a Creator will inform what I myself create. It reminds me of a brilliant quote from Meister Eckhart (there's a whole argument we could get into about Meister Eckhart, and I'm taking this quote a tad out of context because he was talking about personal holiness, but let's not get into semantics here):
"People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are."