Art, Action or Anarchy?

By Joey O'Connor

"We are not in a period of confinement, but refinement."

These words came during a recent call with my friend, Esther Ntoto, who lives in Goma, Eastern Congo as a peacemaker and minister of justice with her husband, Camille. In the past twenty years, over six million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to civil war, starvation, and sexual violence. Camille and Esther are key leaders bringing truth, justice and restoration in the heart of Africa.

Esther was referring to the confinement brought on by COVID-19 and the needed refinement in our hearts to consider what truly matters in this life. 

Then came the horrific death of George Floyd.

Roiled by this injustice and many others, America is now — literally — being refined by fire.

But it's the wrong kind of fire.

It is not the refining fire of an artist focused on creating something beautiful or useful or meaningful. It is not the fire of a jeweler. A glass-blower. Or hammer in hand, an ironworker standing at his forge.

It's the destructive fire of anarchy; the polar opposite of peaceful protest for a righteous cause. 

Anarchy is the antithesis of art and life.

The goal of anarchy is destruction. A nihilistic worldview void of God and love for others.

The aim of art is creation; the life-giving force of creating and building.

Artists create something out of nothing for others.

Anarchists destroy what others have created into nothing.

Art provides the space and reflection for constructive  and needed social commentary leading to positive, needed action to change systemic evil at all levels of society.

In all of its myriad of forms, art can provoke human sensibilities for what is good, true, just, equitable and fair. 

Art can provoke social action promoting justice, righteousness and true equality.

Anarchy will have none of this. It prefers the formless void of chaos. 

You've heard me say it many times: Artists influence everything.

Artists, now would be a good time for you and I to use our creative influence for what is Good, True and Beautiful.

As followers of Jesus, now would be a good time to be peacemakers. Agents of change.

My encouragement to you is to reflect and pray. Then, take action. Create. Step into this toxic virus of chaos spreading across this country by making life-giving art to bring needed transformation to our society. 

We can make this world a more beautiful place.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

(Photo credit: KEREM YUCEL/AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

Leave a comment. I'd love your thoughts.

You can stay connected with Joey on Instagram and his website. You can also email Joey here.