Faith and Art

It goes back way before me. Put simply, people have been imbuing their art with religious faith,  representing all faiths and traditions and even spiritual orientations marked by a gap in faith, for many, many years. I identify as a Christian, so how does my faith shape what I write about? Did I seek with "The Year of Oceans" to bring the reader to my own faith? I would say no. Did I seek to represent my faith in a positive light? Inevitably and unconsciously. Make sure to read the next 2 sentences. Did I seek to also represent the challenges and doubt that accompany my faith with this book? Absolutely I did. If I believe in something, and If I feel strongly about it, then I think it is only natural that I would want to share some of what compels me about it, both good and bad, with an audience. But to try and proselytize is a whole separate matter. 

What I was interested in with this project, to be specific, are the questions and concerns that are universal, that apply in some capacity to every person on this earth. Questions about death, the creation of meaning, and living a full life are the things that preoccupied me. Though I offer some answers to these questions with a Christian approach, I preferred to let the protagonist of the story engage with uncertainty, skepticism, and doubt. I am not the first Christian to make art that explores doubt. An example comes to mind. Sufjan Stevens has been making music that basks in the melancholic and uncertain through a Christian lens for many years and albums. His song, "Casimir Pulaski Day" points to a distant God who takes and takes and takes in the face of a the death of a friend/lover. It describes prayers that are not answered. Put differently, Sufjan offers a voice for everyone: for those who believe in and follow God, for those who would like to but struggle to do so, and even those who are not interested in doing so. My hope, and prayer, is that my story, which concerns death and loss, would reach a similarly large audience, that it would lead to conversations and discussions, and that it would touch the reader in some way.

Sean