creativity and peacemaking: poetry drone
i believe this world is a complicated place, that i’m nearly void of answers, and that—as thomas merton says in his famous prayer— “i have no idea where i am going.” (that prayer embodies most every day of my life…). as such, i tend not to speak publicly about issues of which i’m passionate—i’m never quite sure of my motivation, correctness, or even how i might feel about it later. rather than risk embarrassment, i say nothing. or—almost always—say it discretely in my daily writing. writing which no one sees but me. but here, i’d like to take a little stand for something i think has provocative implications for christian creatives. and—as i love such things—it demonstrates the world’s complexity. this project speaks to my deeply held beliefs about creating: the opposite of making art is doing violence.* or, to say it theologically, the opposite of incarnation is annihilation.
i recently became aware of this project: the poetry drone. it seems—to me (dave harrity)—to be important for all artists of faith to consider endorsing. i wonder, if we really believe in the power of incarnation, in creative faith, and the kingdom at hand, then aren’t we called to use our gifts to ask hard questions and speak truth to power?—in peace, in faith, in hope, and in love. this project is doing that, as i see it. it’s a contemporary act of prophecy and witness, though it professes no religious affiliation.
the project is a communal effort because it’s crowd-funded, deeply humane, and a provocative re-imagination of the power of what technology can be. i hope it gets off the ground, especially since i helped fund it. an endorsement of the project itself speaks our solidarity aloud and seems the kind of creative thought and action that forces us to ask how we should live in the world and gives us a way to turn swords into plowshares (to once again borrow the borrowed phrase from the huff article linked above). this project speaks against the long-held silence christian creatives should begin discussing publicly, a discussion that always seems to be at the forefront of my mind as an author and practitioner of daily poetry and writing: what can i do about the violence in the world?
this is one small thing we can do. and it isn’t the only thing we should do. but, for many, it can be a start. keep in mind, small things get bigger as they go. and then things start to change. there are people and organizations working for peace and compassion all over the world, and offering their hands in small ways—often small ways are the ways we know how to offer. and it’s all right to offer something small; it’s often our most honest offering (think about the woman in the temple who offers her only coin).
ANTLER is one of those organizations trying to do what it can. i am one of those people trying to give my best.
this is one step i’m taking today. join as well if you’re up for it.
if you want to help fund the poetry drone, click here. please donate and share as you are able.
* i’d like to thank friend, colleague, and ANTLER contributor lyle entright for helping me amend this phrase to be more concise—a phrase—i see now—isn’t just about the content of the art made (as it was originally worded…) as it is about art-making as an act in a vacuum, about how creating actually lives in the world, and can be an act of healing, witness, or awe.