Artists and Humility

W. David Taylor is writing a series of posts on Marks of a Believer Artist, and starts with Humility: “If you could only work on one virtue your whole life, I would highly recommend humility.” I’ve read the post a few times, and it’s still sinking in. It just seems, so, well, counter-cultural.

Madeleine L’Engle had lots of great insight into what it means to be an artist and a Christian, including humility:

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist…. When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens. But before he can listen, paradoxically, he must work. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer.

I want to be open to revelation, to new life, to new birth, to new light. Revelation. Listening. Humility. Remember—the root word of humble and human is the same: humas: earth. We are dust. We are created; it is God who made us and not we ourselves. But we were made to be co-creators with our maker. (L’Engle, 134)

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water. New York: North Point Press. 1995.