The struggles of a Faith-keeping musician, ep. 2

A friend of mine described the use of media as a form of attention-seeking. If such is the case, then our legal system is a form of lying, our banking is a form of thievery, our shopping a form of cheating, our eating and earning wages a form of gluttony, and our enjoyment a form of hedonism, and love nothing more than meaningless emotions. Music would be nothing but a stream of noise and repetitive chords. Wouldn't it therefore be unfair to put these labels on the things that help us function in this world?

In every aspect of life is a good and holy purpose, however tainted it is. Our job is to unearth that purpose and to live it out to the full. Wherever we work, be it in the priesthood or religious life, be it in the media or in the legal system, be it in the government or in the working class, we are here to do as we can so as to bring Christ to others. In our own capacity, we tell people our stories. We tell people of things that have happened, we show people the atmosphere of prayer and the smiles and singing we have managed to capture. We show people the amount of young and old gathered together just because they want to meet Our Lord in a deep manner. To be Catholic is to be all-encompassing, and we would therefore be doing an injustice to God and to ourselves if we don't use what is at our disposal. We have been known to assimilate what is good in every aspect of human culture, and we still do so today.

The evil one lurks in every aspect of our life. Heck, where he is not welcome, he lurks around too — in church, waiting to prey upon the weakest soul; in work, hoping to lure people undertaking contracts into greed; at home, separating families; in the media, spreading junk. Once we have an understanding that we as God's people have to combat this, then any medium is necessary and imperative to do so.

The rationale is that we have to understand a particular means before using it. However, the interpretation of this rationale went completely wrong. As an analogy to this,  I can provide a real-life example:

I had an incident last Thursday when I had a friend over at mine. He went on a complete despair rant, saying that politics and law would always remain dirty. And as such, politicians and lawyers were awful people. His understanding was that Saul, David and Solomon were all rotten kings. I lashed out against him, as I considered it a blatant insult against all the good people who were in politics and law. I gave him two good examples of such people: Saint Sir Thomas More and William Wilberforce (the man who abolished slavery). Even my university chaplain was once a practising solicitor, and that profession by no means made him a horrible person. ...I trembled and cried explaining myself to him because this is a situation that every person will find himself in: the eye would call itself more important than the ear, the hand would call itself more important than the foot.

The good messenger of God would use the means at his disposal to bring people to the Faith. I am a media person, and it is therefore an insult to my faith if I were to be labelled an attention-seeker simply because I want to spread that Love through music, art and status updates, however imperfect the means. And so the politician would want to do everything that he can in his capability to draw people to the side of Life, like God would want us to do. And so the mother would want to do everything that she can to draw her family to God by being the best mother that she can be. And so the charity-worker would want to do everything to draw people to God by serving the poorest of the poor in this world. God has brought good out of seemingly evil situations, would we therefore want to doubt His ability to bring good out of the many means of spreading God's Love in this tainted world?

To each a purpose in life, and to each his suffering. To each his own sins and weaknesses, and if we don't do our best to overcome them with God's help, what good are we? I find that when The Rolling Stones sang "I don't want to talk about Jesus, I just want to see His face" in 'Exile on Main Street', they failed to recognise one thing: Christ's face is present in every suffering person. It takes us to recognise that face. We are the bringers of Christ into the world — laity and clergy alike — and the only way we're going to successfully do this is not by condemning the means, but by looking at ourselves.

The people who have stood up for Christ in the media have not drawn very much good attention to themselves — if ever they got positive attention, it was from the faithful; otherwise, they were pelted at with tomatoes and eggs. Still today I am pelted with tomatoes and eggs for standing up for Christ. Mainstream media shows what it wants to show. But to say that supplying information is no more than a fig leaf is non sequitur, because that is our calling — our faith is not to be a lamp hidden under a bowl, but to shine out for all the world to see, whatever the means. At the end of the day, spreading the Faith is supplying information — and a higher information at that.

It has been suggested, in many different times and by many different people, that the Church not be adjusted to the media, but create a new reality. What kind of new reality can we create, at the end of the day? Everything that we can think of creating comes from what has already been created. The Church is God's creation, and thus cannot create ex nihilo like He can. As an artist, I can wholeheartedly relate: I use sound waves, which are already existent. What I can do is manipulate what is already there. And so it is with colours and crafts. We turn to materials that already exist in the world. Yet God intervenes in human creativity, because all our creativity comes from God. With His help, we can create a far better reality than what we have now, with whatever we have at our disposal. At the end of the day, the crux of the matter is this: our imagination, however wild and however beautiful, is finite, and we have to turn to Christ for help in doing His divine work.

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