I was painting this image for Dressember 2019 facebook and IG post as I wrote this. I went back and forth between the two.
I was instantly amazed at the incredible talent of the art on a group post. And then I was confronted with the nudity. Will the moderators take it down in a a Christian setting? I sent a private query. The moderators had asked, but the leader said to leave it. So as it was left unquestioned, and nobody seemed to dare question because the art itself is far more skilled than 98% of us (me included in the lower talent), I found I could not be silent if no one was going to at least make people think and ask the hard questions.
Here is what I wrote:
"At the risk of sounding unsophisticated or uneducated, could I offer a perhaps different & difficult perspective?
First, your ability as an artist is not in question. Wow. Your talent is amazing. And for my background, I too have seen The David and the works Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. Their skills as artists are undeniable. But just because an artist is phenomenal doesn't mean I can't question them. Even if the whole world wouldn't dare because of their fame. The word tells me to test ALL things. What was the culture? Were these men upright? Holy?
I began taking art at age 10. My skills are not as good as yours. (I do not even use a lot of the skills I was taught, but there's a reason for that which belongs in a different discussion.) . But in terms of nudity in art, our skills do not determine our values.
**You mentioned Adam and Eve were naked. Yes. They were beautiful. Yes. They were without sin... and immediately sin entered and they covered themselves. We have to ask WHY? They were unable to view themselves without sin? Even GOD made clothes for them.
**Your second reference, 1 Cor 6 leaves out the rest of the verse and its context. "but not everything is beneficial." The whole chapter goes on to talk about sexual immorality which is where, as an artist called to fight human trafficking, I have to ask some really hard questions. Again, your talent is NOT in question!!! You are SO incredibly gifted.
As an artist who had gorgeous art books all over the house and magazines, I felt pressured to ignore the niggles that I always felt when looking at nudity in art in order to be an educated, sophisticated person. I didn't dare question what I was taught to be great art. I didn't dare separate the skill and talent from the fruit or the impact on our culture. (But even as a teen, I always asked, "Who was this model? Was she pure? Did the artist sleep with her? Could he honestly look at her without a single thought of lust? Can any guy standing here on the streets of Italy with me look at this and not have lustful thoughts, even though the artistry is mind blowing?")
(Added here for this post: Yes, I know...the lust is each guy's own problem. I know. He would lust after a girl passing by. But she passes by. May I submit, she did not pass by nude? Public art is permanent and often unavoidable.
*** Second, after I grew up and got married and had children, I noticed my art magazines began to be found in the bathroom. My young son had begun his struggle with porn and he did not differentiate between great art, an expensive lingerie catalog, or cheap photography. While we had guards and filters on our internet, I was providing him with all the material he needed. They were strumbling blocks for him. And he is not alone. He spoke up and began to meet with other young men. He found that he was part of an epidemic. He has now been delivered, but it was a battle like none other.
I have another friend who is a well known artist who told me about his similar struggles and how, as a Christian, has had to re-establish his thoughts in the realm of art, ministry and life. (Inserted note for the blog: One day I had a beautiful book showing the works of one of my all time favorite artists. I had marveled at his work when I saw it in the Smithsonian. I found it at a thrift store, still wrapped in clear plastic. I had just unwrapped it and my friend picked up. We were both excited to see the images. Then came the centerfold. He quickly turned the page but not before I saw the pain on his face. He would never blame me, but it taught me to treasure my brothers better than I had been doing.)
** As I was writing this, my mother's caregiver just came in. She pointed to an envelope she handed me earlier that morning that held a donation for Dressember. She said, "This is for Mariska. I met her in an orphanage in Bali. She sang like an angel. Her aunt and uncle lied and said they were given custody and were adopting her and moving to Sumatra. My friend (director of the orphanage) said they lied. They took her and put her on the streets. Mariska is being trafficked."
So, I find I can not be silent...even if I'm viewed as simple. I am very well educated. I am also very well convicted. I am not a prude. I believe the body is beautiful. I just have to ask, can we display it publicly in our culture knowing it will cause someone to head into a lifetime addiction?
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
©2019 Lydia D Crouch